“Wind?” The Professional spoke the single word softly. It was a question tinged with a slow Louisiana drawl. “Wind?” he asked again only a little more insistently but still maintaining his calm, working professional’s demeanor. The Professional’s assistant took his eye from the 14X spotter scope and glanced at the unobtrusive wind meter he had set up on the roof of the building next door to the Castel Sant’Angelo. It was two stories lower than the Castel and allowed him to look down on its roof. Had someone not known exactly where to look, they would have missed the little meter entirely. But the man was not familiar with such an instrument as the little wind meter. He squinted through his spotting scope at its digital readout. There, now in clear focus were the numbers. He searched briefly for the English equivalent to his native Italian.
“Vento,” he said then caught himself. “The wind, she is a still, approximo three,” he said in badly broken English with a heavy Italian accent.
“Vento,” muttered the Professional. Christ. He pulled his right eye off the rifle scope and looked at his spotter. The man was dressed in the drab brown friar’s cassock with rope around the waist. On his feet were the traditional sandals. “She-yit,” he said more in calm frustration than anger. Truth was he actually liked the guy. He was doing the best he could under the circumstances. No one could fault that. The man, dressed as a friar, had never done this before. Hell, who had? Only a very select few. Less than ten men in the world. And of those few, there was just one who could do what the Professional had been hired to do and he was it.
“Three? Seriously? Approximo three? Three what, Greggory? Exactly three what?" He swiveled his own riflescope over at the wind meter. Sure enough it read 3.1 miles per hour. He had already converted the miles per hour into kilometers in his head—5.0 kilometers per hour. He needed metric units of measure since that is what his riflescope used. The reading that Greggory dictated was confirmation. He would just have to be careful they were both communicating the measurements in the metric he was used to rather than the good ol’ American English that Greggory thought he wanted.
He looked out of the darkened room in which they had set up shop. He spotted the orange windsock on top of the Vatican offices across St. Pete’s Square, then aimed the rifle toward it. He had brought along the Barrett M98-Bravo Long Range because of its accuracy over the distance he would have to cover. It rested atop the ancient but hugely sturdy table on which he lay and was supported with four sand bags under and around its 27-inch barrel.
They were using an empty, locked storage room that was way off the tour routes of the ancient castle that originally served as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian before it was converted into a papal fortress in the 6th century. The room offered a small window with no glass so it was open to the air. They were perched eight stories directly above the Castle’s entrance on Piazza di San Pietro that had an almost unobstructed sight line up the thoroughfare, Via della Concilliazion, to Piazza de Sant Pietro and next door to the building within that housed his target—the Basillique de Sant Pietro. Sure, the Professional thought, there were some trees and that pesky Obelisk to deal with. But from this particular window nothing interfered with his narrow sight line straight to where his target would soon be standing.
Excerpted from "God's Banker (Enforcement Division) (Volume 2)" by Chris Malburg. Copyright © 2014 by Chris Malburg. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Chris Malburg is a widely published author, with over 4 million words published over 12 popular business books--including How to Fire Your Boss (Berkley)and Surviving the Bond Bear Market (Wiley, March 2011). Simon & Schuster, Putnam, Wiley and McGraw Hill all publish Chris' work. That’s the professional side of his career. The fun side is that he has transitioned into a serious novelist. A CPA/MBA and former investment banker, Chris certainly has the business chops to weaponize an industrial WMD. He has crossed chasm from biz-speak into fiction. His latest novel in the Jack Schilling Enforcement Division series is GOD'S BANKER, a fast-paced conspiracy to take over the Roman Catholic Church by force. Chris' first book in this series is DEADLY ACCELERATION, where Jack Schilling battles a group of industrial terrorists using cars as their weapon of choice.
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