“I thought it would’ve turned out differently.”
“Life of course.”
“You mean you could have been a bank manager or something?” the larger man asked as he raised two fingers to signal the bartender for more whisky. “The terraced house in Surrey with the fat missus and two kids?”
“Doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Focus on the job and when we get home I’ll buy you a poodle.”
“Go fuck yourself.”
“Why not one of these young girls? That’s what you usually do.”
The slightly smaller of the two men looked around the bar at the young women plying their trade in bikinis and high heels. Both men were unshaven from a long haul flight and wearing rumpled clothing from the day before.
“We aren’t tourists though,” he said as he turned back to face the mirror behind the bar.
“What are you on about?” the bigger man asked him in the mirror.
“Well, we’ve got to go straight to the airport as soon as the job’s done. Don’t we?” the smaller man said back to the reflection of the bigger man in the mirror.
“It would be a bloody good idea. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life in the Bangkok Hilton.”
“That’s what I mean.”
“Keep your mind on the job. I don’t want a repeat of Vienna.”
“I couldn’t help it. Did you see that Russian girl’s tits? Anyway, I was only gone for fifteen minutes.”
“It’s against orders.”
“Our puritanical masters have something against big tits?”
“Most of them prefer little boys from what I’ve heard.”
“Doesn’t surprise me.”
“We’ve got a job to do. Right now we need to focus.”
“He doesn’t look like a threat to national security,” the smaller man said as he glanced over his shoulder.
“Don’t look at him you idiot,” the larger man told him in a gruff whisper.
In the far corner a balding, short, chubby foreign man with glasses, wearing an ill-fitting suit and tie, oblivious to the threat posed by the two customers at the bar, sat happily on a red velvet sofa surrounded by young girls. Three of them had taken off their bikini tops and one had removed the bottom as well. She sat impishly on his lap wearing nothing but stiletto heels glaring daggers down the bar, daring somebody to have an opinion. The smaller man had noticed that her breasts were very small. He preferred much bigger ones, like the ones in Vienna. The only girl with both bikini pieces still in place was running backwards and forwards to the bar bringing endless plastic trays of drinks. The chubby man on the red velvet sofa was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“I mean, seriously. Look at him. He thinks finding a whorehouse in Bangkok is winning life’s lottery. How can such a nobody scare an entire government?”
“It’s the new world. Internet changed everything. Today everybody’s a potential threat.”
“Knocking off whistle-blowers just seems so psychopathic. How come we don’t get to kill spies and thugs anymore?”
“There aren’t any. It’s all nerds on computers now. Like Romeo over there.”
The smaller man glanced over his shoulder again at the man in the corner. “Poor bastard. Hope he’s getting a wank under the table, because he’s not going to have time to get in her knickers,” he said.
“She’s not wearing any knickers,” the bigger man replied gruffly.
“You’re right,” the smaller man said glancing over his shoulder again.
“Are you sure we can’t let him have his fun and kill him tomorrow instead?”
“We’re booked on the midnight flight, do you want to call the office and explain why we aren’t going to be on it?”
“So it’s now then?”
“Yes, it’s now.”
“He just looks so harmless.”
“He shouldn’t have read the minister’s emails, should he?”
“There’s another side to that argument. If the minister wasn’t such a crooked bastard they wouldn’t need to send us halfway round the world to kill people for reading his mail.”
“Ours is not to reason why,” the bigger man said.
“Sure, but it’s the do or die part that bothers me,” the smaller man replied.
“Guns and oil. It’s what pays our salaries.”
“Pays us? I get paid as much as an Irish navvy, that’s how much. I’m James fucking Bond and I’m behind on my car payments and they make me fly economy.”
“This is no time to be whining about pay. You can join the union when you get home if you want.”
I spent years joining unions, spying on my own for our lords and masters,” the smaller man whispered as he sipped his whisky.
“We all did before the wall came down,” the bigger man said.
“Oh yeah, and as to a retirement plan; if we get caught they’ll disown us. That’s what they’ll do. They’ll abandon us to do life in a Thai prison.”
“What about it?”
“Death. They have the death penalty here.”
“Even fucking better. You really know how to cheer me up.”
“Now there’s a waste of time.”
“Trying to cheer you up.”
“Happy assassins I have known. That can be the title of your memoirs. All about how you insisted on your partners being cheerful as they waded through blood and shit for a living.”
“Well, be fucking happy then. At least there’ll be no blood this time.”
“Better not be if we are going straight from here to the airport. Have you ever tried checking in for a flight covered in somebody else’s blood and guts? Don’t worry about it though, just give them your big stupid grin and they’ll let you on the plane anyway.”
“Can you continue to act this stupid for another five minutes? That’s all it should take.”
“Sure. Let’s get it done.”
The big man put some cash on the bar to cover the bill and they both stood up. The smaller man started singing a rude song about an Eskimo and the bigger man put his arm over his shoulder as the two staggered up the bar shouting drunken goodbyes to the bartender as they went. When they reached the end of the bar they crashed into the crowd of topless girls and kept going, hitting the table in front of the red velvet sofa hard.
The chubby man with glasses pulled himself as far back as he could against the wall, as the bigger of the two men leaned in with his whisky breath telling him off for hogging all the whores.
“Where’s the door? There’s no fucking door. How do we get out of this shithole?” the smaller man demanded loudly, slurring his words horribly.
A feisty topless girl, almost a foot shorter than the smaller man, blocked his way and angrily wagged her finger in his face. “This not door. You too drunk. Door is other way. This way to toilet.”
The small man squeezed one of her breasts and said, “You want to hold it for me? I’m scared to go in there on my own.”
“You too drunk, you leave now!” the naked girl screamed in his face.
The smaller man pulled a silly face, leaned his head to the side, and went, “Ooh,” to her.
The bigger man put his arm back around the smaller man’s shoulder and told him, “Can’t stay here old man, not if the whores expect you to hold your own dick.”
They both held each other up as they staggered back down the bar to the door and the neon lit street outside. Once outside they straightened up.
“Done?” the bigger man asked.
“It’s done,” the smaller man said quietly opening the palm of his hand to reveal a small opaque plastic bottle that had been squeezed almost flat.
They went and sat on two barstools at a high table outside the big brightly coloured go-go bar across the street. The smaller man lit a cigarette.
“As soon as we get confirmation we take a taxi to the airport,” the bigger man said.
“It won’t be long, I put enough in his drink to give an elephant a heart attack.”
Just then the door opened and the naked girl came out screaming, as if pursued by a ghost. Two fully dressed older women quickly dragged her back inside. Others, fully dressed, came out and started yelling for the taxi drivers at the end of the street to come quickly. The two men sitting at the table outside the go-go bar across the road didn’t understand a word of what was being said but knew it must be something to do with a sick customer.
“Come on,” the bigger man said, “we need to get out of here. It looks like it’s going to rain.”