A Decoy Assassin has to step up to the plate & lead an assassination; will she succeed?
The Decoy Assassin
If Darcy was a diamond ring, I was a ring pop. A little bigger, kinda fruity, and leaves a mess in my wake, a bit like a blue-stained tongue. Meanwhile, Darcy was small, sharp, refined, and what everyone wants as their best friend, girlfriend, daughter, etc.
No wonder I was her decoy assassin; the one who is meant to distract and likely be killed as a sacrifice because I failed Assassin Academy training, but I know too much to go back to civilian life.
"I see you failed again," Captain B'Asshole (his real name, I swear!) tsked, staring at Darcy's leg, wrapped in a brace and elevated on his glass coffee table.
"But did she die?" I asked. On our last assassination assignment, Darcy was to kill an emerging mob ring leader, of which she succeeded in doing, but not before getting shot twice in the leg because I gave her hiding spot away when I tripped over a dead body guard Darcy had also succeeded in assassinating.
"I'm okay, really," Darcy said. Did I mention on top of being a badass assassin she's a total sweetheart and incredibly brilliant and beautiful? Living, breathing, diamond ring.
Captain B'Asshole narrowed his eyes at her, as though telling her to not encourage me, and then shifted them to me. "You are to protect her, Gloria." (Yeah, that's right; I'm an assassin's decoy named Gloria. Bet you'd never expect me as an assassin! Or Darcy: a blonde-haired, green-eyed beaut with flawless pale skin and zero body fat. Me, a brown-haired, brown-eyed, brown-skinned ordinary girl with average height and size.)
"I know. I tried."
"Next time, don't simply try; do." Captain B'Asshole said sternly. "You are dismissed, but Darcy," his tune turned sweet and kind, "I would like a private word with you."
I dreaded that it'd be about my termination for excessive failure, but it made sense since I failed the academy, why wouldn't I fail at decoying? Awkwardly, I climbed over Darcy's leg, sensing her wince when my leg didn't properly clear her leg. I mouthed a sorry, and exited the room, accidently slamming the door.
Four hours later, Darcy limped gracefully into my cube outside her office - how she managed to make everything she did look so graceful and elegant was lost on me.
"I'm so sorry, Darcy," I said. Even if she didn't look in pain, I'd taken her temporarily out of the game. Knowing Darcy, she probably could still be a better assassin with a broken leg than I could even if I had a third.
"Don't be," she said, a smile upon her lips. "You've given me three weeks to catch up on reading and shows. Do you know how many seasons have been released since I last had some time off?" In the past year, we'd been all over the world and around it again chasing down targets. I'd barely even seen myself in a mirror I had so little time to sit still between assignments. "I'm looking forward to the down time." She lowered her voice. "Don't tell B'Asshole that."
I mimed zipping my lips and throwing away the key. "Secret is safe with me."
"Anyway." She took a leaning-seat on my desk, sitting on my assignment review notes and my baloney sandwich. "I've got something I need you to do. An assignment. A lead assignment."
"Lead assignment?" Decoys didn't do leads; we weren't good enough. We'd get killed and fail, leaving an actual assassin decoyless. And I let Darcy down enough; I couldn't leave her without me. No matter how useless I sometimes was.
Darcy sighed. "B'Asshole assigned me one; a small, little mission that he thinks I can do injured, but I don't want to risk it. If I don't rest and heal properly, I might not work again." Tears gathered in her eyes, making them somehow sparkle.
"You'll never have to catch up on shows or books again because that's all you'll be doing." Heartfelt conversations weren't something I was good at either.
She laughed, a smile spreading across her face. "That's so true, Gloria." Her tears disappeared and a serious nature replaced it. "I want you to take this lead. It's a handicapped target. Stuck in a wheelchair. Can't go far. That's why B'Asshole thought I could handle it." We both rolled our eyes and giggled at our identical responses. "Can you do it for me?"
"Uhhh." She was almost asking me to do the same thing B'Asshole was asking her, but I was the handicapped one in our relationship. Skills-wise.
An assignment on my own? My confidence was the sock lost behind the dryer that you could see, but not quite reach.
"I've already got everything mapped out; all you have to do is assassinate them."
I flipped through the pages she handed me. Sure enough, she'd provided me the physical description of the target, a location, times it was confirmed the target would be there, a list of items to grab from the weaponry, and how to get in. A complete How To Be An Assassin For Dummies guide.
