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Carol Miller's Ordinary Morning



Carol Miller’s Ordinary Morning Carol’s day was just one disaster after another. The hit on Mikhail Borozov had gone out an hour ago, her silencer had been malfunctioning, and she needed to get the pot roast in the oven by five. Even though Cindy was gone for the next few weeks with her boyfriend (yes she was well aware of that, she wasn’t an idiot), Tommy had promised to come over for dinner before the bar opened, and Mike would wander in sometime after 5:30. She worried about him, he’d been different since St. Adelaide’s... But she couldn’t thank about that now. Mikhail Borozov had a massive bounty on his head, mostly by rival families like the Mirellis, and it just so happened that he was in Ede Valley today. She’d gotten the tip-off from Betty down the street, and she wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through her fingers. That morning was clear and bright, though it promised to heat up later. As she usually did, Carol made a big show of stumbling into her heels and announcing that she was leaving for work. But as soon as she was out of the door she headed directly for the “garden shed” in the back yard. When her kids were younger, she’d had to forbid them from going into the shed—“There’s a lot of sharp, grown-up tools in there.” But now that they were older and broke out in hives at the mere mention of yard work, she’d had to be a lot less diligent. As the rough, wood door creaked open, Carol took a moment to take in the metallic taste of the guns on her tongue. It was strange how heavy the assortment of pistols, sniper rifles, knives of every size, darts, and poisons made the room seem. It was probably due to all the blood that she’d lovingly wiped off of every blade and barrel, but Carol didn’t like to think about that too much. She killed bad people, and kept a roof over her children’s heads. When Tommy had run away and Carol had finally gathered the courage to leave that piece of shit Robert in the dust, this had been the only thing that could make her enough to support the lifestyle she wanted for Cindy and Mike, and she’d be damned if she hadn’t finally found something she was good at. Besides, it wasn’t that hard, killing assholes. All she had to do was pretend they had Robert’s face. Taking a second, Carol ran her hands over her favorite pistol. Borozov was a big shot, probably surrounded by bodyguards. So unfortunately the pistol was a no-go. This would have to be a long-range kill. So, after slipping into something more suitable, baggy clothes to hide her figure, and pants with lots of pockets, she grabbed the heaviest sniper rifle from its place of honor on the wall. It had been the rifle she’d used on her first major haul. Hefting it carefully, she opened the door that connected the shed to the garage and placed it gently in the back seat of the car, double checking to make sure the safety was firmly on. As she drove, her mind began to wander. Borozov would be around 6th Street right now, which meant that she would have a lot of vantage points to choose from. Trying to conjure up the street in her mind, Carol ran through all of the buildings and—oh shit! She was supposed to vacuum the living room today. Who knew when she was going to get home and it was all dusty and gross and— Okay Carol. Focus. She could worry about the appalling state of her house later. Now it was time to bring home the bacon. Yes, her children would soon be leaving the house, but with Cindy starting college in the fall and Mike not far behind her... yikes. Even with the scholarship Cindy had managed to snag, those bills were not going to be cheap. Carol had had her kids young, it was true, she wasn’t out of her prime quite yet. But if she wanted to retire before her body gave out on her entirely, she needed a few big catches. And Mikhail Borozov was one of the biggest. Briefly, she wondered what sort of man Borozov was. It would be easy to envision him as some sort of cartoonishly evil Russian, spreading around guns and drugs in an effort to weaken the capitalist pigs of America. Yet somehow, she didn’t think this was the case. When you were in this business long enough, you knew people. And every person she’d ever met who knew Mikhail Borozov uttered his name not with fear, but with awe. It was a real shame that a criminal genius like that would have to die. Then again, try telling that to all the people he had killed in his name. Carol only killed bad men, and Borozov was at the top of the list. Carol parked in a back alley a little ways off 6th street, and paused to get her bearings. The buildings were tall, and close together. That would provide her with an ample assortment of good vantage points. As for the best, that would rely somewhat on luck. She had no idea which building he would come from, so she’d have to make a guess and hope she was right. Reaching into the glovebox, Carol grabbed out the black ski mask she kept inside and pulled it on, tucking her hair inside as well. It had made her chuckle, the one or two times she’d been seen and the news had described her as an “adolescent boy”. Then, she reached into the back for the rifle. It was showtime. Carol slung the rifle onto her back, and after ducking out of the car, proceeded to climb up the fire ladder on the side of the nearest building. Her knees complained a little, curse her old gymnastics injury. She was a little out of breath by the time she reached the top of the four stories, and leaned behind the air conditioning unit to get it back. She was on top of one of the taller buildings on the street, a neon sign that seemed to have a goat on it shined below her. This would be a good place to see from. Luck had been on her side this morning. She set up her rifle stand against the lip of the roof, peered through the scope to aim it down towards the street, and waited. She didn’t have to wait for long. After only about ten or so minutes of watching the cracked street below, a broad-shouldered man in a suit emerged from the very building she was perched upon. At first, Carol didn’t even realize it was Mikhail Borozov. There were no bodyguards around him, he was completely alone. Without that backup, he seemed... smaller than he should have been. But it was him alright, the greying hair, the strong jaw. She’d caught glimpses of him enough to know. Readying her rifle, she aimed and drew in a deep breath, just as she had done so many times. But something made her pause. He looked so... sad. He walked a few yards away from the building and stood there, just breathing that air in deeply, staring upwards towards the sky. Why was he alone? And what was in that building that had made him so distraught? No, she shook herself. She couldn’t start thinking like that. He was a bad man who had ruined countless lives, killed countless people. He was the root of so much evil in this world, she’d be doing it a favor by putting a stop to it. Carol affirmed her grip on the rifle, aimed again. She breathed slowly in and out, her hand resting on the trigger, before holding it. One more second. Ready... ready... But she froze as she heard a click near her ear and cold metal on the back of her head. “Don’t move,” said a voice. Like hell she wouldn’t. Before the voice had time to react, Carol grabbed the wrist holding the gun and twisted just in time to see the metal clang to the roof. Now that she’d disarmed the attacker, time to get a look at... Except that one second later a second gun was to her temple, and she was looking up at a very pissed off kid with an eyepatch. “I’d let go of my arm, if I were you,” he grunted, and she obeyed, dropping her grip. He’d be expecting a retaliation this time, and if she tried, he would shoot her brains across the street below. She had to pause, however, as she actually saw his face, and realized that she knew him. It had only been for a moment, but she was sure that he had been at Cindy’s graduation. He was one of her friends. Great, now she couldn’t hurt him, or let him know who she was. Wait, hold on a second. What was Cindy doing hanging out with a shady character like him? No, Carol, focus. That is not what you should be worrying about right now. Slowly, as to not provoke his ire, Carol raised her hands in the air. "That’s right,” he said. “Nice and slow. What are you, a hit man?” She nodded, slowly. “Well too bad, you’re not gonna get him today. Any last words?” Fuck, shit, no, she couldn’t die. How would Cindy and Mike pay for school without her? But begging was not going to work on this kid, she could tell. “Why?” she asked, trying to get him talking. “Why protect him? He’s done a lot of bad things.” “So have I.”

