The story of the life of an old man from a quiet neighborhood. - Work in Progress-
| WORK IN PROGESS
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Here old girl." the old man had a routine. He woke up every day at 6 o' clock in the morning and washed up.
If he needed a shave he would use his old trusty straight blade. Covering his white whiskers with foam from the bar on the small dish he would hum an old tune and make his face look just a few years younger. This always made him chuckle because at 80 years old he was looking not a day younger but it never hurt to be positive. After making his bed and putting on his cardigan he would make his way downstairs to brew his coffee. His neighbor Lupe gave him a new state of the art espresso contraption but he liked his own trusty aluminum coffee maker. He enjoy grinding his own beans he purchased from the nearby Whole Foods. The Doctor always berated him for drinking at his age, but what the heck he'd lived 80 long years and he wasn't fighting against life.
"There you are ol' girl. Where you been, eh?" he stroked the golden tabby cat as she sat down on her hunches and ate from the tuna can he'd set out on the porch steps. She meowed a response and continued to delicately pick small morsels of the food.
"Morning, Mr. Cane!" The youth walked up to the steps and handed him the Morning paper
"Good morning, Johnny Boy!" He flipped his quarter in the air and the boy caught it one handed "Hey, what's 374 divided by 8?"
"That'll be 46.75, sir!" He put the quarter in his backpacks pocket and mounted his bike
"That's damn skippy! " He chuckled and turned to read the paper while he glided back and forth on his rocking chair. He would read every page attentively and jot things down down the margins so he could remember whenever he might need the information in the future. His son insisted he logged on the laptop he gave him one Christmas and that he could do anything he l wished on there. But he was set on his ways and they worked. His mind was still sharp like a blade and nothing really escaped him except how to set up the timer on the damned coffeemaker.
Up the street came a rumbling noise and the smell of burned rubber and he peered over his reading glasses at the motorcycle that pulled up to the Stephenson's across the street. It wasn't one of those old models he once rode with his friends when they went on the road. It was a modern state of the art machine that you would see on a BMW commercial. The driver was dressed all in black and his helmet hid all but the ends of his long hair. He couldn't tell whether it was blonde or brown because the Sun was shining now in all it's glory. He grabbed a package from a compartment and walked up to the steps and rang the bell. No answer came and with reason. The couple were busy at work for sure. They were bankers and kept odd hours for such young people. They had moved in very tidily five years prior and didn't make a big fuss. They had a dog that liked to run with them early before the Sun came up, His name was Samson and it tickled him that they had a cat named Delilah.
"There's no one home young man." he leaned forth and peered at the man over his glasses.
"Any idea when anyone will be home" The man had removed his helmet to reveal dark masses of blonde hair plastered ever which way all over his head.
"Hard to say. They keep very different hours from the rest of us folk. Is there a name you wish to me to convey?"
"As a matter of fact there is. Please tell them Scott Cusak was here." He dug out a card from the inside pocket of his jacket
"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cusak" He extended his hand and the man shook it briefly never removing his glove.
"Mr. Cane, pleasure is all mine." the old man smiled and straightened his reading glasses.
"I guess, I'll catch them at a different time" he sauntered back to his bike
Mr. Cane remained seated for precisely eight minutes and he acted as if he were reading the paper. He never ever broke his routine no matter what anyone said or what the day brought. It was essential for his own survival that he did things right on schedule every day and he was adamant about it. At 10 o'clock in the morning his mail person left the assorted collection or bills and propaganda in his mailbox and waved at Mr. Cane and he was just seeing the truck park down the street. He made sure he was on the comics page when the mail person decided to go against protocol and climbed the stairs and handed him a small rectangle.
