This is What it Takes

Gear I use
The physical exhaustion of doing nothing

It's amazing how physically exhausting it can be to do nothing. If you're unable to endure boredom, this work is not for you.

Paris awakens unlike any other city. Slowly. Without the diesel grind of Berlin or Damascus. Or the incessant hum of Tokyo.

Popeye the Sailor probably said it best... "I am what I am." It's not that I'm exceptional. I'm just... apart. I am The Stranger amongst you. Consider yourself lucky if our paths never cross.

Except, luck isn't real. Nor is karma. Or, sadly, justice. As much as I would like to pretend these concepts exist... they don't. One is born. Lives their life. And eventually, one dies.

In the meantime... "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." To quote... someone; can't remember who.

140 million human beings are born every year, give or take. Worldwide population is approximately 7.8 billion. Every second, 1.8 persons die. 4.2 persons are born into that same second. Nothing I've done will make any dent in these metrics.

Skepticism is often mistaken for cynicism. Most people refuse to believe that the Great Beyond is no more than a cold, infinite void... but I accept it. Along with the freedom that comes from acknowledging that truth.

It occurs to me, that "the moment," when it's time to act, is not when my risk is greatest.

The real problems arise in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the task, and the minutes, hours and days after. Eliminating risk comes down to preparation, attention to detail, redundancies... redundancies... and redundancies.

Leave nothing for the elves, with their tweezers, forensic baggies, and DNA kits. And avoid being seen. Which is impossible in the 21st Century... so at least avoid being memorable. Keep calm. Keep moving.

The camo I'm wearing is based on a German tourist I saw in London, a while back. No one really wants to interact with a German tourist. Parisians avoid them like the rest of the world avoids street mimes.

Avoid being memorable

There are fifteen hundred McDonalds in France. A good enough place to grab 10 grams of protein for a Euro; alongside the 46 million people they serve each week.

It's a dog eat dog world, to reuse the apt cliché. Every man for himself. Kill or be killed. Survival of the fittest. Isn't it all just human nature?

Of those who like to put their faith in mankind's inherent goodness, I have to ask... based on what exactly?

I used to book a lot thru Airbnb. Not anymore. Those Superhosts love their nanny-cams. Take comfort in the fact that 70 to 80 percent of wrongful convictions are the direct result of eyewitness testimony.

Still... only takes a few episodes of DATELINE to know there are a hundred ways to trip oneself up. If you can think of a dozen of them, you're a genius. I'm no genius. Since the beginning of history, the few have always exploited the many.

This is the cornerstone of civilization. The blood in the mortar that binds all bricks. Whatever it takes... make sure you're one of the few, not one of the many.

On Annie Oakley jobs, distance is the only advantage. Everything else... the popping sound like fireworks; breaking of glass; the screams... all disadvantage. When it comes to bystanders getting involved -- everything becomes a blur. Combat veterans call this "tunnel vision." I call it occupational good-fortune.

It's the idle hours that most often lead a man to ruin. That's not Dylan Thomas, but it ought to be.

Appreciate proximity work

Somehow, jobs that are designed to rattle a cage... ...are always the most tedious. I've actually grown to appreciate proximity work. Staged accidents. Gradual poisonings. Anything requiring a little creativity. When was my last nice, quiet drowning? Seems like forever.

Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, murdered at least 49 women over two decades. He couldn't spell cat if you spotted him the A and the T. But he was conscientious.

I've put in my 10,000 hours. Beyond which I'm aided and abetted by law enforcement fatigue. Sheer caseload.

Ted Williams batted .344 Lifetime. I'd be batting a thousand except I won't take credit for watching someone drop dead of a coronary. The only time nicotine, red meat and marital stress did the hard part for me.

Of the many lies told by the U.S. military industrial complex, my favorite is still their claim that sleep deprivation didn't qualify as torture. Vigilance is essential. Even the most disciplined mind can become weary.

Impatient. Hurried. Sloppy.

I find music a useful distraction. A focus tool. Keeps the inner voice from wandering. My "process" is purely functional. Logistical. Narrowly focused, by design. I'm not here to take sides. It's not my place to formulate any opinion. No one who can afford me needs to waste time winning me to their cause.

I serve no God or country. I fly no flag. I'm effective because of one simple fact: I don't give a f#@!.

Stick to your plan. Anticipate, don't improvise

At this range, a subsonic round's drop is not an issue. I'm just looking for a pulse rate under 60 and a measured squeeze, so vintage glass won't alter trajectory.

Stick to your plan. Anticipate, don't improvise.

Trust no one. Never yield an advantage.

Fight only the battle you're being paid to fight.

Forbid empathy. Empathy is weakness. Weakness is vulnerability.

Each and every step of the way, ask yourself, what's in it for me?

This is what it takes... what you must commit yourself to... if you want to succeed.


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