Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Crash Heard Round the World by Donna Pingry

She had to die and it was my job to do it. Plus it had to look like an accident.

My name is Sam and you'll have to excuse me if I don't fill in all the blanks for you. It's not everyday that I get an assignment to knock off the world's most famous princess, but that's essentially what I get paid for - killing high profile people for major team players. These team players give little consideration to my expenses. They are paying for a job well done. I'm one of the best, if I do say so myself.

So here's this beautiful, sad, recently divorced princess and she's making some of my players very uncomfortable. They fear that she's on the road to making the Jackie Kennedy/Onassis thing look normal, so she's got to go. On top of everything, every reporter and TV crew from several countries is hunting her down to take pictures of her ill-fated romance. She's in Paris with her new billionaire boyfriend, about to get engaged, and it's my job to arrange a little accident. Bye-bye princess.

I picked up the extremely fat envelope from my mail on the way to the airport. In the envelope is my passport, airline tickets and background information on every person assigned to be anywhere around her royal person. The initial deposit has already been transferred to my numbered bank account. I settle into my seat in coach and get ready to work.

Why does someone like me fly coach? It's the rules of the profession. People like me blend in. You've seen people like me walk by you dozens of times, but you probably can't remember my face or what I was wearing. I blend well. This job was just meant to be. I'd venture to guess you can't even pick my picture out of my high school yearbook. The invisible person, that's me.

So, you ask, how do you kill a celebrity? Well, usually with their cooperation. There is always some fault, some little opening, some weakness that I walk into and make the whole thing happen. This princess had it all -- beauty, brains, money, connections -- a real star. She also had a boyfriend that was going to cost her her life. Too bad. But it's not my job to judge. This playboy boyfriend is surrounded by daddy's lackeys -- bodyguards, chauffeurs, servants in every shape and size. This is useful in my line of work. Lots of paid employees mean someone with a grudge or someone with a secret. In the envelope on my lap were lots of grudges and secrets and the names of all the people who had them. Yeah, this was going well.

It was a sunny day as I left the airport. Another trick of the trade is to take only one bag. Nothing to draw attention to you at customs. Just appear to be the casual business traveler, here today, gone tomorrow. My associates had my car waiting, gassed, and ready. Driving into Paris, I made a few calls to verify the information in the envelope. Then I rent a plain black motorcycle just like the newsboys have. Those things really zip in and out of traffic when you're following a story. I make a quick stop at a prearranged drop and pick up one high tech piece of equipment. It looks like a camera, but what's inside is vastly differennt.

I make another call to verify that my associates have followed my instructions to the letter. Someone's loved one is a little out of touch for awhile. Then I contact the man with something to hide. Something he'd rather die than have revealed. It goes just the way I like it. I now have access to the plan, the car, and the driver. You'd think that Junior's dad would have screened his employees better before giving his precious son into their care, but he left me an opening so who am I to complain? That's what makes my job interesting. Devil's in the details, you know.

So this inside guy with the past tells me that the night guy called in and he'll probably have to pull night duty after he takes the charming couple to dinner. No opening there, right. Wrong. The sudden illness on the other drivers part ought to have tipped you off. I leave Mr. Unfortunate in the bar slugging down a few glassfuls while I take care of the vehicle. I don't blame him though. I'm sure he already sees his life flashing in front of his eyes and he wants something to dull the pain. I leave a few well placed people in the lounge to see that he doesn't drown his sorrows too effectively.

The decoy vehicle is out front. How lame. Only a fool would fall for that trick, but I guess there's a few born every minute. I watch some of the reporters take off after the decoy from my vantage point in the alley. By now the chauffeur is in the target vehicle waiting on the happy couple and the bodyguard. The vehicle with the slight modification. I get a quick glimpse of the princess, tall, blonde, gleaming with diamonds. Her bad choice boyfriend looks tired. Must be too many late nights, too much booze, too many women. Too bad, lady. You picked a lemon again. He would't have lasted any longer than the blueblood you married the first time. The one with the taste for women who look like they should be wearing a saddle rather than riding on one.

I'm way behind the pack of reporters as we start off after the vehicle. If they just wait a bit longer, I'll give them the story of a lifetime. But they are sliding in and out of traffic like a pack of sharks after blood. As we get closer to the tunel, I work my way to the left of the car. This is close to the prearranged spot. No one's looking at me. They are after the fox. Maybe they want a picture of the engagement ring, the ring that the princess will never wear again. Mr. Unfortunate is doing just as he was told, pushing the needle to 100 mph and heading to the tunnel. Just inside the tunnel, I push the little gismo in the camera and the front left tire explodes, throwing the vehicle into the middle of the tunnel wall. Kind of like sending a pinball into a bonus point pocket. All hell breaks loose as the reporters begin to realize what happened to their quarry. As they try to figure out the details a vehicle come from the opposite lane and quite conveniently, a doctor, gets out and checks pulses. Two down and two quite near the edge. A quick inspection of the tire and no device. After that impact, there isn't much of anything left. I'm just one of the paparazzi lost in the crowd. My job is done.

There just isn't much more to tell. The princess had a big state funeral. The world mourned. The family accepted the death stoically and with little sign of loss. You could almost see the relief in Her Majesty's eyes.

"What was the secret that the chauffeur took to the grave?" you ask. Well that's another story. Why I told you is another story, too. You see, I just got another envelope in the mail. Evidently you are important enough to cause embarrassment to someone too. I'm sorry, but you won't be sharing this story with anyone else. Yes, I see from your eyes that you understand. It's nothing personal, just a job.

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