'Yes, I'll do it. Give me a break,' Mark said.
'I mean now,' Check said, scowling at his employee's mobile number.
Mark was pleased his boss could not see his scrunched-up features. His phone saves his life daily.
Now, meant now, he dressed in his favourite pumps, a colourful beach shirt and shorts.
Mark accepted his orders without complaining. However, he had work to do.
Mark's scooter started the first time, as always, and cruised the beach's frontal road. He pulled up near the beat of rap and watched.
'Christ, I hate that racket,' he mumbled. The daytime dancers had the sand to themselves, and locals and tourists avoided the bouncing bodies. Brown-uniformed officers peered from the road, deciding not to get involved. They motored off.
A girl screamed. Men laughed. A bikini-clad teenager ran past Mark in tears. He did nothing; it wasn't his business. Mark studied the group, and he picked his target. It was easy. The man had Wagner tattooed across his shoulders. This man was a long way from St Petersburg. 'How did he upset Check?' Mark wondered. But it wasn't his problem. It would be if the Russian lived until tomorrow. Mark's unshaven chin was rubbed, and his decision was made. He scooted home.
Years ago, a drunken retired American marine lost his M40 rifle in a bet at Check's casino, and Check had presented it to Mark with stipulations. 'You can only use it when working for me.' When Check makes a rule, you had better stick to it. Mark did - most of the time.
The scooter cruised to a halt outside Mark's garage. Pulling open the doors, Mark grinned as he checked the latest vehicle he'd stolen from a shopping centre in Bangkok. Its number plates were already stripped and found their way to a dump. Slum children had already sold the scrap metal. The grey-coloured four-door sedan was ready and waiting. Boring but unnoticeable in busy Pattaya streets. The M40 loaded and prepared for action and slid across the rear seats.
Back at the beach, the boom boom rap racket boomed. 'The only good thing with that music is it covers the gun blast,' grinned Mark. He leant against the inside of the rear door, the barrel, unseen from outside, rested on the lowered window. With an adjustment to the scope, Mark calmed his breathing to still. The Wagner mercenary showed his moves and stopped to down a beer. Mark counted to three and pulled the trigger. A small red hole appeared on the Wagner's chest. He hit the sand, landing on bent knees. His mates and female audience cheered and clapped for his latest move until the red liquid patch spread. The men rushed to see where the shot came from. In no rush, Mark swapped seats, and the mundane vehicle cruised away. After storing his weapon at home, the car was left unlocked in a car park. Job done.
'Get round to my office. Now, if you want payment, also, and I've another job for you,' said Check, his mobile gently returned to its place on his desk.
'I'll be…' Mark didn't finish his sentence.
Check slid a photograph across to Mark. 'Do you know this man?'
Mark stifled a gasp. It was his girlfriend's father. 'No, should I?'
'You read the Bangkok Post, don't you?'
'I look at its website most days. Why?'
'He is in it.'
Mark didn't want to say, 'You dodgy business types all look the same.' Luckily he kept his mouth shut. However, he did ask,' What does he do?'
'He is trying to take the casino from me.'
'Is he police?'
'No, idiot, he is a gambler who got lucky.'
'Oh, so the lucky gambler got unlucky running across you?'
'Yes. He will be in the backseat of this car.' A downloaded pic showing the Mercedes, the owner and his daughter was displayed on Check's laptop. 'Here are the details of the motor. I don't want him to arrive at my office on Saturday. Here is your payment for the Commie soldier.'
As soon as Mark left the office, he called his girlfriend. 'Petal, do you fancy a coffee?'
'It is unlike you calling me at work. What do you want?'
'I miss you.'
'No, I have been thinking about you all day.'
'Ah, how lovely. See you at Starbucks.'
'What's wrong, are you stuck with your writing?' Petal asked as she collected mugs from the counter.
'Yes, I'm nearing the end, but struggling with the last few chapters. I need a break from it. What are you doing this weekend?'
'Nothing much. Dad has an important meeting on Saturday, so I can see you then?'
'Great, let's do something fun. Even better, the old man can't complain about what he can't see.' Mark chuckled.
'Don't be like that. He only wants the best for me.'
'Yeah, a rich Thai husband.'
'I get the feeling rich, won't matter after his meeting.'
'Oh yes, what does that mean?'
Mark's mobile rang, 'Hi, Petal, have you got an idea for Saturday?'
'That's why I'm calling. Dad's chauffeur is sick, so I'm driving him tomorrow. So sorry I can't see you.'
'Where are you now?'
'I'm picking up dad from his office.'
Mark dropped his iPhone. The bomb blast was eardrum-shattering.
Mark slumped to the floor. The phone trilled. Mark grabbed it. 'Petal, are you okay?'
'It is not Petal. It's me, you idiot. You've killed the target's daughter and missed him. If he is not dead before my meeting, you will be.' Check replaced his phone, and he swore under his breath, 'He told me he didn't know him. Petal? Ah, that must be his daughter, the lying bastard.'
A backpack was hastily filled with bits and pieces. Mark jogged to the Bali-Hai Pier and spent 30 Baht for a ticket for the island of Koh Larn. 'He will guess I split for Bangkok and the airport.'
Forty minutes later, the ferry docked. Mark wandered about looking for suitable accommodation. But first, he needed to change his appearance. He treated himself to a close shave, and the same razor chopped his hair to bald. His beachwear found the bin. Tailored shorts and a button-down shirt smartened him up to the manager level. 'Yeah, that will do. Now I need a drink.'
He checked into a four-star hotel. Even though he didn't get paid for his last effort, he had plenty of cash stashed away, and any hotel bill would not be a concern.
The bar was empty. 'I'll have a cold Leo with a tequila chaser,' he ordered. 'Where is everyone?' he asked the barman.
'They are on the beach. We have a party tonight. Would you like to join?'
'Not for me, thanks. I want to drown my sorrows alone.'
An hour, four beers and four chasers later, there was a disturbance in the reception.
'I don't care. I booked a room here weeks ago.'
'I am sorry madam, we have nothing under your name,' answered a flustered receptionist.
'Can I go in there for a drink? It will give you time to sort me a room somewhere.'
A flustered young lady bowled into the bar. 'Do you have any decent wine, white wine?'
A tall flute was presented. 'We use glasses like that for Champagne, never mind. As long as it tastes okay.'
She sat down at the bar.
'Christ, I hope you've had a better day than me?' she said.
'You don't want to know,' Mark answered.
'I'm Penelope. I'm English.'
'I don't care where you come from or your name. I want to drink alone.'
They both sat drinking, and gradually as the alcohol flowed, the chat became friendly. 'Look, I heard your argument at reception. You can sleep in my room. On the sofa.'
Two hours later, they left arm-in-arm and went upstairs.
'Mr Check, or is it Khun Check? Whatever, the job is done. You will have no further problems with Mark.' Her phone camera scanned the room. Mark's throat was gaping.
'Well done, Mrs Penelope or Miss Penelope, whatever. I have another little task for you. A boat is waiting for you at the pier. Come to my office.'
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