By Joseph DiBartolo
The loose gravel crushing under his boots caused his current target to quicken his pace. Stan Holmes was currently on his third target in 3 months, all of which have been in South America. Being that he was ex-military, now a hired hitman to whoever would pay, he was constantly on the move. Now tracking his current target in Peru, and trying to do so with extreme vigilance. His prey was crafty in his attempts to elude the pursuit, but Stan had played this game many times before and had him right where he wanted him. They were moving alongside an old decrepit building with open doorways about every 20 feet. The Peruvian prey quickly turned around pointing his pea shooter at nothing but air. Then, like a ninja, Stan appeared behind him from one of the doorways and snapped his neck, silent and deadly.
After giving confirmation of the kill on his prepaid burner, he headed back to his hotel to gather his things. Stan never asked questions about his targets, so he really never knew what they did or if they were just innocent men who made a few bad decisions. It was just a job, like a waiter in a restaurant taking an order. A waiter wouldn’t ask a customer why they were ordering the porterhouse steak. Once back at the hotel, he showered, and then began packing to head back to the states. He was an average size man with a face and body that appeared as if it was carved from stone, with many chiseled scars on his face and torso. Most of his battle scars were engraved during his time in the military, not many more since then. This line of work was much less hazardous to his health, as his most recent assignment indicated. On his way out he tipped the young concierge quite generously, hailed a cab, and then headed to the airport.
Once back in New York, he made a quick pit stop at the bank and then back to his place. Stan had more than enough money to get out of this game for good but one thing was keeping him in it. He was patiently waiting for his contacts in the Russian mob to locate one of their own that was excommunicated from the organization, and had disappeared. The rumor was that he returned back to Russia but he hasn’t been seen by anyone yet. His name was Sergei Tasarov and he was the man responsible for the botched hit on Stan that left his companion, Lena Valander, dead. By no means was he in love with her, but they had a strong connection and he trusted her. In his line of work that was extremely rare and she would be alive if she never had met him. He desperately needed to right that wrong and knew eventually Sergei would surface, nobody can stay hidden forever.
Now after a couple of relaxing weeks, and no new assignments, Stan was planning to take a trip to Las Vegas. He was not much of a gambler on the tables but you could say he rolled the dice in the bedroom, often. The only kind of companionship he required now was from the ladies of the night. He vowed never to get close to anyone ever again after Lena was murdered. Love and assassinations did not mesh well and the only thing a prostitute loves is cash, which he has plenty of. Now shortly after he finished packing he received a text message from his Russian contact that read, “Your PERSONAL friend is staying at the Bellagio in Vegas.” Stan felt his heart rate accelerate after he read the text for the third time, making sure that he was reading it correctly. His relaxed demeanor quickly was replaced with stone cold focus as he zipped up his bag and headed to the airport.
Traveling commercially meant no weapons and Stan actually preferred to use his hands as the murder weapons when possible. Besides, this would be an up close and personal elimination, so it worked out well. Shortly after the plane touched down, Stan got his bags and headed to the strip. The ladies of the night would have to wait due to the more pressing business that popped up, but they can be sure that Stan would be ready to celebrate after he handled his business. He checked in at the Mandalay Bay under his alias, Stephen Connor, dropped off his bags and headed to the Bellagio to scout the situation. The first thing he did before posting up somewhere with a good view of the lobby, was buy a baseball cap from the gift shop for some cover. He also purchased a cup of coffee and found a spot close to the lobby doors to observe everyone coming and going, and now he plays the waiting game.
Nearly 3 hours had passed and Stan decided it was time to stand up and stretch his legs. His patience was unmatched and knew he could sit there for days if necessary, when suddenly he saw Tasarov coming off the elevators, and head straight through the lobby towards the entrance. Stan shielded his face a bit more but sneakily took another glance at him for confirmation. He had no doubt that it was Sergei, despite his feeble attempt to change his appearance with that awful mustache. Now just as his oblivious prey was approaching the door, he stopped in his tracks, put his hand in his pocket, and then turned back toward the elevators like he forgot something. Noticing a crowd of people waiting for the elevator, Stan swiftly made his way across the lobby to blend in with them and board the elevator without Sergei suspecting a thing. He squeezed behind him and shifted his focus to what floor he was exiting on, Tasarov hit 7.
Finally after a couple of stops on the way up, they were on 7, and they were the only two that exited on that floor. Stan started to slow his pace, keeping his head down hidden from security cameras. He began coughing loudly to get Sergei’s attention, going down on one knee like he was choking on something. Sergei turned and asked Stan if he was alright but he just coughed louder and louder drawing his unsuspecting prey closer. When he was in striking distance, Stan popped up and drove his forearm into Sergei’s throat, driving him back into the wall, crushing his larynx. Now Sergei, unable to make a sound, looked dead into Stan’s eyes and instantly knew his time on this earth was done. Stan quickly grabbed his chin and the back of his head, snapped his neck, and watched him drop to the floor, wide-eyed and lifeless.
Immediately after he hit the ground, Stan calmly walked to the stairwell, then once inside, drastically changed his pace and took off down to the lobby. Once outside he lost the hat and put on a pair of sunglasses he had in his pocket. No doubt by now someone would have found the body and called it in, but he knew it would go into the unsolved murder files eventually. With a look of satisfaction on his face, he would now be able to go celebrate his conquest with the only companions he had left in this world.