As he waited, Gunther reflected, not for the first time, that only a pantheist can rationally employ violence without a trace of anger.
He’d watched many of his colleagues spiral into madness over the years – killing lots of people in cold blood can be rough on the psyche. Other people would work themselves up into a rage just to do the job, but Gunther disdained this approach as amateurish – rage makes you sloppy, and sloppy makes you dead.
Pantheism solved all this for him – Gunther is God, and his target is God, too. Everything is God – even the bullet when it hits. So, when he pulls the trigger, he’s not killing an individual, he’s simply implementing his divine will. And the target’s divine will, for that matter.
And getting paid nicely for it. Whatever his other opinions about Lafitte, he had to admit the man paid well.
The limo pulled into range and double parked, snapping him out of his reverie. He took a breath and whispered “I am God” as Beauvier stepped out of the car into the humid Louisiana air. Crosshairs centered on the forehead, Gunther released half that breath and mouthed “Thou art God” as he gently squeezed the trigger.
The divine will was implemented.
2. Quilts and Teapots
After the first round bounced off the quadruple-paned bulletproof glass Gunther jumped up and pounded upstairs. What kind of idiot tries a shot through that kind of glass? Zero chance of hitting your target. Zero.
From the attic he watched the gunman sneaking up to the back porch. A quick scan, both visual and with infra-red, confirmed that there were no other humans in the vicinity.
Gunther hated shooting people on his days off. He didn’t need unpaid overtime, not at this point in his life. Especially not now – he’d finally acquired fabric with the perfect print for completing the Solomon’s Crown-pattern quilt he’d been making. He really didn’t appreciate interruptions just then.
Gunther found the gunman in his sights, then shouted down, “Hey, let’s talk!” The idiot fired through the half-open door into the now-vacant living room – Gunther heard the sound of glass breaking. Crap, that must be the teapot collection!
Gunther did what he had to.
He checked the body, assuming that there would be some clue telling him what was going on – the punk was clearly not a pro, after all. But no ID, no tags on his clothing, nothing at all. He stripped the body, and found a tattoo of a tiger’s head, with “LSU” under it, on the left shoulder.
He sat back against the wall. LSU. Gunther’s only been to Baton Rouge once, so at least he could guess who this was about now. Somebody wasn’t happy about Beauvier.
It was aggravating, though – not only was someone gunning for him, but Lafitte must have told them about him. No one else knew about the Beauvier job except the man who’d hired him.
He’d figure out Lafitte’s angle later, but next stop: Louisiana. Time to go on the offensive.
3. Not Anymore
Gunther breathed, “Thou art God” as he pulled the trigger. A perfect shot, but instantly he knew something was wrong – the target’s head didn’t turn into pink mist – it just plopped down onto the desk.
A dummy target meant that they were expecting this. He started to slither back into the swamp, already too late – he saw the gun barrel out of the corner of his eye as he heard a familiar voice.
“Gunther. Did you think you could just kill my brother?”
Alain Dupree. That voice brought back some wild times. The good old days in Sierra Leone, 1995 – what a mess that was. Fun while it lasted, though.
“It’s been a while, Alain. You know, I’ve never killed anyone named Dupree.”
“Beauvier was my half-brother.”
Gunther dropped the rifle and rolled over. “Well, huh. I didn’t know that.” He sighed, and sat up. “Why come after me, anyway? I assume you finished my client after he blabbed. But you’re a pro yourself, you know how it is. Silly to take the triggerman’s part in it personally.”
“Quit whining. He was my brother – of course it’s personal.” But Alain relaxed and chuckled as he lowered his gun. “Lafitte didn’t tell me anything – I did him from eight hundred yards. Then I sent cheap Louisiana muscle from Bo’s organization to provoke the four guys in the country who seemed most likely. You’re the only one that beelined right back here to retaliate.”
Gunther laughed, “That was clever. Well played.” He shook his head and laughed again.
Alain smiled, reminiscing, “What’re those lines you always say when you do a job?”
Gunther looked up. “I start with ‘I am God’…”
“Not anymore, you aren’t.” Alain swung the pistol up and fired.