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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. A trail of seemingly coincidental meetings with a beautiful woman over several years leads to a series of events including Bakoda’s cats Ying and Yang being poisoned, an assault with a deadly weapon upon his girlfriend and his home being set on fire with apparently no immediate motive. That was until he began receiving chiding limericks that challenged him to solve the mystery before someone really got hurt.
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I had finished an assignment for The Outfit and was in retreat. To maintain distance and deniability it was extremely rare that following the completion of an assignment for The Outfit that I would go directly back to operations base, or to my home in Phoenix; the objective was to complete the task and then simply disappear like smoke with no trace of who I had been, where I had come from, and no indication of where I went.
In my role as an assassin for an off the books federal agency it had to be that way, everything was at as much arm’s length as was humanly possible. My employer for all that time—almost a decade and a half—was kind of an urban black ops concern although often my missions extended from cities and towns into the rural environs. A court of last resort when the legal system had gone awry and the worst of the worst had managed to elude their just deserts by undue influence and bribery, intimidation or elimination of key witnesses, and a myriad of other reasons. I would be sent out to eliminate them.
Operations base for The Outfit, at least the part of it that I reported to, was a plush suite of offices in an eastern city not in immediate proximity to DC but not that far away. The offices were a front, representing itself as a legitimate business that dealt with a level of clientele that didn’t invite walk-in traffic or the curious. Few within its cherry paneled walls even knew the scope of the operation or where their authorization came from, and those of us who interfaced with the organization but were dispatched to dispatch knew even less. I only knew that I reported to a rather manipulative and self-satisfied boss who would beckon me to be briefed for an assignment and send me on my way to complete it. I didn’t even know where he fit into the food chain or what he did beyond his interface with me.
Once I left the portals of The Outfit I was on my own with no communication with them that was traceable, in short, by cell phone, and should things completely go out of control with little or no support save perhaps a solitary resource.
I was on my own and left to my own resources, and I liked it that way.