Requiem for an Assassin
ferocious natural ability, made him their best combat shooter. Unlike Demeere and Pancho, he was no martial artist, but nor did he believe in fighting, preferring to settle disputes amicably with the Wilson Combat .45 he carried in a belly band under an untucked shirt.
Hilger nodded, considering. There was a lot he hadn’t told them yet. They all hailed from careers in need-to-know environments, and understood his reticence. But maybe he had given them too little. At this point, keeping them in the dark made them unable to properly weigh the costs and benefits, to plan effectively. Yes, he decided. They needed to understand…if not the full picture, then at least a larger part of it.
“You’re all being too cautious,” Drano said, still leaning against the wall and looking down on them as though bored, or in judgment.
Hilger looked up, liking neither the man’s tone nor his choice of “you’re” instead of “we’re.” The other men glanced at one another. Their expressions were too subtle to be called disgusted, but Hilger knew disgust was what they felt. This was hardly the first time Drano had insisted on offering his unsolicited and useless “expertise,” and they were sick of his weak bullshit. The man had been a mistake. And if Hilger didn’t deal with it soon, his men would rightly judge him for it.
“Really,” Hilger said, mildly.
“Really,” Drano said, nodding his head aggressively. “One man, night-vision goggles, just before dawn, a kerosene bomb on that thatched roof of his. We take him when he runs outside.”
“You going to take the neighbors, too?” Hilger asked, his tone even milder now, bordering on gentle. “They’ll come out when they see fire. And do you know which way Dox’ll run? Tell us, so we can be in position. Oh, and police and firefighters, we can expect a few of them to show up, so we’ll need a plan for that, too. And the attention we’ll get during and after from a nocturnal blazing Ubud villa, we’d all appreciate any pointers you could offer us there. This is all assuming you don’t trip a sensor and get your head blown off on the approach to the house, of course. But you could probably bat the bullet out of the air with your own dick if it came to that, right?”
The man shrugged, too stupid, or proud, to admit his mistake. “Sometimes you have to take a chance if you want to get something done,” he said.
The other men weren’t even looking at Drano now. In fact, they’d been making their distrust apparent through body language for a while now, and Drano had picked up on it. It was why he was standing apart—he knew he wasn’t welcome. And the stupid criticism was really just a misguided bid for attention, to be accepted among company to which he aspired to belong.
Hilger suddenly recognized the reason he’d been withholding information from the men, information they needed to plan the operation. It was because he knew this bozo was untrustworthy. And rather than fix the problem, he’d been living with it, hoping it would magically take care of itself. Now that he realized it, he was quietly furious at his own weakness. But all right, better late than never. The man had to go.
He turned to Demeere. “How are we staffed for this?”
“Three is the bare minimum,” Demeere said without hesitating, and Hilger knew from the readiness of the answer that the big Belgian already understood. “Four is comfortable. Five is a hundred percent.”
Hilger nodded. “All right. Then we’re in good shape.” He glanced behind Drano. “Close those drapes, will you?” he said. “They’re open at the edges, it’s sloppy.”
Drano turned and adjusted the drapes. Even without all the other faults that had combined to disqualify him, the cluelessness he displayed right then would have been enough.
In the two seconds during which Drano’s back was turned, Hilger reached with his right hand for the SIG P232 he kept as backup in an ankle holster; grabbed a pillow with his left; and pulled the pillow around the muzzle of the gun, holding the ends tight at his right wrist so that the gun was completely enclosed within it. He raised both arms, aiming at Drano’s head.
Drano turned back. He saw the pillow and the way Hilger was holding it. Without giving him time to process the information or react in any way, Hilger pressed the trigger. There was the crack of a muffled gunshot, and a small, dark hole appeared in Drano’s forehead. His body jerked
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