Watching other people through their reflection in the glass of the bus is an art. You can’t stare for too long at one time; people can feel your eyes on them. I glance at the suit-wearing man in front of me, a commuter. The left arm of his blazer is faded slightly compared to the right one. Not surprising. He sits on the left side of the bus every day. I know that he’s a man of habit because his tie is out of fashion, too fat at the bottom.
His hair is balding in the back. Does he notice? Does his barber tell him?
I’ve picked him. He might have family; there’s no clear indication. The needle pricks the back of his neck just above his fat roll.
It doesn’t take long. Beads of sweat form on his hairline. When he starts to get up, I put my hand on his shoulder, hold him down. By the time they try to run, they’re too weak to fight.
We get off near the convention center. It’s busy with the right kind of people, the people who mind their own and stop for no one. Cigarette smoke rolls out of the Tiger Pub. The man moves to go in, but I pull him around into the ally and press his face against the brick wall. “Who do you work for?”
“A design company.” The man doesn’t hesitate. He’s never had to pretend before, never been caught.
“Who do you really work for?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Now he’s getting angry. Fool’s move.
I bring out the knife, blade half serrated. The man’s face pales; his eyes spark with recognition. I’m not fucking around. I hold the knife in his line of sight. “Last chance.”
He whimpers something, starts crying. He’s a small fish. The real ones don’t cry. The real ones don’t talk.
“They’ll kill me.”
No shit. “Yeah, or I will. Your time is limited.”
“They’ll torture me.”
“Tell me what you know and I’ll be quick.”
Funny how death makes us sniveling children. “Cross my heart.”
He trips over the words, rushing to get them out. He works for who I thought. He knows nothing of importance. Wasted attempt, my third this week. There will be hell to pay.
“Do you have a family?” I ask.
He shakes his head.
“Good.” Less casualties. I end it quick. I keep my promises.