by B. Cavis
by B. Cavis
I am a wanted man. There are government agencies that have rooms devoted to me. People sleep, eat, and breathe my every move, following a ridiculously minute trail with equipment that costs more than you will make in your entire life.
I also look good in black.
There is a man who has sworn to see me bleed out at his feet. He has devoted himself to my downfall and my death, and he will not rest until I am dead and dismembered.
When he finds me, as I know he eventually will, no one will ever discover my body. The agencies with their expensive pieces of equipment will not know I am dead for months, possibly years afterwards.
There is delicious irony in there, but I am too tired to search it out. I get very tired very easily these days.
If I was a vainer man, I could be flattered by this. I’ve never been the center of so much attention without having to perform on a regular basis. Back when I was Mossad I was paid a minor sum, given a tiny apartment, and made to put my life in danger on a regular basis in order to make my father, my superiors, and my country proud.
Pride is overrated when you do not get to share in it. A lesson I took a very long time to learn, but will not forget.
I killed a federal agent. I’ve killed many people, actually, that one wasn’t so special. I’m not entirely sure why this is such a shock to them all, honestly. I’ve been trained in the art of killing since I was five years old. Did they think I would become a grocer?
My mother would not be proud of me, but I am not doing this for her. My father wants me dead before I can become a further smear on his name, but I am not acting for him either. I am not a fifteen year old boy-- my entire life does not revolve around making my father miserable. He is worth neither the effort nor the time.
I am doing this for myself. For the first time in my life, I act for no one but myself and my own interests. It is surprisingly enjoyable, and not nearly as empty as all of the movies would have you believe. I do not go home at night and wonder if I could be out making the world a better place. I do not lie in bed and night and listen to the ghostly wails of all I have killed and all those who will die at my hands in the upcoming days.
I sleep in a seven hundred count Egyptian cotton, and my bed is the size of a small yacht. My apartments (and yes, there are several) could hold enough migrant families to build a palace. The only thing empty is my fridge, and I have no need to cook these days.
My hands are covered in blood, but I have enough scented soaps to play Lady MacBeth until the end of the world without my skin drying out. When I step outside, there are men and women around me willing to lay down their lives for me if someone were to try and hurt me. There are those who have. Their blood coats my palms as well, but they are the Bad Men. Would anyone care if they knew? Would those agencies who so value human life bother to mourn their lives if they knew?
They wouldn’t. They don’t.
Perhaps one would. Perhaps she could care, but she was like that. Too soft, too caring, too loving for the work she chose. She had no business in this life. They had no business permitting her to stay in it.
It doesn’t matter now. She’s dead, and there is little point in thinking of her any longer, except in passing and briefly. I do not devote large quantities of my time to thinking about her, and I don’t plan on doing so. I have better things to do with my life. I am doing better things with my life.
Regret is a wasted emotion. It tends to be a human reaction forced onto individuals by society after the fact. You obviously couldn’t have felt too strongly about this on your own, or you would not have done it in the first place. People who do not wish to steal money, don’t steal money. Women who do not wish to beat their children do not beat their children.
People who kill don’t feel bad about it later unless they are very weak willed and very weak hearted, and I am proud to report that I am neither.
I killed Caitlin Marie Todd, NCIS Agent and former Secret Service agent with a bullet to the head. I saw her through a sniper riffle and I blew a hole through her skull because that is what I was told to do to prove my loyalty to Al Qaeda. I watched her hit the ground, I heard the dull thunk of her being becoming a body, and if need be, I would do it again.
Without a second thought.
My current traveling companion is a tiny little black woman by the unlikely name of Lyla. Her hair is the color of bubblegum on the bottom of one’s sneaker, and I say that with the utmost affection and respect. She has never fired a gun, she never will, and she makes little noises when she sleeps that remind me of a cat in the sun.
Lyla thinks that I am mad for calling myself a bad person-- thinks I am not beyond salvation and redemption and hope. I know she dreams of somehow changing my world to fit her desires; she wants to save me from myself and my fate. She tells me she wants me to try to think better of myself, never seeming to understand that it is not I who view myself in a negative light, simply society at large.
I like myself. I’m pretty.
She hugs me at the most inappropriate times, like she’s trying to reassure herself that I am still there, and the last time she did it I was struck with the thought that women always seem to try to want to fix things that are not broken. Men are one giant do it yourself project to them, and I am apparently no exception. She knows of Al Qaeda and of the harm I do to the world, and yet she does nothing but hold me and look at me like I can make all of her Princess dreams come true.
It is oddly not unsatisfying.
Every now and then, when I wake up before she does, she’ll roll over and ask me if I was having a nightmare. I never am, of course (undignified and foolish drivel) but I have come to realize that if I reply ‘yes,’ a hug, a kiss, and a blow job are quickly received. I have more nightmares now.
There was a blurb on the international news the other week of the burial of a former Secret Service agent killed in the line of duty by a terrorist. The President showed up to her funeral. One of my colleagues expressed an interest in bombing the event, but I talked him out of it with the point that security would be incredibly high and all unauthorized personnel would be forbidden from entering the cemetery.
