“You got to know who to insult: You can insult the barman, you can insult the waitresses with their see-through mini-skirts, you can insult the whole god damn band, on their god damn stage, with their god damn instruments — but you don’t insult me!” Micky was driving his point stabbing a fat finger at the table at every pause and his face was turning fiery red. I didn’t need to ask him what happened, the whole neighbourhood already knew.

Three days ago, Micky and Jose, the only two that can call themselves gang leaders in this part of the state, bumped into each other at Flory’s. Flory’s is a kind of institution — the fading but well-maintained building has been standing there since the forefathers built the forsaken street. Flory’s runs a very tight ship: The barman and waitresses are efficient, friendly and professional and the bouncers pack enough iron to repel a small army. Patrons are welcome to enjoy the club but required to respect it as well — so you can’t really insult the barman or the girls or the band, even if you are one of the local hot shots like Micky and Jose. I didn’t point that out to Micky. I am wise enough to understand a man has to blow off some steam and vent his ego somewhere.

Still, after a few too many, the two started a slugging match that grew into an explosive argument about whose dick was bigger, and only the abundant number of witnesses prevented them from blowing each other’s brains out right there. By the time they stomped out of Flory’s — led sternly by some of Flory’s boys — it was clear that someone was going to die, and if you got a target to waste you call me — the only one who does this kind of job around here. I don’t ask questions, I’m not selective and I’m good. When you pay my price and you shake my hand, it is as secure as a corporate contract.

That’s why, when Micky called me, I was not surprised at the call, only surprised it took him three whole days. Micky is not much of a genius, but he has street wisdom and he is sneaky. Never goes out to the same places, never takes an office in the same building. Even his close band of bodyguards don’t know who is going to be on the roster and who will be waiting to be called. The gorilla who picked me up was told where to deliver me mid-way through the ride.

So Micky is not easy to find. But now when I have him alone in the office I let him finish his “you got to know who to insult” monologue while I unfasten my coat, and then I pull my gun with the silencer already screwed on and shoot him once in the head and twice more in the torso. If the bodyguards are still behind the only door out — they are going to go next.

You see — Micky was really sneaky, but Jose is plainly smart, and he knows that if there is only one killer in town, whoever calls him first gets the job done.

Gal-on Broner is a computer engineer living north of London on the edge of the Chiltern Hills. He spends his daily commuting time asking fellow train passengers all sort of questions and writing short stories. His boys think he is strange — but in a good way.

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Every Day Fiction