It wasn’t the noise of the crickets that irritated Rodger; it was the incessant nature of the noise. The only thing he found more annoying was the noise of the frogs that followed, after sunset. He had lain in the same spot each evening and night for three days, surveying the small house and its occupant. His vantage point was, as always, carefully selected to ensure concealment, clear view and evacuation route after his job was done.
His targets were nameless. Rodger had no need of a name for them. They were chosen by whoever was paying the bill and he was given enough information to ensure identification by sight and location. He had no wish to know the reason for their termination. It was enough for him to know that what he did was, in some way, a simple method of cleaning up an otherwise messy situation. He would later discover from the media reports, the completely innocent and angelic lives that his targets had lead, knowing that someone had a different viewpoint. In the main they were terrorists of some sort. Perhaps not the open, bombers or machine gun waving variety but nevertheless they would be terrorising someone. It could be a business associate, slighted partner or maybe someone left out of a will. Different people had different views of what constituted terror. They perhaps confused a terrible event with being terrorised, it mattered not to Rodger, so long as the price was right and the job was feasible, he was prepared to take it on. Peopled died every day in traffic accidents, accidents in the home, sudden heart attacks; what was another one to add to the statistics? He was helping with overpopulation. Rodger never lost sleep over the results of is work.
This job was in a miserable, hot, damp humid place and he was pleased that it would be over quickly. He had used a well-tried method of entering the country as a golfing tourist. His long-gun had been expertly constructed to break down into parts that would appear to the customs and security scanners as part of the contents of his golf bag. His exit from the country would also be straightforward. It always was.
As he lay carefully hidden in the undergrowth, the noise of the fauna was driving him to distraction, and he could not afford to be distracted because accuracy was his trademark and his reputation. During the day it was the crickets and then, separated for a few minutes by the sound of silence, the frogs would croak in rising and falling waves of continuous noise. As if this was not enough, he was being eaten alive by what appeared to be the world’s biggest biting insects. He longed for the return of a simple comfortable job in a hotel room or a clean view from under the giant billboard on a rooftop.
During the previous three days the occupant of the house had followed the same procedure at bedtime. A walk from the lounge to the bathroom just after sunset, back to the lounge to finish a glass of what Rodger thought might be red wine, and then into the back of the house to the bedroom. Although the blinds were always drawn, the silhouette of the figure was unmistakable. The short nose, delicate chin, long neck and short cut hairstyle matched perfectly the images he had been given.
Rodger saw her walk past the window of the lounge towards the bathroom. She appeared for a moment behind the bathroom blind and then moved on. He rested his index finger, lightly on the trigger and his thumb easily found its place on the safety catch. She would come back into his sights in just a few moments, as she had done during his surveillance period. A grey shadowy figure, hardly seaming real. The noise of the singing crickets stopped abruptly and the few moments of silence would be swallowed up by the rising volume of the frogs’ chorus, but the next sound Rodger heard was the unmistakable “click” of a safety catch, just behind his right ear. Rodger never heard the frogs, the crickets, or any other sound; ever.