The monotonous, disgusting shrill sound of the alarm roused Oliver Klondike from sleep. It was five-thirty in the morning. Sleepy, he groped with his left for the device to turn off the ringing.
Slowly he got up. What a shit day today. He rubbed his eyes and yawned, brushing his palm through his ruffled, short hair. His pajamas were crumpled and Oliver was a little annoyed that he had been brutally ripped from his beautiful dream. He had already forgotten what he had dreamed of, but he had no doubt that it had been beautiful. As he leaned on his pillow, he noticed the saliva dripping from his mouth and threw it in disgust on the foot of the bunk.
“Honey, what time is it? Do you always have to leave so early? Poor darling.” it came from the indefinable pile of long, blond hair and blanket that lay beside him.
“Well, that’s the way it is,” he said, trying to sound reasonably good-humored. Always thinking positively, Elisabeth used to say and that’s exactly what he planned this morning. It might be hard, but you did not have to say that right away.
Oliver climbed gently out of bunk, slipped into his slippers and headed for the bathroom, careful to be as quiet as possible so that his wife could go back to sleep.
The water was cold. Pretty cold, but that was exactly what he needed now. “Start the day in a good mood, then you’ll do your job even better,” he murmured to himself.
After he had shaved and applied deodorant, as well as after shave, he also felt much fresher. As he brushed his teeth, he slipped as quietly as he could into the room and put on his silver Rolex, which he had left on the corner of the table the night before. When he was done, he got up and paid a visit to the training and dressing room. The room, perhaps twenty square meters in size, was dominated by an elongated, mirror-finished closet that faced a variety of exercise equipment-a stationary bike, a treadmill, and various weightlifting equipment. Oliver used to train in the evenings, so now he was content with just fifty pushups and as many sit-ups to get his circulation going,
Oliver drank his morning coffee black and no sugar, but instead enjoyed plenty of orange juice and energy drinks fortified with vitamin supplements, and casually scanned the newspaper as he buttered his toast and then blackberry jam. Apparently nothing special, as he had actually thought. In fact, he did not care so much about it, but meticulously paid attention to leaving the sports and business section spread out on the table when he left the house. The Eagles boomed softly from the boxes of his three-thousand-dollar stereo system.
Oliver preferred Armani. He pulled on his bright white shirt, slipped elegantly into his bespoke anthracite-colored suit, and adjusted the tie knot before grabbing the briefcase he had already packed last night and preparing to discreetly leave his home. One last look in the mirror: perfect.
6:20 clock. The S-Bahn was exactly a minute late, as it was every day. But Oliver had already calculated that. As so often, she was not very busy, but would continue to fill up in the course of the thirty-seven-minute journey, and by the time he got off, it would have been pretty tight. His goal, the Tumberland Square Station, he reached a moment too early. Oliver, like most people, did not really feel comfortable in larger crowds, but did not have too much of a problem with it. The more people lingered in one place, the less he fell into the crowd. He liked that.
Oliver was wearing a heavy, black coachman’s coat (not a brand), so he was spared uncomfortable questions about his clothes and appearance.
It was 6:36 am and he got out of the car to get on another train. The fat black woman opposite had watched him again too long. He decided not to ride in Wagon 3 again in the future. For several weeks he had switched from Waggon 4 to Waggon 3. Oliver hated to see the same faces every time, but too much was too much. Now it should be Waggon 1. Hopefully, not such perverted pigs ride here as this old box did. She had had such a strange look, who was she? No idea, but he did not want to know.
Exactly twenty-one minutes later, he got off at Tumberland Square Station. Then he only had to walk three blocks and he was already arrived. Triangle Waterston building. Oliver greeted the doorman with a subtle nod and walked purposefully toward the elevator.
“Ah, Klondike, there they are.”
Oliver turned around. It was O’Cheery, the old sack. “Still at Bearer’s Account?” asked the chubby mid-fifties, whose weather-beaten skin made it look as if it would be completely rotten in ten years at the latest. Oliver had to control himself, not to make a disgusted face.
“Uh … of course,” he replied and put on a mock-smirk that was meant to express satisfaction and a little bit of showing off. Feelings, of course, which he in no way harbored. He just did not care at the moment.
“Wow, they must have been lucky, Klondike,” laughed O’Cheery, then patted Oliver on the shoulder. It was supposed to be something of cordiality, Oliver thought, forming chewing movements with his jaw, though he had nothing in his mouth.
The elevator door opened and a young, attractive woman in a cream trouser suit, presumably Yves Saint Lauren, approached the two men. Maybe twenty-seven. In any case, a damn fuckable thing, Oliver thought. He caught himself looking at her and noticed, slightly amused, how O’Cheery was staring at her bottom. Dude, ugly sack, forget it. Forget it. It belongs to me, and to me alone.
