Shari met Johnny a long time ago. They knew each other through mutual friends. It was a casual and brief acquaintance, seeing each other at parties and infrequently running into each other on the streets of SoHo and Chelsea in 1990’s New York City. He wasn’t seeing anyone steady and Shari was in a dead end long distance romance with an artist living in London. They never “clicked.”
After a while, Shari and Johnny just moved on with their lives joining other orbits of new friends. The preverbal “two ships passing in the night.”
She never knew too much about him and he never knew anything specific about her. Johnny knew she was an artist. Shari knew he was an New York City police officer. That was the sum and substance of it.
Shari’s father worked at the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. Her blue collar dad was in charge of the cadaver pool. He was not upset when she opted out of the free tuition for children of NCC employees to become Chiropractors. She instead attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, received her B.F.A. and moved to New York City. Shari worked as a graphic designer and her independent fashion projects had won her some recognition throughout the fashion world.
Shari continued living and working in New York City and expanded her horizons to Paris. She had a bi-continental lifestyle. For Shari, her cross Atlantic airline travel was like taking the twenty third street crosstown bus. She eventually married an American she met in France and they settled in Montrouge, right outside of Paris. Her husband Sean was a moderately successful novelist who worked under a nom de plume. They had a son named Robert.
Unfortunately, Sean and Robert were customers in that infamous Kosher deli in France. They went to purchase New York style lox and bagels as a surprise for Shari. They were held hostage and savagely murdered by the Charlie Hebdo Islamic terrorists in January of 2015.
Shari’s life would never be the same. The anti-depressants were of no help. She has withdrawn from her family and friends. She became active in the Animal Rights field because she now hates human beings. Shari has lost any energy to be creative, her career is over. Her love and attention is for helpless animals. Shari moved to London, unable to continue to live in France.
Johnny was born and raised in New York City. After college he became a cop in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village sixth precinct and eventually worked in NYPD’s Brooklyn North eight-three precinct. There he was a sergeant on uniform patrol. Johnny liked coming to working and enjoyed the people he worked with. That’s where he met his future wife Marla. When they knew it was becoming a serious relationship, she transferred to the sixth precinct (Rules and Regulations required the move.)
They eventually were married and settled in an apartment/loft in Chelsea on West 26th Street. He didn’t mind the drive to work in Brooklyn and she just jumped on the Number one train to get to the sixth precinct. They loved living in Manhattan. They managed to be assigned to the same squad in the rotating nine squad chart followed citywide in patrol commands. This meant they had the same rotating days off.
As time passed, Johnny became the Lieutenant Detective Squad Commander of the Brooklyn North Homocide Squad. He played a major role in turning Brooklyn from a borough of drug infested murderous streets into the safe and secure Millennial urban haven it is today.
After 9/11/01, Johnny’s life would also never be the same. Marla was killed during the the World Trade Center Muslim terrorist attack. She was attempting to evacuate her fellow New Yorkers to safety. She was inside when the North Tower collapsed. Her remains were never found.
If Marla had not met and married Johnny and stayed in the eight three precinct, she probably never would have been a first responder to the World Trade Center. The sixth precinct being only minutes away from Ground Zero, she was mobilized to respond immediately while she was on routine patrol that morning.
Johnny unjustly felt guilty for Marla’s death. Her transfer to Manhattan’s sixth precinct (using his influence) was initiated by their love for each other. He remembers he was the one that pursued her, wearing down her initial resistance to “not dating another cop.”
Johnny cut off contact with family and friends and retired from the NYPD. He couldn’t stand knowing people looked at him thinking: “It’s not your fault.”
He was later recruited by a contractor for the State Department to work in Iraq teaching the Iraqi National Police American Policing techniques. ”I’m joining the Foreign Legion,” Johnny told himself.
Iraq is where Johnny met the shady Tyrone Temple. Cutting to the chase: Tyrone turned Johnny on to a new, murky, but seemingly moral contingent of hired killers. Tyrone recommended Compassionate Assassinations or as it’s known by its Operators: “Cash for Trash.” Their charter calls for terminating the existence of those who commit, finance and generally support Islamic terrorism. Johnny was a perfect recruit.