I sent flowers. I did not tell Lyla. I did not need to add any fodder for her Reformed Bad Man dreams. I killed the woman. Flowers seem to wither in light of that.
In all her various form and splendor, Caitlin Todd was not a bad woman. I know this-- I knew it even then. She gave money to charities, she helped her friends through hard times, she worked hard her entire life to get to where she was. She fought, she worked, and when I put my finger on that trigger she died.
The human body is a wonderful thing that I spent years studying. So intricate, the most complex of circuitry running through every inch; proof to some that God must exist lies in your circulatory system. After all, they argue, how could we be the product of chance?
They forget the flaws. The human body is ridiculously delicate and easily damaged. For all of the armor you can put on it and all the vitamins you can swallow down, something as simple and easy as a bullet or a flu virus can decimate you. Wipe you entirely. You can die from childhood diseases, from diarrhea, a cut leg; your body can shut down easily and permanently at the drop of a hat.
God does not exist in your bloodstream, if at all. Only fragility. Weakness juxtaposed with intricate strength. Diamond filaments run through your arms, spider webs of titanium, and yet they can shatter at the barest of touches.
A bullet to the head is a simple way to die. Relatively painless. I could have aimed for her chest and gotten an easier hit, but it would have caused a great deal of agony. There is no more painful, no more horrible way to get shot than in the stomach, and I looked through the scope and knew it. I still killed her, I still sleep nights, but I pulled the trigger and she was dead before she hit the ground, instead of languishing for hours or days in agony before her body gave out and gave in and she was boxed up to be worm food.
I suppose it could be called a small pity. I don’t think about it.
When I sat across from her at the farm, Marta bleeding at our feet, she had looked at me with a little wrinkle in her forehead and a bruise on her mouth, and whispered “Why?” to me. I like to pretend that maybe she saw it coming in the end-- that it wasn’t a complete and utter blindside of massive proportions. That she didn’t think me incapable of hurting her; ending her life.
I like to pretend that that “why” was a preemptive question, but I know it wasn’t. Not so deep down I know that she had absolutely no idea that I would do what I did. No one did. Even Gibbs, for all of his “stay away from her” nonsense did not believe me truly capable of killing Caitlin Todd. Molesting her, I’m sure. Perhaps emotionally badgering her until she was confused and scared and shaking. But death? Putting an end to her entirely?
He had no forethought of that. He thought I was infatuated with her; transfixed by the strength and beauty of this woman. She did too, and neither one of them had any idea that instead of aiming for the leader with that gun-- instead of cementing the team together as a cohesive force against the man who had killed their God-- I aimed for the heart and shattered them more effectively than anything I could have done.
She thought she was beyond me and my actions. Thought I was a bad guy with a soft spot for her.
Bad guys don’t have soft spots. We may be pretty, we may be funny, we may have nice smiles and “kind eyes,” but we don’t have soft spots. At least that’s what I tell myself when the question arises.
They were nice flowers. Lilies. I’m a traditionalist.
I am having trouble staying awake and active for more than five hours at a time. Lyla wants me to visit a doctor, but I have little time and even less patience for it. I am a doctor-- we’re overrated, to say the least.
When my mother died, gray haired and beautiful, she came home from work one day, lay down in her bed, and just went to sleep-- she knew her time was up and she didn’t fight it. Some wild creatures are like that; when death comes for them they make themselves comfortable and lie still to let it take them. Struggling is pointless and undignified when faced with the grim reaper, I suppose.
If I die, I die. Seeing a doctor to prolong my life is meaningless, after all, when there is an insane, revenge driven Marine out to get you. They tend to not respond well to penicillin.
I will die. I know it now, and I find myself strangely indifferent to the idea. I could say something deep and meaningful like “Death is the next step” but in all honesty it just doesn’t bother me. I don’t really care. My life is nice, my companions are not bad, and Lyla has an incredibly skilled tongue, but there is nothing I can do about death so what is the point in worrying about it?
I suppose this will be chocked up to latent regret by whomever reads this. That I somehow feel so bad about my actions that I deem myself worthy of death. However, these people are fools and strong arguments for birth control. I am a pragmatist, not a recovering murderer. I have not found Jesus, God, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, or Satan, and I have absolutely no wish to.
I can’t remain awake. I will die soon. Life.
I wonder if this is what she thought in that millisecond before death? Did her heart accept her fate? Did her mind acknowledge it? Or was she looking up at the sky and thinking nothing more than how blue it was? How beautiful?
I can imagine her wasting her last thoughts on him. Wondering how he would get by without her there to keep him stable; how her death would knock him. She was that way, the result, I’m sure, of her good Catholic upbringing. She felt for Marta, who would have killed her in a heartbeat. She felt for Gerald, who was too out of his mind on pain and morphine to know it.
She felt for me. I do not know why. I do not think about it.
Perhaps she imagined my life to be lonely. My heart wounded. My soul fractured. Perhaps she, like Lyla, dreamt of taking me and reforming me; of putting a collar around my neck and having me behave prettily for her at parties and social events.
It does not matter. I don’t think about it. She’s dead.
