Vasant (Spring) 2021 Stories - Eduard Schmidt-Zorner


A job to do
By Eduard Schmidt-Zorner


The wet surface of the road, leading to the morgue, reflected the lights of the hospital where her brother had died. The pathologist pulled the green cloth over the face of her brother. Heroin had been the cause of his death.


Anastasia had no tears. She was numb with the pain of deep grief. She signed some form, not even knowing what she signed. She neither listened nor reacted to what the pathologist said. She went down to the car park, took her car and drove up to the main road. She passed by the graveyard over which a clouded moon silvered the Celtic crosses.


Her father, Dimitri Kuznezov, with whom she and her brother immigrated to Ireland, had died some years earlier after a long life of hard work. Her mother had died in Arkhangelsk. Now her brother Sergey had left her. She was alone, so alone. She had pleaded with her brother to give up the drugs. She had tried to discourage the dealers, but they only laughed at her. She had contacted the police, but they were not interested, not interested in a foreigner; she had been only a nuisance to them.


She knew who the boss of the drug dealers was, (nickname: Foxy) she had watched and investigated the scene, she knew all the faces, names and locations. Anastasia was beautiful and intelligent, she had brains, determination, serenity and was Russian. She was not one of those silly little girls dreaming of Prince Charming, removed from reality, without life experience but rather the experience of a hard, uncomfortable life, the hardship, pain and privation, the real life.


She had arrived at a point of no return. Arrived at the end of a sad chapter. She had made a decision. She did not believe in divine justice; she did not believe in anything.


After a week, the body had been released for burial. A Russian orthodox priest from Cork had officiated at the funeral service. Weeks passed by.


The 4-star hotel outside town was exclusively booked for the wedding of the son of the drug boss Foxy. He was a respected member of society, a sponsor of several sport clubs. He owned a yacht in Fenit. His lifestyle was built on drug victims, on a miserable life for others and a luxurious life for himself and his family.


Before her father died, he had given her a SPS (the Serdyukov pistol), Russia's most deadly and ergonomic weapon. That is your страховойполис, your insurance policy, he had said. She did not know how he got the weapon into the country, but she cherished the weapon in memory of her father. She often took the SPS apart and put it back together, oiled it and kept it in a safe place. He also had left her three boxes of ammunition.


Sitting in her car she watched the guests filing in. She counted nearly 100 people who were attending the event. Mostly elderly people, complacent, middle-class. Flat emotionless faces devoid of feelings, with the mouths of snails, the establishment, people who had lived their life, boring. Butchers, dentists, shopkeepers, publicans…


No young curious and adventurous people, who would be unpredictable and in her way. Though the drug boss was a so-called respected person of the local society he had not a lot of real friends, only people who licked his boots and were sunning themselves in his wealth.


There were not a lot of cars parked in front of the hotel. These people obviously were not drink drivers. A few mini-buses and taxis dropped people off. Anastasia was satisfied, it suited her well. She parked her car facing the exit of the car park, like vets park their cars, to be ready for an escape and to avoid the fury of the farmer, when an incurable bullock or sow dies.

At the entrance of the hotel were bodyguards, who looked like porters, and were checking the personal invitation cards. She had no invitation. The only invitation was the grief about her dead brother Sergey. She waited until she saw a slimy looking elderly man arriving on his own. She approached him and made up a story about a boyfriend who left her and who had the invitation cards and asked him if he would be so kind as to accompany her.


She knew this type of man and could imagine his expectations: a bit of intercourse without commitment after the dinner in a quiet corner. They passed the watchdogs no problem. As soon as they entered the hall he started fumbling and she told him in a sharp voice to keep his hands off her.


It transpired later that he was a high ranked revenue official. She disappeared in the crowd. A big crowd is the best hiding place. The lobby was radiating in a yellow light. Waiters offered champagne, a long buffet offered seafood on ice, lobster, canapés, exquisite salads and venison appetisers as starter.


A photographer took photos and arranged small groups of people to smile their tired smiles into his camera. Anastasia avoided the camera and the busy photographer. Anastasia wore a blue hat which covered her face.


She was disgusted to see all those people in their outfits and silly hats, the women with skirts which were too narrow and wearing high heels they could hardly walk in. Representatives of local parties were present, bankers, officials. All hovering around the hosts like flies around a street lantern.