“Were they under his orders?” He shrugged. “Some of them.” “How did a kid like you get caught up in all of this?” she shook her head slightly. This child was probably right about Cindy’s age. After thinking for a second, he shrugged again. “Well, I guess you’re gonna be dead in a second, so if you really need to know, he’s my father.” Oh no. Now she couldn’t kill Mikhail Borozov either. Why did he tell her that? Of course she knew he probably had kids, but now that she could picture a face... “Well,” she sighed. “You might as well let me go because now I can’t kill him.” “Can’t kill him? What sort of hitman are you?” “One who is also a mother.” There was one thing that was going to get her out of this alive. She made a slow movement towards her mask, and the kid let her. Carefully, Carol peeled off her mask, and watched with slight satisfaction as the kid’s eyes widened and he nearly dropped the gun. “Mrs. Miller?” He sounded utterly baffled. “That’s Ms. Miller to you,” she couldn’t help smirking a little. “I haven’t been married for years.” “Well, shit biscuits, now I can’t kill you either.” He lowered the gun and sighed. Carol smiled faintly. “So it seems we’re at an impasse.” “It would appear so.” She sighed then, and leaned back against the lip of the roof. “Please don’t tell Cindy, or Mike. They don’t know.” “I figured that. Seems like Cindy would have mentioned her mom was a fucking hitman if she’d known. We could have used the backup at Adelaide’s.” “I regret that a lot,” she admitted. “Cindy doesn’t tell me a lot of things. I had no idea it was happening until it was too late.” “I think that’s probably a two-way street,” the kid raised his eyebrows. “So what happens now?” she asked. “If you’re not going to kill me, then what?” He smirked, the gears in his head turning. “It wouldn’t be good for my rep to just let you go, and I could use a good hitman. So, let’s say that sometime in the future, you owe me a favor. And remember, I never forget a favor.” “That’s about what I expected,” Carol nodded. The kid held out his hand and she took it, before they parted ways, him back into the building and she down the fire escape again. Carol climbed into her car once more. Welp, guess there’d be no paycheck today, but that happened sometimes. She wasn’t really concerned about that however, because on the drive home she was far too busy practicing what she would say to her kids about her real job.

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