Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“You have to understand. He is an exemplar of all that is godless in our society. He and his ilk will lead us down the road to perdition.”
I reached out and lifted his chin with a finger.
“What will you do afterwards?”
He looked confused.
“There has to be a ‘next’. So many dedicated men fail because of a lack of ambition.”
I felt his trembling intensify.
“Carson. Reagan. Maybe McCartney. I’ll go on to get all the rest, God willing.”
Such irony.
I gave him a gun.

“He’s going to set them free! How can any decent man even consider such insanity? After all we stood for, after all we sacrificed and surrendered, I thought at least he wouldn’t betray us like this.”
I pushed the bottle his way. He nodded in thanks and refilled his glass.
“What will you do?”
“It’s not will, it’s an imperative. I must stop him to save the nation that will emerge from this hellish fight with itself.”
“You have a plan?”
“He’s at the theatre tomorrow night. He’ll be vulnerable in small company. It’s my best chance.”
Petty ideals, but amusing.
I gave him a gun.

“Ilya says it’s all a façade. He’s going to drag the world into a war so terrible we may never survive. His own people know that. They’ve got some ex-marine set up to do it, but his position is useless. There’s a spot by the Book Depository that would be ideal.”
I nodded, as if I had some care as to his reasoning.
“When their guy fires, I can get a better line and be gone while they hunt the source of the echo, which his shot is bound to do. They’ll perjure themselves hiding the fact they couldn’t catch the real assassin. Help me stop him. This guy is lying to the people.”
The deceit was not where he thought it was.
That’s when I gave him a gun.

“My homeland must be freed!”
Not drastic enough. I waited.
“Unification is the only way. We must have independence. The archduke has to go. In the chaos that follows, my people will win through.”
That’s what I wanted. His being young enough to avoid the death penalty was a bonus. Incarceration of such a famous radical could have spawned many useful things, had an event of the kind I sought to start not come to pass.
So I gave him a gun.

Those are my favourites. If ever there was a device more suited to evil, yet so often promoted as a tool for good, I have yet to find it. A gun will serve the backhand from on high. I am a being with wealth, refinement, and no need of introduction. My work is precision itself. The game is agreed: one man, one gun. One of the players I gift will bring down your lamentable civilisation.
Time – and firepower – are on my side.