DISCLAIMER: The Professional and all associated characters are property of Columbia Pictures, Gaumont/Les Films du Dauphin, and Luc Besson. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.
* * *
Three weeks. It had been three weeks since she left me. The only person I’d loved since Leon. I tried not to think about it, tried not to let it get in the way, but I know it did.
Even Fat Tony had noticed. He tried to do the fatherly thing. “Look, Mathilda, that girl—she was no good for you. You could do better. Besides, she was an outsider.” Tony’s eyes had widened when I moved so fast that I was standing, holding him by the shirt collar before my chair hit the floor. My gun was not in my hand when I spoke, but only because I fought the nearly overwhelming urge.
“Because of all you’ve done for me, Tony, I’m going to forget you said that. Once. But don’t you ever speak about her again. Do you understand?” Tony started to open his mouth, then stopped. He nodded.
A busboy poked his head out of the kitchen. “Trouble, boss?” Only his head and left arm stuck around the corner. His other hand held a cleaver, at least. Maybe a sawed-off shotgun. I’d put two rounds in him before he got all the way through the door.
I relaxed my hold on Tony’s collar so he could speak easily. “No, it’s okay Michael.” The busboy looked unconvinced, stared at me for a few moments before disappearing back into the kitchen.
After a few seconds Tony said, “Look, I’m sorry. I know you’re having a rough time, is all. You want to pass on a few more jobs ‘til you get things figured out?”
“No. I’ll Clean.”
Tony waited until I’d righted my chair and sat down before he slid the file to me. “Okay, here’s the mark...”
* * *
I have plenty of time; the mark’s old lady works late at one of Little Italy’s countless restaurants. Inside the apartment the television is blaring as the mark surfs the channels. Good. That’ll cover the noise. I knock, wait for him to answer the door. “Who is it?”
“Good afternoon, sir. I’m selling Girl Scout cookies. Would you be interested?”
“Yeah, do you have those chocolaty-minty ones?” The door opens a few inches, so I can see part of his face. The paranoid bastard had hooked the door chain. I look at it stupidly. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot use a pistol to blast open chains. I am so carrying bolt cutters next time.
“Sir, pull the door open a little more and I’ll squeeze a box through.” He does, and starts to speak.
“Say, you aren’t dressed like-“ I take a step back, plant myself, and kick as hard as I can. He’s taken all the slack out of the chain so my kick rips the chain-screw out of the doorframe. Because I’m having a bad day the door doesn’t knock him down.
I’m in the door, knife in hand. “What the fuck! Get away from me, bitch!” He grabs an ashtray off the end table and throws it at me. I spin through the ash so it doesn’t blind me, and get in a leg sweep. Not an easy thing on shag carpet. The mark goes down, starts to crawl for the kitchen. I’m on him in a heartbeat, and bury the knife into his right side, just below the ribs.
The mark thrashes, knocking me off his back. The knife is still stuck in his side, and blood squirts past the blade to land on the carpet. He makes it all the way into the kitchen on his hands and knee before I’m able to catch him. I grab his head, turn it one way and then crank the opposite way as hard and fast as I can. The mark falls to the linoleum. God, my jacket is wet through with blood. At least it’s not mine.
I’ve just wiped my blade and resheathed it when there’s a noise in the front room. Fuck, fuck, fuck! This is not what I need.
“I’m home, honey.” It’s the missus. Home early. The footsteps came closer. In another couple steps she’ll be in a position to see the body. I draw my pistol and point it at the doorway. The mark’s wife stepped into the kitchen and saw the body, me, and my pistol.
“Don’t scream.” And for a wonder, she doesn’t. Her mouth moves a few times before any sound comes out.
“I was business. I didn’t think to ask.” The woman looks down at the body again, and her face goes whiter.
“I...I loved him.”
“That’s alright. He would have left you sooner or later. They always do. It’s better this way.”
Something in her snapped. “You sick bitch, you’re a fucking psycho!” She moves towards me, gets only inches before I have the muzzle of my gun tucked under her chin.
“No women, no kids. But maybe I’ll make an exception for you, hey?” Her eyes were big and tears ran down her face, but without the complete panic that I thought I’d see. Interesting. “I’m leaving now. You fuck with me, I’ll kill you.” I don’t wait for a response. I reholster my gun and head towards the door of the apartment.
I’m almost there when I hear her rummaging through a drawer in the kitchen. I know what is going to happen next. She’ll go through the bathroom, then come out through the door to the bedroom into the hall. The kitchen knife will be raised for an overhand stab, a lethal strike from crazed wives as well as trained knife fighters. I pivot at the next sound, my gun rising towards the center of the doorway on the left. That is empty.
That’s when it registers; the sound had come from back in the kitchen. I walk cautiously back into the kitchen, gun in hand. The woman is on the floor, puddle of blood expanding across the floor by her left wrist. She’d obviously felt that wouldn’t be enough, because she’d also cut open the left side of her throat. I was impressed: that takes commitment. I watched as the blood ran, slowed, slowed, stopped. It would have been quicker if I’d killed her.
Why would she want to die? He would have left her, sooner or later. They always do.
* * *