[WP] An assassin receives an unusual contract: a man on death row already slated for execution.

“I think you’ve made a mistake.” “No mistake.” he replied. I cleared my throat, shifting in my seat, “There is no need.” The man sitting in the booth across the table was unflinching. “No mistake”, he replied again coldly, “the name is correct.” “The man whom —“, I paused, waiting for the passing waitress to move outside of earshot, then continued, speaking as quietly as possible without arousing suspicion, “The man whom this name belongs to will be dead in two weeks.” I had just broken one of my rules. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. Regardless, I tried to avoid it whenever possible. Rules meant consistency. Consistency meant efficiency. And efficiency not only kept a roof over my head, but, more importantly, ensured that said roof did not belong a penal institution. “I’m aware of the current situation,” he continued, “yet that changes nothing.” Goddamn, I thought, he’s beating me at my own game now. I paused, studying him closely. He was well-dressed, but not so well as to draw attention to himself. Clean-shaven, with short salt-and-pepper hair surrounding his balding head. I was looking for something — anything — that might give any indication as to what was going on. “I just don’t understand…” and there it was. His small, grey eyes narrowed ever so slightly as if he were delighted by my confusion. He knows more than he’s letting on. And judging by that slight slip, it was something major. “Okay,” I began as I raised my hand to signal the waitress for the check, “why don’t we discuss this more outside?”

I was breaking another rule — this time, venturing into new ground — but there was too much at stake to just walk away from this. As we walked out to the parking lot, I began to replay the events of this evening in my head.
Until I unfolded the small piece of paper and read that name, everything had gone smoothly. A time and place was selected, then changed at the last second to avoid a possible setup. I had arrived early at the small restaurant — different every time — to survey the situation. I requested a table for two, making small talk with the hostess and waitress while I waited for the other party to arrive — nothing too detailed, but enough to prevent seeming out-of-place.
The man arrived almost exactly on time, which wasn’t too unusual, carrying nothing. We embraced as though we were acquainted, ordered small meals, and began to discuss various inane topics; The weather, local sports games, current events, etc. When we had finished eating, the man placed his napkin on the table and slid a folded piece of paper across to me. Everything had gone perfectly until I read what was written on that paper in neat, deliberate, handwriting: “Evan Rodgers”, then, underneath, “$250,000”.
It had taken everything in me not to react upon seeing that number. After all, it was ten times my normal rate, and five times the highest-paying job I’d ever taken. Then there was the name, to boot.
Evan Rodgers. Not an uncommon name, but coupled with that number, there was no mistaking what this man wanted. Evan Rodgers. The man who had shot his wife in cold blood as she lay sleeping, and fled. Evan Rodgers. The man who had been caught at the Canadian border by a rookie Border Patrol agent. Evan Rodgers. The man who had maintained his innocence throughout his open-and-shut trial and subsequent sentencing. Evan Rodgers. The man who had been sentenced to die and has been sitting on death row for the past 5 years.

We walked side-by-side into the dimly lit parking lot behind the restaurant as I glanced around, nervously. This was far outside my comfort zone, but I needed to know more. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary — a few cars dotted the lot, with an occasional pedestrian walking by.

“Here is good”, the man said, stopping abruptly and turning to face me, “Is there a problem?” “Well,” I began, not knowing yet what my play was here, “for starters, this man has been sitting behind bars in a maximum security prison for the past five years.” “Correct.” Nothing. There had to be a way to get through. It wasn’t often that I could be outwitted. And with stakes like this, I needed to get all the information I could while I still had a chance. “And then there’s the fact that this man is sentenced to die by lethal injection two weeks from tonight.” My eyes never left his. “Also correct.” He never broke my gaze. “There’s going to be quite a few issues that I normally don’t have to deal with in order to pull this off.” “And you will be compensated accordingly, as you can see.” “Oh, I can see.” “Then I ask again. Is there a problem?” I’d hate to be at the same poker table with this guy. Fuck it. Time to throw up a Hail Mary. “What are you people not telling me!?” “We…” There it was. He exhaled sharply and lowered his head, realizing his mistake, then brought his eyes back to meet mine. “We have it on good authority that Evan Rodgers will be pardoned 10 days from now. This man will be walking the streets in 10 days,” His stare somehow became even more intense than throughout the entire evening, “and we want you to kill this man.”

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