“Retirement (Part 2)”
At 11:30, Snyder sees 2 black limo’s pull up to the estate’s guarded gate and stop. After a few moments of the drivers talking with the guards, the gates are opened and the cars move up around the circular driveway in front of the house and park right in front of the house's main double doors.
Snyder scans the area from the gate to the house and beyond but all looks normal, so he checks his rife one more time and starts checking the movement of the bushes and trees near the house to get the direction and speed of the wind.
11:40 and the limo drivers are out of their cars smoking cigarettes and milling around. Snyder sees no guards with the cars, only drivers. In total, he counts 2 guards on the estate gate, 2 outside the house and 2 walking the grounds around the house but there could be more inside or behind the house. All seem to be carrying AK-47’s which are not a bad spray weapon but useless for long range shots.
As Snyder watches the house and grounds through his binoculars, he can hear that the jungle around him has returned to normal after his entrance. Now there are birds moving in the trees and singing and calling and various small animals are moving around on the ground searching for food. Normal means that he is alone: no patrols and he feels some better but now and then, sweeps the area around him with his eyes and ears.
Noon. Snyder homes the rife into his shoulder and stares down the high power scope at the house door. If the iPod is right, then the target could come out the door any minute and Snyder may not have much time for the shot before the target gets into one of the waiting cars. “Cars? Why 2 cars?” Snyder wonders, “Who else is in that house?”
Just then, the main doors of the house open and out walks a woman, mid 30’s, strikingly beautiful, followed by a little girl all dressed for some occasion. The girl reminds Snyder of his own daughter as this girl looks to be about the same age and height, but who is she and the woman? According to the iPod, the target does not a family, married or otherwise.
The woman heads towards one of the 2 waiting limo’s and begins talking to the driver while the little girl hangs back at the open door of the house. Then, from out of the darkness of the house comes the target and Snyder focuses on his head and begins his firing sequence. Then suddenly, the target leans over and picks up the little girl and holds her in his arms. There is still a shot to the target’s head but the girl. “Shit! Got to wait for a clean shot.”
Boom, an explosion comes from very near Snyder’s position and in shock he turns his eyes away from the house and tries to find the source of the explosion, but nothing. Then his eyes move back to the house and there he sees the target down on the porch of the house and the little girl also down, blood pouring out of both the target and the girl’s head.
“What the fuck is going on?” Better get out of here fast before all those guards decide to come after the shooter. Leaning up on the limb he is on and beginning to put his foot down on the limb just below him, he hears a thud on the ground somewhere below him and then a tremendous explosion almost knocks him out of the tree. Snyder goes back to laying flat on the large limb and quickly moving his eyes around. “Has not been time enough for any guards to make it up to this position and explosion did not sound like mortar round.” And then he sees it. The fallen log, which he once thought would make a good firing position, is a smoldering hole in the ground. “Taylor! Has to be Taylor!”
Snyder hangs tough on the limb, quiet, listening and watching. He has maybe 5 more minutes before the estate guards will be all over his position and he is going to use every minute to see what, if anything else, develops and it does not take long. First it is the sound of a stick being broken by someone stepping on it and then the jungle quieting down as someone moves through it. Snyder slowly moves his rife around so that it is in the direction of twig break but he cannot see anything. He listens and looks and scans for any type of movement at all. Any branch, leaf moving out of synchronization with all other bushes, trees and there, maybe no more than 30 yards from him, he sees some tall ferns move suddenly to one side. See or no see, Snyder draws aim and fires 3 shots off in rapid succession, one where the ferns moved and one to either side of it and then he waits. Time is running out on him as the guards have got to be on their way and these 3 most recent shots and the explosion before them have probably quickened their pace.
Nothing. Snyder sees no more movement from the area he has shot into. Well, no proof of anything one way or another except that he did not get shot back at and so down the tree limbs he goes until he reaches the ground and then as quickly and quietly as he can, back the escape route farthest from the estate house and all those guards.
“What the shit just happened,” Snyder thinks as he looks at the compass, takes a sip of water, keeps his eyes moving, rife ready for a quick shot if required. “Damn will be glad to get out of there and on that plane. Who shot the target? Taylor? Why send 2 of us and what is that business of the log? Lankton signing my retirement papers here in the jungle?”
It is definitely Taylor they are dragging as Snyder can clearly see Taylor distinctive arm tattoo.
As Snyder watches, the guards dragging Taylor up the dirt road finally stop beside the jeep and one of the guards begins talking on his radio. Then, without any warning at all, the guard on the radio shoots Taylor in the head.
“Well, at least one problem is solved,” Snyder sighs and watches as the 4 guards roll Taylor’s body over into the drainage ditch beside the road, get into the Jeep and head back in the direction of the estate.
Snyder sits down on a tree root and watches and listens and eventually it gets dark and he makes his way out onto the road and moves slowly down towards the estate.
As he approaches the road leading to the estate, he cuts through the jungle to avoid the road junction and any possible guards and comes out of the jungle maybe a mile away from the estate gate and not too far from the service station where he thought he saw Taylor in his own Jeep.
Once at the station, Snyder has no trouble finding Taylor’s jeep in behind the shack of a station and with some cuts with his knife and a good whack with the butt of his rife, he has the Jeep started and on his way back to the city.
Snyder has been in position for hours now just waiting for the bedroom light to come on.
Finally, he drops his binoculars that are slung around his neck and homes the butt of his rife into his shoulder and peers down the scope.
One final time, the crosshairs align and the breath goes in and then slowly out and the finger slowly squeezes the trigger.
Guess he will have to get someone else to sign his retirement papers now.
30 shots, 30 retirements.