Celebracion de San Marco

The trash squelched and crunched as the unconscious body of one of the catering staff landed inside the bin. Agent 47 closed the lid and tugged at the red brocade vest stretched across his chest. The borrowed clothing was a tight fit, too short in the legs as well as in the sleeves. Tall, broad-shouldered, and blue-eyed, with a shaved scalp and a bar code tattooed on the back of his head, Agent 47 rolled the cuffs of the white shirtsleeves twice to hide the length, and hoped his black socks against the black trouser legs went unnoticed. His own belt kept the unbuttoned trousers secured on his hips. The lack of tie meant he could keep the tight collar unbuttoned.

Scanning the alley behind the venue one last time, Agent 47 crushed the caterer's still-smoldering cigarette beneath his heel and made his way inside.

The kitchen bustled with catering staff, plating hors d'oeuvres, preparing dinner, and chilling desserts. Spanish, English, and Spanglish voices shouted instructions over one another, while a pinched-looking woman in a mauve business suit oversaw them all. Agent 47 hardly paused to pick up a waiting tray and continue through the swinging door into the main event hall.

Gold chandeliers dripping with crystals illuminated the expansive dining room. Tables draped in red cloth seated ten each. Champagne flowed from a towering glass fountain as a centerpiece of the room. Well-heeled guests mingled, diamonds and precious stones glittering on the ladies and some of the men. The catering staff maneuvered effortlessly between the tables and the guests, offering hors d'oeuvres and drink refills.

The Celebracion de San Marco was an annual event for the rich, corrupt, and connected in San Marco, Mexico. A silent auction held at the fete raised money for the city's hospital, but most used the event as an opportunity to make behind-the-back deals with the local cartel for drugs, weapons, and black market organs.

Agent 47's target was Constantine Pavlov, an ex-pat from Ukraine with a stockpile of World War II Russian missiles. Agent 47's handler, Diana, had instructed that Pavlov be eliminated without an exchange of gunfire. Silent assassinations were Agent 47's forte, and an event like this was the perfect - and easiest - place to conduct one.

Weaving through the tables, Agent 47 approached Pavlov and his group. Two bulky bodyguards crammed into off-the-rack suits stood nearby, trying to appear imposing. Silver-haired with a pock-marked face, Pavlov entertained the Mayor and his wife, a C-List celebrity from the States, and one of the local cartel's sons and his prostitute date. No one batted an eyelash as Agent 47 offered his tray of hors d'oeuvres and took drink refill orders.

Being on a limited time frame - the staff member he'd knocked out wouldn't be unconscious forever - Agent 47 was unhesitant in his actions. He went to the bar, obtained a tray full of drinks for Pavlov's table, and poured the vial of cyanide he'd palmed from his pocket into Pavlov's glass when the bartender moved onto the next order. The empty vial returned to his pocket with the thumbed-off cap.

Picking up the tray, Agent 47 retraced his steps to Pavlov's table. He replaced the near empty drinks with fresh ones while being completely ignored, as one does with waitstaff. He departed with his tray of glasses, wending his way back to the kitchen. He heard a shout of panic over the din of conversation. He used his backside to open the swinging door, allowing him to see the two bodyguards yelling and waving their arms over the slumped form of their boss.

The swinging door closed behind Agent 47 and the clatter of pots and pans drowned the noise from the other room. He deposited the tray of glasses in the wash area, passed behind the pinched-looking woman in mauve, picked up a bag of garbage near the door, and left the venue.

The garbage joined the just-stirring caterer in the bin. Agent 47 picked up his bundled clothing stashed nearby before disappearing into the night.