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.