Hannibal kept his eye on the kid as he waited for the phone to ring through. Damn connection always took forever.
Sure, the geeks in glasses told him that it was “for increased security,” and that “the protocols needed more time to check the line was secure,” but he didn’t much care about that. Hannibal knew his job, and that was all that mattered much to him.
But the kid was new. Just accepted on, still full of piss and vinegar, convinced that he was making the world a better place with each bullet. He arrived early every morning with the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed cheeriness that made Hannibal wince when he turned away.
Hannibal wondered how long that naivete would last. He didn’t remember it taking him long to see through the gauzy sheets draped over his eyes, but the kid might not come around as fast. That was okay. The longer he felt good when he laid down at night, the better.
Finally, the phone clicked through, and Hannibal heard a voice at the other end. “Yeah?” it said. Not curious, not angry, just present.
“47, 23, 15, 16,” Hannibal recited, calling the numbers off of oft-repeated memory.
“Sec.” For a second, Hannibal caught the clicks of keys. “Yeah, okay. What?”
“Got him.” Hannibal slowly turned, walking over towards the driver’s side of the car a dozen steps away. He didn’t show any emotion as he ran his eyes over the body of the man slumped just inside the seat, one hand still outstretched as if trying to pull the car door shut. A long streak of blood ran down the side of the car, marring the powder blue and white paint job.
“Confirmation?” The voice at the other end of the line didn’t offer any congratulations. Hannibal didn’t want any.
Instead, he fished around in his jacket pocket, pulling out a folded photograph. He held it up next to the slack, lifeless face, his eyes flicking back and forth as he compared the two images. “Visual, but it matches. Scars in all the right places.”
The kid had finished with the lock on the trunk, and Hannibal caught the click as the hatch popped open. “Cargo?” the voice on the other end of the line asked.
“Yeah, gimme a sec.” The kid had gloves on, Hannibal noted approvingly, as he hauled open the trunk. That was good. No fingerprints to wipe off.
From inside the trunk of the car, the kid fished out a leather case. “This looks like it,” he said to Hannibal, his eyes shining with excitement.
Hannibal just waved a hand at it. “Check and be sure,” he ordered.
The kid carefully set the briefcase down on the ground, flicking the latches. A quick glance inside revealed the contents. “Yeah, this is it,” he nodded, quickly pushing it back shut. “And to think, this guy thought he could just drive away with them in his trunk! What an idiot!”
At that, Hannibal couldn’t help but shake his head. “He almost did,” he pointed out, wanting to bring the kid down a couple notches.
Despite his words, the kid still looked jazzed. “But we got him! Bam!” he exclaimed, picking up the briefcase.
He still thought he was the true patriot, Hannibal thought to himself. God. “Got the cargo,” he told the phone still in his hand.
“Great.” The voice on the other end of the line didn’t put much inflection into that, but Hannibal didn’t care much for praise any longer. “Clean up and call it in.” By the time Hannibal had taken the phone away from his ear, the voice on the other end had already disconnected.
The kid was already returning from stowing the briefcase in their own car. Hannibal looked sidelong at him. “No prints to clean?” he asked, just to be sure.
The kid shook his head. “Nope. And I already pulled the slug out of the side of the car. That should take care of everything.”
“Great.” Hannibal dialed 911 on his phone, but hesitated before pushing the final call button.
“Actually, here,” he told the kid, tossing the phone over. “It was your job, and you did well. Call it in, and let’s get outta here before the police show up.”
The kid put the phone up to his ear as the two men in suits strolled back to their car. “Yeah, I’d like to report a shooting,” he said as they climbed inside. “I think someone’s dead.”