September 21, 2012 Jason

Free Book Friday – Target Acquired

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.
~Stephen King

To follow up my last post, Writers Write, I thought I’d share an excerpt from my newest short story, available on Amazon today and tomorrow for your favourite price  – free (if you’re reading this in the future, the price is still a pretty reasonable $.99 – so feel free to buy it!

Target Acquired


“The good news is – the parts you requested are on their way. The bad news is they were made overseas by the lowest bidder….but yours will probably work just fine…”

Kent hung up the phone. He’d gotten an answer but it wasn’t the one he was hoping for. His sight had been slowly deteriorating for the past ten years, but everything had gotten much darker and fuzzier in the past six months. A hitman with poor eyesight was either a soon-to-be-dead hitman, or an unemployed hitman. He didn’t know which was worse, and all he could do now was wait for his new eyes to arrive.


Kent had read the advertorial for the nano-eyes four months earlier, and immediately booked an appointment with the only cyberdoc he could trust. Not that the Doc was trustworthy, it’s just that Kent had known him to rarely have fatal accidents in the operating room. Cyberdocs don’t worry much about malpractice suits, as cyber-augmentation is still a black market and there are no pesky rules to protect the patient’s health. Since most operations have a BYOA – bring your own anesthetic – policy, it’s not uncommon to hear of overdoses or “complications.” As well, some of the less scrupulous cyberdocs learned that if the patient dies before the augments are installed, they can still sell the parts as new to someone else. A person is very vulnerable while under the influence of their anesthetic of choice, and since no operation starts until the doc has been paid in full, Kent had a good reason to distrust them.

Kent had to have the nano-eyes but he wanted to keep this information on a need-to-know basis. He didn’t care who knew about his augs once they were installed and working properly, but he didn’t want anyone, especially his competition, to know until after the procedure had been completed. He’d worked hard to keep his vision problems hidden from the rest of the world and he didn’t want to get taken out while he was waiting for a delivery to come across the ocean.

He made the arrangements with Pascal and waited for the augs to arrive. Pascal’s newest title was cyberdoc, but Kent had known him as a computer geek, guru, ninja, and there was even a time when everyone had to call Pascal a “wizard” if they wanted his formidable talents. Pascal was thorough and discrete, but he wasn’t cheap. The best rarely are, and Kent knew he was over a barrel with his situation and Pascal saw it the same way. They arranged an outrageous price, and when Kent made the final payment, Pascal ordered the parts.

Kent could see the world getting darker every day, literally as well as metaphorically, though he really wasn’t interested in the existential view of the world. The only things that mattered to him were the contracts he was assigned. Since his sight began to fail, he needed to be picky about the jobs he took. Anything requiring up-close work was fine, but the risks were high. He preferred the safety of a long-range scope on a high powered rifle, allowing him to make the shot and get in his car; on his way out of the state before the first responders were even on site. Kent was a single bullet assassin. Anything after the first shot was messy, so he took the time to get it right the first time. A half-inch hole an inch above the left eye was his signature, and he’d left his mark on hundreds of targets over the past fifteen years, but hadn’t taken a job in over two months because he wasn’t confident he could make the shot. Every day without his augs was a day closer to blindness, but Kent knew he wasn’t going to have to worry about that. If it got bad enough, he had a solution. His final kill wouldn’t leave his signature, but fellating a .38 effectively solved everything.

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