‘They call me “Shadow”.’
My employer stared at me from in the BMW, my face obscured by the darkness; he seemed slightly unsure of me for a second, but it was too late now. The deal was about to begin.
Squeaking. The second car – that of the buyer – was an old thing that still had wind-down windows. Wind-down windows in need of some oiling by the sound of it. Or maybe they just sounded loud because they were the only noise in the car park.
It was a good time for making deals of this kind – illegal deals – as this particular supermarket closed early, especially on Sundays. The streetlamps in this car park are connected to the supermarket, so once it closes they go off. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other deals going on at the same time.
But my focus was on the deal at hand. Sure, I was only a bodyguard, but if anything that called for an even greater awareness of what was happening. For example, that security camera that I’d missed…intentionally.
I doubt they noticed at first; my hand reached beneath my coat, took hold of a knife and propelled it towards the camera in what appeared to be a single motion. They looked towards the thunk before they looked at me, and by the time they did I was standing exactly as before.
‘What the fuck was that?’ my charge snapped, his voice gruff, deep and unappealing.
The buyer was silent, simply staring at me, likely in awe.
‘Just a camera,’ I replied. ‘Must have missed it. Still, it’s been dealt with now.’
My charge frowned at me; I cocked my head slightly. He opted not to press me, and turned his attention back to the deal, which was the best option. Sure, he was the one paying me, but I wasn’t a dog; if he wronged me in any way, I would deal with him.
My gaze shifted towards the now inoperative camera, landing on the small knife that had struck its power supply. I smiled an invisible smile; that had been a good shot.
‘Look here, you! I’m not accepting any less than one-and-a-half million!’ my charge shouted, leaning out of the car window and shaking his fist at the buyer. ‘If you think I’m accepting one million, you better think again!’
‘I’ve seen the merchandise,’ the buyer said, calmly, nasally. ‘And it’s not worth one-and-a-half. It’s barely worth one, but I’m willing to pay that. Take it or leave it.’
I rolled my eyes. Why was I not surprised by this turn of events?
‘You clearly don’t know your stuff!’ My employer turned to me. ‘This is over. I’ll leave your money in that pre-arranged place of yours, okay?’
I nodded and stepped back. My employer’s car sprang into life, and he reversed out of the parking space. ‘You’ll regret not buying from me!’ he cried, before driving off at high speed.
Were I any other person, I may have worried that he would crash into a streetlamp. But I’m not some other person. I’m just a bodyguard. A cunning, beyond-the-job-description bodyguard. My main concern at this point was that one million quid the buyer had mentioned.
I saw his hand move to the ignition; he found himself suddenly stopped, something leathery wrapped around his wrist. He looked down at my gloved hand and swallowed.
Part of me wanted to crack a bone, just to make sure, but I held back. ‘Don’t drive off just yet, sir. I have a proposition for you.’
‘It…it doesn’t involve me dying, does it?’ he whimpered.
‘No, no, not at all. But it does involve money.’ I released his wrist and leant against his car. ‘You said you were willing to pay one million pounds for the merchandise, right?’
‘What if I got it for you? Would you be willing to buy from me, at that price?’ I turned my head towards him slightly, looking at him, straight-faced and deadly serious.
The proposition rolled around in his head, his face an indeterminable mask as he considered it. Maybe he was just afraid of me, but, after a heavy gulp, he nodded. ‘S…sounds good to m…me.’
‘Excellent,’ I said. That was all I needed to say; I pushed myself off his car, took a couple of steps across the empty parking space and then slipped into my car – a black Mercedes-Benz.
He sat in his car for a short time, looking across at me. I couldn’t tell you why he did, but after a short time his engine sprang into life and he drove away.
I was left alone in the car park, sitting in the passenger seat of my own car. I looked up into the rear-view mirror, pulled down my hood and, carefully, removed my mask. Though my face was not damaged in any way – no scars, no burns – I preferred to keep it hidden, just in case my features could be used to identify me. Unlike others like me, I was happy to live amongst other people.
What do I mean “like me”? You’ll soon understand.
I turned the ignition, put the car into reverse and made my way out of the parking space; moments later and I was out on the roads of the city, away from the deal that had benefitted the bodyguard more than anyone else.