Swan Dive! Ch. 31: Assassination Anticipation

Killing isn’t supposed to be easy.

Neither is justifying the grisly act.

But ask anybody who commits such a ghastly deed and he or she will likely explain away the dire circumstances that led to that dark finality, explaining exactly why death happened as it did.

Randall Lark killed on behalf of his government. He also killed as an act of revenge. Grieving all the bodies he left on the Afghanistan battlefield, he believed the deaths were his fault. At least that’s how he saw his role in yet another lousy American war that chewed up young men and women that most Americans never think about. Worst of all, a little boy named Boss who Randall loved might still be alive if American profiteers hadn’t put them both in such a bloody no-win situation.

Marty Durkin killed by accident. Or did he? Deep down inside he wondered if he knew the small figure sitting alone on the sand was indeed an unarmed child as he pulled the trigger on Tyrone Lark in an impulsive repulsive act of fear, jumping the gun, so to speak, in a fatal panic. Could he ever admit to knowing a child sat alone in the sand clutching a band instrument but pulling the trigger anyway in a fit of sheer confusion because his paranoia as a white male cop finally got the best of him?

Ruby Arenas killed while in a tumultuous trance, casting a black magic spell against a macho college classmate who laughed when he killed a dolphin and deserved to pay the price for his brutality. Overkill, she later decided, yet writing off her own lethal cruelty as the mistake of a novice sorcerer. Next time she’d take her time to triage those who qualified to disappear on behalf of Santa Muerte, the Mexican death saint who needs fresh sacrifice to fertilize the earth for eventual goodness and peace. Ruby yearned to be more like that lovable old bird Sam Bennett who had the right idea not wanting to hurt anybody but still wanting to fight back against the unchecked predatory capitalism that would continue to kill species after species until one day we killed ourselves.

Kevin Leary aka RayRay Gigliardi killed because his scum Mafia hit men targets deserved to die. Feeling no contrition on these hits, he only quit whacking the whackers because he simply tired of erasing deserving mob targets and chose to retire – which he did with better federal benefits than most lifetime civil servants paid for by good old Uncle Sam.

Sam Bennett’s live gull allies killed for him and for their own survival, pecking out Ivan Popov’s eyes as an act of pure comeuppance as the gulls swooped and swarmed like avenging angels, bereft of pardon as they chased this human beast up a tree where he lost all sight of mercy and the benefit of reprieve.

Borys Popov killed for fun and profit, a deadly agent of totalitarian bliss sponsored and encouraged by the Russian government as part of a plot to take over the world and stamp out individual freedom.

Killers all, this gang that drank at RayRay’s Elbow Room fit perfectly into the frayed puzzle of fractured American society.

Poor Kim Philips didn’t kill anybody and didn’t want to kill anybody – at least not yet. Truth be told, she wouldn’t miss terrible twins Shannon and Tara if somebody else snuffed them from her mind. Lately, though, Kim sensed they’d been hiding out in her inner nature, biding time in her id preparing an ambush.

Just a few days before Christmas, Florida First Lady Jenna DeShifty and Mrs. X returned home to their husbands.

“I expect you to sign a Christmas Eve pardon for Sam Bennett,” Jenna DeShifty told her he-man governor hubby she still considered a “warrior sent from God.”

“Yes, dear,” Ronnie DeShifty said.

Mrs. X wanted something less philanthropic.

“Buy me desert island in Pacific,” she said.

“Yes, dear,” Mr. Big said.

What she didn’t tell him was her plan to pay rogue spy secret agent ex-boyfriends she knew from the old country in Slovenia to drop Mr. Big alone and marooned on that uninhabited tropical island before the indictment she heard about through the grapevine came their way. If the feds locked him up, locked him up, locked him up she’d lose money. If he disappeared, she could pay crooked Cuban-American judges to declare him dead and keep whatever cash the old man stockpiled under his retro water bed at Shangri-Lago.

Talk about making America great again!

Mrs. X even planned to donate money to Sam Bennett’s “Come Fly with Me Foundation” to save the gulls. Her whole life had been for the birds so she might as well sit back and enjoy the flight. Still, she had enemies. Sleazy Russian gangster Borys Popov had shown up at Shangri-Lago for lunch the other day and had blown her a kiss on his way out.

When the billionaire mobster left he carried an atomic suitcase bomb – or what he thought was an atomic suitcase bomb big enough to destroy everything within a half-mile radius of the center of Clearwater Beach. Mr. Big said mad scientists told him that within hours of detonation even a slight breeze would carry the nuclear fallout throughout the Clearwater area. Bomb makers set the nuclear explosive charge at one kiloton, the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT, Mr. Big said.

But Little Rocket Man in North Korea had actually given Mr. Big a nuclear device loaded with itching powder and Chinese fireworks the tiny dictator used to prank foreign dignitaries.

Either way, Mr. Big finally had his paws on the Pee Pee Tape.

Or so he thought.

Excited about the prospect of the new year, Sam Bennett found himself looking at a full gubernatorial pardon, money in the bank to help save the gulls and a chance to refocus on his main goal in life: flying. In training as the sun rose each morning, you could see Sam Bennett running up and down the beach flapping his arms. No longer worried about another early riser beachgoer identifying him from a wanted poster, his picture in the paper or on TV, he flapped and flapped and flapped until his chest hurt and he dropped to the sand out of breath. Even resting on the sand he slowly flapped like a baby gull trying out the first primal beatings of its little wings, feeling centuries of gull DNA surge through his body like electrical current in a power house, knowing the elemental forces of nature always meant for him to fly.

Sam knew he would fly.

Needed to fly.

Must fly.

Maybe Borys Popov would fly too – right out a 30-story window, perhaps, or maybe like a bird soaring higher and higher into the wild blue yonder. Maybe one day Borys Popov would fly off into the sunset and disappear for good.