“Why would anyone want to play the clarinet?” Cindy scrunched up her nose. She played the flute on the way toward playing the piccolo, the slightest and most feminine of instruments.”

Brady hugged his clarinet case tightly to his chest and began to walk more quickly.

“Yeah,” said Arden, who played the drums. “Clarinet’s something you play when all the good instruments are taken. All the real instruments.”

Continuing without acknowledging them, Brady visibly reddened. His clarinet case, the size and shape of a small briefcase, thumped against his knees as he fled.

“What a loser,” Cindy said after him, in a loud voice she was sure he could hear.

“Yeah,” added Arden. “Why not drop band if you’re just going to lame it up with the clarinets?”

Once he was out of the range of their taunts, Brady opened a maintenance door with a credit card and slipped into the school’s restricted area. A few moments later he was on the roof. The procession of President Mtumbe of Katanga was just passing by the school.

Opening the clarinet case, Brady removed the pieces of his instrument before prying up the felt backing to reveal an optical scope, a pistol grip, suppressor, and five rounds of .30.06 full metal jacket. A few snaps and twists later, he had assembled a short but functional single-shot clarinet sniper rifle.

He played a short song on it, and melted away before Mtumbe’s security detail could avenge their slain leader.

And that was why Brady Carruthers, young assassin, played the clarinet exclusively.

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