I was on my way to Clarissa’s house. I had accepted Tammy’s offer and she was watching my siblings until tomorrow afternoon. I felt strange about getting the wife of the man whose accomplices I was going to take out watch my sibling while I did it. I had no options though. Maria had an interview in the morning and my mom was still manic.
As I parked outside Clarissa’s house, I couldn’t help but admire her life. Both her parents had good jobs, her dad was a chiropractor, and her mom was a dentist. She was an only child who grew up in a beautiful home. She worked extremely hard and didn’t rely on her parent’s wealth to get her ahead, she was a genuinely nice person who understood that everybody had their own issues. She never pushed me but was also able to support me and still be my friend. Like when she let me bring Tomás when we went out for supper. I was so glad I had met her this year.
I walked up and knocked on the door, a few moments later Clarissa opened it.
“Hey, I was thinking we could order pizza for supper, how does that sound?” She asks me as I take my shoes off.
“Yeah, that sounds good,” I reply with a smile.
We order pizza and hang out in the front room until it gets delivered. I meet her parents before they go out on their date night. They are nice but also high stung like Clarissa, I see where she gets it from. As we are eating pizza at the dining room table Clarissa asks me, “So have you had sex with Cade?”
I choke on my pop; I was not expecting her to ask that. “Well, not yet” I reply.
“Have you ever had sex though?” She continues asking.
“Yeah,” I say a bit confused why she’s asking.
“What was it like?” She probes and then adds, “I’m asking because I haven’t, and I don’t know. I might want to with Ben,” I watch as she picks topping off her piece of pizza.
“Well, my first time sucked, but it got better. I think it depends on if you’re ready and who the other person is.” I explain.
“Why did your first-time suck? I’ve heard it always sucks for girls, but I’ve also heard it doesn’t have to,” she says.
“I was only 14 and I had sex with my first boyfriend because I thought it would keep him around. His parents didn’t like me and were threatening him with boarding school. It was the night before they were taking him on a tour of the school. I thought doing it would make him put his foot down and refuse to go. In the end, he told everyone at school and left the next week. I was known as the school slut untill I dropped out last year. He was the only boy at school I ever slept with though.” I recall.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that. God teenagers can be so cruel,” Clarissa expresses. “What was it like though, did it hurt?”
“Yeah, but I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to, I wasn’t physically ready or in the mood at all plus, I was extremely nervous. It can be great if you are with someone who listens to you, and you are ready.” I explain to her.
“I just don’t know if I want to yet,” she replies.
“Well, I think the key is to communicate, be okay with saying stop at any moment if you aren’t ready to go further. With Cade that’s what we do, it honestly works way better than I thought. He really respects my boundaries,” I say.
“I’m glad he does. He’s doing so much better than last year, I can’t believe he’s the same guy who would come to school high and sleep most of the class,” Clarissa says.
I nod and begin to think about all the progress he’s made, I hope what I’m doing to his family doesn’t set him back to that place. He’s such a good person and I want him to have a bright future.
The rest of my night with Clarissa goes by smoothly. We tell stories and laugh a lot. At 9 pm I leave with the promise to hang out soon. I then head downtown to meet up with Leo to do the job for Xavier. When I get to the parking garage, I notice two other men with Leo. I get out of my car and approach them.
“This must be the sharpshooter,” a man with a buzz cut says sarcastically.
“Yeah, this is Lola, Lola this is Eric and Billy. They are going to be helping us tonight,” Leo says.
We follow Leo over to a van and get in the back. He starts to hand out weapons and explain the plan. “Eric you and I will be on the ground. Lola will be our sniper and Billy her lookout.” Leo explains which pisses Billy, the guy with the buzz cut off. He lets out a tsk and stares me down. “After each man is shot, Billy and I will grab them and move their bodies into this van.”
“Why is she the sniper, that’s my job!” Billy yells once Leo finishes his thought.
“She’s better than you that’s why,” Leo replies with a raised eyebrow.
“Prove it,” Billy states.
“She will, I’m changing the plan Billy you will be on the ground with me, and Eric will be Lola’s lookout. I’m not fighting with you over this. You missed 6 times in Texas, you’re lucky you’re still around.” Leo says with a tone of finality.
I’d much rather be the lookout, then at least I wouldn’t be the one killing the men. I can tell by Leo’s look that I won’t be able to change the plan.
“Moving on, Lola we want two of the men dead and one alive. The one we want alive is in a blue dress shirt, I’ll radio you to confirm. The other two were both in black coats, all their clothes will look black in the dark so listen before you shoot. There will be other men coming out of the strip club so don’t shoot unless you are sure,” Leo explains and I nod.
