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Ruthlessness Personified/Supply Meets Demand
TIME: 1946 HOURS
DATE: 13 MAY 1988
LOCATION : Undisclosed
"This guy is pathetic, Earl. I mean…were the pickings that slim?" the man grumbled, his eyes transfixed on a nearby monitor.
His oily, slicked black hair was ruffled in the back, a tiny coif curled into a perfect semi-hook. His tie hung loose from his unbuttoned collar as he reached to wipe the building perspiration from his forehead. He paused briefly before turning to the older man standing only a few feet away, waiting impatiently for a response to his rather curt query.
The older man was concentrating on a separate monitor that displayed a similar scene as the other, but from a slightly altered angle. He nonchalantly brushed a tiny spec of lint off his right shirt sleeve and adjusted his glasses before bothering to reply. His thick, wavy hair was grayed at the temples; his meticulously groomed mustache pitch-black by comparison, giving it the look of a fuzzy black caterpillar lying beneath his rather prominent nose. "Calm yourself, Aaron. My god, you're the highest-strung young man I have ever met. Nothing to go catatonic over, my boy. The clock at the bottom of the screen is reading a bit over twelve minutes, is it not?"
The younger man glanced back over his shoulder at the monitor he' d been screening, his face frozen in a sour scowl. "Twelve minutes, forty-three seconds, but damn it, Earl."
Leaning back in the comfort of the padded leather chair he had sunken into, the older man waived him off with a hand displaying a bulky, pear shapeddiamond ring on the index finger and a wrist sporting a Gold Rolex watch "Three more minutes of footage is all we need, Aaron. We can pad the rest of the tape with additional footage from past skirmishes. You know, kind of a 'greatest kills ' snippet. Sit, Aaron. Drink some bottled water and by all means lay off of the caffeine for a bit."
Grunting his displeasure, Aaron Kyle sidestepped over to the chair fronting his monitor and plopped down with a huff. He was going to have someone's ass from the hiring department later that afternoon, no doubt, and it wouldn't be the first time. This was the third straight 'dud' they had thrown to the wolf in the past five matches. They were either going to have to find more suitable combatants, or begin to consider placing some sort of handicap on Dr. Ruthless out there. Aaron tired of shifting through old footage to pad the product, and knew eventually the audience would feel the same about purchasing inferior entertainment. They were a fickle bunch, as most of their ilk were, and would quickly grow bored and find new, increasingly perverted ways to spend their seemingly endless supply of capitol.
Aaron sipped his warming bottled water and observed the man on the screen crouch and walk behind a row of lined metal barrels. As the man's head slowly scanned a darkened alley to his immediate left, Aaron could see the fear in the subject's spastic, darting eyes. Jesus, soon as Parks finds this guy, he's buttered toast. Hell, I believe I'd have a better chance of walking away intact than this clown.
The subject remained crouched between what had been two one-floor barracks buildings from back in the days when the base was fully manned. The two-foot long machete he held in his left hand shook visibly and Aaron couldn't help but smirk after shooting the older man a dismayed glare.
"The son of a bitch is going to piss his combat fatigues, Earl. Wasn 't this guy a Green Beret in another life?"
Earl Barron didn't respond for a full thirty seconds, an annoying trait that frustrated Aaron to no end. He realized and accepted the entire project as being the old man' s offspring right from the beginning, and that the twenty million that had been spent to renovate the ramshackle base had come from Barren's deep pockets--but being subjected to playing second banana to anyone was something he could not, and would not, ever grow accustomed to.
"One more minute, Aaron. And yes, he did possess all the necessary credentials. Military training…no family to speak of. He simply desired the magical payday. Wanted to become the next in line to the throne, as so many of them do."
Scratching a light growth of stubble on his otherwise flawless, smooth face, Aaron Kyle scoffed. "Next in line for a body bag's more like it. Parks is gonna hand him his liver on a plate."
Earl Barron nodded in silent agreement, his mind already locked on the matter of busines s at hand, such as number of VHS tapes (the majority) to produce as opposed to Beta (a definite minority), and exactly how much to charge for each since production values had been on the increase of late.
His bladder threatening to release its content s with each frantic movement, Bobby Kane wished with every fiber of his existence that he hadn't taken the double-hit of speed an hour earlier. In Grenada, Puerto Rico, and countless other stressful, wartime scenarios, he'd found th e practice of popping a beanie or two actually settled his mind and honed his senses.
This time, however, with a cool million dollars on the line, as well as opportunities for larger paychecks in the near future, it was having the reverse effect. Every wind-blown leaf or piece of loose gravel that fell underneath his steel-toed boots caused him to leap back like a spooked grade-schooler. That, coupled with the primal fear he felt for his opposition, a man he had been told was responsible for over sixty deaths via hand-to-hand combat, was causing his hands and legs to tremor uncontrollably.
It was a feeling he wasn't used to, nor a damned bit comfortable with, especially under the present circumstances.
Kane wasn't a physically imposing man by any means. At first glance, one might even label him a bit scrawny in appearance. He was six-two but only carried one-hundred seventy-five pounds on a tightly muscled, immaculately toned body. His face was gaunt; his complexion as pasty as dried dap. He wore bushy eyebrows, thick-framed glasses and a constant expression of grim weariness. Many times he had used these less-than-intimidating features against his opponent with undeniable success.
Troubled by violent outbursts as a child and juvenile, he had been trained as a weapons expert by the Army , and took to it like he'd been born and bred to the expertise that had come so naturally.
Sliding his way forward between two of the empty steel barrels, he cursed himself for wasting the limited ammo he'd been allowed. Three lousy shots from a .38 hadn' t exactly been his count or weapon of choice, but then again, he hadn't been given one . He' d told himself before the dance had ever started not to waste them, since he would only have the blade and billy club left in a woefully limited arsenal.
Copyright © 2007 Terry Lloyd Vinson.