Snakes and Pills

058 - gentlemen

"I ran to the point and back, Tito," Veronica said, still breathing heavily. "I went as fast as I could."

Tito's composure remained unchanged. He did not even move to acknowledge her words or her presence. His white suit and thin white hair flapped slightly in the gusts of wind rolling in with the waves of the ocean he was facing.

Veronica waited for his response, but it was a long time coming. Finally, he spoke, although he still did not change his posture or the direction he faced. "Yet, he is not here, is he?"

She sighed. "No. By the time I got there, his seaplane had already taken off."

"I know," Tito quickly quipped. "I saw it take off. It wouldn't have left without him, at least not on time." He too sighed. "Veronica, Veronica, Veronica. My dear, how could it be that you have let me down? I watched that plane float off into the horizon, and all I could think was, 'No, surely I must be mistaken. My most trusted would not and could not possibly allow him to slip away yet again.' Yet, you did."

She knew what reaction Tito expected. Veronica was now to grovel, apologize and promise to exact vengeance. That kind of subservient behavior was part of what had always made her Tito's model disciple. But she wasn't feeling like it this time. The burning in her lungs reminded her of the effort she had gone through, and only circumstances out of her control had stopped her from completing her objective.

"I didn't hear you volunteering to go chase after him. Not that it would have mattered, since surely if your obese frame attempted to make the trip on foot like I did, you wouldn't have even made it halfway to the point yet."

Her sudden remark certainly got Tito to change his stance. He turned to face her, with a slightly red face growing even redder as the words impacted him. "How fucking dare you speak to me like that!" he yelled.

"No, Tito," Veronica began, "how fucking dare YOU. I risk my life for you on a daily basis, and I always thought it was worth it. But I'm suddenly beginning to realize it's not."

Her words had truly stunned the man, but he was already coping and rebuilding his facade of cool composure. He grinned under his cabana hat. "So, that's how it's going to be, then? I saved you from the streets and a life of poverty. I always wondered when the little urchin girl would eventually bite the hand that feeds."

He chose his vocabulary carefully to stoke as much of a fire as possible in Veronica, and he was doing so masterfully. Her face grimaced with anger as he continued speaking.

"I always hoped you wouldn't, although of course I knew it was most likely that you would eventually turn against the person who has cared for you the most. That's why your stock ends up on the street in the first place. Disloyal, disobedient, and utterly incompetent."

"That life might have been bad, but this is hardly any better," Veronica retorted. "And at least I wouldn't have to deal with manipulative assholes like you."

"Well, you'll soon be pining for this life, or any life, for that matter," he said smugly.

Veronica said nothing, but smirked at his threat. While doing so, she also pulled the trigger on the submachine gun she had concealed under her coat the entire time. Its bullets ripped through the fabric of her coat in a flash of sound and material, and quickly found a new home in the body of Tito.

Tito never saw it coming. His body slumped down in the foaming water at the edge of the ocean where he stood.


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