DANGERS OF A SHORT LIFE
A Tale of Pure Revenge
I stood over the coke dealer, IMI Desert Eagle aimed squarely at his forehead. I was going to get my answers. No matter what, a .50AE slug was gonna make friends with this punk's brains when our little chitchat was over. This guy was the fourth of my five targets, and he was going to tell me where the last target was whether he liked it or not.
“D-d-d-don't kill me, man! I swear it wasn't my idea!” He expected mercy from me... human mercy. He forgot that I'm less than human, yet so much more. I cocked my gun.
“Talk. Now.” I would finally be at the end of a long journey for the truth. My short past was already flashing back before my very eyes.
This meant I was having a flashback.
I awoke in a dark alley, covered in blood. But I felt fine... was this someone else's blood? It couldn't be! I wasn't some kind of killer. Or was I? I looked across the alley and saw a man filled with large bullet holes. No, it couldn't be me!
I realized that I had no memory of my past. The only thing I could think of was the name “Rock O'Stoneman, but I somehow knew it wasn't my name. Then I heard a strange voice in my head, coming from my memories.
“Kill Rock O'Stoneman.” But who was it speaking to me? I couldn't remember, but they probably had all the answers. I looked in my jacket and found a large handgun with the name “Texas Darkly” on it. It was an IMI Desert Eagle .50 caliber magnum. How do I know what kind of gun this is when I didn't even know my own name? I decided to say the name aloud and see if it conjured up any memories.
“My name is Texas Darkly!” I suddenly felt a great pain in my chest that subsided after a few minutes. However, I felt weaker after the pain subsided. I decided to check the dead man's coat for clues. I saw a telegram in his pocket. The message read “Texas Darkly is the killswitch phrase for Number Zero. Saying it before he can kill you is your only hope! Be cautious and make sure those coke dealers are brought to justice, Secret Agent Mike Huffington (SSN 121-34-7703)! Signed, CIA Director Ryunosuke Teatime McShiresworth-Kurosawa.” I just killed a secret agent of the US government? Was I a trained assassin? Who was I working for? The coke dealers? Why was I called Number Zero? Was there a Number One? Maybe even a Number Two? Dear god...
My only way out was to find the CIA director and get him to tell me everything. But how could I find such a man? I checked the agent's pockets and found a cellphone. It took a bit of searching, but I finally realized he was under the name “DirRTMcS-K”. Abbreviations crossed with initials... clever dog. I could only pray that my enemies from now own wouldn't be so smart. I would have to be careful in how I handled this call. I called the director's number. The phone rang. And rang. And rang again. I felt a lot of tension at this point of my story.
“CIA Director Ryunosuke Teatime McShiresworth-Kurosawa speaking. Make it quick.”
“I think I'm Number Zero because I'm covered in Secret Agent Mike Huffington's blood and I said 'Texas Darkly' and started dying but I don't have any memories of my past. Can you help me?” There was silence on the end of the line. I assumed he was deeply considering the matter since he didn't say anything for a long time. Suddenly, I was hit in the back of the head with a heavy blunt object and slowly lost consciousness. I could hear two agents talking and tried to listen for important information.
“Why was he still on the phone?”
“I dunno, the director hung up on him about half an hour ago.”
I awoke in what appeared to be a cold stone cellar. I tried to move and my face hit the ground. I also felt strange when moving. Had they changed me into some kind of mutant? It took me a few minutes to realize that I was tied to a chair. There was a flickering fluorescent light hanging above me. I assumed they were going to interrogate me, but I didn't have any answers. Was my life going to end in this cellar?
No. I wouldn't let it end this way. Not before I got my answers.
I saw a tall Japanese-Irish man enter the room. Perhaps he knew what was going on.
“Hey you,” I started, “can you get me Ryunosuke Teatime McShireworth-Kurosawa?”
“ Ryunosuke Teatime McShireworth-Kurosawa! He might have the key to all my memories!”
“Ohhhhh, yeah that would be me. But I do believe we have to torture some information out of you first.”
“But I don't remember anything besides 'kill Rock O'Stoneman' and lots of information about guns.”
“Does South America ring a bell?” he said menacingly. I felt my head start aching when he said that, which was 100% solid evidence that it was important.
“Definitely, but I don't remember.”
“Try again, Number Zero!”
“I said try again!”
“Try again or I'm going to take those ellipses and slap you in the face with them!”
“Okay, fine! I remember a lab. And someone giving me a gun. That's it.”
“A lab? Were there drugs there?” I saw a lot of man-sized test tubes there for sure.
“I saw a lot of man-sized test tubes there for sure!”
“Man-sized? Test tubes? That's either a lot of cocaine orrrrrrrrr the reason why you don't remember anything. We have some intelligence that you might find interesting.”
“What intelligence?” I couldn't help but giggle since it sounded like I was calling them idiots. Like they had no intelligence! Get it? Ha! No intelligence.
“Agent Huffington was part of a group that was trying to bring down coke dealers in South America. He uncovered some rather unusual documents from the body of a dealer that had come to America.” He pulled a folder out of his coat and pulled out some papers. One had a photo of me on it. I was about to say something but started coughing instead. Then I forgot what I was going to say, so I just read the documents. Apparently I was called Number Zero since I was a prototype for a series of... assassins? I really was a killer?