No. He had to think like a pro because he was a pro. Stop it.
They entered the elevator car. Luckily he would get out before O’Cheery. That saved him at least a little bit from his stupid, irrelevant chatter, which would undoubtedly still expect him.
“Nice bride,” said the old man, exposing some gold teeth with his grin on. “He has bad breath,” Klondike thought. “Oh my god, he has bad breath.” He swallowed and his Adam’s apple made its way slowly, cramping its way. Apparently casually, Klondike looked at his Rolex. Quarter past seven. The elevator started moving.
“I heard Emily and Ted got caught doing something …” O’Cheery threw into the room.
Oh no, the fun started already. Klondike did not even begin to give him an expectant look. But that did not matter anyway. Because his more detailed description would follow as surely as the Amen in the church. It was almost pre-programmed. The man was just unrolling a tape recorder that some crazy surgeon had transplanted behind the vocal cords.
“Did you know that they had something in common with each other? I’m not a big friend of this babble of women, but,” he laughed stupidly, “it’s worth it to say a few words about that.” Of course you are a friend of this woman’s stuff. And who the hell are Emily and Ted, Oliver thought.
“Well, they were probably caught incognito, if they understand what I mean.” he grinned, thrusting Klondike into the pit of his stomach with his elbow. Much stronger than you would expect in such a gesture and for a moment his stomach did not know if he should churn the coffee and jam bread back up through the esophagus or not.
Presumably O’Cheery had noticed the “seriousness of the situation,” but he made no move to show it and did not apologize. The embarrassment of the situation made it necessary to simply keep silent. And that was what Klondike liked the most.
“Kling” sounded from the small speaker above the door. Seventh floor. “Oh, I have to get out,” he said. “Nice to have you talking … er … O’Cheery, Sayonara, so to speak.”
O’Cheery winked at him and flicked his finger in a playful gesture. What an idiot.
Oliver Klondike. Thirty-two years old and in the prime of his life, he walked along the long hallway lit by neon lights and finally stopped in front of a large wooden door. He set the briefcase in the hallway for a moment and rummaged for his key, unlocked it and disappeared behind it.
A few minutes later, the door opened again. A curly black hair, well-built man with a long coat made of cream-colored suede, turned up collars and dark sunglasses stepped out of her. It was Klondike. To round off his outfit, he had glued on a false mustache.
“Ah, Mister Kowalski, it’s nice to see you,” a beautiful female voice called to him. It was Mira. Mira Cunningham. She worked in an office two floors above his own and was an employee at “Amazon, Leyk and Pulmer”, one second-rate in Klondike eyes law firm, however, first-class reputation – at least if you like to give Mira faith.
When he was called Klondike, he had several times in the lobby of the Triangle Waterston building with her and a few other “office stallions” – as the troops then called in jest – eaten. By contrast, when Paul Kowalksi drank a cup of coffee with her only two or three times. He entered the cabin of the elevator again. The door closed and Miss Cunningham hit the ground floor button.
“Nice coat, Paul, may I call you Paul?” she looked a bit ashamed on the floor. “By now we know each other a bit,” she said.
“Of course,” Klondike replied with a smile.
They drove to the lobby and talked about genetically modified pet food (Mira had two cats and did not believe it) and a new vegetable diet. Where the part with the diet rather had the character of an inner monologue of Mira.
“Goodbye”, Klondike said goodbye and left the building exactly three minutes after the porter left his post and two minutes before his replacement would arrive.
He walked around the next corner and marched for one and a half blocks down the sidewalk. Then he called a cab and drove nine blocks to Park Lane and got out. The driver received a not too tight, but by no means unusually high tip.
Klondike crossed the rondel and finally arrived at the run-down apartment building where he had rented a small apartment. Nobody seemed to be there. Except for the caretaker, who probably repaired something somewhere in the basement.
“Mr. Sanchez,” he called out to greet him as Klondike was just on the stairs between the second and the third floor. He had a South Asian accent. An Indian or a Pakistani.
“Hello,” he replied.
“Please do not enter the basement, a minor mishap has happened down here. Please excuse me.”
“No problem.” Klondike looked down the railing in the hallway so he could see the man below. He smiled affirmatively.
Then he went on until he finally arrived at a door. She was pretty simple, but heavy and pretty. Klondike had installed it herself. An exact replica of the original but soundproofed. At eye level there was a peephole through which people standing in the corridor could be observed. He unlocked the door and entered the small apartment. Opposite the entrance was a window, darkened by shutters. In front of it a desk with a laptop on it. Klondike turned on the computer.
