Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Bailout for Hitmen?

By Chester Campbell

I wonder if President Obama will come up with a bailout plan for hitmen? Don't you suppose they're getting laid off as well as everybody else? The way the Dow Jones is falling off a cliff, there's probably a shortage of funds for paying hired killers.

Any day now I expect to see one standing on the corner at a busy intersection with a crudely lettered cardboard sign:

"Will Kill for Food." Or maybe, "Will Knock Off Your Old Lady for a Six-Pack."

The times are getting desperate. With all the travel cutbacks we've been hearing about, it might even be iffy for a Harvard symbologist to travel to Paris. Think what that would mean for Dan Brown. Might jeopardize any reprise of Leonardo's decoder ring. Or am I thinking about something I got out of a cereal box years ago.

With the cost of guns and ammunition going up as people rush to the dealers before the Democrats can gum up the Second Amendment, murderers may have to turn to cheaper methods for disposing of those who stand in their way. Knives are probably less expensive, but they leave all that bloody mess and DNA lying around.

Poisoning might be more tidy and cheaper, if the bad guys could pick up a little cyanide at a jeweler's. Or maybe pilfer some strychnine from a pest control outfit.

Even cheaper would be strangulation (known as "throttling" in the UK). The classic method involves a ligature or garrote. It could be a chain or rope or wire. All materials that won't break a slayer's budget. And if he's really strapped for cash, he can use his hands.

Let's face it, with the economy heading downhill like a Utah avalanche, the murder business may be falling on hard times. But mystery writers are a hardy lot. I'm sure we'll find the wherewithal to keep assassins plying their trade as usual, even if they might be forced to resort to doing it on the cheap.

But don't rule out a bailout. I saw where the auto parts industry is talking about asking for one. No telling who might be next.

If you'd like to find out how the bad guy does it in The Surest Poison, the book is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. And the guy is no piker.

No comments: