Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Matt

It’s hard work hiding in a coffin. There’s the complete absence of daylight; I’m in utter and complete darkness, worse than being blind and made far worse by the fact that I’m claustrophobic. The coffin lid is just mere inches from my face but I can’t even see it and only knowing it’s there without a visual cue is somewhat scary. There’s the lack of oxygen; I am beginning to suffocate as the little air that’s left is rapidly replaced by Co2 or whatever it is that’s a by product of depleted air – chemistry wasn’t my strong suit back in school. There’s both my legs slowly falling asleep, no big mystery considering I’ve been lying in this polished sarcophagus for about an hour now. I give them a good shake every few minutes just to keep the blood circulating.

I feel a cold bead of sweat running down my forehead making a straight drop pass my cheeks and down onto my satin pillow. It is warm in here. And getting worse by the minute.

I can’t wait to get out. Can’t wait to stretch, suck in a lungful of cool fresh air and remove the cricks in my neck.

But I must wait. I must wait for Poe to ring me – or rather buzz me as I had put my cell on vibrate mode. And the second he rings me, the second I could feel my little Nokia dancing in my right breast pocket, I will lift open the heavy mahogany lid and clamber out of the coffin. I will rise like a modern day Lazarus come to life and I will have a small handgun in my right hand. I will raise this gun, hold it steady and then put a bullet through the head of a stranger.

In the confusion and hysteria that will ensue, I will make a quick exit out of the funeral home and into noonday rush hour traffic.

At least that is the plan. Poe had promised to buzz me once all his so called ‘chess pieces’ are in place and it was time for me, a lowly pawn to take the King. Poe had said no more than a half hour, but I swear it’s almost an hour and a half right about now.

I close my eyes. I could feel more sweat erupting off my forehead and streaming down my cheeks and I know I’m about to pass out with so little air left in my little wooden tomb.

Within a few minutes I could hear muffled sounds of men talking. Three or maybe four of them – approaching the coffin. One of them made a joke, laughter all around. I wish I could hear better but three inch thick mahogany isn’t exactly the best sound conductor. I will have to leave it at that and hope Poe will ring me when the right time comes.

I have been fully briefed and I know what my target looks like – he’s a tall man with greying temples walking with the aid of a cane and most probably wearing a sharp suit, a red tie and polished shoes. I do not know who he is; only that he must be eliminated. There is a good chance that his bodyguards will take me down or even worse leave me alive for interrogation. Not a lot of good that will do them as no amount of torture or mind tricks is going to give away my employer’s identity. All I know is I’ve been hired by a faceless client who goes by the name of Poe. Now whether this employer is a man or a woman, Asian or European, I have absolutely no clue. I have never met Poe in person. Our mode of communication was solely Skype and my cell. And the few times he had called me it was obvious that the voice I heard was disguised via a voice changer anyone could get from a good electronics store. And it wasn’t important to me who Poe really was.

Only that he fulfils the terms of our contract – that upon completion of my mission my brother Matthew is to receive a million dollars in the form of a cheque through the mail.

The cheque will be crossed and made out to Matt who lives in Singapore. Imagine the shock this will give Matt wondering who would be so generous as to write him a check for a million bucks. But I know the man will be set for life. I know Janet will be pleased too. At last then they can pay off their crippling debts and have enough to keep them financially secure for the rest of their days together.

And now at last my phone is vibrating.

It is time.

Matt, I love you little brother. This is for you.