This story is by Nicholas Krig and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
“I know who you are.”
The man across the bare metal table said evenly through thickly Russian accented english.
“Jonathon Mikel. A good American name.”
Mikel squinted through the harsh light, his head still swimming from the blow he had taken outside of his apartment.
“You would think a covert CIA SAD operative would notice two men out of place waiting at the entrance of his home. But then again I suppose we all get complacent.” The Russian gave a sigh leaving a trail of cigarette smoke behind his hand as he waved it.
“And you are…” Mikel cleared his dry throat. “What? SSO, RF, GRU?” He responded in clear Russian, not willing to relinquish his cover.
The Russian gave a smirk.
“Right now, I am your friend. Tomorrow..” He obliged the switch to Russian with a shrug. “Who knows, that is all based on this conversation.”
Mikel sucked in a piece of his lower lip and bit down hard, a habit born in frustration. “I don’t make conversation with Russian intelligence agencies.”
“Well now, that is certainly Un-CIA of you. You know there’s many in your organization that would consider us friends Jon, and you know what friends do? They talk to each other.”
“Go fuck yourself.” Mikel said, this time in English.
The Russian chuckled and slid a picture over the table.
Mikel instantly knew the piercing blue eyes, side ways smile, and straight black hair.
“This is just so we understand each other Jonathon. No need to worry she is safe in your apartment, untouched, for now..”
Mikel could see by the man’s measured gaze he was waiting for some sort of response but when he got none he continued on.
“You know, we’ve kept a close eye on you. As we do most Russian exits to the great America, for intel reasons, obviously,” The Russian stood and turned to contemplate the wall, one hand deep in his pockets, the other tapping the ash from his cigarette.
“Maybe future recruitment, though your family was too volatile for that. Russian Immigrants trapped in poverty? Your brother turned to dealing dope, your father became an addict, your mother sold herself in motel rooms just to put food in your belly.” The Russian put his cigarette out on the table and planted two hands on its corners. Lowering himself into Mikel’s vision.
“You’re still not going to say anything?”
Mikel snorted through his nose.
He felt the punch before he ever saw it, a right hook that sent him sliding through the in-betweens of consciousness.
“No eyebrows were raised when you enlisted in the armed forces, a poor immigrant’s son trying to escape poverty.”
When he finally regained his focus he found The Russian nursing the knuckles of his right hand, continuing on as if nothing had happened.
“You made a name for yourself in Iraq as a sharpshooter, next ranger school, then the Green Beret, special ops in South America, impressive accolades there but then you dropped off the radar.Now right before the Israeli prime minister is to announce to the world, in the heart of Russia, that he is going to abandon his American allies and make peace in the middle east, with Russia, you show up.”
The Russian looked at him expectantly, as if he was still waiting for him to admit to all of it.
Mikel only met his gaze evenly.
“Look, there is a Russian Ak-47 pre-fit to make a kill at 300 meters stored in a no tenant apartment room you have been frequenting. That specific room gives clear line of site to the podium the Israeli prime minister is making his speech on just 274 meters away.”
Mikel nodded slowly.
“What do you want?”
“I want you to Kill Putin.”
The Russian let out a heavy sigh.
“Russia needs a new direction, a fresh direction… Think about this as a service to the world. If you do this no wars, no nukes. The world as you knew it continues on, spinning, unaware of your sacrifice but safe, and she..” The Russian planted a thick finger on the photo. “She gets to live the rest of her life with you as a distant memory. If you choose to go ahead with your murder of the Israeli PM.., you will force me to let Putin and his organization in on this and given the Russian President’s relationship with your country how do you think that bodes for your government… and the girl?”
Mikel was a practical man, seeing the things he’d seen and doing the things he’d done. He knew when a situation presented itself whether he would live through it or not, he didn’t figure this was one he would be living through.
Mikel said, a second later he felt something like a bug bite on his neck and the next time he opened his eyes he was lying in front of his apartment.
CIA director James Amoth stared in disbelief at the 50 inch display in his office, hand frozen halfway to his lips with what 30 seconds ago had been a celebratory glass of whiskey.
“Breaking news,” The anchor slid into her story with cadence and inflection no different than if a fire broke out at the Jones’s and the only casualty was the cat.
“gunshots rang out at the Russian world leaders summit moments ago. First reports indicate that Russian President, Vladimir Putin has been.. shot.”
Shaky footage slid over the screen. The Russian President was standing next to the Israeli PM, nodding along slowly with his speech. A crack cut through the PM’s broken English and The Russian head of state crumpled on the podium, his head cocked at an unnatural angle as if it was falling at a trajectory separate of his body.
“The President wants to see you sir.”
Amoth nodded slowly, just vaguely aware of his secretary’s voice somewhere behind him.