"Stoakes" - A HITMAN Short Story

The man looked across the menu above the juice bar, then looked to the well-dressed bartender. “Hey, can I, uh…” The man trailed off, bewildered by the bartenders’s face: cold, menacing, yet strangely neutral, alongside a head completely devoid of hair. “…have- can- can I have the… Bare Knuckle Boxer?”

The bartender’s face persisted. A primal sense of panic emerged deep inside the man’s gut, like it’d reached a sign saying ‘Turn Back’. He recoiled slightly, then flinched as the other bartender nearby smacked the bald bartender lightly on the shoulder. “Hey, he’s ordering!”

47’s gaze remained fixed. The target, Willem Stoakes, had decided to finish his boisterous conversation across the street, under the shade of the moon, and focus his interests on the juice bar. Then, just as he’d observed, 47 replied, “Just a minute.”

The other bartender blinked, then scoffed at him, looking to the customer. “What did you want again?” He asked. The conversation trailed off in 47’s mind as he returned complete focus on his mark as he approached closer.

Then, as he felt the other bartender snatch the glass out from between his arms, he tilted his head slightly to the side, addressing the other bartender. “I wouldn’t use that glass.”

“What?” He exclaimed, looked at the bald man with a slightly baffled expression.

“Look at it.” 47 said softly. “It’s a custom-made glass for Mr. Stoakes, who’s on his way here now.” He gestured toward him.

The other bartender’s expression went deadpan for a moment, as he began to notice Mr. Stoakes in the corner of his vision. Then, his eyes widened. “Oh, shit,” he exclaimed under his breath, quickly clearing his throat and composing himself. “Mr. Stoakes!” He greeted him loudly.

The customer turned around to witness Mr. Willem Stoakes, the well-dressed male model with the hair of a god and a suit that might’ve even rivaled 47’s if that wasn’t so insulting. After him was a suited and extremely obvious bodyguard. Behind the 34-year old’s youthful looks and a soft-yet-masculine face was a man whose obsession with vanity and self-image made him engineer a sickening plot in an effort to reclaim fame: the tragic ‘victim’ of his wife’s death.

The festival had him as a speaker that day, and everyone was told to cater to him at any cost. Nevertheless, the unaware customer turned to the two bartenders with confusion and anger.

“Please! Willem. Who calls me Mr. Stoakes?” He chuckled, wearing his sunglasses. At night.

“Right, right. I- what would you like?” He asked him, roughly nudging 47 continuously, asking him to stop acting strange but to no avail. His eyes were locked on to Willem Stoakes. “Mr. Stoakes,” 47 said. “Our juice bar would like to thank you for your visit to the festival. Here’s a drink on us.”

As he finished his last sentence, he pulled back his glass from the other bartender’s weak grip and put ice in it. He then reached underneath, pouring a shot glass full of green juice into the glass, shaking it lightly. Like a true professional, he carefully set the glass down and slid an umbrella-themed straw into the glass.

“I hope you-”
The bartender suddenly interjected, interrupting 47. “You were supposed to serve the other guy!” the bartender said under his breath and through gritted teeth.

47 stared at him silently for a few seconds before Stoakes spoke up in his defense. “Are you joking? He just made that thing with love, didn’t you see that?!” He laughed. “I was practically mesmerized, too, how fast he did that.”

“Enjoy.” 47 smiled, giving Stoakes a weak nod of his head. Within earshot, the other customer who by then had decided to leave, muttered ‘prick’ under his breath.

“That was… that was fucking delicious. That… what was that?” Stoakes looked up at 47, shaking his head with delight. “Can I get another?”

Hours later, Stoakes puked up his entire day’s worth of food and more, collapsed at the base of a toilet with his arms practically wrapped around it. “What the shit was that?!” He yelled dramatically. “What wa-aaugh-!” he lunged forward, eyes widening as vomit poured out of his mouth, sputtering across his lips and down his chin. He coughed wildly, the complete weakness of his body had taken its toll as evidenced by his need to rest his entire cheek on the toilet seat.

For a few delirious minutes, he stared blurrily toward the wall. Shadows appeared to come and go, fade in and out. He’d figured, even in this state, he must’ve been mildly hallucinating. Something caught his eyes as he opened them further to observe the hallucinations, something in the toilet bowl. He noticed dark streaks of red in the bowl. “Oh, god,” he said shakily to himself. “Is…?” He squinted. It was blood.

Within the shimmering water was something else. A shape.
Quickly, the harsh sound of a footstep caused Stoakes to experience a whole-body lightning strike of fear, whipping his head up to the sight of a bald man in a black suit and red tie. Before he could scream, a gloved palm struck down his head into the toilet seat, causing him to sputter whatever remained of the puke in his throat.

Dazed, the man gripped Stoakes’ suit collar, pulling him up enough to stab him in the neck with a needle, pushing all of its contents into him. Then, in a sudden motion, 47 let go of the man as he slid down past the toilet seat and instinctively reached for his neck. His throat began to close up and his sight, however distorted, fixated desperately up at his attacker as he sputtered out foam.

47 stared at his mark as the poison started to make quick work of him. Soon, the man’s eyes began to hemorrhage, as did his nose. As the life faded from the man and he started to crumple to the ground, Diana’s voice rushed through his head as he slipped out a polaroid from his suit pocket. “The client requested a photo of his late wife be placed by his body.”

Stoakes’ eyes remained peeled open, his face smushed up against the bathroom floor, dead. 47 leaned down, gently placing the photograph on his upper back before leaving.

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