Leo passes me the sniper to prepare while he goes over some more stuff with Billy. At 10 pm we all move into position. Eric and I go up to the roof of the parking garage. It’s across from a strip club that our targets are meeting at. It’s perfect since no one is around except those visiting the club. Most won’t be leaving until later so we should be able to get these guys with no witnesses.
“So, you’ve been working for Xavier long?” Eric asks as he looks around.
“Not too long, 3 months or so. You?” I ask as I start to set up and get into position.
“A few years now, he’s a pretty good boss but I almost quit when I had to work with his son. That kid needs to grow up, he tried to blame missing drugs on me.” Eric shakes his head and starts to take out a smoke. “Little shit snorted 10 grand, I was lucky Xavier believed me. I don’t know how Leo lasted so long watching that kid. I’d have gone nuts,” Eric says.
“Yeah, Mike is something else, I started working for him and he tried to blame me for the mess he made. Leo told the truth, and I got my shot, although Mike did stalk me a while back. Xavier caught him but I don’t know what he did with him. I hope he doesn’t come back and stalk me again,” I say with a shake of my head. I still can’t believe how awful mike turned out to be, I knew something was off with him, but I didn’t realize how much until he stalked me.
We chit chat for around an hour while waiting for Leo’s signal, in that time I learned things about Mike and Xavier. Apparently, Mike had wanted to run Arizona for his dad for years and finally got the chance last summer, Eric thought he stalked me because he didn’t want to give up on that dream. I also learned that Xavier had been warning against Jeffery for longer than I had been alive. Jeffery wouldn’t let Xavier into New Mexico until they made a deal when the cartel fell, they were going to split it in half. Jeffery wanted to focus more west since lots of territories had opened up. That hadn’t been going recently since Xavier was not letting Jeffery have any of New Mexico thanks to me.
It made me wonder if Xavier was using the human trafficking thing to make me complicit. The more I worked with him the less I thought he cared about human trafficking and the more I thought he cared about himself. But did that really matter? I mean Xavier was following through with everything he said he would. I needed the money bad enough that even if my hunch was right it didn’t matter. I couldn’t turn on him because I had no other options.
The sound of the radio cut through my thoughts. Leo stated the man who just exited was a kill target. I lined up my shot and took it. I shot him in the head, and he died instantly. I watched through the sniper as Leo and Billy carried the body away. Then a few moments later I did it again with the next guy.
“Wow he wasn’t kidding, you’re a great shot,” Eric says as we wait for the third man.
I don’t reply because I don’t like the compliment, I don’t want to be good at killing people.
“The third man just came out, on the north side, he’s bald,” I hear Leo say through the radio.
I line up my shot and hit him in the thigh. He pulls a gun, so I shoot his wrist. I watch as Leo and Billy grab him and drag him away. Eric and I pack up and go down to the street level. I throw bleach, water, and dirt over the blood marks while Eric deals with turning the security camera back on. When I’m done, I give him a thumbs-up, he re-enables the cameras and we leave to meet Leo and Billy.
“She proved it that’s for sure,” Eric says as we enter a dingy basement in a restaurant that Xiaver recently bought.
“Yeah, well I could’ve done that two,” Billy says as he pours bloody liquid into a drain. I guess they dissolved the bodies in acid, I shudder thinking about what I did.
“You’re just mad because a girl was better than you,” Eric says trying to push Billy. I decide to intervene the last thing I need is someone else wanting me gone.
“Look, Billy, I don’t plan to stick around long. And any jobs not here I won’t be doing. I’m here because I have to be,” I say hoping to lessen the tension.
“Yeah, I get that, don’t worry I’m not mad at you I didn’t want us to screw this up and I didn’t know you were such a good shot,” Billy says surprising me. I didn’t think he’d be level-headed about this.
“Lola you can head home; we have the one guy left to deal with once Xaiver gets here. I’ll check in soon.” Leo explains.
“Sure, nice meeting you two, see you around,” I say and leave as the men say goodbye.
That night I couldn’t sleep at all. I stayed up doing homework and fishing up my college applications. I hated what I did and wanted to erase it from my memory, unfortunately, there was no way to do that. I’d have to find some way to live with myself, usually, I told myself that I had to do it for my family. But that night with the images of dead bodies fresh in my mind nothing I told myself made it okay. I was a murderer.
The next morning Leo called and told me that Xaiver was happy and that I should wait for further instructions. Xavier was planning and wasn’t sure how to use me to help just yet. I asked about taking a plane to Cade’s cabin and Leo said that he’d talk to Xavier. Leo wasn’t as worried as I thought he’d be. Leo said that he thought that Jeffery had no clue what I was doing, the chances he was getting me on a plane to kidnap me were slim. Leo said something about using a tracker so they could tell where I was once, we hit the ground. I felt safe enough with that. I mean Cade, Tammy, and my sibling would be going too. What could Jeffery do to me with all of them there?