“I thought our target was Bolland,” Cummins said.
Mueller smiled to himself as he repeated the words of his mentor. “A man with a family is a man with a weakness waiting to be exploited.”
“I don’t understand.”
He didn’t expect Cummins to understand. The man was here to be evaluated and to learn. Mueller put down the binoculars to look at the man seated next to him in the nondescript hybrid. He didn’t need to watch the young woman in the checkered shirt. He had studied her routine. He already knew where she was going and her plans for the evening. This operation wasn’t about her or Bolland. It was about Cummins.
“No matter how old a child gets, in a parent’s eyes, they’ll always be their little girl or boy.”
“You’re going to threaten his daughter to get to him?” Cummins asked.
Mueller didn’t make a habit of answering questions he thought were stupid. This time, he made an exception to that rule. Cummins was on the right track. He just needed a little guidance. Not everyone worked the way Mueller did and with good reason. It was important that Cummins learned how things were going to be.
“No, I’m not going to do any such thing,” Again, there was that look of confusion on Cummins’ face. Mueller was beginning to get tired of it. The man really needed to develop a poker face. “Anyone can make threats. You’re going to show Bolland we mean business.”
“You don’t have to kill her. Use your imagination, indulge yourself. Just make sure she’s hurt and scared.”
From his file, he had assumed Cummins would have no problem with this kind of work but it was important to see how he operated in the field. How Cummins carried out the task would tell Mueller more about the man than the file ever could. He opened the car door for him to get out. “Report back when it’s done.”
Mueller drove off a short distance before activating his cell. He had a bad feeling about Cummins. It would be safer to delete him. Hired guns were almost as cheap as bullets and just as expendable. By tomorrow, he would know if his man had passed or failed this test.
Author Commentary: I decided to do another piece of flash fiction based on a picture posted by bookPumper. I used the same guidelines as my first story. I also managed to tie it into the beginning of Redemption Song, the sequel to Fall from Grace.