K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

“I don’t think I understand. Can you run it by me again?” He’s never been the brightest, but he’s been with me forever already.

“Look. Carl. You’re making this complicated. We’re already holding the other brother. We’ve had him for the last six months now. When we dig up his container, I’ll make the call to his mom, and not before then will you take another finger: If we don’t keep him alive, she won’t know we mean business. You can do what you want to the boy when we’re done.”

I’ve always been the mastermind, for as long as I remember. More of a specialist, really: No one else in the world is qualified for this job.

“Okay. So that’s gonna motivate her, and then she makes the drop?”

“If we’re being honest, I’m not sure if that’s enough: He’s never really ranked as one of her favorites. That’s why for redundancy we wire the block.” Every job is like a game of 3-D chess. I’m always seven moves ahead. And counting that psyche!, you better make it eight.

“That just seems like it’s a little extreme.”

Maybe Carl here needs more of a visual. “I’ll fuckin’ stab you, Carl! You think this is a game? We only get one shot at making this work. The slightest misstep and we’re out of a job.”

“I’m sorry boss. I remember now: It doesn’t help when I start thinking.”

“That’s right, Carl. It doesn’t help at all. What would help is if when she leaves the house, you pick up the dogs. And while you handle them, I’ll take out the cops.” No loose ends, no learning the hard way.

“And where again are the cops?”

“Last I checked they got the night off.” Nothing ever happens in this shitty little town.

“Sounds good. And then what, boss?”

“We take out the block.”

“Let me stop you right there. Tell me again why I pick up the dogs?” You wouldn’t know by his eyes that he’s this cold and heartless.

“Because we’re not savages, Carl. Only a bully would harm an innocent animal. And professionals like me have to live by the code.”

“But if she’s already on her way from the house, what would be the point of takin’ out the whole block? I thought you said it was just a redundancy?” Hopeless at math, he couldn’t spell multi-pronged.

“Because, Carl, the other brother is her closest-living relative. And we need to make sure that she gets to his house. Now we can’t do that if she tries to go home. So we have to make sure that “home” no longer exists.” Fuckin’ dummy.

“Okay. But I feel like she may want to find a place to try and process some things. What if she stops at a coffee shop or a hotel, instead?” I can’t believe this guy, all of a sudden he’s the sensitive type.

“What, like I wouldn’t think of that? Do it, Carl — insult me again.” Nothing. “In the back of your van is a Putin-grade EMP. It should take out the WiFi for a six-mile radius — making it much more likely she’ll end up at the brother’s.”

“This sounds kind of risky. What if people get hurt?”

“That’s first question you’ve asked me that wasn’t full-on retarded. You’re absolutely right, Carl — we can’t have ambulances clogging up traffic. That’s why I spike-stripped ’em this morning on their way to St. Luther’s, where someone apparently phoned in a bomb threat.” Like taking candy from a baby.

“Okay. So we’re gonna tell her to meet you at Bingo, where Josiah will be leaving if we set the meet at eight.”

“That’s right. At which point you will be wired for explosives, just in case she tries to get funny. If she leaves the suitcase with anything less than all of her cash, titles and jewelery, I want you run after her car and detonate as soon I’m out of range.”

“Do you think maybe you’re asking too much?”

“That’s nonsense. Anything less than everything she owns and we risk the chance of smelling like a setup.”

“That makes sense.” Of course it does. “Now, when you get the suitcase, how again is it that she gets the hostage?”

“When she parks under the bridge, I drop her son into the car. By then you’ll have Josiah. Have him call her with instructions to disarm the contraption. She’ll have noticed by now the machine on his neck.”

“Got it: Set on a timer, the key is hidden in his brother, anything under eighty to his house and they won’t need hats for winter.”

“Perfect. Almost there, Carl. Now give me the end-game.”

“Okay. I’m gonna waterboard Josiah in the van in the parking lot at St. Luther’s.”

“You’re not listening again, Carl. I said St. Luther’s is gone — it went up this morning.”

“No, you said –”

“Just do it down the street from their little family reunion! And make sure he gets a good look at Miss Gladys’s face — we don’t need him miffing the last part of our plan. You’ll want to battery-cable his eyelids — in case they get swollen: a shot of high-juice will open ’em up. All you need from there is to wait for the sign.”

“What’s the sign this time, boss?”

“Same thing it always is, Carl: when you see a drone signature strike the neighbors, I’m gonna stick that bitch with a Cherokee long-range. At which point you drive up to the lawn and kick Josiah out the van. Remind him you know where his kids have been sleeping and then make your way out as inconspicuous as possible. When her retinas reset, he’ll be the first person she sees. That’s when he takes a knee, professes his love, and the only trace of us is another Hallmark rom-com.”

“Gosh, boss. This seems way easier than the last time.” That’s because pros only get better.

“Don’t I know it. I had to adjust the getaway so they wouldn’t see me crying.” The worst part of this job is that it’s so emotional.

“Always the bride’s maid and never the bride. Huh, boss?”

“You said it, Carl. Now get me out of this diaper, I can’t handle the chaffing.”

“That might be a problem, boss. I don’t know if there is a baby-changing station inside of this Hooters.”

Happy Valentine’s Day

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