Thanks to the aging of the baby boomers, we’re also seeing an increase in the amount of retired government-employed hit men entering the Former Assassins Relocation Program.  So it was inevitable I’d run into an old coworker at some point. 

Which I did last Sunday afternoon.  He’s now a greeter at Walmart (I can’t tell you which one, but don’t make any sudden suspicious moves around those greeters, just in case).  Our eyes met, then he did the classic double take.  He gave me the old signal so I wandered over to the discounted chips and stared at Doritos for awhile until he walked by.  Then I followed him casually into Health and Beauty until he stopped to look at mouthwash (which he always needed, as I recall).  I picked up some toothpaste and read the instructions (I didn’t know there WERE instructions on toothpaste; have you ever met anyone who was stumped about how to brush their teeth?).

While holding some Scope up to the light he said, “Are you here to eliminate me?”

“No,” I said, “I’m here for deodorant.”

He turned and looked at me.  “Really?”

“Yeah.  I didn’t know you were here.  Remember, our locations are supposed to be kept secret.”

“But ALSO remember that it’s the US government who promised us they’d keep that secret.”

He had a good point.  I seemed to recall a few other promises from the government that weren’t kept.  A couple of years ago a former assassin known as seven-double-0 (because he always got things backwards) had an apparent heart attack in a movie theater.  Upon closer examination he was also found to have a bullet in his head (for those of you who have no medical background, that is not common for a heart attack).  The general feeling was that the government had decided he was too risky to have around.

But be that as it may, it seemed to be nothing but a genuine coincidence that me and the Walmart greeter wound up in the same town.  We talked for a few minutes and he pointed out a few lazy employees he said he’d like to remove (in the strongest sense of the word), but since we really weren’t supposed to communicate I picked up my deodorant and headed out.

A minute later I circled back in and walked up to him.

“You’re not really thinking of doing anything to those employees, are you?”  I asked.

He smiled.  “Are you kidding?” he said.  “And spoil this set up?”

We old assassins still have a sense of humor.

Since so few people read this, I feel safe in letting you in on a secret:  Twenty eight years ago I was recruited by a special branch of the CIA and trained to be an assassin.  It was a program where they picked very bland, nondescript losers who wouldn’t arouse suspicion, and made them into Jason Bourne-like killing machines.  The pay and the hours were pretty good; the down side is other people want to end your life.  At least it was nothing personal–I’m pretty sensitive and that would’ve hurt my feelings.

Anyway, that’s background info to what happened to me on the way home from work yesterday.  The car in front of me stopped very suddenly and I tapped his rear bumper.  I angrily got out to ask him why he hit the brakes like that, but he got out and stood there smiling at me.  Odd behavior, I thought.

It was when he pulled out a large gun with a silencer attached that I realized he was a former target that I THOUGHT I had assassinated 25 years ago in Cairo.  Imagine my surprise (and my ethical dilemma–should I pay back the money I received for that job?)!

Fortunately the old instincts took over and I ducked, spun, and used my right leg to sweep both of his out from under him (I pulled a muscle too).  Except it didn’t work–he jumped over them.  But it made his shot miss, and I guess that’s the important thing.  In the old days, while ducking and spinning, I would’ve pulled out my gun, but these are the new days and I don’t carry one anymore (my company is against it: “We do not allow guns on these premises” it says at the front door). 

Quickly recalling I had two legs, I used my left one to kick the gun out of his hand (which flew into the door of a passing Saturn, and I’m not sure if my insurance covers that).  As I expected, he immediately pulled out what appeared to be a really, really sharp knife.  I hate those things.  So I came up with large chunk of very dirty ice and hit his knife hand.  It was kind of a “rock smashes scissors” moment, and he dropped the knife while screaming a word in Turkish (which I didn’t quite recognize; it was either “Potato!” or something else) .  Oh, and it also broke his thumb.

In the old days I would’ve pressed my advantage at this point, and in the new days it still sounded like a good idea.  So I clubbed him in the face with my trusty very dirty ice chunk (I really should carry these with me all the time).  This seemed to cause him a great amount of pain and he fell to his knees. 

By this time I had become angry, so–just to show him I could–I grabbed his arm and broke it at the elbow.  Fortunately I still carry nylon zip ties with me so I secured his hands behind his back.  The broken arm was especially easy to handle because now it swiveled.

Well, to make a long story short, the cops came, and after identifying my would-be assassin they called the FBI, and I spent a few hours explaining everything to a very by-the-book (but otherwise nice) inspector, who finally let me go when I told him my code name from 25 years ago (“The Leper,” it’s a long story).

And so honey, THAT’S why I was late for supper.

P. S.  If anybody’s interested, next time I can tell you a little bit about our government’s Former Assassin Protection and Relocation Program.  But only a little bit.