Mercenary was an online roleplaying game started by one of the guys I e-wrestled with. He was trying for something with a slightly different feel than the usual “smacktalk/reply” format of wrestling, so he created Merc. The premise was you created a character who was a mercenary-for-hire. He would introduce a number of scenarios (or “contracts” if you will) and you could participate in whichever ones you chose. Each handler would submit a few RP’s for each campaign, then he would pick who he thought had the most impressive week and write out the final battle as it were, tying all the characters together based on what they had written previously as well a “how I’d do it” submission we’d each done anonymously.
In an effort to try something new myself I created a female character with the codename “Stiletto”. I also chose to write my RP’s out in standard fictional prose, as opposed to the more script-style format of e-wrestling. I enjoyed what I wrote a lot, but I only lasted one scenario before bowing out. I think I just found it to be a bit too much work. I was also getting back into theater at the time, so my spare time was limited. As with e-wrestling these following posts will lose a little something thanks to a lack of context, as I was inserting things into my side of the story that were based off of what others were also doing. Kind of proud of the writing nonetheless.
BTW, “Oz” was the name of the particular campaign, hence the title. It involved executing a hit on a convicted pedophile who was locked up in a max security prison. Fun game, eh?
* * * * *
The bag of ice was cold and unexpected, it’s sudden application to her throbbing knuckles providing both shock and relief. Mikey stood over her, a mischievous smile curling his lips. Their relationship over the years had always been one of playful hostility, like that of a brother and sister who on the surface couldn’t stand each other, but deep down knew what family meant. In some twisted way Mikey was like family. At least, as much family as she’d known in the last thirteen years.
“Thanks, kiddo.” Sondra shot Mikey a half-hearted smile. “How ’bout next time you wrap it in a towel first.” Mikey’s response was little more than a light chuckle and a wink. As he turned and strode back to his station at the bar, Sondra manipulated the Ziplock over her reddened right hand, wincing at the slight burn that came from applying the freezing ice to her sensitive skin. It seemed every night at the Bad Place was an adventure, and tonight was shaping up no different. It began with the latest in a long running series of run-ins with the one she’d secretly nicknamed “Slickboy”. Barely through the door and the diminutive playboy had swept over to her for his routine check-up. She still wasn’t biting, but he was never one to take “no” for an answer. Some nights she was up for their little game, some nights not. Tonight was one of the nots, and to his credit Slickboy seemed to catch on. If anything he seemed to be preoccupied himself, his suggestive comments and attempt at a cheap feel coming across almost automated.
Then came the new kid. What he was even doing there was anybody’s guess really. He certainly wasn’t one of the regulars and his look suggested he’d be much more comfortable down at CBGB’s than here. But then again it took all kinds in this field and Sondra hadn’t been in the mood to really care. At least, not until he stumbled up to her with his purple mohawk and multiple piercings and tried to throw down his mojo like the bastard son of Iggy Pop and Barry White. Mood or not, punk boy would have to be dealt with.
“What is it about being a woman in a man’s world that makes all men seem like retards?”
Apparently the subtler art of insult wouldn’t be sufficient in this case. The mohawked kid’s response was a gaping mouth and scrunched eyebrows. All she could do was sigh.
“Beat it, Mo. I don’t do freaks.”
Neither did the less subtler and more direct approach. This was going to be painful.
“Hey, baby, no need to–”
His words were suddenly cut off by the harsh reality of Sondra’s right hand connecting solidly with the underside of his nose. Letting out a girlish yelp, his hands quickly shot to his face and his eyes stared back at her in horror as trickles of blood began to seep through his fingers. A muffled “you bith” was all he could muster.
“Count on it” came her reply, and in an instant he was gone, stumbling to the bathroom like a defeated bully while pain shot to Sondra’s hand. “Fuck” she though to herself. “I don’t need this shit.” She ordered a screwdriver from Mikey and asked him for some ice for the knuckles which even now were beginning to swell. The screwdriver came in a heartbeat. The ice would take some time. In the meantime she scooted upstairs and took up residence at her customary table to wait out the evening’s ritual. The cold glass for the screwdriver served as a temporary relief as she laid it across her hand in-between sips. Leon arrived, did his business, and things were just now beginning to break up. Then came the ice.
