DISCLAIMER: The Professional and all associated characters are property of Columbia Pictures, Gaumont/Les Films du Dauphin, and Luc Besson. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Stream of consciousness. *Denotes past events.* Feedback will make or break further additions.
* * *
* * *
The blood drip-drip-drips into the sink. The steady patter sounds almost like rain. God, I hope I don't need a doctor. I look in the mirror. The vision out of one eye isn't so good. No wonder. Blood is matting my hair, running into my left eye, down off my cheek into the sink. The bastard. I straighten my skirt, and try to re-button my blouse. My hands tremble a little.
I've been with a few guys. Very few. When you call out another man's name during sex, it kind of puts a damper on things. Even if he has been dead for seven years. So you move on, try to find someone else. Forgive the hell out of me for going out with the boss at work. I knew it wasn't a good idea, but I figured dinner at a decent place, one time, what the heck?
I walk back out of the bathroom and look down at the cooling body of my ex-boss lying on the floor of his apartment. The blood from his slit throat is starting to thicken on the floor. I can feel the side of my face throb with every heartbeat.
* * *
"Stop. Alan, stop. I don't want to." We were standing his living room. A crystal vase is on the table near the door. It's gorgeous.
"Come on, baby. See what you've been missing." He moves closer, forcing me back against the wall. Grabs me.
"Let go of me!" One of his hands is on my wrist; with the other he starts to unbutton my blouse. I slap his hand away.
"Come on, you little tease, you know you want it." His hand now starts to slide between my thighs. I try to knee him in the crotch, but he must have been expecting it. I only hit the front of his thigh, hard. "You whore!"
I haven't been slapped since I was a kid, by my dad. I hadn't remembered it hurting this much. The second slap is worse. His ring must have hit me, because it feels like a little rock hit me in the side of the head.
"Get off!" I don't even realize the voice is my own. I wrap my hand around the lip of the vase. It shatters when it hits the side of his head.
"You wop bitch, I'm going to kill you." I feel calmer as he says the words. I look at the jagged shard of the vase still in my hand, then down at him sprawled on the floor.
"No, you're not."
* * *
So the next morning I walk into Fat Tony's place. I've been in once a month for the past seven years. You'd think he'd get tired of seeing me. He looks at me long and hard. Takes in my battered face, my borderline-hostile demeanor. Signals to Gino for a glass of milk. "You're in trouble again?"
He hasn't seen me look like this since that day when I came to ask--to beg--him for a job. As a Cleaner. I haven't begged anyone since that day. And now I'm back. To beg. "Any job openings?"
He doesn't look up as Gino sets down my glass of milk, then moves off to wipe down the tables. Tony sits back, face gone serious as a gun barrel. "What the hell kind of work would I have for you? I thought you went to that school so you could get a real job. A better job."
"I did. I didn't work out. Now I need another job." I take a slow sip of milk from my glass while I watch the wheels in his head turn through the windows of his eyes.
"Cleaning." He says it evenly-- no hostility, no contempt. It wasn't a question, so I didn't answer. "Well, the last guy I had Cleaning got in over his head over a month ago. I haven't had anyone to do work since then. Maybe I could use you. How out of shape are you?"
"How much time do you need to get back in the game?"
He looks thoughtful. "Not much time."
"I've done this before."
He looks at me with a sad smile. "I remember."
"Tony, I was just wondering."
"Of Leon's money is left? A little over a hundred thousand."
I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. "Dollars?"
"Yeah. Told you your money was safe with ol' Tony."
I reached across the table to clasp his hand. "Thank you."
"My pleasure. Now, what do you need before you get outta here?"
"Leon's case. The beginner's one. And do you have anything else I could buy?"
"As a matter of fact, I do. The last guy had a couple of things that got left here." He gestures to Gino. After a few moments Leon's case is placed on the table. Then a smaller red leather briefcase. "Check 'em."
"Okay." Leon's rifle is in place; it looks the same as it did when I tagged the jogger in Central Park so long ago. The case that belonged to the last Cleaner holds four pistols: a silenced .22, a .45 auto, a little .357, and A Cannon. Scoped, single shot, looks like a freakin' dueling pistol on steroids. Box of ammo for each. It'll do. I look up at Tony.
He smiles. "Consider it a 'getting started gift.'"
"Thanks. Tony, if I leave a list with you, how long 'til you can have it filled?"
"Great." I scribble a short list on my napkin, and slide it across the table to him.
He looks it over quickly, and smiles. "Nice to be working with a professional again."
* * *
* * *
So I'm sitting back from the edge of the roof a little. Waiting for my mark to show. The sun beats down on top of the decrepit old apartment building where I'm positioned. I can see a long way down the street in either direction. I wait. I'm good at being patient.
I didn't forget Leon when I was in the academy, didn't forget the things he taught me. Even after Fat Tony sent me off to school, I tried to keep my hand in as much as possible. I read up on things even though I didn't really think I'd ever get to Clean. Books on anatomy, target shooting, booby-traps. Lots of information out there if you just look for it. Had to hide most of the books. Not proper reading material for troubled young ladies trying to become functional members of society. And now I'm glad I did.
