I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I’m a former assassin for various agencies of our government. I was cut from the program in my mid 40’s when I developed diabetes and bursitis in my right shoulder. Ever try to throw a knife or fire a high powered rifle with bursitis? It’s no fun, let me tell you. Being an aging assassin is worse than being an aging football player. And we don’t get paid to do any endorsements. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan would really take on a different meaning for us.

Many of you have seen Kill Bill and the Bourne movies where they show assassins trying to get out of the business being hunted down by other assassins. Not accurate at all. Think about it. If that got around, who’d want to be an assassin? “What’s your retirement program like?” “Um. We kill you.” Here’s what really happens. You’ve heard of the witness protection program? Where criminals who agree to testify against other criminals are given a new identity and relocated? It’s a similar program. The Former Assassins Reintegration Program (FARP). We get some plastic surgery, maybe get some vocational training, get relocated and set up in a business, etc. And then we live a normal life. The agencies we used to work for are behind the misinformation you get from the previously mentioned movies and spy novels. It’s easier to let you think they’re all killed than to think they might be your neighbor or coworker. Or the cook fixing your dinner. That kind of thing makes people nervous.

One guy I used to work with got set up in an exterminating business. We all got a good laugh over that one. The motto on his truck said: “I’ll kill ’em for you.” He figured it had been a good motto for the last 23 years, why not keep it?

Occasionally things go wrong. Like the guy in a southwestern suburb who got tired of his neighbor’s loud music and assassinated him–three bullets to the head, point blank. Very effective. After that they added a psychological dimension to FARP–Conflict Management Without Elimination. It’s always a very interesting class, especially the role playing portion.

As former assassins get older they sometimes have some special needs beyond those of normal senior citizens. To help, there are special nursing homes for them, although to be honest, they don’t live very long there. A lot of them are crotchety, set in their ways, suffering from various levels of senile dementia, and they keep killing each other.

You’re probably thinking I could get in trouble for telling you all this. Well, that’s true–if they caught me. But with all the cut-backs there’s currently only one guy monitoring the media for any leaks on this program, and he spends most of his time reading movie reviews and examining Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. He’s pretty sure some day there’ll be a security leak there and he wants to be ready. So I’m relatively safe. Plus I owe him money, so he’s not going to take me out of the picture any time soon. Besides, most of the people who could make trouble for us are afraid of us–who wants to anger a professional killer? I don’t mind angering my accountant or the receptionist at my doctor’s office, but I think twice before I get a former coworker mad. I don’t need one more reason to be looking over my shoulder (which is getting more difficult, thanks to the bursitis).

Speaking of my doctor, that’s always a touchy area for us old assassins. I mean, I’ve got a jagged knife scar on my left shoulder, a bullet scar on my ribcage, and a long, white scar on my right calf that came from a pen (Bic, I think, but that’s a long story). Those things make a doctor curious, and we’ve got to come up with reasonable explanations for all them. This French assassin I knew was bitten by a guy on his forearm years ago and had a very noticeable scar. His doctor asked him about it and he said a dog bit him. The doctor said, but those are human teeth marks. Oh-oh. Trapped. He finally just said, “Oh. I could’ve sworn that was a dog.” And left it at that.

I thought that was a pretty good answer.

 

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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.