September 14, 2017 Open Mic

Excerpt from A Perfect Hatred, Book One – End Times

Chapter Two – “The Life of a Suburban Spy”

Northern Virginia
1993

“Yo, give up the keys.”

Oh, Bloody Hell, Mai Fisher thought and turned to her prospective carjacker. No more than a child, he wore blue jeans and, beneath a woodland camouflage jacket, a black shirt with a silk-screened image of Adolph Hitler giving a Nazi salute. In the subdued lighting of the shopping mall’s parking garage, the boy’s close-shaven head seemed bald. He sported a swastika earring in his right lobe.

She showed him no shock nor surprise. She’d seen him skulking by a support column as she walked to the car. She stared at him unblinking, her face expressionless. His finger curled in a “gimme” gesture, but her glare had some effect. He couldn’t keep eye contact.

Mai suppose her age (mid-thirties), her slim build, and her casual dress of jeans and a pullover jumper identified her as an “easy” target. She took a slight side-step away from her vehicle to give herself more room. She’d had no action in quite a while; this could be amusing.

“Hey, bitch, I said give up the fucking k-keys,” the kid said, full of bluster, but that barest of stammers told her this would not only be fun but easy.

“Does your mother know you have such a dirty mouth?” Mai asked.

The sound of her aristocratic, English accent, unfaded after all her years in America made him frown. And twitch. From behind his back, his other hand emerged, its back tattooed with a burning cross. He held a nickel-plated forty-five caliber semi-automatic pistol, but his hand shook from its weight. Or fear.

The concrete and steel of the suburban parking garage receded, and she stood in a forest clearing. The cool American spring gave way to a hot, Balkan summer. A rush of adrenaline heightened her senses as she saw dozens of young men, clad in a mixture of Serb Army, cast-off uniforms, jogging suits, and Soviet camouflage, their torsos festooned with AK-47s and RPG launchers. The cars and SUVs became Serbian Army tanks and armored cars. She smelled cordite and the coppery scent of blood.

Mai blinked, and only the one young man stood before her, the forty-five making his arm droop. She pointed to the gun.

“Are you sure you chambered a round?” she asked.

His eyes widened and looked from her to the gun.

“Because if you’re not familiar with semi-autos, you could end up embarrassed when you pull the trigger and it goes, click.” She snapped her fingers, and he flinched.

She front-kicked, the toe of her shoe contacting his wrist. The gun flew from his inexperienced fingers, sailed across the aisle, and skittered over the cement surface with a rasp. The boy clutched his wrist to his chest.

“You bitch, you broke my… Oh, shit!”

She pointed her own gun at him, a Beretta 92F with a fifteen-round magazine. Eight and one-half inches long, it probably looked like a cannon to the boy. The Beretta weighed a shade over two and a half pounds, but she held it with long familiarity, two-handed, pointed at his head.

“I’m close enough,” she said, “that a single nine millimeter bullet will destroy most of your head. They’ll have to identify you from your DNA because your teeth will be decorating the cars behind you.”

“D…d…d…don’t shoot. Please.”

“On your stomach. Hands behind your head.”

He complied, and she stepped closer, foot drawn back to kick him. She stopped when she saw a mall security guard puttering up the ramp in his golf cart. The guard wasn’t much older than the boy on the ground. He stopped the golf cart when he saw the gun.

“This boy tried to rob me,” Mai called to him. “Use your radio and call a police officer from the substation here.”

The guard nodded in a series of nervous jerks and murmured into his radio. When he finished, Mai said, “Over there between the BMW and the Explorer is his gun. Do you have gloves?”

Another nervous head bob.

“Well, put some on and go pick up the gun so the policeman will see it when he arrives.”

As the mall guard walked to where the gun lay, he tried to keep his eyes on her. He picked up the gun with a thumb and forefinger, holding it out at arm’s length.

The boy on the ground sniffed and shifted to look up at Mai.

“Stay still,” she said, and put her foot between his shoulder blades. She holstered the gun and looked down at the boy. “Didn’t go quite as you planned, did it? You picked on the wrong woman today.”

He muttered something, his lips pressed against the concrete.

“What?” Mai asked.

“I’m sorry.”

“An apology isn’t going to cut it. How old are you?”

“Fif…fifteen.”

“You’re not even old enough to drive. Why aren’t you in school? Oh, wait. School sucks, and no one relates to you, right?”

He twisted his body to peer up at her again. “I’m sorry I bothered you. You’re white. I should have left you alone.