With relief now settling in on her throbbing knuckles, Sondra cursed the mohawked freak yet again under her breath and with her left hand began to awkwardly work her cellphone. The menu had been laid out before them, and it was time to get cracking. The Oz case had peaked her interest instantly, and it also seemed the one most up her alley. Jungle expeditions and arctic treks weren’t really her cup of tea, and a blatant assassination didn’t suit her style. Besides, fucking with kids was always a surefire way to hit her bad side, particularly now with the beating of her own maternal clock sounding so steady and so loud. By this stage of her life, motherhood wasn’t really an option, but the pangs of it still dug deep. Like so many things about this business lately, the loss of the “normal life” was gnawing at her soul. The magic had died. It had all become just another profession. But in this world, there was no hope for a white picket fence and trips to Disneyland with the kids.
A click, and then a voice at the other end of the phone answered. If Mikey and Sondra were like bickering brother and sister, then Lawrence and her were like secretive conspirators passing notes in school. They tended to giggle a lot when in conversation with each other and their respective takes on their fellow mercs usually overlapped, making it natural for the duo work in concert. They would often share stories about the others and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. The relationship provided a means of escape, however brief, from the built up façade of toughness that was necessary in the day-to-day. It didn’t hurt that Lawrence, aka Bypass, had a knack for getting Sondra the things she needed, no matter how odd. That would be the purpose of this call.
They got down to business and she ran through her list of wants and needs for the project. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Some phone numbers, brief background checks on the prison officials, phony ID’s and doctorates. “Is that all? I thought you had a challenge for me” was all he would have to say. The necessary info would be en-route to the usual places within five hours. “Thanks, Pass. As always, I owe you one.”
The tone of Bypass’s voice changed slightly to that of playfulness. “One of these days I plan on collecting on that debt, honey.”
Sondra purred her response. “You wouldn’t know what to do with me if you got me, sport.”
They shared a laugh before signing off. Of course he called her Stiletto again. You could almost hear him grin as he said it. She rolled her eyes and breathed an exasperated sigh, clicking the phone shut without so much as a word. There was no point in telling him not to call her that. She had already asked politely about a hundred times and at this stage he was just doing it to annoy her. Men.
Sondra tucked the phone into her purse and finished off the last of her drink. It was time to get moving, and as had so often been the case recently, she found herself wanting for the motivation to get up. The case itself seemed manageable and safe. The plan to get close had formed almost instantly in her mind upon hearing the situation and she knew it was not going to be difficult to execute, especially given the nature of the target and the mere fact that not a soul would blame her for offing the sick fuck. Cases like this were low risk. Especially when they involved prisons. Guards and wardens were notorious for not giving a shit about the kiddy rapers, and in fact usually went out of their way to make sure that such guests were made to feel as unwelcome as possible. Hell, she could probably walk up to the gate, declare her intentions clearly, and be let right into the cell and given the weapon of her choice. Nobody was likely to stop her. But then where is the fun in that? If she was going to continue on her chosen career path, she was at least going to get some sort of satisfaction out it. That’s where the games came into play.
She’d noticed a lot of interest from the others in the Oz case. Even in the underworld there was not much love for the kind of sickos who would pray on children. If anything, it was the one moral stand that was universal among her kind. In a twisted sense most of those who made their living as guns for hire saw themselves as a form of superhero. It was an easy rationalization to make. If somebody was willing to plunk down the cash needed to get one of them to your door, chances are you did something to deserve it. And going after kids was certainly tops on that list of bad deeds. Sondra would have to get moving, and quickly, if she wanted to earn the payday. Assignments like this were usually crowded, and it was often speed over style that got the job done, a fact which saddened Sondra. She detested the sloppy killers. To her it was still an art, a game. The subtleties of getting into position and executing the task without so much as a hint of what she was up to excited her. Anybody could learn to shoot a gun. It took real skill to get in close. To look your victim in the eye and know that he didn’t see you coming, and nobody would see you leaving.
Mustering up the energy, she pushed herself out from behind the table and sauntered downstairs, eventually making her way over towards the bar. Mikey was emptying ashtrays and had his head down, making him a perfect target. Unzipping the baggie, she carefully poured the half-melted contents of the bag into his collar. He shot straight up, arching his back as the ice cold liquid ran down his spine and into his shorts. A breathy “haaaach” accompanied his dance. He looked up at his attacker to find Sondra walking away from him towards the bar’s main door.
“STILETTO, YOU BITCH!”
She waved her hand daintily above her head as she made her way out the door and into the street. Mikey could only smile.