Stinging flies and beads of sweat compete to pull my attention away from the scope’s reticle. I use my years of training to resist. The heat, stifling and wet, strains the limits of my endurance. I count the hours I have spent in this hide by notches cut in the thick vine that snakes down the tree beside me. There are many. A large centipede weaves its way across my legs, but pays me no attention. I’m too big to eat. My target has yet to appear, so I wait and watch.
Through the scope I can see people milling around. I focus on their magnified faces and wonder what their lives are like. Couples with kids in tow seem happy, at least on the surface, but who really knows? I continue to scan the crowd, looking for my mark, the man who has caused so much suffering. I feel no remorse for my actions, the world will be a better place without him.
Finally I see him emerge, working his way through a sea of innocents. I slow my breathing and adjust my finger on the trigger. I patiently watch as he crosses a long wooden bridge with a tangled mass of crocodiles snapping below, hungry for meat. I wait until he reaches the chalk mark I placed on the rope railing days ago, and then pull the trigger between heartbeats.
The silenced round clips the top of his head and the force of the shot sends him over the ropes to the waiting jaws below. A chorus of gasps and screams rise up from the throng. I stash the rifle in the undergrowth, and pull a change of clothes out of the bag I have been lying on. I quietly slip out of the Orangutan enclosure unnoticed and blend in with the other visitors at the zoo. As good as I feel about the shot, I still can’t believe my wife left me for a guy who cleans up elephant shit for a living.