|News NetworkThe Man Who Will Give You Your Smile Back|
|By Armando Garcia (04/01/2013)||2296 words|
The glass clinked when the ice hit its bottom; then danced with the amber liquid being poured inside it.
It was the fifth glass of whiskey he had in less than an hour. It was barely twelve o'clock. Leopold had fallen for this routine for the past six months now. His face was now pale and slightly wrinkled from the drink and a lack of proper meals. A black beard covered it, and got lost with his long hair. He had never looked so poorly groomed.
He downed the whiskey with one gulp, and served another to take full advantage of that single cube of ice; he disliked the idea of being seen, and had no intention to call up room service before he was ready to eat a snack.
Leopold's body on the outside seemed to be in top condition, but the drink and all the smoking had been taking its toll on his abilities. The sleight-of-hand he was able to perform was almost entirely gone, and was substituted by clumsy and cramped up joints.
Another glass followed, as the ice remained strong and cooled the whiskey appropriately. The bottle had emptied and Leopold threw it next to his bed, where a shattering sound reminded him of all the others that were at that same spot.
He looked around, glass in hand. The environment was not as glamorous as it was when he arrived. The perfectly shaped bed was now a mess of clothing and covers, with some pillows buried into the edge of the mattress, indicating where he used to pass out, as sleep was no longer part of his routine. The floor had empty bottles of water, bags of crisps and tubs of ice cream, with the added bonus of broken whiskey bottles.
He hadn't lost the will to live, but his present lifestyle seemed to appeal to his current state of mind, and the hotel didn't seem to mind as long as he paid the fees, which were not small at all, but he had decided to piss away all the money he had saved up until that point.
A cigarette found its way to his mouth as his shaky hand looked for a lighter, the room was dark but he did not feel like pulling the drapes and admiring the grinning sunlight, his eyes itched enough from the captive smoke, which mocked the smashed detector on the ceiling.
When one does the type of job Leopold did, there were always setbacks and unforeseen conclusions. His employers were often calling him back to deal with a situation that arose from his previous assistance, but he had always found himself able to deal with the threat, which was not the case in that instance.
It all happened back when he helped his friend Jack at the fundraiser. Leopold thought it was a regular job, just help the client, and see the bad guy arrested. What he did not know back then was that Gilbert was not acting alone. He was just a carrier for someone else, someone who did not take kindly on his operation being stopped.
His friend Jack had come to him to deal with the arising threat, only this time his usual procedure was not enough, he was in over his head, as a hit was out on both his and his friend Jack's head.
The first attempt on their life was at his friend's office, where a team of armed men had stormed in the building, forcing Jack and Leopold to retreat to the main office. Leopold made a quick plan to escape the scene alive, either getting past the armed men, or taking them down. He was preparing the office for the imminent encounter when he found an explosive device under the desk chair, and barely had time to grab Jack and jump out the window. On the street, with heavy cuts, Leopold knew that the people behind them were something he could not deal with, and that his only hope for staying alive was to disappear.
-I'm sorry Jack, but we have a better chance of survival if we are separate -he said, trying to catch his breath.
-What? You are going to leave? If you hadn't been there I would've been blown up -said Jack.
-Look, these people are dangerous, much too dangerous to be fooled by what I do. Sorry, but there's nothing I can do. -Leopold sounded disappointed--. You are better off hiring some good security. I will disappear, given your status I don't think you can, so get a good team of your own. Here, take my phone, there's a number there for a man named Roger, tell him your problem and that I sent you, he'll point you to some top people.
Those were the last words they spoke before he went into hiding, and his present condition was the result of leaving his friend behind. The only solace he could find was that he had bought himself six more months so far.
The phone rang, he was resolute to ignore it, but his headache was intensifying with the noise.
-Yes? -he said with a raspy voice.
-Mr. Rissetti? -Answered the man on the other end of the line.
Leopold smiled when he heard the man calling him by the fake name he gave to the receptionist, it appeared his cover was safe.
-Who is this? -asked Leopold.
-The man who will give you your smile back -after saying this, he hung up.
Leopold left the phone on the bed; he did not want to receive any more disturbing calls, and sat down on the chair. He grunted when he saw the cigarette already consumed completely and lit up another one.
The window next to him smashed to pieces as he jumped up; startled. An armed man walked through the broken mouth of the window and pointed his gun at him.
-Wait... -said Leopold.
-Are you alone? -said the man.
-D... Don't...don't' kill me... -begged Leopold.
-ARE you alone? -insisted the man.
-Very well, do as we say and you'll walk out alive; we just need your room for a few moments.
-Ok, please... don't hurt me.
-Lie down on the bed, Now!.
Leopold did as instructed, and two more men entered the room. The first man took out of his pack a frame and he placed it on the ceiling, one of the men helped him secure it while the third man guarded him.
It was clear to Leopold that they planned to enter the room above, to leave whoever was up there, completely powerless to resist the attack.
-Can I have my bottle? -he asked to the man guarding him.
The man turned his back towards the table to get the bottle. Leopold drove his hand under the pillows and took out a tranquilizer gun; he aimed it at the man and fired three quick shots.
