I landed in Knoxville Tennessee, a town not unlike many in America. Strip malls, strip joints, civilisation. Knoxville is not where I will find the mark. My journey takes me north to the little town of Cumberland Gap and into the Appalachian Mountains. The mark is somehow linked to an ongoing corruption scandal involving a Lake Michigan urban city. I don’t get involved in the politics, this is just my job 5 days a week.
I’m staying a few days at “The Olde Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast”, until I get a feel for the mark’s patterns and associates. I found a Credence Clearwater Revival 8-track tape at a tag sale on the way here from the airport. The tape actually works in the player in this rusty old pickup I’m driving. A man in my job needs to bend in, classics like “Frank Sinatra” or “Radio Birdman” are not frequently heard in this part of the world.
Dinner at the Loose Caboose, sharing it with me is a delicious Caribbean girl named Hathary. Her bronze skin glistens from a light sheen of sweat, her dark eyes full of fire and passion, and her long silken black hair cascades over her shoulders. Our bodies move as one, shuddering and writhing together on the dance floor. Alas, there will be no mating rituals tonight, Hathary only goes one way, and that way is not mine.
The mark is a regular mountain man and very wily. It’s not often that I have to track people in the woods, and this guy knows what he’s doing. I’ve been about a half day behind him since leaving the town of Cumberland Gap and it’s civilisation. I wish I’d brought more food supplies and beer; a man can eat only so many granola bars. If I can just get close enough, I may be able to utilise a new type of weapon I’m developing.
My new weapon, when complete, I will call The Snake Shooter, it launches venomous snakes up to 100 yards. Varying in size, as do snakes, the delivery package is a cardboard mailing tube propelled by a pneumatic rocket. Once the tube lands, the hungry, angry snakes push off the nose cone. The projectile can penetrate glass and thin walls, but my success rate is only about 35% due to snake brain damage and broken fangs.
A sniper shot may be the only way. This mark is proving too difficult to get close enough for hands on work. I know a sniper in Harlan, Kentucky, not far from here. Frank is a great shot, works cheap, and has only one odd requirement. Frank collects the victim’s left big toe. Ordinarily his souvenir hunting is not a problem, but I cannot use Frank this time; this hit is part of my yearly Nepali evaluation. I have to handle this one personally.
I tracked the mark to his secret lair. The two story log cabin, located in a treeless hollow, looked very strongly built. The few windows that the cabin had were small and close to the ceiling. Sniper shot through a window would be impossible. What a predicament, unable to sneak in close, impossible to use the long range weapon, what is a man to do?
I adapted the snake shooter to work with a small mammal, namely the North American Skunk. The skunk shooter was disastrous. The critter pushed it’s way out of the tube mid flight, causing the trajectory to change. The poor thing splattered against the outside of cabin. Luckily for me though, I had the sniper rifle ready and when the mark peeked out of the cabin to see what made the noise and stink, I was able to complete the job.