“I’m sorry,” I find myself saying. I’ve said it a lot, lately. I guess there’s a lot of work, but it isn’t pretty. After each one, I tell myself that I won’t do it again, and before I always ask myself how I got sucked back into the whole damn mess. But during it, I only ever think of one phrase: don’t think twice. It’s from a song, an old one.
The mantra might be twisted now, and the rest of the song eludes me, dissipating from my mind like cigarette smoke in this cold breeze. But those words ring true to me, right now.
It’s important not to overthink it. Do so at your own peril. Look them in the eyes too long and you can’t do it, no matter how many times you have in the past.
Don’t think twice.
I don’t. There’s a single, agonising blast and it’s all over.
A lot of people in my profession like to do the job from afar, where they don’t run the risk of the being affected by it. Morality has a restraining order on these people, it seems. It’s fair enough, I suppose, and I can see why they would. But for me, I need to see I it and face my consequences head on. I need to see the body slump, and life drain from their eyes. The moment where their once unshaken reality collapses around them keeps me grounded, reminds me of the awfulness of it.
I can already hear the sirens and see the nearby buildings drowned in sporadic flashes of blue and red. It’s time to go.
How did I ever find myself back here? After the last time, when I said I would stop.
They pull me back in. That’s the line from the Godfather III, right? They. With their silver tongues, and heavy wallets. Each time, I am Orpheus going to Hades. When I think I am out, I cannot help but turn back around.
And now, it’s you.
You look at me, and you know what’s coming. After all, you’ve been in the game longer than I have, and we’ve played a few rounds together ourselves. You understand, but despite your demeanor, I can see the pain in your eyes. You’ve always masked your expressions well, but I can still read your eyes.
The calm that permeates the room is maddening.
It’s like you knew it was always going to happen. I can’t help but wonder what happened: what sin did you commit for this? Why you? I suppose it’s not my job to dig into reasoning. It’s my job to point, shoot and collect handsomely, right?
I don’t know if I can do the job. I don’t want to.
But, here we are. I am truly sorry, and this I express to you. But really, what difference does it make?
You say something silently: you ask me to wait, just one moment, and leave for a moment or two.
And then, like a chorus here to send you off, the room fills with music. I know the song, and I hear the rest of the phrase for the first time in years. I hear a split second before I pull my finger back, and take the shot.
Don’t think twice, it’s alright.