Skip to content

Just One Shot

            I found the perfect spot.

            It’s taken hours of research, and I had to get here before rush hour but it’s going to be worth it. I’ve no idea how many favours I called in and if this doesn’t pay off, it might be the end of me.

            From here I can see the whole plaza. I have a table to myself with half a coffee left and my bag on the other chair. I moved the extra chairs to nearby tables earlier so that I’d be alone. My laptop is before me and I have earphones in, so no one will interrupt. I got to know the staff and they know I like to be left alone. This has to work.

            The screen offered a faint reflection, and the bags under my eyes showed how much sleep I’d lost getting ready for this job. The excitement and nervousness are a lot much to handle. This is the biggest chance I’ve had to prove I have what it takes.

            The balcony is small, so there’s never more than a dozen people here. I can do it and get out before anyone notices, and the stairs are right next to my table.

            It really is the perfect spot.

            The courtyard started filling up about an hour or so after I’d arrived. Being an unscheduled appearance, there’d been plenty of arguments about whether it would give us the goods. My source insisted, and my gut told me to believe her.

            Most of the crowd were fans, taking rumours from social media for truth. When the target appears, it’ll validate their efforts, and any failures will be forgotten.

            The sun beats down, and while I have shades, I forgot the hat. That’s going to be a pain. I can’t keep the on much longer the sun’s glare might be a problem. Next time, if there is one, I’ll remember to check the weather forecast on the day.

            A cheer erupts from below, quickly followed by screams of excitement and joy. Across the plaza, there’s movement in a darkened doorway.

            It’s time.

            I reach into my bag and take the key to my success. Everyone on the balcony has already moved inside or run downstairs. I took a moment to enjoy the peace.

            No one cares about a nobody. I look through the scope and start tracing the route I expect her to take. The sun’s glare is a lot stronger than I’d like but I’ll have to deal. Holding it in one hand, my finger ready poised, I used my left arm to keep the view steady.

            The minutes stretched. The doors fly open after what felt like an eternity and black-suited security guards burst onto the plaza, pushing people back and creating a corridor. The passage I guess she’d take.

            Then she appears, as if nothing unusual had happened, and waved to the crowd as she walked. Not once does she get too close to the reaching hands, pens or smartphones. She’s grown cautious over the years. I tracked her movements perfectly, keeping her centred in my view.

            I just need one shot. My finger tenses, not wanting to miss what might be my only chance.

            There! I’ve no time to think.

            I take the shot.

Published: 2020


I wrote this piece a fair few years ago, for a friend’s writing project. I wanted readers to think about what was happening. Could it be the obvious situation, or something more sinister? It started a lot more vague and hard to connect with, and as edits progressed, the focus shifted from the protagonist’s goals to the situation. I wanted some tension, and I hope by the end I found some.