The other two men hurried back to the bedroom. Leopold fiddled with the glass next to the bed and quickly stepped outside to the balcony and aimed his gun at the open threshold of the room, waiting for the two men to arrive.
-Man down! -said the first man to enter the bedroom--. He's gone... That damned drunk! Get in here! -the man ordered his partner.
The second man appeared in the room and fired at the open window, before taking cover.
Both men advanced hastily and, when they walked next to the shards of glass, an explosive concealed under them activated and made the shards fly towards them. The room caught fire.
Leopold walked back inside, all three assailants were down before him. He checked their equipment, and extracted a rope from one of the backpacks and went back outside.
He used the rope to climb to the room above. Once he reached the railing, a man stood up and pointed his gun at him.
-Stop! -said the man--. You do know how to ask for a favor -he said before holstering his weapon and helping Leopold up.
-Hey Roger, good to see you -replied Leopold.
-How are the guys downstairs? -asked Roger.
-They'll live, how are things up here, is Jack ok?
-Yes, he is inside. You look terrible.
-Well, for a moment I didn't know if you were going to be able to be here, so, part of my depression was sincere -said Leopold.
-Well, now's your chance to make it right -said Roger, combing his blond hair with one hand.
They entered the room and met Jack, who was being guarded by a group of muscular men with weapons in hand.
-Everything is ready, let's move -ordered Roger.
Jack approached Leopold and hugged him.
-You look terrible.
-Well, I didn't know if you had followed my advice, or if you were still alive. It's good to see you, Jack.
-You too, at first I thought you had abandoned me, but Roger explained it all as soon as I contacted him. For a moment there I thought I was on my own.
-I would never let that happen, but, my absence was necessary.
-I hope your plan works.
-Me too, now go.
Roger and his men escorted Jack to Leopold's room. There, the men put out the flames and stood guard.
Leopold stayed in the room, took out a bottle of scotch from the bar and two glasses, which he set up at the small living room nearby. He put another dart in his gun and waited next to the door by the living room.
A second explosion came from the door next to the hallway. Leopold assumed Roger had placed a charge there. After the explosion, Leopold checked the entrance, and found a few men, with the same gear as the others, unconscious. He walked back inside and saw a brunette woman with her back turned, inspecting the bottle he had placed.
-Don't move! -he pointed his gun at her, and got close enough to press it against her back.
-Are all my men dead?
-Just out of combat.
-I never should've hired them for this in the first place. It's better to take care of things yourself, don't you agree?
-You are a psycho.
-Whatever... -said the woman--. So, are you going to shoot?
-I'll tell you what will happen now: We are going to sit down and wait for the cops to arrive; two explosions are a good way to catch their attention.
-It was a good little operation you ran here. Very successful -the woman took a step forward and, before Leopold could react, she kicked him on the knee and then hit his nose with her elbow. Leopold fell on the floor and dropped the gun.
-It's you! Wow, I would've never expected to find both my targets at the same location again. Good for me.
-I won't let you kill Jack -said Leopold, covering his nose.
-You know, back when Gilbert was arrested I thought you and your friend had planned it all, he seemed competent enough, now I see I should've been focused on you this whole time. You are the skilled man who saved the day then, he was just a spectator. I would say this whole effort was for nothing, but here you are.
Leopold got up as fast as he could and tried to disarm her, but before he got close enough, she kicked his stomach, and then, with a second kick, he hit the side of his face, dropping him on the ground again. She took out a gun and directed it at Leopold.
-You want to take me on with nothing but luck on your side? I am not that easy. You know, your little stunt at the fundraiser made me look like a fool with a client. He was expecting that money and, thanks to you, I failed him -she said, leaning towards him. She kissed him on the cheek, and pulled the trigger--. Be glad it was only a minor job, if it had been something more important, it wouldn't have been so painless.
Leopold drove his hand to the back of her head, pulled her towards him and kissed her lips, at the same time, his hand came up to her neck and stabbed her with a dart.
-Too bad you won't be able to fully enjoy it%u2026 -he said as the woman quickly get up, trying to fight the effects, he managed to stay awake long enough to see her fall down.
The hospital room had a warm air to it, there was a vase with flowers next to Leopold's bed. Roger and Jack were sitting on a small couch, right in front of the bed. When Leopold opened his eyes, they got closer to him.
-Welcome back -said Roger.
-I thought I was dead for sure. That bitch%u2026 -said Leopold, with difficulty.
-You should rest now, the doctor says you'll be fine, but you need to rest.
-I want to thank you for saving me. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask -said Jack.
-Don't mention it, glad I could help, and, thanks for trusting me. You are safe now.
Jack shook Leopold's hand and left the room.
-Well, I have to go, I hope you recover soon, and don't worry about the bill, I got it covered.
-Thank you for helping me with this -commented Leopold.
-Don't worry about it, now if you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to.
Roger left the room and closed the door behind him. Leopold stared at the door for a moment, he gently ran his hand over the wound; it still hurt. He remembered the hotel room and the woman that pushed him to a new level. He smiled.
|Billy Moffat 2006-2012, All Rights Reserved|
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