Pat loves her Papa so much, she follows him everywhere.
When her father goes to the living room to watch the evening news, she sits in his lap and leans on his chest. She loves it when her Papa carries her to bed when she falls asleep. She is not afraid of monsters under her bed because she knows her Papa is still awake and is just one cry away.
Whenever she becomes thirsty in the middle of the night or wants to pee, she carefully walks her way to the bathroom near their front door. Nerves set in when she reaches the stairs but she becomes calm when she smells the familiar smoke. It’s her father smoking in front of their house. Pat thinks that her father has been guarding them from monsters and thieves.
One night, she opens the door and runs to her Papa. He quickly sways his hand with a cigarette away from his daughter and asks, “Why are you still awake?”
“I’m thirsty,” she replied.
“Get some water and then go straight to your room, okay?”
“Do you mind if I stay here with you for a while?” Pat asks him.
“I’m sorry Pat, but get back to sleep now or you’ll stop growing,” he puts his cigarette stick on a flower pot and opens the door for Pat.
He leans his back on the wall, his hands gripping his gun tight. He wishes he could shoot the moon and tear the dark sky into pieces. He wants the night to end, that in the morning, he will forget everything about this, and all the nights before. He is tempted to light a cigarette, hoping it would take away the agitation he feels. Flashes of thoughts and images of people he knows, and even seemingly strangers keep pounding on his head, causing the lines on his forehead to be more visible. He throws curses into the air, almost whispers but in a profound tone.
The rules are clear. No cigarettes on the field. Don’t leave any trace behind. Finish the task as quickly and silently as you could. Focus on the target. No resignations. No spitting of information. No getting out.
He closes his eyes for a few seconds and regains composure. He knows he shouldn’t permit his thoughts to affect his assignment. He has been trained to think and feel less so he can focus and act faster to get things done. He has been waiting for Kulot to pass by the street, the same Kulot whom he never knew, but whose picture he has been glaring at every night for about a month now. He knows that Kulot has multiple records at Agdao Police Station for theft, illegal carrying of fire arms, and dealing of illegal drugs. Kulot is five-feet tall, has round eyes, dark complexion, five piercings on his left ear, and a tattoo of a skull, smiling on the back of his neck. That’s all he needed to know, as if two sentences can summarize thirty years of a person’s existence. Kulot could be a father, or a drunkard, or a rapper, or a pedicab driver, but no matter what, Kulot will be his eighteenth kill.