Johnny was flown to London and went through a battery of psychological evaluations conducted by this highly secretive and extremely well funded organization. He was deemed psychologically and physically fit for training and eventually assigned field duty.
This career move was undertaken as a reaction to Johnny’s empty feeling that he no longer had a home. Even after his time in Iraq, he felt he couldn’t return to New York City. He’d realized that any happiness in life was definitely over now that Marla was gone. Johnny continually found any attempt at life’s exuberances empty.
Compassionate Assassinations maintained tight control on Operator assignments, type of actions and logistics with regard and selection of their targets. They trained their Operators in the business technique of Management by Exception: The practice of examining operational results, and only bringing issues to the attention of management if results represent substantial differences from the expected outcome of the strictly elucidated predetermined results and their expected collateral effects.
The recruitment and training of Operators was flawless. This is why Shady Tyrone was well compensated for his extraordinary recruitment abilities. It could take Shady up to a year of investigation, grooming and recruitment before offering anyone a shot at being an Operator. Candidates had to be groomed to be a special breed. None of Shady’s candidates were ever rejected.
Though a major factor, assassination was viewed as an incidental in the overall composite of an Operator. Just one part of many that makes up an ideal employee.
Communication between Operators and the organization was minimal and circuitous. It was as if the organization never existed. There is no base of operation, it only existed in deep cyberspace. Operators are given deep and verifiable cover in the physical world. Example: Operators are documented (cyber/paper/physical) as being in Europe when on assignment in South America. Every detail is covered. You were documented to be somewhere else then you lit up your target.
Translation: Operators don’t fuck up and Compassionate Assassinations existence always remains a secret. This organization can never be in the calculus of the blame game. The operator’s personal story will be the bogus reason for assassination action, if, that is, operator is caught. But they never are. Operators have a proprietary personal interest in assassination of Islamic terrorists. That is one of the requirements of recruitment.
As fate would have it, after numerous successful Compassionate Assassination assignments all over the world, Johnny decided to settle in London. He now goes to Trafalager Square to watch the world go by. He uses his old NYPD street smarts to “profile” individuals, just for fun and to stay sharp. It was a game and after all, he had nothing else to do now that he’s retired. Part of his retirement package is a hefty Swiss bank account.
Johnny chose Trafalager Square because it reminded him of what his Grandpa told him many years ago about Times Square in New York City: “When you’re at the Crossroads of the World soon you will see someone you know.” Trafalager Square, the Crossroads of Europe, Johnny figured……”close enough.” Though he really didn’t want to meet anyone he knew anyway. It was just another mind game to stay sharp. “Who knows, I might be a target for those savages now.” he reasoned. “I got to stay sharp!”
It took only two months of hanging out a few hours a day for his Grandpa’s NYC Urban Legend to work in London. To Johnny’s surprise, he actually did see someone from his past. He didn’t remember her name, her hair was now grey and she didn’t have that smile he remembered. She looked empty or longing for something. Johnny usually recognized that feeling on another person’s face; that same feeling that has haunted him since September 11th 2001. Empathy has its own silent and non verbal communication.
“It can’t be her…Cheryl, Sharron, SARI, that’s it!” He quietly said to himself. Not letting this unique opportunity get away, he went up behind her and said “Shari?”
She immediately stopped and turned. A perplexed look accompanied an inability to speak as she cleared her throat, lifted her head and responded with a simple “Yes?” It appeared she was jolted out of a trance and back to reality.
With an uncontrollable smile he said “It’s Johnny, from New York City, SoHo, Chelsea, don’t you remember me?”
After a short pause of composure:“Johnny…Johnny…yes, the Police Officer, Alice’s friend” She responded.
“What a coincidence, we meet in London over twenty years later!” She said shaking his outstretched hand and gradually returning a big smile.
This mutual spark was somehow beyond their control and ignited. But both unconsciously wanted it to remain and intensify.
