Did you really think any of you would end up in a nursing home, north of eighty messing a diaper and suffering from dementia? Do you really think the CIA can allow an old ghost who knows all kinds of bad shit to have those final days? Statistically I was supposed to be dead a decade or more ago but this cloud of dumb luck surrounds me.”
Oh come on! You survive by dumb luck?” Giant spat a bit louder than needed in the car.
The dude on the way back from the bathroom was a long way from the first. Take a good look at our current situation, more importantly how we arrived here. You didn’t know it, but you were supposed to kill me and most likely be offed yourselves shortly thereafter. Instead, HR pissed you off.”
Pissed me off” Slim interrupted.
Instead HR pissed Slim off” I continued. “Stretch knew where to get this car and you had the identity which got the Uber ride leaving the bulk of our trail clear. The last thing they knew about us, before we left the unattended public toilet of the world is that we stopped to eat a block from the office.”
Yes Giant, I have survived this long being surrounded by a cloud of dumb luck and now you are in my little cloud. I don’t push it by playing the lottery or even gambling in a casino, but I rely on dumb luck to keep me alive. Having said that, I’m not stupid. I keep enough cash like currency on hand to fund six missions. Enough tools for at least three. Did any of you ever wonder how those in our trade got the name mechanic, any of you?”
Because we fix problems” responded Giant.
You weren’t paying attention when I told you about the bullets” I spat. “In the old days mechanics had to make their own tools. Everyone romanticizes about the Samurai and and the sword which would never dull. Movies and books speak of fabled sword makers who would beat and fold the steel until it would hold an edge that could never dull. They skip the part about most soldiers having to make their own first sword. To build the strength from beating the metal as part of their training.”
Settlers in America had to make most of their own tools. Eventually trades developed, including blacksmith, but, those on the fringes still had to make their own tools. Once automobiles came along, people who fixed them could travel around the country if they wanted, finding employment in most major cities. Being a mechanic gave you a decent income and access to large amounts of scrap metal which could be shaped by the tools in the shop.”
Kids these days have an ‘order it on Amazon’ mentality which is not good. That leaves a long trail along with suspect quality. Yes, you can dabble in the Dark Web and find whatever today’s Silk Road is, but, there is still that whole suspect quality issue and the potential some government agency has taken over the marketplace, continuing to operate it to make headlines with sweeping arrests. They’ve done it before.”
Do you really think a marksman is going to let someone else make their bullet? I mean the one bullet they get to do a job?”
Well, yeah, we do” responded Slim. “And you did with the Russian.”
I didn’t have time to obtain the equipment to make a custom round. The one part of that story I didn’t tell you is the first two rounds didn’t fire. I waited a full eight seconds between bullet changes too.”
Why so long?” asked Giant.
Have Slim bring up a picture of those bullets. Wikipedia has one with a regular rifle bullet standing next to it. You see! That’s a massive amount of powder. Somewhere between several sticks of dynamite and a hand grenade. There was no way I was risking putting my hand on a fresh dead click until enough time had passed for any possible ‘slow burn’ to fizzle out. If you ever do find yourself shooting one of those things put one of those slip on recoil sleeves and bring spares. That rubber shotgun recoil pad I glued on was done after the first round. They aren’t made for that kind of recoil. Slid my prone body back two feet in the snow. If there hadn’t been a tree behind me I probably would have went farther.”
Any of you fired a round from one mile or greater with hundreds of feet in elevation difference?” I asked.
No. Usually from across the street” Giant said.
Usually?” Stretch uttered sarcastically. “Try twice. Like he said, we are up close and personal types. By the way thanks for saying ghost instead of the usual term earlier. The kindness was noted.”
You’re welcome. I’m old school though and if we speak much of the CIA I will probably slip. They are actually the ones who promoted that term.”
I know” said Stretch. “Honestly I don’t take offense easily or pay much attention to such phrases where I expect them. I do, however, notice when they don’t appear in the expected places. Please continue with the weapons lesson. It’s a long drive.”