Paul had to shake his head. The white lines in the road were hypnotizing him. He was thinking about the interesting way he had chosen to spend his vacation. It was the first time in a year and a half that he had taken leave and he was going to spend it killing his ex-wife. The drive from Ft. Polk, LA to Hanesville, MI was going to take about 17 hours. He had left the base at 10:30PM and it was now 2:30AM. He was glad for the time because it would give him time to rethink his plan for the hundredth time. He was sure he had everything covered but he couldn’t get too cocky. He wasn’t going to fail.

    He had planned this operation for six months and had put it into motion nine months ago. The first step was starting a new identity. It was the most time consuming part of the plan, but his identity would stand up against pretty close scrutiny. He then used his alias to rent the car he now drove from the airport in Alexandria, LA. In the trunk of the car, was a .308 Remington, hi-powered rifle with a Leopold scope. He zeroed it at 500 yards in a large field, in a desolate corner of the Ft. Polk training area. He wasn’t a sniper, but he was still one of the best marksmen in his battalion.

    His alibi was the hardest part of the plan to figure out. His leave form had him going to New Orleans for a week but he needed a way to prove he was there. To accomplish this he enlisted the help of his closest friend. John would take Paul’s credit card to New Orleans and start partying with it. As soon as he returned, he would rendezvous with John and party with him. This would give him credit card receipt for gas, hotels, restaurants, etc.

    Even with all of this laid out and in motion, the only thing that made him nervous was that he was not having any second thoughts yet. He would do this. He would kill his wife. He had wanted to do it for a long time and he wasn’t stopping now. She deserved it. She was evil and she deserved to pay for the misery she caused him. The only thing he didn’t want to do was tell their son what happened. He knew he would have to some day. Paul Junior would ask and Paul could not lie to his son. He would deal with that when he had to.
    Now all he had time to think about was accomplishing his mission. He planned where and when he would take his shot while he was visiting his son last Christmas. Patricia worked nights as a cleaning lady in a large office building. After spending the day with Junior, he would drop him off at his mother-in-law’s house and stake out Patricia’s building. He saw the door where she came out to smoke. She took between three and four breaks a night. There was a hotel rooftop about 500 yards away that gave him a clear shot at that door. It would be a difficult shot at night, but he had practiced it many times in the last three months.

    He would get to nearby Smithtown at about 5:00PM. That would give him time to get a room at a motel, get e few hours rest and get set up. He would leave Smithtown at about 1:30AM, get to Hanesville at about 2:00AM, and get set up. After taking his shot, he would go back to Smithtown and stay there until morning. He would then go back to Alexandria, drop off his rental, and head to New Orleans to spend the rest of his weekend with John. All he had to do now was not get pulled over and execute the operation.

    Paul arrived in Hanesville at 2:15AM and parked in the Holiday Inn parking lot. He was dressed in black jeans, a black t-shirt and a dark brown leather jacket. He also wore Nomex gloves and lightweight combat boots. He wished he had his Glock, but that would be too risky. His rifle was broken down in a backpack. He was ready. He walked through a small hole in the fence and was in the Starlight Motel parking lot. After making sure nobody was around, he walked to the back of the main building and climbed up the drainpipe. Once on the low roof, he assembled his rifle and settled in for the wait.  

    It was 3:20 when the door finally opened. He had been lying there looking through his scope and wondering if he would still do it. After all of this he finally started having doubts. Only because he had never shot anyone before and he knew that, until he did it, he couldn’t know. Now it was the moment of truth. Patricia emerged from the doorway. With the scope already at his eye, he sighted in. There was no wind to speak of and the scope was locked in. Paul steadied his breathing. He thought his heart would be pounding at this point, but his heart rate was surprisingly slow. He was ready. He curled his finger around the trigger. Now, the most important part of the whole plan, smooth trigger squeeze. Paul knew all of his efforts would be for nothing if he didn’t exercise proper trigger control. Thanks coach, he thought as he began squeezing the trigger. Once he started squeezing, he knew he couldn’t stop. He didn’t. He felt the recoil of the rifle and his view in the scope blurred. When the scope got back into position, he scanned the area and saw her. The bullet caught her just under her right eye. Well within the fatal “T” he learned about during advanced marksmanship training. He smiled. He felt nothing. No remorse, no regrets. No time to enjoy the moment. It was time to get going.

    The drive back was pleasant. Paul was surprised that he still felt no emotion about what he just did. He just killed a woman he was married to for seven years and he felt nothing. Is that good or bad, he thought. I should feel something. Is there something wrong with me? He knew he couldn’t think about that right now. He had to finish the mission. There would be plenty of time for reflection later. And so he did just that. He returned the rental car and picked up his truck. On the way to New Orleans, he called John and found out what hotel they were in. On the way there, he stopped only one more time so he could drop the rifle, backpack and all, into Lake Ponchitrain. John and Paul spent the rest of their week partying on Bourbon Street and had a great time. Neither one of them mentioned the plan or what happened. Not that week or any other.

Monday morning Paul was called to his commander’s office. When he arrived, CPT Wallace and two gentlemen who were introduced as Detectives Marshall and Watkins greeted him. He was told of the murder of his ex-wife and questioned for about an hour. During this time, Detective Watkins in one of the platoon offices also questioned John. The investigation into Paul’s involvement in his ex-wife’s murder went on for about three days and Paul was found to be innocent. Now all he had to do was go pick up his son. Junior was only three years old now. Paul figured he had at least three more years before he would have to do any explaining. No problem. He would be ready.

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