"Good morning, Mr. Cane. Your signature is required" the young black man smiled kindly but his eyes remained cool and detached
"Good morning. Any idea what this is about?" Mr. Cane asked but he already knew. As he signed the small hand held device his mind was already racing far ahead
"I'm only the delivery man, Mr. Cane." he waited one more beat and looked like he wanted to add something else but instead shook his head "Have a nice day Mr. Cane"
"Yeah, thank you." Mr. Cane folded his paper meticulously and stood up with the small parcel tucked under his arm. "Once again it begins"
He walked into his house and locked and bolted the door. He left the paper in his recycling bin and then walked briskly towards his basement door and once inside he turned on the overhead lights and the room filled with enough light to make it look like a sunny afternoon in Arizona. The air conditioner hummed to life and he could hear the computers uploading. The small spare bathroom was to the left and he went in and stared at himself in the mirror. He knew that day would come but he had hoped he could live his peaceful quiet unobtrusive life until it ended. With a deep breath he opened the mirror cabinet and drew out the shaving cream and his razor blade and spread the thick foam over his whiskers and low salt and pepper beard. He began methodically shaving years away and when he was done splashed cold water on his face and hoped the shock would wake him up from a bad dream. It didn't. So he took out the hair dye kit and began applying the dark color being careful to make it look natural and leaving a few of his white hair on his temples. That done he jumped in the shower and scrubbed away at the makeup he applied every morning that afforded him the age of late sixties. The wrinkles and creases disappeared revealing his tan muscled body which he mainly hid underneath a bad stooped posture and elderly sweaters.
When he stood in the steam and stood looking at himself in the long mirror at the back of the bathroom door he was then shocked to discover that he hadn't aged at all. His mind was whirling with the present situation as he knew that they would be no going back and the identity he had grown accustomed to had died with the steam that permeated the walls and mirrors. The computers made a beeping sound and he knew that his new identity had been created and the next few weeks if not months he would be looking over his shoulder once the job was done. He had exactly one hour and fifteen minutes to accomplish it all and get out of dodge. He put on the outfit that had been waiting for him all this year. The pants still fit well and and so he pulled on his bulletproof vest. The white button down shirt was a bit snug; evidence that he had indeed kept in shape because his muscles on his shoulders and biceps pulled tightly against the fabric. The black jacket was still good enough and he decided against the tie because he already felt he couldn't breathe.
It took him a few minutes to confirm the sale of the house which he had listed under the name of Mikai Cane, age 68, ex Veteran to the United States Marines and the funds were directed to be deposited to his son who lived in the Swiss Alps with his family. The arrangement had been done years ago when the real Mr. Cane had served on a covert operation and had lost his life on the line of duty. They had relocated his only son and his wife and two little girls as far from anywhere and given them a new identity and purpose. Five hundred thousand dollars went a long way for the sacrifice they have done for their country but it was the beginning. He would make it his own personal mission to see that his brother would never have to run or hide ever again. He felt that being his father all these years had made him understand why his father had protected both himself and his brother all these years. He had given all his life to make sure his children would never have anything but a normal life.
He heard the car pull into the house across the street and he stood and peered through the window level to the grass on his front lawn. The couple each had their own luxury cars and they laughed as their shoes hit the pavement leading to the two storied state of the art home. It stood out like a beacon of light in the upper middle class neighborhood where everyone had worked very hard to afford the living they valued beyond anything else. He grabbed the backpack that contained his laptop, credentials, his backup battery and several USB's with the mission plans. He pulled on the black cap and a leather bomber over his suit. He needed to change outfits within minutes. He double checked his briefcase and made sure everything was in it's rightful place before he took one more look around the room that although spare felt like home. He heard his neighbors wheeling out their garbage containers. It was time.
At the stairs landing he turned off the light and locked the door. He went out the back kitchen door and waited five minutes. After five minutes he went across the street and fleeted soundlessly by the side of the house. Going into the kitchen took him thirty seconds, going up the carpeted stairs only fifteen. The bathroom door was ajar and the steam was pouring out in waves. She was humming to herself and he recognized the melody of the first of act in Othello, where Iago scornfully declares only a fool would drown himself for love of a woman. He stepped close to the door and saw her reflection moving on the foggy mirror. His silenced gun was cool against his cheekbone. He slipped into the room and put the gun to her temple. She never felt a thing. Her body hadn't hit the bottom of the shower when he exited through the back door.
