by Rory Clark
A Beretta was all that would suffice for this person. It was almost an extension of one’s frame, they were so accustomed to using it. It was theirs and theirs alone, the cold sheath of the metal handle had been replaced two years back by a smooth and charming oak. The rounds were custom as well, designed only to work in this 96. An elongated barrel made light work of the flesh that stood before you. Never any suffering, just the total removal of all vigour. You couldn’t call this arm a friend, it would be a psychopath if you were to socialise with it outside of work, but it had been with the human since they stole their third life. A Heckler & Koch would have been too mechanical, a Walther would have been too alike that boy from the movies. No, a Beretta was the only thing that would suffice for the person. As you holster it, it becomes part of an anatomy. John Wayne had talked about carrying his pistol in True Grit. Wayne left a chamber vacant to prevent the self-immolation of his leg, but there was none of that with the 96, put the safety on and off you went.
Bleary eyed, one awoke to greet the sounds of concrete being torn from limb-to-limb. It couldn’t have been called a high-rise apartment, but the vistas that presented themselves from that terracotta balcony would be enough to make anyone snap out of fatigue and weariness. Pamplona had been kind to the subject. Leaving all semblance of familiarity behind in Lille, a life anew awaited in sunny Spain. This city was a teeming hub; of postcard-perfect grand places, of municipal town halls built in the 200 years antecedent, of a dozen bulls that annually chased a hundred mad hatters down the street. Yet, Pamplona was merely a stop-gap and the subject would be left insatiable until they were back north of the border.
Work didn’t start until 6. Or 7, whenever one could be bothered to take the saloon for a spin out on the grandest boulevards that Europe could ever offer. Pressing down on a shoddy cafetiere, listening intently to a nasal Spanish that came from below, one was all but ready to deliver little pellets of gold around this idyllic slice of smutty Iberia. Never had such a city treated it so well. Never had the inhabitants of said city treated it so badly. Smutty was an apt description for the Spanish, a country full of lascivious gentlemen and bawdy ladies, those who would gratify their promiscuity through excessive fornication and hedonism. One shouldn’t complain though, it was all that was keeping said person in a job.
Languid afternoons on that balcony were all that kept Leander in sanity. The mental scarring and detachment from the preceding night’s work would leave Leander incredibly footsore and intolerably lonely. You see, as a supplier of all Iberian junkies, it would leave the brain of Leander confuddled, a complete breakdown of all morality and ethics. Was it right to profit off the dwindling life of another just because a 6’5’’, black haired Spaniard wanted a mad high off some counterfeit cocaine? Or if you have a petite blonde sat in that car, pleading for one last puff of opium to get her through an indeterminable night spent cold in some squalid firetrap, is that correct and clean? One must have felt guilty about the exploitation of a vulnerable population, but to say it paid handsomely would be a gross understatement. Just one half of a year remained in juxtaposed Pamplona before Lille and all things Gallic would welcome it back with open arms. Coffee as black as snow in London and municipal town halls that were built 1000 years in the antecedent and those beautiful Dogues with the mad Argentine at the helm. For now though, it was out the door.
It was a circumscribed flat that provided just enough room for necessity, a bit like Jean Reno’s in Leon, but all together more familiar with the luxuries. The Sonos bar was present throughout all rooms, whatever squalid acid house chosen would worm its way through the flat, impregnating all nooks, crannies and cubby-holes. Of course, the supply of substances that were the burden of so many drogados would be the poison that Leander would frequent. 808 State would accentuate beautifully any high that cannabis could give you and it was so much better played through those speakers. The two joints that sat on that terrace would be the reward for another night spent pounding at the cobbles.
8 o’clock beckoned and the subject’s source would come through on the phone. Out into the hallway for the first time today, a poorly lit, filthy orgy of linoleum and rickety bannisters, trodding its path down the grease-laden stairs. Leander was headed to the old town, a student after cannabis would most likely make an appearance in the old 2002 M5, spitting out 30 euros for a pitifully low amount of the green. The first three hours of the night would be the same. Small-timers mostly, all of whom were new to the nature of narcotics. For about three months they’d stay put with the weed, then it would be on to MDMA or Cocaine before the hard stuff reared its ugly head. It liked these playful people, dabbling in illegality for what would most likely be the first time, a student loan squandered on achieving nothing but a melting of the brain. It was the small hours of the morning that would be tougher. It could afford to put the weed away as the car plunged deeper into the underbelly of this city that oozed adulation. Leander was not so keen on this crowd. Ketamine, Heroin, Paramorphan, Vicodin, Mescaline, Hexalgon, PCP, LSD, Valtran, Norpethidine, Pethidinic Acid, it was a veritable feast that would make Mother Superior look like one’s own mother. Of course, Leander would make its way through the centre of the city, a high class banker looking for yet another score, his prostitute lying in the back snorting a shrill laugh, this was all part and parcel of a night on the tiles. Leander would have to leave cosmopolitan city lights and head into the suburbs though. At 2 o’clock in the morning, the 96 would make an appearance for the first time. Although Jordi thought he was getting his daily dose of DMT, he was late on several payments. That aforementioned source had had enough. Silencer affixed, the scrawny hombre pulled the handle, sitting his tush down on the leather. No words were spoken, just the ping of that Italian stallion. Blood and matter left its mark on cowhide, no matter because it would be cleaned off before Joan was in the M5. Her’s would be gone before Matías gripped the icy blue handle, and his in turn would be wiped clean before Isabella and Ingmar met an all too quick demise. I suppose it’s better than wasting away, shooting some nondescript substance intravenously, or cremating your septum.
Back up those grease-laden stairs, Leander would be in bed for 6 am. It was 4 now which allowed the spliff to be sparked. Time to collapse, stick on some 808 or S’Express or whatever it was feeling tonight. 4 deaths in a night was a record. The sweetness of Mary Jane might not be enough to take the edge off. Suppose that would leave the Galician with another psychedelic in the form of synthetic mescaline. The flat receded, the sky turned indigo-yellow and the sun began to rise. It was a paradise here in Pamplona.