From A Perfect Hatred Book One,
End Times

Chapter 3

Complicated Social Situations

Giving her statement to the Fairfax County Police didn’t take long, despite Mai’s tendency to be thorough. They were scrupulous about checking her gun permits, though. She kept asking about her assailant but got the brush-off every time. Finally Officer Davis Russell explained the unhappy boy sat in a holding cell, his bruised arm in a sling.

The boy’s surly attitude had turned nastier after he’d learned he’d be in jail overnight. Russell explained he’d called the boy’s mother, but she was unable to leave her job and indicated she didn’t have the bail money anyway.

“Don’t you dare front his bail,” Russell said. “That’ll prejudice the case.”

Mai wondered if a night in jail might make the boy think twice about trying to steal someone else’s car, and she mentioned that to Russell.

“That Scared Straight stuff doesn’t seem to work on these kids today, but who knows? I’ve already heard back from a lawyer after I called the number you gave me.” He leaned back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, and stared at her.

“What?” she asked.

“This shit-head kid pulls a gun on you, and you’re paying for a lawyer.”

“Well, recall who disarmed him. Did you check his weapon?”

“You were right. He didn’t know he had to rack the action to chamber a round, but I would never bet my life on a punk’s inexperience. If you got the means and the training, and you obviously do, you, uh, take care of the guy pointing the gun at you.”

“Yes, someone else essentially said the same thing to me afterwards. Look, I wasn’t interested in splattering his brains all over the garage. I’d already disarmed him. If I’d shot him, I’d be the one in a holding cell right now.”

Russell narrowed his eyes at her. “I’ve never met a… What exactly are you?”

“An analyst for the United Nations who works in refugee relief.”

“I know a bunch of analysts who work for the government, and they don’t carry guns.”

“Too bad for them.”

“My supervisor said you must be a spy.”

“If that were the case, Officer Russell, you’ve blown my cover. Now, I’ll have to shoot you.”

The flat, emotionless tone made his jaw go slack, but she smiled and winked at him this time. He covered his embarrassment with a nervous laugh.

That trite little saw worked every time.

He leaned toward her, arms resting on the table. “So, are you available?”

“For what?”

“Drinks, dinner, and whatever happens after than.”

He was a prime specimen. Late thirties, well-arranged, handsome face, neatly trimmed mustache, sandy hair, a good build which his ballistic vest didn’t obscure. Her eyes flicked to his left hand. No ring, but that meant nothing. Alexei never wore a wedding ring.

No, this one was too clean-cut, all-American. Definitely not her cup of tea.

“Seriously?” she said. “You see a woman handling a gun, and you want to ask her out??

“Well, hell yes. Are you available?”

“Sorry. Spoken for.”


“Yes. A house in the suburbs, an SUV, a husband, and a soon to be teenager. All quite dull and conventional.”

Yeah, right.

“You can’t fault a guy for trying.”

“You certainly can’t. What’s my assailant’s name?”

“Scott Wilder. Local kid. No priors.”

“You saw his tee-shirt and tattoo?”

Russell nodded and said, “A skinhead or a wannabe.”

“Is there much of that in this area?”

“Not much. Isolated stuff. Spray-painted neo-Nazi graffiti. Have you seen the numbers eight, eight among gang tags?”

Mai thought she might have and said so. “What does eighty-eight stand for?”

“Not eighty-eight. Eight, eight. The eighth letter of the alphabet.”

“H, H?”

“Yep, as in Heil, Hitler.”

“How unoriginal. What else have they been up to? I’d like to know what other crap I have to protect a teenaged girl from besides the inevitable legion of boys.”

“An occasional queer-bashing. The car-jackings. Some of them have gone out of their way to select a person of color to ‘jack, usually an older man or a woman alone, a woman with a child.”


“Yeah, well, they think they’re Nazis.”

“Has he been questioned yet?”

“The detectives will get around to it, but he overheard what you said about the lawyer, so he’s shut up.”

“May I talk to him?”

She thought Russell might tip the chair.

“What on earth for?”

“I’m an analyst. Information-gathering is my job.”

“What the hell does a skinhead have to do with refugee relief?”

“There are skinheads all over the world. It would be completely off the record, and I’m curious why a fifteen-year-old is enamored of Adolph Hitler.”

They stared at each other, neither yielding.

“If you don’t let me,” Mai said, “I’ll call some people in the FBI who owe me favors, and, well, why can’t we do this amicably?” She smiled at him.

He shrugged. “I guess it couldn’t hurt.”


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