It was late in the afternoon, the sun would be down in less than 2 hours. She opened the heavy wooden door with one hand while gingerly balancing a tray with a cup of freshly brewed English tea and some cookies, with the other. She stepped out into the patio, after successfully maneuvering past the door way without knocking over the tray. After placing the tray on the little table, she sat down and heaved a sigh of relief.
It has been a long day and she needed the moment of solitude. She took a sip of tea and looked out to her newly planted garden. A sense of satisfaction and pleasure swept over her and she smiled. The Japanese roses she planted a couple of weeks earlier were doing well, littering their yellow-red flowers along a freshly prepared flower bed lining the front of her little garden, adjacent to the road. A pair of magpies sang their duet joyfully on a tree from a distance. It was a moment of quiet bliss.
She took a cookie from the small plate in front of her. It was a butter-scotch given by her dear friend a while ago, during an afternoon get together, celebrating an event which she could not remember at that moment. The taste was exquisite, rich and savoury, just the way she liked it. She began to relax, taking in the gentle breeze made warm by the afternoon sun.
He has been watching her since she stepped out of the house from a distance, well hidden from sight by some overgrown bushes. He watched her place the tray she was carrying on the table and sat down to relax. He has been observing the woman’s routine for some time now. People tend to do the same thing day after day without realizing that they are running like clockwork and therefore, predictable.
The woman’s routine was typical of any home maker in the area. Up by six in the morning, ferrying her 3 little children off to school, back by 8 in the morning, followed by house chores and the laundry. Once a week she would drive herself to the local hyper mart to shop for her weekly groceries. Her husband is seldom home, holding a job requiring him to be away most days of the month. At noon, she would drive off again to fetch her children from school and after a quick lunch, each would be sent to either a tuition class, or for ballet or swimming lessons. At around 4 pm, she would take time off, sit at her patio and have a cup of tea and some cookies, and relax. In short, predictable.
“Predictable is good”, thought the young man as he got ready to execute what he has rehearsed a million times in his head. The plan was easy. Ride up to where the woman was sitting, point and shoot! Nothing to it. Easy.
When he got the job for the hit, he didn’t know it would be this easy. Tracking the woman down was easy. She lived in a quiet suburban part of town, in a friendly neighbourhood. As it turned out, he lived nearby too which made his surveillance job so much easier.
And today is the day.
He checked his gun one last time, a Glock, fully loaded and ready. He placed the weapon in a small container attached to the handlebar of his bike. The gun was carefully hidden from view with a cloth covering. Taking a deep breath he set off, riding down the street towards his intended victim’s house.
He stopped abruptly in front of the house. The woman was taking another sip of tea. She looked up momentarily at the young man on the bike in front of her house, gave a cursory nod of acknowledgment and immediately went back to her tea. The young man’s presence did not surprise her as she has seen him a number of times, passing in front of her house. “Probably some one’s son from around the neighbourhood”, she thought to herself.
She saw the young man pulled something from underneath a piece of cloth which gave off a momentary gleam but did not register what it was in her mind.
The young man took aim and fired off a succession of rounds, aiming for his target’s chest.
KABLAMM!!!! KABLAMMM!!!! KABLAMMM!!!!
The woman was thrown backwards by the volley of bullets, both arms flailing wildly, mouth wide opened but no sounds were forthcoming, eyes opened wide with terror and just as suddenly, the light of life quickly dimmed and left her eyes. Her bloodied body now slumped in her chair.
Unknown to both assassin and victim, the former’s father was watching the scene unfold from afar.
For a brief moment, which seemed like an eternity, there was silence.
And then suddenly, the victim stirred, put herself upright on her chair, looked at the young man in front of her, still mounted on his bike and holding the offending weapon and she said:
“Are you sure you have real bullets in that gun?”
“Nope”, answered the young man; “Only pretend bullets”, he added, looking a tad disappointed.
“It’s ok”, said the woman.
“Would you like to join me for a cup of tea?”, she asked.
“No thanks, I am not thirsty”, said the young man.
And that’s how Ryan, my 7-year-old son, got to know my 40-year-old Malay neighbour.