“Noooooooooooooooooooo-” I began.
“I'll let you run through your little routine. Be back in an hour!” He walked back up the stairs, shutting the door behind him. I looked back at the file, still yelling to clear the drama from my system. I noticed in the documents that they apparently did plan on making a Number One... and a Number Two. This meant at least fifteen more minutes of melodramatic yelling, and I wasn't sure if I had that much time to spare. I decided to dedicate my cries to my entire situation to save some time. By doing so, I actually had a spare five minutes of quiet reflection before the director returned.
“Done already? My my, you're an impressive one.”
“I just consolidated all the drama into one yelling session.”
“Now that's an idea! Anyways, I pulled up the rest of the information Agent Huffington got on you. You are a manufactured being designed to kill our agents and protect members of a drug trafficking network. You were ultimately designed to kill Rock O'Stoneman, the man in charge of stopping drugs from entering the country. However, something went wrong in your encounter with Agent Huffington and your programming has failed. So you retain all the knowledge needed to carry out your purpose but have no memory of it.”
“That explains my knowledge of guns!”
“Just kidding!” What a weiner.
“Well is there anything I can do? I accidentally activated my killswitch so I'm kinda dying slowly.”
“Oh that's right! In that case, I have an offer for you. A sort of 'you help us, we help you' deal.”
“I don't understand.”
“You help us take down these coke dealers and you can probably get your killswitch taken care of in the process. Got it?”
“I got that, I meant the 'you help us, we help you' part.”
“You know, scratch our back and we scratch yours?”
“Ohhhhhhhhh yeah I get it now.”
“Excellent. Since we don't know if the coke dealers have any other tricks involving you, we're assigning you a partner. Allow me to introduce my daughter-in-law, Maria Akahana-Rigby.” I saw a beautiful British-Japanese woman enter the room. However, she immediately gave me a dirty look and turned to the Director.
“Uncle McKuro, he's judging me because I'm a woman!”
“For the tenth time, Maria, no one judges you because you're a woman!” She wasn't listening however. She walked up to me and stared me down evilly.
“Don't judge me because I'm a woman.”
“Whatever, you men are all the same. Don't treat me like I was born yesterday.” The Director brought out some documents from a folder like the one he had before and showed them to Maria.
“Why not? He was born yesterday.” She looked over the papers and lightened up.
“I'm so sorry, it's just that men, they're all the same, you know? Actually you wouldn't, but it's true.”
“If you say so,” I said back. The Director brought forth some photos of a gentleman with a monocle.
“Number Zero, can you identify this man for us?” Something clicked when I examined it and I spoke up immediately in a monotone.
“Sir Terry Murnaugh, alias Prism Dog. Head of UK Distribution. Location: Manchester, England.”
“Perfect! We'll get the two of you over there as soon as possible!”
We arrived Murnaugh's mansion late at night. Since there were no guards on the roof, we entered by parachuting in. I could hear a faint voice and what sounded like a drumbeat coming from the room below.
“You're the best I've heard, but I'm the bester, now listen to some words from a lad of Manchester.”
“Is this some kind of code?” I asked Maria.
“I think it's... rap.” Did he not want the guards to hear it?
“Anyways, let's head inside. I need my answers.”
“Okay, I'll keep watch. You head inside.” I jumped in through a conveniently-open window and drew my gun on the gentleman with the monocle.
“Don't move, Murnaugh.” He looked deeply concerned.
“Good 'eavens, did you hear me 'ip 'op?” His accent was so thick I could have it for dinner.
“You must be a spy-” How could he tell? Was it my large vest that had CIA written on it?
“Yes I am.”
“-sent by a record company to steal me music before I'm popular.”
“What? No, I'm Number Zero.”
“And that's a right awful rap name compared to Prism Dog!”
“I'm not from a record company. I'm here to stop you from selling cocaine.”
“Ohhhh so you'd be that Number Zero. Well what d'you want then, ol' chap? Oh wait, guess you wouldn't be too old, would ya? Heh!”
“What can you tell me about my creation?”
“I dunno, you best be askin' Doc Darkly since 'e made ya.”
“Darkly? Texas Darkly?”
“Oi, that'd be 'im most certainly, guv! 'E lives in South America with the top dog.”
“And where in South America would that be?”
“Dunno, only the bloke below 'im knows that.”
“Okay, where can I find that guy?”
“Dunno, only the bloke below 'im knows.”
“Okay, where can- wait a minute, who do you know the location of?”
“Well me being the fifth-in-command would mean I know where the fourth is, yeah mate?”
“Do you have any photos of him?” He reached into his drawer and pulled out a picture of a Hispanic woman with an afro, but it didn't trigger any memories for me.
“No recollection, eh? Maybe you were s'posed to be me personal bodyguard. We could've played cricket together and been real mates. Funny 'ow life works out, innit?”
“I suppose so, but your time is up. No more selling cocaine for you,” I said as I cocked my gun, “mister.”
