TL;DP The Movie: Chapter 3: Hit Parade


Hello again, fearless readers! Welcome back to Too Long, Didn’t Play, The Movie, a bit of non-interactive fiction that I’m doling out in hour-long increments every week.

Last week Thomas narrowly escaped being mistaken for a high value target by Mondo Zappa, but at least he wasn’t somebody’s lunch in the Northern Undead Asylum. This week he encounters somebody new, but familiar and bald. Very bald. What will happen when Thomas enters the world of Hitman? There’s only one way to find out!


Thomas woke with a start, almost knocking his latte macchiato off of the wrought-iron cafe table he was sitting at. The newspaper, folded neatly in his left hand for easy reading, fell to the ground. He bent down and picked it up, hoping for some clue as to where he was this time.

In ornate font at the top of the page read “La Cronaca Di Sapienza.”

Italy? He was in Italy now? How did he get here? How was he going to get home? He looked around him at the bright, open-air cafe. Well, at least he knew where he was, and there didn’t appear to be anyone trying to kill him. With luck, he could find a phone and call someone who could help him get home. Maybe the local police could help him.

A cell phone sitting on the table near his latte buzzed, startling him again. A few of the patrons looked over, wondering why he was so jumpy. He smiled apologetically and picked up the phone. It wasn’t a number he recognized, but the phone apparently did. A vaguely familiar bald man looked broodingly at him from the caller ID portrait, and the name simply read “Helmut.” Thomas answered it.

“Hello?” He said.

“Thomas?” a pleasantly deep voice replied.

“Yes. Who …”

“Ah, good. I was worried I’d missed you.” The voice breathed. “You are quite the elusive target. Where are you?”

“I don’t know, exactly.” Thomas answered honestly. “Who is this?”

“Can’t talk like this.” The voice replied. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”

The call ended, leaving Thomas more confused than before. Someone knew he was here, and was worried about him, though that was an odd way of phrasing it. That was good, wasn’t it? Well, whoever Helmut was, he was coming to talk. Maybe he knew how to get Thomas home.

Thomas put the phone down and looked around, but there was no sign of the man from the caller ID photo. Well, he apparently had time, so he settled in to wait. He did have a newspaper and a phone, after all.
His latte was gone before long. When the waiter came to clear the cup, he asked Thomas if he wanted another. Thomas looked around again for the bald man and, seeing no sign of him, agreed to one more. When the waiter returned, there was something strange about him. He was wearing the same clothes, but they didn’t seem to fit the same. Thomas looked up at his face, and thought there was something familiar about it.

“Helmut?” Thomas asked.

“No signore.” The waiter replied. The voice was familiar.

“You’re the man who called me earlier!” Thomas said.

“No,” The waiter said again.

“You are! You’re completely bald!” Thomas was almost shouting now. Other patrons were looking to see what the matter was.


“And you’re wearing a fake mustache! Why are you …”

Realization dawned on Thomas. Sapienza! Helmut! Elusive target! He wasn’t in Italy, he was in ...

Before he could finish the thought,the bald man – who Thomas now recognized as Agent 47 – drew a small pistol and fired a single shot right between Thomas’ eyes. Everything went black.

Then, almost as suddenly, Thomas woke with a shout, causing the other people in the bright, sunny cafe to look over disapprovingly.

He looked down at the newspaper he’d just dropped, then at the cup of coffee on the table, then at the phone. It started buzzing. Agent 47’s mesomorphic face glared at him as it rang, and Thomas’ blood turned to ice in his veins. He was in a video game. On the wrong side of the screen, and on the wrong side of the action. He’d played this one before, but he’d only hunted those elusive targets. Now it seemed he was the … eluder?

Well, he knew this game and he knew this level. 47 wouldn’t find it so easy this time. Thomas stood and left the buzzing phone on the table. He needed to hide; to find someplace that nobody would look for him. Fortunately, there were a lot of buildings along the street behind the cafe. Thomas just had to pick one, because he knew all of the action in this level was on the street in front of the cafe, near the mansion that dominated this part of town. He tried a number of doors until he found one that wasn’t locked, and slipped inside.

The building was a little stuffy, but clean and, most importantly, it felt safer. He took the staircase to the second story and quietly tried the door. It opened, and Thomas slipped inside, carefully closing the door behind himself.

He turned around and saw a tall, bald man in a black suit. Something red had just left his hand and was flying toward him, seemingly in slow motion.

It was a fire extinguisher. It connected with Thomas’ face, and everything went black.

Thomas woke, again, in the cafe, but this time he didn’t jump or shout. Now that he knew what to expect, and more importantly what not to expect, he was sure he could get away this time. Thomas stood, ignoring the buzzing phone, and walked across the cafe to the public restroom. He needed to think, and someplace to hide for a moment, and that might be a good place to do both.

There were two stalls, one of which was occupied and was surrounded by Silvio Caruso’s bodyguards. That seemed as safe as anything could be in this world, so Thomas took the stall next to him. As he sat down, there was a click, followed by a beep, followed by an explosion, and everything went black.

Thomas woke up in the cafe again. Some light reflected off of something shiny in one of the windows that looked down on the piazza. He stood up abruptly, knocking his chair and table over, and bolted as fast as he could. He heard a sound like a whip-crack and something sparked off the cobbles, but he didn’t stop running.
“For crying out …!” He shouted, but was cut off when the next shot pierced his brain.

“Loud!” Thomas shouted, much to the discomfit of the rest of the cafe patrons.

He grimaced apologetically to them and took a deep breath. Hiding didn’t work, running didn’t work. On the plus side, it didn’t seem to matter. Every time he just woke up here, like that movie that everyone likes but he could never remember the name of. At least he wasn’t back in the dungeon again.

So Thomas decided to make the best of it, and settled in with his coffee to read the paper. He didn’t even notice when the phone on his table failed to ring.

“You certainly are an elusive target.” Agent 47’s voice sounded softly from the next table over. Thomas looked up and saw him, talking to another person. A woman looked up at Agent 47 with frightened, confused eyes. When the gun appeared in his hand, she screamed and leapt out of her chair. She bolted without looking, straight into Thomas as the Hitman started shooting. As the new target bowled him to the ground, a bullet whizzed by her ear and straight into Thomas’ face.

This time, Thomas didn’t wake up in a pleasant, outdoor cafe.


So Thomas decided to make the best of it, and settled in with his coffee to read the paper.

This is my go-to move in lucid dreams.

Just a quick announcement: Based on the response, we're going back to the regular, TLDP format next week.

For those of you still interested in the story, there will be more episodes, but they won't occupy this slot.