Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Punisher #2 - Two Kills Past Eight

Marvel Universe Presents: The Punisher #2

By Brian Kilby

War Journal, February the first. Two kills past eight a.m.

Word on the street is that somebody has a hit out on former Mayor Richard Eller. I'm no fan. He made sure the book was thrown at me when I was incarcerated a few years back. They called him "Rough Rick," he liked to make sure that the book was thrown at everybody. Truth be known, he has a lot people who 'aren't fans.' There are a few hundred people who'd like to rub out "Rough Rick," and on top of that, I can think of another couple of dozen people who'd be glad to do the job just for kicks.

Eller'll be roasted by the Academy of Associated Actors later in the week, he was an actor himself back in the day. He made lots of powerful, famous friends. Lots of powerful, corrupt friends. He's a very dirty man; got his fingers in everything. Details of the hit are vague but odds are the hit'll be made on the day of the roast. Starting tomorrow I'll stick to the old man like dry blood on a bayonet. Can't be too cautious. Now, however, I have other plans.

I have no money, no guns, no friends; nothing. I have some stuff put in storage but that'll have to wait until later. I have a good ten hours before dark; good thing, I've not slept in three days.


War Journal, February the First. Twilight, Yankee Stadium.

They say that Jimmy Hoffa is buried under the pitcher's mound. They're wrong, I checked. Eight feet under is a box, a big box. It's loaded to the brim with the tools of an artist of death and destruction.

I'm about to paint a masterpiece.

The lights are blown and security's down. Good. I'm one pair of night-vision goggles away from withdrawing my deposit, it's amazing what drug dealers carry these days.

Pitcher's mound.

The air is cold and dark and my lungs burn. Perspiration on my brow, it rolls down my face. It tastes like salt; like blood. Like blood! God, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm three feet down, with five left to go.

There's a weight in my stomach that's rising into my throat. It's excitement. It's anticipation. The calluses developing on my hand disappear as does the weight of the shovel. My one focus is on the contents of the box, nothing else matters right now; I need my 'fix.'

Six feet down, two to go.

I huff and puff, my muscles rip and pull the soil beneath me. The weight in my stomach explodes as my shovel hits something hard. My heart pounds and my fingers tremble. I've torn through the wrapping, now for the box.

I crack it open. It's Christmas and I'm a kid again.

I stare into the open box with satisfaction, with glee. Santa has been good to me this year. He didn't check his list did he? "Heh, no, he didn't."

I check the contents. "Damn!"

"Imports," I mutter. I had forgotten what I stowed away. Every gun an

import. Every one! Worse yet, some are customs, making it even harder to find ammunition. I'll have to conserve ammo. I hate conserving ammo!

It seems so wrong.

Maybe Santa checked his list after all. I double-check the contents:

The first gun is an Italian shotgun. It's a custom job, made for me years ago. Its name roughly translates as 'The Excavator.' It blows big holes in people.

The next gun is from Portugal. It's a black automatic rifle, a beautiful weapon. Take a block of steel the size of your head, it can punch a hole through it. A big messy hole. Needless to say, it gets the job done. Its name means 'The Bane of a Nation.' I call it 'my right hand.'

The next is from France. It's another custom. One of a kind. Unique triple barrel design. Six magazines, fully automatic. Nasty weapon. I found it on one of the Kingpin's assassins. I never caught its name.

The next gun is Russian. Big mammoth of a shotgun. When you shoot it, it sounds like the end of the world.

Fire, brimstone and the whole mess. This gun has no name, I like it that way.

The last is from Mexico. It's a tiny little rifle. You could hide it in your shirt if needed. The semi-automatic version has been illegal since the Carter Administration. The name translates as 'Montezuma's Revenge.' I kid you not. Most non-head or chest shots are still fatal. Without immediate medical attention, you either die of blood loss or gangrene. Regardless, it's a slow, painful death.

War Journal, February the second. Six a.m.

I loaded up and stowed away what wasn't being used into an abandoned warehouse. I took another rest and now I'm fresh as a daisy.

I've made my way to the former mayor's uptown residence. He lives a pampered life in a lavish apartment paid on the sweat of the city's tax payers. I stand outside. From street level, I look up into the early morning

New York sky. I laugh at how easy this is. I'm on the top of the world.

His apartment building glows like a beacon in the blackness of the hate and filth that is New York.

It's not a beacon. It's a testament to its filth.

Richard Eller is one of the most corrupt men in the city but I won't let him die. I want him to live in fear. I want him to suffer. I want him to know that his life of sin and corruption does not go unpunished.

I want him to--wait. I smell something. It smells like smoke.

There's an explosion that could wake the dead.

I look up just in time to see it go. A bomb. Fire and rubble rain from the heavens. His top story apartment goes up in fire and devastation. I'm too late.

"Damn! I'm too late!"

Or am I?

A long black limousine peels out from the underground parking lot. It's

The mayor's limousine. He's alive? I hear something else, someone's running away. Can't tell the direction.

My ears are ringing like Christmas Eve. The bomber?

Maybe this is more than just your run-of-the-mill mob hit.

"I wish I had more guns."

Next Week: Questions, Answers and Spilled Blood.

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