Chapter 5

Retirement

The Assassin was aware that he was human. He had bled too often for there to be any doubt. Twenty-six years earlier he had been less sure. He had been trained to perfection in both mind and body. After Dr. Martin’s treatment, he had been taken beyond that; he was, quite literally, a superman. In the days following the treatment, the assassin had listened attentively to Dr. Martin as he explained the likely consequences of the treatment that had just been carried out. What had been bought and what had been sold. The balance. The assassin was listening from a distant place; his brain pulsating as the treatment began to take effect. He understood the doctor was talking about risk but he felt he was above all risk; the doctor must be talking about someone else.

When the headaches started, the assassin thought back to the warning that Dr. Martin had given him way back in 1984. Coincidence of course; everybody gets a headache once in a while. Although he had never been a person to take drugs, the assassin started to take pain-killers, then stronger pain-killers.  He meditated; he exercised; he changed his diet; he took more pain-killers. The headaches did not go away; they got worse. He resolved to contact Dr. Martin. After all, in the intervening 26 years, progress must have been made.

The assassin activated the secure link to contact his handler. He explained the problem. The answering voice was soothing, painstakingly logical but the assassin had already seen the answer in the face and posture of the other man. He could bearly control the anger welling up inside him. He had already been written off. A non-recyclable product. The handler expained that the treatment had been discontinued shortly after the assassin had left New Orleans. Yes, Dr. Martin was still alive but it was unlikely he would agree to treat the assassin one more time and even more unlikely that it would work.

During his long and very successful career, the assassin had asked for very little. This was acknowledged. However, now was a time when he needed to ask; ask for this one thing. He needed more time. Time to achieve peace. Time for more things to be balanced.

The Lear jet touched down at Kloten airport and the assassin deplaned. There were no formalities at the airport and the assassin was quickly transferred to a waiting mercedes: so quickly it was almost as though he were something that his country was ashamed of . The assassin had been granted his ask and was on his way for one more treatment from Dr. Martin.  He had got what he wanted but had lost his usual pragmatism. For the first time, the assassin was experiencing feelings of sadness. He was no longer so sure of his worth; he felt listless and was beginning to question the way he had led his life.

As the car drove up the private road and the clinic came into view, the assassin found the clean lines of the architecture reassuring. Of course anonymous, the clinic was a model of Zurich style: as sleek as steel and as frighteningly efficient as steel can be made to be. The Assassin approved. Funded by the Swiss government as payment for the initial treatment, the clinic had been Dr. Martin’s base of operations ever since.  However, the assassin’s handler had not lied; the original treatment had indeed been abandoned. Abandoned because there was a side-effect that most definitely outweighed the benefits: certain death.

The front door, swooshed open and he stepped inside. The half-remembered figure of Nurse Cecelia came into view. As at their last meeting, there was no need for speech. Both were quite aware of the reasons why. Nurse Cecelia viewed the figure before her and saw what the man had become. Like before, the nurse led the way and the assassin followed. Dr. Martin also did not speak; everything had already been said and all was ready. The treatment proceeded.

As the assassin left the clinic he began to feel light-headed; not quite there. He felt a peace inside. He felt he had done well. As he sat back in the plush interior of the mercedes, Klaus Kubler-Ross quietly died.

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