I read to improve on the things Leon taught me, and picked up a few he never got time to show me. And I've spent the last couple weeks practicing, getting in shape for my new career as a Cleaner.
* * *
The package from Tony sits in front of where I'm seated at my kitchen table. Two knives: a switchblade and a big fighting knife. More ammo for my guns, including armor-piercing for the big single-shot .44 and Leon's rifle. Supplies I need to train, to work. Muffled metallic sounds come from underneath the table where my hands disassemble and reassemble the .45 auto. The .22, much harder, will be next.
Two weeks later, I'm sitting across from Tony in the restaurant. He's doing his thing where he tries to establish he's in control. The 'I'm your friend but I'm the boss' kind of thing, with posture and facial expression, and tone of voice. I don't even know if he realizes it.
"Are you sure you're ready for this, Mathilda?"
My glass of milk is so cold that condensation drips off it, down onto the table. An old man, a Cleaner who actually got to retire, sits quietly a few tables down. A dead cockroach that Gino missed is under the table next to me. I am aware of these things, while my eyes never leave Tony's. "Yes, Tony."
He clasps his hands, pauses. "You have any trouble, I don't wanna know. But it better not come back on my family, okay?"
"Okay, go on. I don't want to see you 'til it's done."
* * *
The mark gets out of his limousine. The hired muscle are already out, on the sidewalk, scanning for trouble. But not high enough up, and not far enough out. I breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe half way out and hold it. Focus on the crosshairs, not the mark. Slow, steady press on the trigger. It's a surprise when it goes off, just like it's supposed to be. Last thing I see of the mark is a red spray coming out the far side of his head. Screams from the women that get splattered with blood and skull fragments.
Feels like slow motion. By the time the muscle have expanded their visual search to the rooftop of this building, Leon's rifle is in its case and the rooftop door had already shut behind me.
I'm down the stairs (avoid elevators whenever possible) and out the rear of the building before I hear sirens. I walk out of the alley and come face to face with a cop who's hustling to the scene. Our eyes meet. He's seen me. A young woman, dark hair, sunglasses and black coat, with a brown briefcase only a block and a half from the homicide. Shit, shit, shit!
"Excuse me." He moves around me and hurries on down the sidewalk. As soon as he's past me I turn and draw the silenced .22 from under my coat. I aim at the back of his head. Pause for a second. I should put a bullet in him right now. Two seconds. But he hasn't done anything. Three seconds. I reholster the pistol and move on.
No women; no kids. And now, no innocent bystanders. Like I need more rules to complicate my life even further.
* * *
* * *
I walk down the hall and pause next to--not in front of--the mark's door, listening. The faint sounds coming from the door are of someone having sex. Knocking politely or trying to kick the solid door in will give him time to respond that I can't spare.
So it's out the window at the end of the hall and onto the fire escape. There's a nice stone ledge just below window height. I move around the corner of the building on the ledge, thankful that I'm small enough to stand on it easily. Two windows down. I can hear the sounds through the open window. "Yeah, baby, just like that. Oh, yeah."
I'm ready. Hat, sunglasses, leather gloves and coat (I call it my disguise): check. Big-ass .45 with silencer attached: check. Spare magazines, backup gun, knife, and duct tape: check. No time like the present.
I peek through the window and see the mark, sitting in a chair. There's one of his hookers kneeling on the floor in front of him. No wonder he can't pay his fees, the whore should be out turning tricks for money. I move in, real quiet. They don't even know I'm there until I put my .45 to the mark's head.
"Urk." His eyes are wide open with fear, and the whore looks up at the sound. She looks at me, looks at her pimp, looks back at me. Smart. She scoots back, wipes her mouth with her arm, and pulls up her tube top.
"You gonna kill me?" She's only got a little quaver in her voice.
"No. Just him. Unless you want to stick around?"
It took her all of half a second to think it over. "What do you what me to do?"
She wants to help? Fine. "Take this tape; tape his feet together and to the chair, then do his hands behind the chair."
"NO!" The mark can finally form words.
"Shut up." I must've said it all scary, 'cause the guy just pissed himself.
The whore flinches, finishes taping up her pimp, and looks at me. "What now?"
I want her to get the fuck out so I can finish the job. "Get another pimp, get straightened out, I don't give a damn either way, just go."
The door closes behind the whore. I look at the pimp. "You know why I'm here?"
I put the muzzle to his knee. "I was given explicit instructions to make sure you knew what this was for."
"Yes! Fuck! Yes, I know what it's about. The cut I sent wasn't big enough, I know. But it's the fair percentage, I swear. Look, just tell Tony you let me off with a warning, okay? What's the harm in that?" Sweat is pouring off the bastard, he's so desperate.
"My reputation." He closes his eyes and whimpers as I put the muzzle to his forehead and pulled the trigger.
* * *