The trick is to not ever let yourself think about what you were doing. Thinking is never a good thing in these situations. It leads your mind in directions it did not need to go at this critical point.
After all, if you let your mind realize you're holding a piece of sharpened wood over the heart of something that used to be a human being, having a nervous breakdown was entirely within the realm of possibilities. Realizing they held the fate of a soul in their hands brought the downfall of many a good hunter after all. I've been trained by some of the best, who faltered in that critical second and ended up too injured for field work.
Father Paulo was always one of my favorite instructors back in the day. He was a wiry, olive-skinned giant of an Italian man. His right leg had been shattered, turned into so much putty, so that he will always have to walk with both a brace and a cane, on the same mission he'd lost his left arm at the elbow. Despite the hardships, he was a chipper man, never letting it get him down, but all he'd ever say about the injuries was 'Never turn your back on an enemy, dead or alive' or 'Always confirm the kill; take the head'. I learned those lessons well. That's why I've insisted from minute one we take the head of anyone we kill.
The trick is to keep breathing. You'd be surprised how easy it is to stop when you're concentrating on keeping yourself alive. My first mission in the field I did not yet know that little trick. I started hyperventilating and eventually I threw up. It's just embarrassing now; it could have turned out a lot worse. I could have passed out, after all, in which case I'd have probably ended up dead.
When you are focused on your breathing, your mind is calm, at peace. When your mind is engaged, it's easier to keep from thinking about what you're doing. Believe me - you never want to think about what you're doing. You don't want to tune yourself completely out though. For starters, you need to be aware of your environment, know what's going on around you. Many can seem like one in the dead of night. And you don't want your emotions to completely step out to lunch. At that point, you become a sociopath and thereby little better than what we're hunting. And I will not tolerate a sociopath working for me. I will not be teaching a sociopath better ways to kill.
Death is not what this is about. It's about life. We're Enforcers now, not hunters. We're not hunters anymore, any of us. Well, yes, I suppose I am still a Hunter in name. Don't be a smartass, boytoy. Don't think I won't hurt you a bit and not enjoy doing it. I don't care how good you look right now, panting and covered in sweat. Piss me off and I'll make the rest of your night so miserable you'll still be feeling it when the sun next goes down. And no, you won't enjoy it.
Where was I? Oh yes, Enforcers. Who knows how long Antony's going to remain head of the East Coast? When it falls to Gypsy, I want everything to move smoothly. And it is going to go perfectly, if I have to crack open the head of everyone who makes a peep against her. Got it? Gypsy has already said she's calling for a new world order when she takes over this part of the family; we are simply going to enforce her new codes.
There are going to be people who don't like it, all of us already know this. Of course, current politics prevent me from naming names, but we all know who I'm talking about, right? Good. She's going to need a more personalized protection, in addition to the Enforcers, someone who can be with her inconspicuously, at times when a group would be too noticeable. How'd I know you'd volunteer, Rome - Montecchi? Boytoy, quit growling. And you've got me using that horrible little nickname of yours. Oh hush, that was just a play tap.
Look, I'm not looking for blind devotion, no more than Gypsy is. I don't want you guys vowing to follow me into hell and back. I don't want sworn loyalty, oaths, pacts, or promises. All I want from you is for you to do your job. For now that will be to protect the family's best interests, till Gypsy takes control. I want you to guard each other's back, keep your fellow Enforcers safe or at least alive. And I want you to swear - by everything you do now and will ever hold dear - to never, never betray the family, each other, or Gypsy. If you do, I will gut you.
What now, boytoy? Hmm, nice speech? When you start handing out compliments, I should start wondering, shouldn't I? Yes, I'm aware I didn't specify for them not to betray me. I'm expecting one or two of them to sooner or later. Yeah, I always expect the worst.
...I've never thought of it that way. 'Expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised by the best,' huh? I like that. I like that a lot, Jamey. Now quit being an ass. Because, really, I can and will break you in two if you keep it up. Damn it! Get back here when I'm screaming at you, boytoy! Shit... No, I meant to slid into the wall, asshole. No, I'm not hurt. Well, nothing but my pride, and I think that's taken enough blows lately, don't you? Most of them were from you. Why do I put up with your shit again?
Oh yes, because of how good your body feels against mine, not to mention how good a kisser you are. This is cheating though. I'm not complaining though.
26 June 2005
I really should make myself get around the Montecchi/Gypsy story, but James and Claudia are so much fun to play with!