You can read first part of Loco the Hitman Trilogy here

“That was easy,” Loco’s partner said, relaxing in the front passenger seat As the car made its way towards Borivali, Loco kept the speed at a moderate level.

The duo had driven past the building in Santacruz, and a single pass had been enough for them to take stock of the meager security, which consisted of one watchman dozing on a plastic chair at the entrance. Despite robberies and murders being on the rise, people continued to be surprisingly lax about security, and only a few who could be bothered really made an effort at securing their homes and offices. Their targets had clearly chosen the place due to its anonymity. It was like any other poorly guarded residential building in Mumbai’s suburbs.

After parking the car several buildings away, Loco had removed his jacket to reveal a black t-shirt to go with his black denims and shoes. His partner had changed clothes in the back seat on the way. They then checked their silenced Berettas and spare ammunition clips. The guns went into shoulder holsters and the clips in pockets. The duo then pulled on shirts over their t-shirts to conceal the guns and silently made their way back to the building in the cover of the darkness.

“You did a good job with the watchman,” Loco said, keeping his eyes on the road.

“Why do you think they call me Catfoot?” his partner chuckled.

The dozing watchman never knew what hit him as Catfoot sneaked up from behind and pressed two fingers to his jugular vein, rendering him unconscious. Loco and Catfoot then made their way to the third floor, unbuttoning their shirts on the way. Outside the door of the target house, Loco pulled out his cell phone and activated a special application. Ten seconds later, the phone vibrated, and the heat-scanner program told him that there were three people of medium build, lying prostrate beyond the front door, with pieces of metal near their bodies. In other words, the three targets were sleeping in the living room, armed and ready for attack.

“They never had a chance, did they? Not with the two of us,” Catfoot continued.

Loco shot the lock twice, the silenced gun hardly making a sound. However, the noise of the wood splintering was enough to wake their targets, who were up with their guns ready in six seconds. Unfortunately for them, Loco and Catfoot each had one of them in their sight in three seconds, the heat-signature readers having given the two hitmen an idea of their positions. Loco and Catfoot shot their respective targets twice in rapid succession, and at the fifth second, both silenced guns were pointing at the third man. At the sixth second, both guns spat lead. The bullets hit the third target’s chest within centimeters of each other. At the tenth second, Loco and Catfoot were calmly making their way downstairs, buttoning their shirts.

“The best part was no cleaning up,” Catfoot added.Loco nodded.

“The boss was very clear. It had to look like a murder. The clients want to send a message.”

“Damn,” Catfoot sighed. “I miss the excitement of making our kills look like accidents. Everybody seems to want to make a statement these days.”

“Yeah, people talk too much. Only they do it through messages now.”

Catfoot chuckled.

“You got something to drink?” he asked.

Loco pointed behind him. Catfoot looked at the rear passenger seat, saw a bag and reached for it. Going through its contents, he came up with a miniature of vodka and happily broke the seal.

“You’re the best, partner,” he said, taking a sip. “Always ready for everything.”

Loco said nothing.

“So, will you miss her?” Catfoot asked several sips later.

Loco shrugged. “Maybe. Hard not to miss someone like that.”

“Strange. Never thought you’d fall that hard for someone.”

“Me neither. But when I thought about her, I suddenly wanted to change. If and when I told her how I felt about her, I didn’t want her to look at me and see something she’d cringe from,” Loco said reflectively.

“Not happening now, is it?” Catfoot asked.

“I don’t think so, no.”

Catfoot patted Loco’s shoulder.

“You’re a funny one. You talk about her, and you all but go misty eyed. But back in that room, you were a machine,” he said.

Loco nodded. After a long moment, he said, “The boss should have never doubted me.”

He didn’t have to turn his head to know that Catfoot had stiffened imperceptibly.

“It wasn’t just one job, was it? When you called the boss to confirm you were on the job, it turned into a double,” Loco went on.

Catfoot said nothing. He didn’t need to.

“What was it; put a bullet in me after all three were killed? Leave the guns with the bodies?”

After a long silence and three sips of vodka, Catfoot asked, “How did you know.”

Loco met his eyes in the rear view mirror.

“I’ve worked for him for seven years, dimwit,” he said, his voice sharp.

Loco went on softly, “You only had once chance, though. When I entered the room ahead of you. It was the only time I had my back to you. The rest of the time, I had you covered.”

Catfoot leaned back in his seat and tugged at the neck of his t-shirt.

“What happens now?” he asked, not looking at his partner.Loco sighed.

“I’m sorry, Catfoot. It wasn’t just a double. I think it was a test too,” he said.

“A test?”

“For me,” Loco said, “You seem to have forgotten that I keep my liquor in my glove compartment. That bag in the back…it’s for my targets.”

For more than a minute, a deadly silence hung in the air. Then Catfoot turned to Loco with disbelief in his eyes.

“Remember, I used to offer you a drink, and you’d always go for the glove compartment. You used to know about the bag. You’re starting to forget, Catfoot, and you went soft…you failed to shoot me,” Loco’s tone was almost casual.

“I had no reason to…you performed beautifully back there…the boss would have…”

“No, he wouldn’t have. We both know that all the boss cares about is running a tight ship, and you turned out to be a loose cog.”

“How long?” Catfoot asked.

Around five minutes now. It’ll be painless. I’ve used it before.”

“A test, huh?”

Loco nodded.

“I guess the boss wants to make sure I haven’t gone soft.”

The next day, the newspapers were full of a triple murder in Santacruz. None of them thought much about a man found dead in his car on a lane near the western express highway. After all, post mortem reports had confirmed that he had died to heart failure, and all the paperwork in the car indicated that it was his car.

Any chance of mystery was eliminated when the body was claimed by the victims’ brother, a well built, silent man of medium height, who calmly produced medical certificates confirming the deceased’s chronic heart condition. A keen observer might have noticed an ‘L’ hanging by a silver chain from his neck, and the picture of a beautiful girl in his wallet.

Gautam Mengle