She spotted Foxy with his fat belly. He wore a bright blue pullover and a white shirt, black trousers and polished shoes. His stupid looking son was wearing a white suit and she saw the equally stupid looking bride with a doll’s face and a pair of big tits swelling out of a plunging neckline.


The wife of the drug boss was waddling along in a garish design dress which only made her fat behind more noticeable. She emitted shrieks when she spotted somebody she knew. She found it fashionable to kiss everybody, not noticing that her lipstick was smeared all over her face.


The drug boss had a drink with a couple of guests. They were in full swing. She saw his big nose and his longish, dyed hair. She kept an eye on him. He swayed a bit but kept equilibrium. A bell rang, the guests were called to the dinner tables. The decorations were exaggerated, tasteless, pompous, pretentious and showy. All the guests were streaming to the trough.


She spotted the slimy financial officer and joined him using him as camouflage and sat down next to him. His bulgy eyes scanned her. Fortunately, loud deafening music made any conversation impossible, but it suited her for the job she had to do. The usual meaningless speeches were made. The short speech of the drug boss was characterised by a mumbled way of speaking, due to the amount of drink he had consumed already. The son could hardly sit straight. The bride had lost her composure.


After the Mulligatawny soup, the main course of roast beef with potatoes and a slice of veal with currant jelly was served. Anastasia nibbled a bit. It turned her stomach.


She noticed that Foxy had left the table and walked into the garden, apparently to smoke a cigarette. He was on his own, unaccompanied. Anastasia told her table companion that she had to go to the restroom. She knew from experience, and what she had learnt in the few months of training with the Комите́тгосуда́рственнойбезопа́сности, the KGB, that she had only a very short time, approximately four minutes, to do what she intended to do.


Covered by the shadow of a pillar, she fixed the silencer onto the SPS. In the dark of the hotel park she approached him and shot him in the back of his head. He fell forward into the hedge which covered him. There was not a soul around. There was only the blaring of the music. The dessert was served. That would keep the people occupied.


She stopped outside the dining hall and saw the wife of the drug boss talking to her son. They were looking around, apparently asking themselves where the boss was. Anastasia expected that she would now go and look for her husband. But the wife went over to the toilets. Anastasia followed her.

The boss' wife stood in front of a mirror to rearrange her makeup and smiled at her when she entered. Anastasia pretended to put on some lipstick. They were on their own, normally the ladies' toilet was overcrowded with ladies exchanging the latest gossip or were accompanied by friends. The wife opened the door of a cubicle, at that moment Anastasia shot her in the back, she fell forward, her head hitting the toilet bowl.


Anastasia pushed her legs in and closed the door behind. Anastasia returned to the dining hall. She felt that somebody followed her. She turned around. It was the Superintendent of the Gardaí. He spoke to her, but she did not understand his accent. It seemed that he knew who she was. She accelerated her pace to lure him into a quiet section. She was lucky that all guests were having their dessert and the music was loud. She pulled the pistol out of her bag and turned around. She saw the big frightened eyes of the superintendent. She shot him at a short distance and pulled him behind a curtain.


She looked around. There was nobody. When she returned to her place at the table, the financial officer was highly delighted and all smiles for her. She patted his hand. She looked into his watery leering eyes.


From the corner of her eye she saw that some of the bodyguards were talking to the son, who sank back on his seat. His face went white. Anastasia was under high tension. She presumed that the body was found but that they did not want to raise panic or that they suspected that it was a feud between drug bosses.


She suggested to her table companion to get some fresh air outside. He followed her, full of expectations. If she had left on her own, it would have been too conspicuous.


When they were nearing the parking place and she was not too far from her car and nobody in sight, she shot him as well.


A gust of wind took her hat, which got caught in the branches of a tree.


She opened the car, started, drove to the main road and disappeared into the darkness and the drizzling rain. Far away she heard police sirens.


She felt good. Her flight was scheduled for the next morning.


Eduard Schmidt-Zorner from Ireland is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku, and short stories. He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose and experimental poetry. Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 140 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Bangladesh, India, France, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Canada. Some of his poems and haibun have been published in French (own translation), Romanian and Russian language. He writes also under his penname Eadbhard McGowan.


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