"Is this pay back for getting you shot?"
That time she snorted a laugh. "Please, I could have killed you 16 different ways." Probably more than that, honestly, she was that good. "Pretty please? With pepperoni on top a stuffed crust pizza?" Damn her for using my weakness against me. Such a typical assassin.
She batted her pretty green eyes, which were contrasted beautifully by her dark, thick eyelashes, and I found myself saying, "I guess I, uh, can. It's like the least I can do. I can, yeah, do it." Again, that confidence was really a stretch.
"Thanks, Gloria, you're the best!" She was sincere when she spoke. Ever truthful, ever eternally beautiful like a real diamond. "You'll do great. Glorious, even."
She stood up, walking towards her office. Wait - how did she just walk without limping? I watched her close her door as I bit into my baloney sandwich. Damnit, Darcy; it tasted even better smushed.
Contrary to most spy movies, we don't make scenes with flashy car chases that seemingly no pedestrians get hurt by, and we don't possess extra human strength to scale buildings with our bare hands. If you're too over the top, you're doing it wrong because simple doesn't get you noticed and your partner shot in the leg. Instead, we walk right through the front doors of the Bulvan Condominiums. Shoulders back, head high, back straight, walk like you have a stick up your ass because that's confidence.
The front guard waved me and my fake bag of groceries and real wine right through the door and even pressed my elevator floor. As the elevator rose the 14 floors, my stomach dropped. I was certain it had fallen through the floor and down the elevator shaft; the guard would probably find it - that's how nervous I was to be leading my own assignment.
I used the knife hidden in the heel of my shoe to uncork the wine and took a hearty gulp, hoping it'd work quick enough to ease my nerves.
The elevator dinged, opening up into an empty hallway and I wiped the excess wine from my lips. Only six condos were on this level and I immediately found where I needed to go.
I silently approached the door, pressing my ears to it for sound. Nothing. Either the walls were thick or no one was home. My watch read 6:00pm; a time Darcy was certain the target would be home. I went to the door across the hall listening; I could make out muffled sounds of a television. I returned to my target's door and knocked. Maybe she was reading; that didn't make noise.
Two minutes passed, and not even the sound of a chair rolling sounded, so I set the groceries aside and pulled a bobby pin-like pick out of my hair that was meant for lock-picking. The lock clicked after a few shaky attempts, and I grabbed my Mossberg 500 out of the groceries before quietly turning the knob.
The condo was impeccable in white with marble floors and floor-to-ceiling window views of the City. It felt too pretty to be the setting of an assassination; usually they were in grungy, rundown places. Rats were more common than people in most cases.
Locking and loading my gun, not making a sound with its silencer, I surveyed the condo from room to room. Bedroom; nothing. Nor in the enormous walk-in closet big enough to be a second bedroom, nor the bathroom. Actual second bedroom; nothing. Kitchen; nothing. Side bathroom; nothing. Hall closet; nothing. There was only one door left.
And a small sound came through. Just my luck.
I approached the side of the door so any sort of shadow wouldn't give me away, and listened carefully. A muffled voice spoke, though I couldn't determine what it was saying. Then the sound of a bored sigh.
That meant the only thing between me and my first assassination was the door. Or who I hoped was my target. But I'd followed all the how-to directions from Darcy, and she was never wrong, so it had to be right. With a sweaty hand, or maybe with a little liquid courage, I turned the knob to a dimly-lit in-home library.
Darcy sat beautifully in a chair, her left leg propped up. Her hair had been cut and blown out since I'd last seen her and her lips bore a new pink lipstick, and that all had me confused.
"You're my target?"
"No," her lips pursed and puckered at the end. Of course I failed! My Darcy-cap probably led me to her instead of my target. Of course I couldn't follow an assassin's plans. "You're mine." What. Hers? "Took you long enough." She raised her favorite white Glock 19 as I realized dumbly, I really had led myself to her (despite the fact she had full access to me all the time). Instinctively (with instincts I didn't even know I had!) I raised my Mossberg to hers. She grinned and laughed. "Look who thinks she's an assassin."
Despite her gun aimed at my heart, I couldn't feel hatred for being her target. I gulped hard and felt the breathe punch down my throat and through my stomach. "I learned from the best."
"Then let's see it." Her Glock loaded and fired before I could ask her why so she'd give a long spiel unveiling her plan like all villains do.