The two American Ex-Pats decided to go to the Hyde Park Hotel for Afternoon Tea. Somehow, knowing they each had a mutual burden to share.
Johnny and Shari spent the afternoon recalling mutual humorous characters from their past lives in 1990’s New York City. Each of them really laughing for the first time in years. This did temporarily overcome their usual underlying and oppressive sense of morose.
They finally got down to the real reason for spending their numb existences in London. Both shared how they were scarred by twisted ideological Islamic savages.
Sari described how she had thrown herself into the cause for Animal Rights, carefully explaining she was not one of those looney tunes PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) types. She worked at animal shelters, donated money and picked her activism activities carefully. But she did explain that the cruelty humans perpetrate on animals made her sometimes want to cross the line, “To get even, really even.”
She now confronts the abusers in her fantasies of doing to them what they have done to the helpless animal innocents. Sari considers those people terrorists as well. She of course, left out details of revealing her physical revenge fantasies to Johnny.
Johnny was careful to explain what he had been doing. He said that he was working for a Import/Export company as a security consultant and was now retired. That actually was the main cover identity used by Compassionate Assassins. Johnny conveniently left out that he dispatched deserving savages to meet Allah and their 72 virgins.
Johnny and Sari became fast friends. Spending time at the Hyde Park Hotel’s afternoon tea while discussing a variety of interesting topics, but always eventually returning to the one hurt they shared.
Shari again carefully injected the subject of revenge into their conversation. She asked if he believed that revenge makes a person just as bad as the original offender. “If I want to and derive pleasure in, killing someone who kills and tortures dogs, am I as morally destitute as that lowlife who kills the dogs?” she asked Johnny.
Johnny asked her what she felt about the Islamic Terrorists who killed their loved ones. “What about those Savages who sentenced us to await our own deaths as empty shells?” He asked.
“Same thing, I’d kill them all” She said coldly, “but how can someone do something like that?” She added, “we don’t live in a movie or novel, we live in the real world.”
He avoided her question. “Believe me, I can tell you, the initial pleasure of the kill will be instantaneous, but pleasure will be fleeting and will sooner or later diminish and leave you as empty as you were before the act.” Johnny shot back. “Empty until you die.” Johnny had a long distance stare in his eye.
Before she could respond, as her heart began to sink Johnny added, “But, please believe me, that’s all people like us have left, the fleeting feeling of revenge peppered with a melting sense of gratification.”
“An modicum of satisfaction, no matter what we do to avenge, that will never fill the emptiness?” Sari said.
Johnny mumbled “Yes, that’s it.”
“I’d like to try it for myself, maybe under all this I am a sociopath and would derive sadistic pleasure?” Sari half jokingly perked.
“Let’s see if you do,” he offered. “I’ve been there and done that.”
“Johnny, are you serious?”
“Just let me know when you’ve heard enough” Johnny started………
Satisfaction and responsibility were the subjects of their first serious discussion before they decided to embark on their journey of revenge after Johnny identified and offered his true abilities and talents. If Johnny and Sari did believe in God and wondered if Jesus would forgive them, they no longer cared. They did not care to be forgiven. That was lost when the those third world savages took their loved ones and made their lives empty.
Whatever the universe held for Sari and Johnny after they passed on, attribution is not a challenge. Their inner core embraced what they were determined to do. They’d wear it as a badge of pride and honor for eternity no mater where their earthly actions eventually took them.
Johnny and Sari made plans, to start out small and avenge the animal tortures and killers. He would use his detective skills to find the perpetrators and point blame at the PETA assholes, or sometimes just make it look like suicide or a street crime. Johnny used his Compassionate Assassination skills to teach Sari how to efficiently and painfully kill them.
Sari clipped her first animal abuser. They soon expanded their hunt to include Islamic terrorists. Their work was executed quietly and carefully, but quite effectively. Responsibility always pointed elsewhere.
And to this day, Johnny was right, they still remained empty. But eternally, to whomever or whatever they will eventually have to answer for their actions, attribution is a not challenge, it is a badge of honor.
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