This arti­cle is part 2 of 7 in the series The Cincinnati Favor

My name is Michael Tate.  Or Michael Tallent.  Or Michel Tritigant.  Or Mikel Tsaronov.  Or Mikkel Taarinen.  Or…

Oh, well you can see the pattern.

I have adopt­ed these var­i­ous names and a host of oth­ers and they show up on the many pass­ports I have, to be used when nec­es­sary depend­ing on where in the world I may have to travel.

These many vari­a­tions all have the com­mon­al­i­ty of the ini­tials MT as it makes it far eas­i­er for me to trav­el with my mono­grammed lug­gage.  I have dis­cov­ered that cus­toms offi­cials tend to be some­what less dili­gent in deal­ing with trav­el­ers who have mono­grammed lug­gage, appar­ent­ly assum­ing that no one who actu­al­ly posed some sort of threat would be pre­sump­tu­ous enough to use a mono­gram to adver­tise themselves.

Also, the sim­i­lar­i­ty of the names helps me avoid being called out in some remote cor­ner of the world and for­get­ting which alias I am using.  It’s not infal­li­ble, but it seems to have worked to my advan­tage thus far.

But enough of trivialities.

What you will prob­a­bly find more impor­tant about me is that I am an assas­sin. I’m not ashamed of label­ing myself this way.  Assassination has been a way of life for mil­len­nia and it has fre­quent­ly been used to the ben­e­fit of mankind as well as to its dis­ad­van­tage.  One can con­sid­er the assas­si­na­tions of a num­ber of our pres­i­dents and the attempt­ed assas­si­na­tions of sev­er­al oth­ers along­side the attempt­ed assas­si­na­tions of peo­ple like Hitler.  As for those numer­ous attempts to assas­si­nate Hitler, we should prob­a­bly be grate­ful that those attempts were so ama­teur­ish since Hitler did such a mar­velous job of mak­ing so many wrong deci­sions which led to the defeat of Germany in 1945.

I trav­el around the world at the beck-and-call of var­i­ous clients — some of which will become known to you as this sto­ry unfolds — to, shall we say, erase unsa­vory characters.

Of course, “unsa­vory” is in the eye of the behold­er and I pride myself on being some­what dis­crim­i­na­to­ry in accept­ing com­mis­sions for assassination.

You should also know that I make a very good liv­ing at what I do, with direct costs and liv­ing expens­es thrown in, and have been doing so for, let’s see, eigh­teen years now.

And while I can claim to be dis­crim­i­nat­ing, I can also ver­i­fy that I am very good at what I do, very prac­ticed, very pre­cise.  I have stud­ied a great many mar­tial arts over my life­time: karate, judo, jujit­su, tae kwon do, aiki­do, krav maga — to name a few.  I’ve even stud­ied some nin­ja method­ol­o­gy.  But I pride myself on the fact that I have rarely had to use any of these forms of com­bat, rely­ing instead on my abil­i­ties at stealth and of care­ful prepa­ra­tion.  Truth be told, my stud­ies in these mar­tial arts have been suf­fi­cient­ly abbre­vi­at­ed that I would like­ly only get myself in trou­ble try­ing to use them.  But hav­ing some knowl­edge of them does impart a cer­tain degree of con­fi­dence that I might be able to extri­cate myself from some unpleas­ant sit­u­a­tion should the need arise.  Fortunately, the use of a sniper rifle, a silenced pis­tol, or even a ricin injec­tion does not require close or pro­longed phys­i­cal contact.

After all, if one has been killing for such a long time, it only goes to show that one must be very pro­fi­cient at it in order to avoid ever hav­ing been caught.

Over the years, I have removed drug king­pins, cosa nos­tra lead­ers, pet­ty dic­ta­tors, and late­ly, a good num­ber of peo­ple who have been labeled ter­ror­ists — although I try to be dis­cern­ing because some gov­ern­ment agen­cies too freely label some­one a ter­ror­ist based sim­ply on their polit­i­cal philosophy.

I espe­cial­ly delight in remov­ing mem­bers of this lat­ter group since they offend my sense of fair play, par­tic­u­lar­ly when they have no com­punc­tion about harm­ing inno­cent men, women, and most espe­cial­ly, children.

I have done this “wet work” as the CIA likes to call it, all around the globe and on every con­ti­nent.  And while I don’t care much for trav­el­ing, I usu­al­ly find the end result to be very sat­is­fy­ing and my return trips home are almost always more com­fort­able and relax­ing than the trav­el that takes me to my assign­ment location.

The — per­haps — real­ly curi­ous thing about me is that I live in a small cen­tral Kentucky com­mu­ni­ty named Winchester.  I assume the town was named after Winchester, England, as are so many oth­er “Winchesters” in this coun­try.  In fact, I dis­cov­ered that six­teen states have a “Winchester.”

Winchester, Kentucky is a nice lit­tle com­mu­ni­ty locat­ed about six­teen miles east of Lexington and nine­ty miles east of Louisville, the two largest cities in the state.  It has a pop­u­la­tion of about four­teen thou­sand and a coun­ty pop­u­la­tion of about thir­ty-three thou­sand.  The coun­ty is named Clark and I actu­al­ly live in the coun­ty, not the city.  I have a small farm south of the town but I’m no farmer.  I pay one of my neigh­bor farm­ers to actu­al­ly run the place, cut the hay, do what mow­ing is nec­es­sary, and he gets to raise tobac­co on the prop­er­ty and take the prof­it from it each year.

I guess some peo­ple around here won­der why I would own and live on a farm if I did­n’t want to actu­al­ly be involved in doing farm work.  Truth is, this place is a per­fect cov­er for my real line of work, so the neigh­bors will just have to con­tin­ue wondering.

I’m sure a good many also have won­dered about my back­ground and what has brought me to Winchester and the fact that I’m not mar­ried and, by all out­ward appear­ances, seem to have no female attach­ments hereabouts.

In the sev­en years that I’ve been here, I’ve made a good many local friends includ­ing many in local gov­ern­ment. I try to get involved in local com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ties and donate to sev­er­al local charities.

I thought about try­ing to join the local vet­er­an’s orga­ni­za­tion, but since I am not real­ly a vet­er­an I did­n’t want to chance fal­si­fy­ing enlist­ment and dis­charge papers or claim­ing mem­ber­ship in a mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion when some­one in that same orga­ni­za­tion might even­tu­al­ly pop up and begin to ques­tion my ser­vice.  Also, I respect vet­er­ans too much to imper­son­ate one.

I believe that I have a mod­icum of ethics despite what most peo­ple may think of my profession.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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