I ducked and shifted left, so if anything she'd graze my shoulder. Fortunately it missed. Another shot. I jumped, tucking my knees to my chin to miss the calf shot. Another shot! I pushed my feet off the wall and somersaulted through the air across the room. Before she could shoot again I was moving to my next position to beat out her typical shot progression. Always so predictable. Left, calf, right, calf, chest, purposely far left, repeat left closer, head.
I danced through the bullets, moving and twisting in ways I never knew I could and thought was only possible in the movies. I danced till I knew her chamber was out and then wrapped a hand around her throat. She gasped in surprise, as much as I was surprised to still be alive - and unwounded. Her arm swung around, gun in hand, knocking me off her and pulling her down for the ride. Both our guns skittered across the floor, back near the door.
Darcy yelped in pain as her leg hit the hard floor and crushed beneath me. Her bony knee and leg brace dug into my flesh.
The fall took a little wind out of me and allowed Darcy to drag herself out from under me.
Despite the fact Darcy was trying to kill me (with some reasonable cause) I had to believe in myself and what she told me: I'd be glorious, because damnit, I was Gloria Laci Lewis.
I kicked my foot out and felt it catch her leg. She teetered on her feet, grabbing onto a bookshelf for support, giving me enough time to get back on my sturdy feet. With our guns across the room and her inability to properly bend, she was left defenseless. Mostly. Till she started throwing books. Little to her knowledge, I still had another gun tucked in the back of my jeans, but I couldn't bring myself to use it on Darcy, let alone kill her. I had to detain her to surrender till I could come up with a plan.
Had she gone rogue? Did B'Asshole really ask her to do this? I'd thought for as coldhearted killers as we could be, we were still family.
I caught a book miraculously between my hands exactly before it was due to slam me square in the face, and then chucked it back at Darcy's weak spot. She managed to side step the majority of the blow, still gritting a nasty word through her teeth, and slowed her book throwing, allowing me to get in sync with her throw progressions. Right, left, straight, straight, left, left, right, straight, right, right.
Her movements were second nature to me after years of watching her in action. Each book she hurled I contoured my body out of the way as though we were in a choreographed dance.
As I dodged, I returned fire, managing to multi-task defense and offense, when usually I had two left feet and a hand trying to be an extra left foot.
Her shelf cleared as the books stacked up around us, building up like towers we were starting to hide behind. Admittedly, I was getting tired of contorting and exerting my body, and lunging books, so I had to put an end to it. I grabbed the stand-up lamp, yanking its cord from the wall and sending us into near darkness, and then chucked it at what I believed was her. A cry confirmed I'd hit the mark.
"Who would have thought you had it in you to keep up with me?" Darcy said.
Certainly, neither of us, or whoever put my name on the target list.
Suddenly the room flushed with its dim brightness again. Darcy had managed to not only plug in the lamp, but find an outlet in the dark of a book-covered floor. No wonder she was a good assassin with her night vision and perceptiveness.
"I want to see your face."
I didn't want her to finish that sentence.
Anger surged through me, causing me to rush at Darcy like a bull. I pushed her into the bookshelf and then flung her to the ground like a ragdoll. I tackled her, spreading my legs over her arms and legs to pin them down, despite her flailing and attempting to lift herself.
Sweat dripped down my forehead, landing on the bridge of her nose. Darcy went cross-eyed watching where my sweat would flow down her, missing me grab my hidden gun and aim at her.
My heart pounded like a jack hammer. I couldn't kill Darcy, but I had to. Either I killed her, or she killed me. Granted, as far as assassins go, she deserved to live over me because she was better, but this wasn't about her. It was about me.
Beneath my weight, Darcy struggled to talk. "That was amazing, Gloria." She smiled the friendly smile I saw every day, the one I first saw when we were assigned together and she came over and gave me a giant bear hug, saying, 'Hi, I'm Darcy; I'm so excited you're my decoy!' We were best friends, almost like sisters, ever since.
But I knew it was a ploy. It had to be. Of course, she didn't want to die either. She'd say anything to get me to have a change of heart, especially with my gun aimed at her head. Then again, Darcy had never lied to me. Ever truthful, that damn diamond.
"Glorious, even. You almost took me out." That smile, that damn Darcy smile, just like a diamond ring. And I was her ring pop. "If you can do that, I can't wait to see what you can do when you pass the assassin test. Captain B'Asshole, I think, no, I know, she's ready," she called louder as though someone were listening and watching. "Let's upgrade you, Decoy Assassin."