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The Professional

A Short Story by Lawrence Kirsch


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He looked through the telescopic sight and smiled.  "There he is.  Just as they said."  It was remarkable to him how someone could predict such as appearance so far away.  A cool breeze embraced him and he shuttered.  "Tension,"  he wondered, or just the weather.


The equipment was brand new, although he preferred his old stuff.  But they insisted on power and extreme accuracy.  "You can't miss," it was explained to him.  "You'll only have one opportunity, and it won't last long."


And the opportunity was upon him.  He gripped the barrel gently and carefully brought his eye in line with the crosshairs.  He loved these moments.  When everything fell into place; the lighting, the weather, the subject.  It all felt proper to him.


His right index finger caressed the trigger.  "Foreplay,"  he mused, "short and sweet."  The face starred back at him, oblivious and without concern.


He paused, drew in a long breath and held it - a trick of the trade - guarantees a steady shot.  And shoot he did.


"Got him.  They'll love it."


The science museum had already cleared a spot on the wall for the bright, white face of the old man in the moon.

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