“Target in sight…” she whispered into the tiny microphone discreetly hidden beneath her lapel.
Her earpiece crackled. “Good job Green Finch. You’ve got the go for execution.”
Green Finch. A name she’d given herself after the Salzburg incident. The little bird’s song had cut through the metallic taste of blood in her nose, though she hadn’t been able to see it among the trees along the riverside. Perfectly camouflaged.
That was years ago, and now she was a master of disguise herself. Finch had spent some time that morning crafting a new body to match the tired, sweaty humans she’d find at the sprawling scene of the Dallas airport terminal. A bleach blonde wig with exposed roots, a knockoff Burberry luggage bag, and an outdated mustard-stained pantsuit to cover the false paunch that hid the 9mm she’d been provided. She checked it’s readiness by casually scratching her carefully manicured stomach folds. Full magazine, one in the chamber, safety on. Good to go.
The mark was a man that looked like any other in the terminal. Pale skin clinging to a midwestern body, his receding brow line awkwardly covered by a backwards baseball cap. Two children sat by his feet, one undoing the laces on his shoes while the other cried gently, idly digging for nose candy to replace the peanut butter cups she’d been denied. Two in the head, one in the chest. A little pain, like egg hitting a hot pan, then he’d be gone. It was time.
Finch dropped the slovenly posture she’d practiced and unfolded her spine from the sprawling hunch that had taken up two of the terminal’s gray bucket seats. One by one, her vertebrae clicked into place, each one a bullet in the chamber, sending cool adrenaline to her brain as instinct took over. She began to close the distance between herself and the mark, checking the flexibility of her legs to flee and the strength of her hands to punch. Twenty feet away, then ten feet, then six. Then she was standing right in front of him, the poor bastard.
“Tim Dunkin?”, she said, sliding her hand into position, her pointer finger a coiled serpent on the trigger.
“Yeah?”, he replied stupidly. “Do I know-”
…Nothing happened. No brain spatter, no children screaming, no alarms.
Tim looked at Finch questioningly. Suddenly, one of the children, the one digging for boogers, pointed up at her crotch. “She go pee pee! The lady pee on herself!”
Finch looked down, and indeed a dark spot of wetness had appeared below her paunch, and rivulets of gold were coursing down her legs. Instead of firing, the gun had opened up a secret compartment, releasing its liquid contents in a sudden rush.
“Oh my god!” Tim said, pulling his two daughters to his side. “Don’t look kids, I mean peeing is perfectly natural, but…she’s, clearly she’s just a little deranged and she needs our help not our laughter, okay? Help! Someone! This woman is peeing!”
Everyone turned. And stared. Some were shocked, exhaling large, dramatic gasps. A few children began to laugh though, and fits of giggles began to swarm through the concourse, until the whole terminal seemed doubled over in tears.
Finch looked to her left and noticed a camera with a heavy zoom lens in the distance. Her cheeks were flushed and her forehead became dappled with sudden sweat. Another camera twinkled to her right, and more above. She was nine again in upstate Vermont, and her brothers were holding her down and forcing dried up bits of cow patty into her ears, her hair, her mouth. Hot, alien tears she thought she’d never see again began to escape her, boiling out. How had she let her guard down? How had she not noticed the cameras before?
A man in a suit holding a microphone, and another cameraman beside him quickly raced over to her.
“Guess what Green Finch!”, he said, thrusting the microphone in her face. It was the same voice that had been in her earpiece. “I’m Thad Tandy, and you just got Murder Pranked!”
“What?” She asked feebly, the last dregs of yellow dribbling down her pant legs.
“What is right! What…were you thinking?! Murder is illegal lil’ lady! He held up an imaginary phone to his ear. “Hello?! Who’s this? Oh, you wanted to talk to the professional assassin who thought she was going to murder someone for a lucrative cash payment but instead got embarrassed on national tv?!” He held out the imaginary phone for her and winked. “I think it’s for you.” When it was clear she wouldn’t accept the imaginary phone from him, Thad sighed mightily and turned to camera. “Alright boys, take her away.”
A dozen SWAT team members branded with the Murder Prank logo descended on Green Finch and pinned her to the floor.
Thad turned away a moment and pushed the call button on his ear piece. “Do we have to use real urine? Seems unnecessary. We do? Liability reasons?…Doesn’t make sense, but I guess that’s why I’m the face and you’re the–she hung up. Okay.”
The cameraman gave him the five second cue. Thad straightened his tie. Behind him a dozen men pummeled Green Finch with steel batons. Thunk. A ruptured spleen. Thunk. A broken nose. Thunk. Her left eye filled with blood. Thad cleared his throat, getting ready to sign off. No one was laughing any more. The Murder Prank theme song began to play.
All Sarah could hear was birdsong.
Written by Matt Soson with artwork by Marika Stephens
Inspired by: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39010244