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James LePore: Project 52/2015: The Decadent West

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14814_1922055lImage: Via Condotti, © James LePore

We’ve been offered a contract, Max.

By whom?

The French.

The government?

An intermediary.

What?

They have a list.

How many on it?

One hundred thirty-eight.

How much?

Ten million per.

That’s fair.

It is.

I’ll need help.

Most of them have gone back to Syria, or are trying to get there.

That makes sense, but it’s doable.

We don’t need the money, Max.

I know that.

I’ll donate it to the families.

Will we have access?

Complete.

And total discretion?

Total.

Take out a building? A compound? Families?

Total.

Where are you?

Florida.

Shall I come to you?

No, I’ll come to you. I’ll bring Matt. He’s on his way down here.

Are you…?

Yes, he’ll be involved. Planning and execution.

Chris…

Silence.

Where are you, Max?

Rome.

I’ll call you when we land.

Max clicked off his cell phone and watched as the scramble app closed. He then took his San Pellegrino to his room’s double window. The Spanish Steps and Via Condotti spread out before him. The good life, the decadent West. People were doing the same thing in Paris a few nights ago. No one had a gun, not even the police. He and Chris had had access to all of the video. He thought he recognized one of the bodies on the floor of the concert hall. A neighbor’s daughter from when he lived in Paris in the late eighties. She was three then. She had a heart-shaped birthmark on the back of her right hand. There it was on the closeup. Her head was blown away, but how many women had heart-shaped birthmarks on their hands?

He looked down on the scene below. No one was allowed to carry a gun in a public place in Italy. Would Paris change things? Maybe, although he doubted it. Europe was committing suicide. It would, however, definitely change things for the 138 people on that list.

james

About Project 52/2015: I like to take pictures and I like to write fiction. This Blog will combine the two in what I am calling Project 52/2015, one of my images mated with a piece of very short fiction each week in 2015. Enjoy.

James LePore is the national bestselling author of numerous novels, most recently, God’s Formula, which he wrote with Carlos Davis. Visit his website.

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