The way life works, her husband came back from his run and turned off his timer as he reached the back porch door and stepped into the kitchen to a eerie silence that was only followed by the hiss of the upstairs shower. In all the years he'd been married to his wife Darlene he'd never heard her take a shower quietly. She would always hum her favorite Opera melody. The song was ingrained in her memory as it happen to be what would be playing in her ipod when she had a hit. They had met at the Office after they got recruited and had found they were compatible in ways that would be to complicated to even explain. Their Superiors thought the match could be beneficial as she was one of their precious hired gun. She had gone rogue when she found the duplicity of her mission for the CIA and decided to take the law into her own hands. They had put a hit on her and made sure she knew where it had come from. He made sure every single one of the men they sent never lived another day. So they had married, they had traveled the World in between jobs. Very recently they sat down and spoke about retirement, and even kids. She wasn't getting any younger she laughed, her blue eyes crinkled in merriment. Those same cool ice eyes stared back at him unseeingly. Her body was laying as if she were something loved on her side. Her hair smooth back and spread over a pink shoulder. The water was running warmer than she would like as she preferred cool water rather than his own steamy hot. Her wedding band was missing and he knew. A sob escaped his gritted teeth and he pulled out his phone and pressed a key.
"Operator" the voice on the other end was known to him as his Mother's
"Rogue" he managed to spat out in the blinding anger he felt would kill him
"I..I'm sorry sir. I will connect you." the call went through lighting fast
"Connor, a car will be there in eight minutes. Leave the body." he heard the gruff voice
"The body is my fucking wife!!!" he took a look at her and noticed that she almost look like she was smiling. Her right hand was extended and the index finger pointed. His gaze followed the direction and then his heart skipped a beat. Written in her own blood she wrote Can, the last letter was a smudge. But he knew who it was. The Bastard had found them.
"It was Cane." He got up and stripped of his sodden clothes while he pulled on a black shirt and matching tie. He bypassed his signature navy suit and wore the black he reserved for mourning. He grabbed his hunting kit and the key to his Audi R8. He knew the man had at least fifteen minutes headway but he would be damned if he would leave the country without a bullet from his own making. He knew the time of reckoning would arrive at his door step one day, but he always had hoped it would be him not, Rogue. The only person on Earth who had ever loved him. He was a product of the system. He had been abandoned at the door of a hospital in a slum in Chicago. According to his sources, whoever had left him had left a single note with a single phrase: Vladymir Ivanovich. So the Doctor had named him that and tried running his DNA thru the data base of recent births associated to all hospitals in the near ten mile radius and got a hit after a few days. His mother Tatiana Ivanovich was found dead on the side of the road and made into an example by the Bratva for running around with the wrong crowd.
They had found a family to adopt him fast enough and they baptized him with the name Conrad. That was the name his adoptive
parents gave the only son they have ever known. They had made him their pride and joy and he had grown up to make sure they never felt embarrassment on his behalf. His grades granted him the choice of Ivy League School to follow in his parents tradition at Stanford University. When he graduated Laurel Cum Laude in his year the FBI had recruited him still wet behind the years. He studies in Criminology made him the perfect candidate for the job of tracking down the most wanted criminals in the World. He had met many an expert on the subject. One of them the clinically insane and genius Dr. Rutherford Cane. Cane, like he liked to be called, was in his fifties but you couldn't tell by the discipline he put his body through. His mind as sharp as ever he had taken a similarly bright young mind and sharpened it. There was only one other person who stood as tall and as ruthless as Cane and Himself. And that was Russel Cane. His eldest son.
Cane had no need to check anything in. He looked at his reflection as he made his way to the gate to an awaiting flight to Spain. The dark eyes peering back at him had a softer quality than his own stark grey.