Here Is A Man

Watch how he walks, note the way he carries the weight of his body. Follow him discreetly. It has to be discreetly – he might be violent, almost certainly is. When his jacket swings open we can see the gun holstered under his shoulder. He is brawny and every movement is too-controlled, too-precise; he has killed, would like to kill again.

There are many of us, so following him is easy. We are changed before he has time to grow suspicious of us. None of our faces linger in his memory, our attention is never too persistent, but we are always there, brushing against him on the subway platform, checking the angle of our hat in the shop window, reading a newspaper in the coffee shop in the building he enters. Following him is professional, a check on ourselves as much as anything. We know where he is going. We know what he plans to do. Why he carries that gun, what name and symbols are inscribed on the special bullets inside it, why his hands are busy and nervous inside the pockets of his coat. He is cautious and clever, but we are many and old and wise in our oldness.

We are there when he slips into our offices, waiting for him in the shape of an old man examining a file and in the bodies of the clerks typing anonymously in the background. He is fast with that gun and deadly, but we are already there, surrounding him as we have always surrounded him. He has never had a chance, and the moment, like everything else, has passed.