As I will be soon. Rotting in hell, if it exists. Far from her and the goodness that was so easily snuffed out-- so easily destroyed along with her. She does not live on as a good memory; Gibbs does not remember her life, only her death. Only what I did to her. I have no doubts he dreams that killing me and ending my existence will somehow make it all bearable and manageable.
He’s a fool, and she is dead. My own demise will not change either of those points.
A point, I think, in favor of being a Bad Guy. Goodness dies easily; a fragile thing crushed under foot and left to bleed out into the ground. It can be darkened by evil, it can be melted under the heat of a tense situation. And once it is gone, it is gone. Caitlin is proof of that; her family, her friends, her Gibbs remembers nothing of her goodness, of that desire for peace and prosperity for all. They only remember me. My actions, my bullet-- they remember her in relation to me, and I have taken that goodness and made it into my own. I have taken her memory and destroyed it for them.
She is forever tainted by my actions. They will never be able to think of her goodness without tasting the bad, and I know it to be the truth. Bad Men have actions that last forever, while Good Men have regrets that never die along with them. I will be dead and buried and worm food, and Agent Gibbs will still be unable to cope with the memory of his beloved agent and his failure to protect her. My legacy will live on. Hers will only grow weaker.
Our medical plan is not bad either.
I asked her once if she was in a relationship with him. Sitting at the table and waiting for the cars to come and whisk us off to our respective places, she looked down at her hands and tried to find something to make herself more comfortable; a stable bit of ground to stand on.
I looked down at Marta and remembered how she scrapped her fingernails down my body with light, threatening touches, and sighed.
“Do not look so sad, Caitlin,” I told her. “You will go back to your Gibbs and he will ‘there there’ you until I am but a bad memory.”
And she looked up at me with such sadness in her eyes that it almost made me sorry for her. “I’m never going to forget this.”
“He’s not good at ‘there there’ing you? How sad.”
“We’re not… That’s none of your business,” she declared, and turned away and frankly refused to speak another word to me.
There was sadness there still. I did not mention it again.
Not lovers, but potentially they could have had something. Gibbs hunts me with the passion of a man who had something great stolen from him never to be returned. He wants me dead; not because I killed his lover, but because I killed a potential love of his life.
There is a vast difference in that. I doubt he can understand that.
Perhaps my own killing of her will be written off as a lover’s triangle-- as my adoration of Caitlin getting the best of me and my trigger finger. Perhaps I will be seen as the jealous suitor, desperate to win a woman’s love, to win her love, and discovering that it was already given to another. Perhaps that’s what he thinks already.
I wonder if I will die before he comes to kill me. There has been talk in town of men asking questions of me. He has his old navy buddies helping him to track me down-- they will find me, he will kill me, and there will be much rejoicing in the land of Gibbs.
Lyla is oblivious. I will have to send her out when the time comes. I can see her trying to beg Gibbs to let me live, and that will only infuriate him more. I can not imagine him turning his rage on a woman, but I will not take the chance. She has done nothing wrong, and for all of her unrealistic dreams of making me her pet I can not bring myself to hate her.
She is an innocent. Apparently this is somehow important to me now, but I refuse to linger on that thought either. Lyla is different than Caitlin; Lyla is unrelated to the work and she is unrelated to Al Qaeda. She is not in my way and she never would be.
Caitlin would have shot me without a moment’s thought if I gave her half the chance. She learned her lessons well in the morgue and the farm. If I had been through the scope of that riffle she would have taken me out without a moment’s thought.
I do, however, believe she would have felt bad about it later. Irrational, foolish, feminine-- she would have had regrets about taking my life and sending me to the afterlife with little more than a twitch of her finger. I wonder if he would have held her as she cried, or told her to suck it up and be a soldier.
I do not think about her often. Only as much as I tell myself that it does not seem to sink in.
I am not sure what I will do with this-- I suppose I should call it a “confession,” though that seems somewhat over dramatic-- confession. Perhaps I should leave it on my night table for Gibbs to find when he comes to end me. A suiting epilogue to my life in a way; a “window into my soul” or some other such nonsense with which to give him pause for thought. An affirmation of a kind as well, I imagine, that I am truly as black hearted and evil as he imagines me to be. Beyond salvation.
Caitlin Todd loved him. There was nothing anyone, I included, could ever do about that. That might be of some consolation to him, if cold. Dead women in love are still dead women. It might cause him more pain than comfort. Maybe I want his pain. I’m not entirely certain yet.
Perhaps I’ll burn it. I always did enjoy fire. It seems almost poetically beautiful in a way-- to spill my thought onto a piece of paper no one will ever read.
I will not give it to Lyla. She is too close to being in love with me as it is-- to give her proof of the “depth” she imagines I have beyond my Bad Man exterior will only cement that. She should not spend her youth mourning a dead man. When I leave her, by nature or by Marine, she will move on and find a more suitable man to make her happy. Someone else to patch.
I am tired again. I can not think of a more suitable way to end a letter; I have never been well-spoken and I have no desire to start now. Whatever I do with this, if I do anything at all, it has been written. It has been stated.
Perhaps that is enough.
Ari M. Haswari
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