“Bloody 'ell, and I never got to sell a single record neither. Well, the fourth's file is taped to the back of the dresser. Best be killin' me quick!” I nodded and shot him in the chest. He collapsed and gave me a thumbs up.
“A well-placed shot if I do say so meself, NumBLEAAAAAGH!” He made really nasty coughing noises before he died, but it didn't phase me. I really was a killer... I wish I had more yelling time right now.
I jumped through the window and back onto the roof.
“Did you find out anything?”
“Yeah, we've got three targets to go before we reach the man behind this.”
“And you don't know where they are?”
“Guess not. The next target's at... hold on. I forgot something.” I jumped back into the room and grabbed the file. Our next target was in Oslo.
The next two targets were fairly straightforward, but I could feel myself getting weaker all the time. Now that I was finally facing my fourth target, the second-in-command of this whole operation, I wouldn't let my weakness stop me.
“Where in South America is your boss? Answer me!”
“O-o-o-okay man, I'll do whatever you say, just please don't shoot me!”
“South America. Boss.” I was trying to be threatening but couldn't think of anything new to say. I thought about cocking my gun, but I'd already done that.
“Brazil, man! He's in Brazil! My laptop has everything you need to know!”
Finally, I was going to get my answers.
“Now you promised you wouldn't kill me, s-s-s-so just arrest me or whatever, man!”
“You didn't want me to shoot you. So I won't. But you're still a dirty dirty coke dealer and the only solution to drugs is violence.” It's the truth. I grabbed him and dragged him in front of a mirror.
“No way, not the m-m-m-mirror!”
“I hope you, uh...” There was a long moment of silence while I tried to think of a way to finish the sentence. The dealer raised his finger.
“Reflect on what I've done?”
“Yeah!” And then I threw him into the mirror. I was about to walk out when I realized I’d forgotten something. I turned around. “It looks like you’re through the looking glass now! Ha!”
My last target was named Death Kurosawa. That name seemed so familiar...
“Director McShiresworth-Kurosawa, why does the last name Kurosawa seem so familiar?”
“Why because it's half of my last name! Why do you ask?” I pulled up the file. The Director suddenly looked really upset. I thought it was from the steak, but then I remembered that I had eaten all the steak and that the Director was a vegetarian.
“What's wrong, Director?”
“Death is my half-brother. He must have faked his Death- I mean, death, ten years ago. We all thought he died in a shark feeding accident, but I guess the only way he died was on the inside!”
“It's okay, it happens all the time, right?”
“No it doesn't!”
“Oh yeah, you're probably right. Should I bring him back alive for you to question?”
“No, no reason is good enough for him doing what he did do in that evil-doer's doing of his all those years ago. Kill him if you wish, he's already dead to me!” Then the Director started crying, and he sounded almost exactly like a Japanese-Irish man crying. Figure that one out for yourself.
| | |
Explosions were rocking my factory. Number Zero had done it. My killswitch mechanism had failed to stop him in time, and now my empire built on a snowy white hill of pure cocaine was crumbling in the fires of pure revenge. He was never supposed to know that he was a weapon, but that foolish Doc Darkly just had to test all our technology on him. Making such a knowledgeable prototype was obviously a bad idea, but it just sounded so cool.
It didn't matter anymore; Number Zero had forced Darkly to disable his killswitch and then destroyed all the data we had on the Artificial Numbered People Which We Can Use To Kill Guys And Sell More Drugs And Stuff project. The CIA pulled back their support since that's what they really came for. Number Zero came into my office looking for me, but I got the drop on him. My gun was aimed squarely at the back of his head. I decided to rub it in a bit before I finished him off for good. Nothing like a good punchline before killing a man, you know.
“You'll be dead for sure this time. No killswitch, Number Zero, except for this bullet.” However, and explosion shook the office and Number Zero twisted around, disarming me and pointing the gun right at my forehead. Curses...
| | |
“No, you're totally dead!” I said, and pulled the trigger. No one was going to use me as a weapon anymore. No one was going to sell cocaine on this planet anymore. And no one, I mean no one, was going to ever steal my narration ever again. I finally had my answers.
I worked with the CIA for a few years more before retiring. I went from artificial killing machine to artificial everyday guy with an everyday life. Someone told me that I'd fit right in with the rest of the world. I didn't get it. I wrote a story based on my life story and called it Man in the River Reloaded 2000 since I thought it'd get me a movie deal. I even hired my next door neighbor to write a theme song; she was a music teacher before she got fired for teaching math instead. It went something like this:
Sometimes you're a guy
That's not a real dude
Because you're just made
To kill other guys
So you have to fight
And take it to the max
And be totally great
To stop people from doing drugs!
You're so dangerous
Man in the river!
And you really don't like cocaine
So you are a hero because
Drugs are bad
But revenge is okay
So get out of your river
And fly away
Tomorrow is the future
And yesterday is the past
And Christmas only comes
No one has picked up the story yet, but I'm sure it'll happen one day. Then, people will be inspired by my life and find answers for themselves.
P.S. Oh yeah and I totally forgot, Maria was working for the drug dealers the whole time and I killed her before she could kill me. I just thought you should know that.