The room was relatively Spartan. The table. A rotatable chair. Two high, angular cabinets. Klondike opened one of them and grabbed a revolver from the top shelf. Settling in his chair, he playfully turned the drum.
He opened the drawer under the table top. Inside were several disposable cell phones – without a contract. He turned on one and checked some of the stored numbers. At the same time he typed something in the calculator. Shortly thereafter, he finished the program, and for a fraction of an instant, there was a picture of a young, well-dressed gentleman on the desktop.
Klondike put on a headset and turned on another program. Let’s see if one of his middlemen had pulled him a new job on land. He dug out a packet of bullets and rustled softly to himself as he drummed around on the tabletop with his left fingers, waiting for the software to finally load. He stared casually into the next room. The door was open. Only the reddish glow of small high-tech equipment could be seen in it. The room was dark. It was exactly three minutes past 8 o’clock.
Einundzwanziguhrsiebenundfünfzig. Elisabeth Klondike was sitting on her white couch with a glass of red wine and saw on the widescreen plasma TV a magazine with the theme “Sleep Disorders – a sign of a disturbed relationship with the employer?” and was close to falling asleep. Of course, she could not identify with the matter of the broadcast. At least not really. She had never worked. After college, she had married Oliver directly. She grew up in a strict Catholic home and although she did not believe in conservative, middle-class roles, it was her husband who brought the money home. He really did earn well, but he worked so terribly. Sometimes Oliver did not come home until very late. Today was such a day. She waited impatiently He wanted nothing more than to be hugged by him. The day had been a disaster for her … She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.
At that very moment-and she did not notice it-one could see from her conservatory window a small red dot in the darkness, to which several soon joined. They came slowly closer. If one had paid close attention to it, one would surely have heard a faint rustling from the outside, but Elisabeth was lost in thought. Her glass was empty and she got up, walking toward the kitchen, intending to pour herself another.
Then she heard the familiar turn of keys on the door. Olli. Finally. She took his perfume. Yes, it was him. The light in the hallway went on. She saw his shadow on the ground.
“Honey, come here, I need you, my day was so terrible,” she said, groaning excessively.
Silence. A moment passed.
A tiny moment of silence. Then she stuck her head out from behind the ajar door.
He was it. Her husband, Oliver Klondike. He was pale.
“What is honey?”
I do not think so, I just thought … I heard something. “
“My dear sweetheart,” said Elisabeth. Ignoring Klondike’s words. The question of his well-being – although he was obviously pale, quite pale – was just a tape recorder. Played on the same tape recorder that had been planted by O’Cheery. Her voice had taken on a gentle sound. Like talking to a toddler who had lost his teddy bear. Then she hugged her husband and wanted to give him a big kiss on the cheek.
But just then came a loud clinking. Glass splintered, the conservatory. And behind Klondike the door was pushed open. Someone broke her up.
Men in black. Many men in black poured into the house.
Klondike did not know what he should do. He reached into the inner lining of his long, dark coat and pulled something silvery out of it. But before he could react and realized the completely bewildered Elisabeth, what happened around her, it clicked quietly and a bullet pierced his head. Then he bleed and fell lifeless.
A few seconds of silence. Then Elisabeth started screaming. As loud and as long as she could.
The last letters Oliver Klondike had seen in his life had been S, W, A, and T.
23:34 clock. Elisabeth crouched, wrapped in a warm blanket, somewhere on a couch. Beside her sat a police psychologist and a doctor who had given her a Valium. She had suffered a shock.
The silvery thing Oliver had tried to extract from his coat had been a cell phone, not a pistol. They had shot the wrong one. The only weapon Oliver Klondike possessed was a revolver caliber 38, legally registered in his name. They had probably broken into the wrong house. The mistake was unforgivable and the officer in charge of the duty would probably be suspended for the time being. In addition to the Klondikes lived a man named Abraham Lancaster. A professional killer who has been carrying out assassinations for the mafia and its clients for years under the name “The Lynx”.
In Klondike’s coat pocket, however, a videotape could be secured. As it turned out, Oliver Klondike made his living by turning gay porn into tragic-comic plot. Not as a stockbroker, as he had always protested to his wife. The picture in which the district attorney Howser stopped the tape to portray his colleague’s fatal events and the strange double life of Oliver Klondike showed a narrow room in which a large bunk was set up (where it was just fierce to the point). In the background of the half-open door was a spartan-equipped room. A few angular cabinets, a table on which a laptop stood, in front of it a rotatable chair.