O’Brian felt his senses dulling, filling his insides with the fullness of a Thanksgiving dinner. It made him wary. The thought of being a contented man left him disquieted. It was unfamiliar territory. He nursed his drink, a small smile on his thin lips as he remembered old World War II movies where the soldiers sat in a foxhole at night. One would say, “sure is quiet.” The other soldier would say without fail, “yeah, too quiet.” Then all hell would break loose. O’Brian was hoping that this was not one of those moments. He was hoping that it was the Jamesons.
Looking at O’Brian, a stranger would see a lean, almost thin man in his late 40’s, conservatively dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit and wearing glasses. The stranger would assume that O’Brian was a lawyer or maybe a banker. He would assume that O’Brian was enjoying a mid-afternoon drink. He would also assume that O’Brian was a timid and shy man.
The stranger would make these assumptions. He would be wrong. Very wrong. O’Brian, all 5-9 and 165 pounds of him was a skilled killer. He liked blending in. He liked being underestimated. It made his job much easier. Yes, he was a killer. First, trained by the U.S. government, then received a post graduate education in the lethal arts by remnants of the Carlo Gambino family.
O’Brian sat on a small bench facing a bench of the same size with a thick wooden table resting in between. In the corner of the back room of the Irish Bank, there was a wood stove which O’Brian liked to look at as he drank. The waiter had left one of the doors slightly open. O’Brian could hear the rain and smell the fresh air.
O’Brian noted the people coming and going, automatically assessing each for their threat potential. He saw soft people, with easy upbringings who were ill prepared to face death. He was thinking about that when somebody intimately familiar with death plopped down on the bench in front of him. It was Joey Butazi, his sometime employer. “Jimmy, we got a job for you.”