So I cut his throat. I didn't feel good about it, but then, what else could I have done? What would you have done? A job is a job. But then, this wasn't my job. I mean, it was my job, but not my profession. I'm not a professional. Which isn't to say I wasn't paid, because I was, and handsomely. Maybe not handsomely, but well, especially for someone who doesn't do this for a living, which I don't, yet.

I want to be perfectly clear about that. I'm not a professional. Yet. Which means I guess you could call me an amateur. It's not really a hobby or anything, but I do spend a lot of time doing it. So I must be an amateur.

The pros get paid by the boatload. And they're really good, and protected. It's kind of a union, and I don't want to get in trouble with the union, because then I'll never get in. Really, I never should have done it, because that's taking away work from the professionals, which is frowned upon. Those guys really stick together, because in the old days it was pretty easy to get taken advantage of by an employer.

If someone takes advantage of you now, though--say, threatens to turn you in, or refuses to pay, there's a good chance that if that guy needs someone killed in the future, he'll have to do it himself, because no one will work with him. Not to mention the fact that it's just not a good crowd to be on the outs with.

That's why I don't want to ruffle any feathers, and there's always a couple of birds out there with their eyes out. Word gets around about a person. Already I'm not exactly welcome at the local churches, but I don't worry about that, because I don't think priests are allowed to kill you. Not Protestants, anyway, I don't think. I don't know much about Jews, so maybe their priests can, but I've never seen it happen. And I know a lot of guys.

That's really important, too. I've killed a couple people, sure, but if you really want to get in it's all about who you know. That bothers me about the industry sometimes, because if you weren't born in the right place or raised by the right people, it's ten times harder to get the jobs you want. I'm not lazy, but just because my name isn't right, I could end up being an assistant killer for the next twenty years, or doing small, independent killings that no one ever hears about.

That's not to downplay the importance of that kind of thing, because really often it's those smaller ones that show the most talent. I think that a lot of the mainstream killings are kind of predictable, and they really aren't being done with any of the craftsmanship that you can sometimes expect from a really solid low-profile job. I once had to kill a man in plain view of two hundred people, make it look like a suicide, and get out of the building before anyone even knew I was there, all on a really shoestring budget.

Personally, I was really happy with the results. I had to cut a few corners, and if you look really closely at the case you can see where the whole case starts to fall apart, but fortunately, today's investigators don't really look too hard, so it's a lot easier to get away with shoddier work.

Of course, that's not helping people in my line of work stay particularly sharp. Pretty soon, we'll just be pouring gasoline down people's throats and then making them swallow a match, like in those old Daffy Duck cartoons. Either that, or simply gunning them down on the sidewalk, or at their kitchen tables. And that will pass for talent, simply because it follows the formula. More and more employers will start telling us--the creatives--how they want the target killed, because that's how they've seen it done, and that's how they know it works. It's already happening. The ones with the money are dictating to the ones with actual talent. And what do most of them know about killing a man? Maybe they've seen it done, but that's not the same thing. And naturally they always hire the same guys again and again. There are a lot of fresh young minds out there that can kill someone ten times before he hits the ground, in really exciting, cutting edge ways that no one's ever seen before. But no one wants to make room for the up-and-comers, like myself. There are going to be a lot of boring deaths in the next ten years, until the older generation retires or gets retired.

If you look around, it's already apparent. People just aren't paying as much attention to it like they used to be. When it first became a popular medium to work in--and this is long before schools popped up all over the country to teach it (if it's even the sort of thing you can teach)--it was everywhere. If you did a good job, your work was all over the television, in the papers, everywhere. And it was so innovative, and free. Everyone had their own particular style, and if you had just done a little homework and followed the trends, you could easily spot who did what.

Now, equipment is so much cheaper and better that the market's become saturated, and anyone thinks he or she can just go out and start killing. Getting any press has become truly challenging. I know of at least fifteen people who were killed last year in genuinely intriguing ways, and they were barely mentioned at all in the papers. It's just getting too damn hard to reach people nowadays, and the only things you hear about are ultra-high-profile celebrity stalkers and presidential assassins. Please! These people are only in it for the exposure. They've forgotten that it's supposed to be about the killing.

I guess that right now, I'm pretty disillusioned by the entire thing. But still, I'll never give it up. It's in the nature of things--it's cyclical. Things are bad right now, but in a few years, maybe ten or twenty, people will take an interest in good killing again, and the quality of our work will go up across the board. Employers will look for the new killer on the street, and give him the opportunity that will make him famous.

Until then, I'll just keep on working, doing the best that I can, even if I don't get the best gigs.

I cut that guy's throat, but I didn't sacrifice my integrity.

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