“Ten degrees to the south… ok, compensate for any wind shift from the AC vent. Target is in range. Waiting for your signal, sir,” I thought to myself, I still couldn’t shake the training from my military days and I knew that there would be no signal. There was no need. I adjusted my scope minutely and waited. This was the hard part. The waiting.
Counting them all, I had probably completed an estimated 62 assignments, each as different as the next. The requests always came in the same way, over a scrambled phone line and into a voice-to-text dictation to a random forum on the web. Depending on that day, I would log in to the appropriate forum and check for any waiting messages. The messages were brief. A time, a place, and target. No more, no less. If these strict instructions went unheeded, say by providing additional information the message was deleted and no contact would be made. The cost was always the same, wired to a bank in the Grand Cayman Islands. The system worked. And I enjoyed my job.
I waited for the target to really get agitated. I knew from my scouting that he was always a bit more amped up prior to taking a lunch and that is when I planned on striking. After the last week of sitting in the classroom with the target, posing as another mid-level manager there for the seminar, I began to understand why I had been sought out. The target, a portly middle-aged man with pudgy features and tendency to wear too much aftershave was one of the most annoying human beings I have even encountered. If you’ve ever been in a class, a seminar or a conference you will undoubtedly know the kind of person I mean. There is always one of them; that person who feels the need to raise their hand and bombard the presenter with the most inane questions. Questions that are not well thought out, questions they don’t even care to hear the answer to (for if they truly sought knowledge they would have realized the answer was being provided while they were busy thrusting their hand into the air). They have a comment about everything. They ask about things off topic and many times, things that are personal and completely unrelated. These people need to ask these questions (and there are a lot of them) to make sure everyone else in the class knows exactly where they stand on certain issues and that they are intelligent, insightful people. They are not intelligent. They are not insightful. If this doesn’t sound familiar, put your hand down… it’s you.
While I never am told the ‘why’ of a job, I would be willing to bet the farm that my services were requested as a result of the target’s unbearable classroom behavior. I was beginning to think that the target may have changed his ways as I stared through my scope, and then… up went his hand. It was time. Making sure my specs were all correct, I waited for him to get to the meat of his question, which usually took quite some time, and then…
PLOBP! PLOBBP! PLOBP!
I pulled the trigger three times, each shot hitting their mark with precision. One to the torso, one to the right shoulder and one to the center of the forehead. I stood up, holstered my weapon and dashed out of the classroom to the cheers and enthusiastic applause of the entire class. Smiling, I slip silently out of the emergence exit I had previously scouted. Mission complete.
Back in the classroom the target wiped the paint off of his face and neck and sat down, stunned by what had just happened. From that day forward he never made a comment or asked a question before thinking it through before raising his hand. Being a target of the infamous, ‘Shut Up, Stupid! Bandit’ will have that effect on someone.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Today was the first of a two-day seminar on proper record retention for a government agency that I have the pleasure of attending. If the title of the seminar title put you to sleep, just imagine sitting through TWO days of that. Ok, I’ll be honest, it’s actually not that bad, the presenter is pretty engaging and there are snacks, so… bonus. In a room full of professional people, I was looking forward to an exchange of ideas and to hopefully learn a thing or two from my peers. And, I believe I am… for the most part. The only distraction to this has been one woman who HAS to ask a question about EVERY topic that is brought up… sometimes asking the same question several times in a slightly different way. And you know how some people like to say, “There are no dumb questions”? Well, there are. And I think she asked just about all of them. The presenter managed to field this person’s barrage of questions with tact and patience, something that deserves a medal in my book. I know it’s wrong, and really childish, but toward the end of the day every time I would see her hand fly into the air I started imagining pelting her with a paint gun. Is that wrong?
Love & Squirrels.