The next couple of days seemed normal. Eric's staff went over his arena car, preparing it for the main event on the weekend by reviewing who else got into that match and scouting out the competition. Eric and his man split their attention between preparing for the arena match and checking up on the hitmen trying to work their way up to get him. There was no discussion over whether or not to eliminate them beforehand; they just did it- and the stronger of the two found his car's weapons failing to fire in a critical match the night that they arrived. The other succumbed to a far more basic problem of choking to death on his food. Duluth law enforcement, knowing who these two were, declined to do more than the minimum that statutory requirements put to them; they had easy outs to close the case, and they took them.
After Eric's man got off the phone with the lead detective and the local prosecutor, the two sat down to chat over lunch.
"Well, now that we closed that door, what's next?" Eric said.
His man poured them both coffee. "I already warned the arena staff to check for explosives and incendiaries. That should end the 'blow up some or all of the arena' approach."
"So, that leaves a sniper or a honeypot."
"No stick-up kids or turncoats?"
"You wouldn't let that happen."
Eric's man gave him that look.
"You wouldn't because there is no way you'd be able to stop the databomb with all your secrets coming out if I died and stayed dead for more than 12 hours. Keeping me alive keeps you alive."
And by "12 hours", Eric meant two. Driving and shooting weren't the only skilled honed in the rural roads of Minnesota.
"No women. Easy enough." Eric's man said, "That leaves a sniper. Minimizing exposure cuts things down to the actual match, again."
"Wait. There's one more option: one of the others gets bought off, either to make the hit or let a hitman go in his place. We can't control that."
"So they have to face you on your turf, on you terms, where you are at your strongest? Harsh." his man said, laughing.