assassin(…) He passed without incident through Customs and took a connecting metrobus shuttle into the city where he booked a room in a stylish Art Deco period hotel in the Colonia Condesa neighbourhood. He showered then spent twenty minutes with an escort girl sent up by the concierge. He had his hair cut, styled and coloured at the hotel salon, then ate a simple mole poblano chicken with red wine and slices of chorizo at a local café. He checked his ftp files online then returned to the hotel. His mother called, and he assured her he was working hard, eating well and looking after himself. He spent the following afternoon carefully selecting an expensive suitcase and purchasing clothing in the Zona Rosa and the shopping district around Plaza Moliere. He also bought three books, a detailed map of the city and an integrally suppressed Remington Model 7 compact bolt action tactical rifle with a Leatherwood ART long range scope.

Oswaldo utilized three days exploring the city as a tourist, and familiarised himself with the Centro Histórico around Zócalo plaza, the Palacio Nacional, the metropolitan Cathedral and the Aztec temple ruins of the Templo Mayor. He strolled through the park and museums of Chapultepec, the shrine and basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Tlatelolco neighbourhood. He visited a number of fine art galleries and bought his mother a small ornament. One untypically overcast and rainy day he rented a car and drove to nearby Xochimilco to explore the Teotihuacan pyramids. In a secluded field afterwards he tested, corrected and refined his aim with the Remington and telescope lens.

That evening, back in Mexico City nearby his hotel, he sat in a cafe and checked the transactions and transfer balances to and from his accounts on his mobile. He ordered a Cafe de Olla with cinnamon and a side order of chiles en nogada, then perused various local newspapapers online, noting the front page reports of a visiting South American President’s official diplomatic and trade talks with his Mexican counterpart. Oswaldo scrolled through a social column’s breathless observation of the President’s wife’s charity agenda and shopping trips, and cross-referenced the posted details of the President’s schedule with his own assignment profile and mission statement.

The following evening the President’s wife emerged from a brightly lit social engagement escorted by assistants and bodyguards to a waiting limousine. On a rooftop diagonally opposite the crowded intersection Oswaldo took aim with the Remington and blew her head off.

He drove a second rental vehicle the next morning to Acapulco de Juárez. He checked into a deluxe bungalow on the grounds of the Fairmont Pierre Marqués hotel, which his mother had recommended. In the days that followed he played golf, swam, reviewed and committed to memory his next assignment and bought an Air France business class ticket to Toronto.

“I would appreciate taking this bag on as hand luggage,” he remarked at Check In.

“Is not possible, señor.”

Oswaldo sighed imperceptibly. Slowly.

“Most unwelcome,” he replied, breaking the man’s nose and punching the shards up into his brain.

“Eez’a lovely bag…,” said the man.

Oswaldo peered suspiciously at him for a moment then checked in his luggage. He had grave misgivings.

At Toronto Pearson International Airport he waited patiently at the baggage carousel, looked his watch, politely asked directions, walked to the Airline desk and smiled malevolently at the clerk.

“It behoves me to report absent personal effects,” he said.

“An ill-fated occurrence, Sir, justifiably distressing,” replied the attendant smoothly.

Oswaldo bowed slightly in acknowledgement of the man’s cultured and conciliatory words. The employee studied him expectantly. Oswaldo opened his briefcase and handed him his boarding card, passport and ticket stub.

“A particularly fine piece of luggage,” he stated.

The clerk nodded seriously and tapped at his computer. He scanned through the results, glanced over Oswaldo’s shoulder at the luggage conveyor and picked up the telephone. He spoke in short, clipped sentences and frowned at the reply.

“An untoward mishap, Sir,” announced the man after a respectful pause to gather his thoughts. “Most deplorable. My sincerest-”

Oswaldo raised an eyebrow.

“Apologies?” he asked slowly.

“We have no idea,” replied the clerk, his composure faltering. “There exists the distinct probability that Sir’s baggage has been… um… appropriated.”

Oswaldo considered his fingernails.


“Indubitably, Sir,” nodded the attendant.


“Most undoubtedly, Sir.”

They looked at each other. Oswaldo tersely answered the man’s remaining procedural and administrative queries. Mr. Smythe, the Regional Supervisor, would give the matter his full and undivided attention. Fortuitously, the aforementioned Mr. Smythe was also based at Pearson International and would process the complaint swiftly and decisively. Oswaldo paid Mr. Smythe a short and extremely perfunctory visit. There was some blood. (…)

© andrew wheeler

This post is an excerpt from The World Is Round. Read other entries in this category, or buy the book!