MANHATTAN, WALL STREET AREA: HE WALKED SOUTH FROM THE SUBWAY STOP AT FULTON STREET to one of the shorter, older buildings near Wall Street. He was on Broadway, two blocks north of a shiny, black-glass skyscraper with that was taller than any other building in the financial district except the new towers at 1 and 4 World Trade Center. Among other businesses, this skyscraper housed the global headquarters of Dwayne, Horner & Metaxis.
The young man peered down Broadway at the black skyscraper then entered the shorter building that was his destination. The lobby’s décor was that of an old movie about business. There was a marble floor, desperately in need of polishing, and painted walls that had grown dingy since the last fresh paint had been applied. The two security guards behind the desk could have used some polishing, too, or at least freshly ironed uniforms. Both men were aging badly, with cheap haircuts and bad shaves.
Despite their unimpressive visages, they were quick enough to ask the young man for his identification, which he produced. They watched carefully as he opened the briefcase to show them the laptop inside.
“Could you boot that up, please?” said the shorter guard.
Without removing it from the foam cut-out, the young man opened the lid of the laptop, pushed a button, and it hummed to life. The guard looked at the computer and nodded, “Thanks.”
The young man closed the laptop and then his briefcase. The guard gave him a small plastic basket, which the young man filled with his watch, some keys and a few coins. There was nothing impatient about his movements; nothing happy or energized, either. His face was expressionless, his posture upright; his movements slow and smooth. He stepped through the metal detector. No alarms.
“Thank you,” the guard said.
“You’re welcome,” the young man replied, his voice flat and without affect. He collected his watch, keys, coins, and briefcase and took the elevator to the fifth floor. He walked slowly down the corridor, switching his briefcase from one hand to the other as he pulled on clear-latex gloves, and let himself into an office with one of his keys. The office was empty with the exception of a few wood armchairs and a couple of plain, wooden tables. The pale beige walls needed fresh paint and large, old windows needed replacement. The man draped his suit jacket over a chair and pulled a table over to a window, opened it, then used a cloth handkerchief to wipe down the table and window—even though he was wearing gloves. The handkerchief went back into a jacket pocket. He opened the briefcase and pulled the laptop from its foam cut-out. Under the laptop, in deeper cut-outs, were the parts of a sniper rifle. The young man began to assemble the weapon.
For the first time, there was a microscopic display of emotion. His lips were tight, almost a smile. His movements as he fitted together the weapon were much quicker and more fluid than they had been in the lobby. Finishing the assembly, the young man checked the rifle’s action and glanced through the telescopic sight.
He reached back into the briefcase, pulled out a small metal bipod, opened it, and placed it on the table. He set the rifle onto the mount and pointed the weapon out the window. The young man bent to the telescopic sight and scanned the sidewalk in front of the skyscraper that housed Dwayne, Horner & Metaxis five hundred feet away.
On Broadway, in front of the black tower, a chauffeur-driven, black Mercedes S65 AMG sedan came to a stop. Edmond Garner stepped from the Mercedes and walked toward the tower. Garner was the kind of man who dominated almost everyone and everything around him. He had the chiseled features of a male model. His gray hair was brushed straight back from his face, and not a single hair dared be out of place. He wore custom-made Italian suits and shoes, the crispest white shirts imaginable, and gorgeous silk ties that cost more than his lowest paid employees made in a week. He had taken Dwayne, Horner & Metaxis from a profitable but small player in the investment banking industry into an international colossus. As a result, he’d been high on the Forbes 400 list of the richest men in the world for more than a decade.
The young man watched as Garner walked toward the entrance of the building. The young man was not impressed by the costly elegance of Garner’s car or clothes and did not care about his immense personal wealth. To the young man, Garner was merely the object of a plan of action. A plan that would end with extreme brutality. The young man focused the telescopic sight on Garner’s stern profile. The young man’s right forefinger wrapped around the trigger.
Garner was only about ten feet from the front door when he pitched forward, his face slamming into the sidewalk. People entering the building stopped at the noise of his body pounding onto the sidewalk, and a few of them began to move toward Garner to help when there was a dull thudding noise as something hit the fallen body.
One of the onlookers shouted, “Oh my God, he’s been shot!” and everyone scattered, getting as far away as they could. A number of people pulled out cell phones and dialed 9-1-1.
In the fifth-floor office, the young man disassembled his rifle as carefully as he had put two bullets into Garner. He felt satisfaction at a successful job. No guilt at killing another human being. Nothing. He realized that his loved ones would be horrified by what he had done, but he couldn’t afford to feel any horror―he pushed those thoughts away. He placed the rifle’s pieces into the foam cut-outs that lined his briefcase. Then the laptop went in. He checked the floor, found the ejected shells from his rifle, picked them up, and peeled off his gloves around the shells. He tucked the balled up gloves in his pants pocket. He took his suit jacket off the back of a chair, put it on, adjusted his tie, picked up the briefcase, and calmly left the office—using his handkerchief to open and close the door.
By the time he reached the sidewalk, there were police vehicles and an ambulance in front of Dwayne, Horner & Metaxis. Still showing no emotion, the young man walked uptown, away from the scene of the shooting. When he reached the IRT subway stop at Fulton Street, he went down to the platform and took the 4 Train uptown to Grand Central. He exited the subway station and took the escalator up to Grand Central Terminal, with its grand hall and gold constellations against a blue-green sky on the ceiling. He left Grand Central and walked west along 42nd Street then south on Fifth Avenue. Opposite him stood the elaborate entrance to the New York Public Library’s main branch, guarded by carved lions on either side of the broad stairway leading up to the doors. He crossed Fifth Avenue toward the library and casually flicked the balled up gloves toward a sewer grate. The gloves bounced into the darkness below street level.
The young man never hesitated or paused. At the corner of 40th Street, he headed west again, past the library and Bryant Park toward Sixth Avenue. He ignored all the people enjoying eating and drinking under the trees of the park. His attention was focused on his path and nothing else. When he reached Sixth Avenue, he turned north and headed uptown, past the back side of Rockefeller Center and the front of Radio City Music Hall. He continued to ignore everything but his own movement. When he reached Central Park South, he crossed the street, walked into the park about a quarter of a mile, and . . . disappeared into the woods.
* * *
I didn’t know Edmond Garner. But his murder was the big story on the local news on television that night. I couldn’t speak to whether or not he’d done something that created a motive for his being killed, but it seemed bizarre that an investment banker had been the victim of an assassination. Sure, lots of people made grim jokes about killing bankers in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, but as far as I knew, Garner’s murder was the first time it had happened.
I thought about the word “first” while mulling over the killing. Was this the first time it had happened, or was I so drunk until a couple of days ago that I had missed an earlier Wall Street killing? I considered another possibility with the word “first”—if Garner’s was the first of its kind, would it be the last? Was his the first in a series of assassinations of Wall Streeters? And what difference did it make to me, anyway? I didn’t know any titans of finance, and I certainly wouldn’t be asked to help the NYPD investigate.
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