“Yeah, okay.” Bishop glanced at the sheriff’s deputy standing in the doorway. “Get me a better cell and I’ll take good care of him.”
“I’ll do what I can, but take good care of him no matter what.” Russek gave him a hard cop motherfucker look.
Bishop nodded, keeping his face blank. “Hey, sure.” He stood and then turned back to Russek. “What so special about this Ryan guy? Might help me protect him to know.”
“He saved my life.” Russek walked out on those words. He stopped by jail administration to confirm Ryan would be put in with Bishop and add that he wanted them moved to their own cell right away. He was told it would happen as soon as possible; there were truckloads of terrorists coming in since the suspension of habeas corpus after the Irvine thing.
Russek went back to the terrorist-hunting headquarters Parker Center had become. He mentally commented for the nth time that the suspension of habeas corpus would have suited its namesake, the gung-ho ex-marine Chief William H. Parker, down to the ground. In the 1950s Parker had militarized the LAPD to the point they were almost as dangerous as the criminals. His successors had continued the tradition that crime was not a problem to be solved, but an enemy to be annihilated. Due process was a mere annoyance for the crusaders the LAPD put in charge over the decades. They had paid a heavy price for it occasionally, but not often enough for any real change in the cop mindset. The most recent Chief of Police had tried to undo some of this mindset, but history was against him. Terrorism was now the enemy, and the Irvine thing had given the LAPD a green light to arrest everyone in sight and work countless hours of overtime doing it.
This wouldn’t be a problem for Russek; he’d been a cop long enough to just do his job and forget about it when he went home. Except now at home there was Drew and in spite of all Russek’s protests and affidavits, the State of California had decided Drew was a terrorist and must be put into custody. In a moment of pure frustration, Russek had considered making a run for Mexico, but then they might both end up in a Mexican jail awaiting extradition. No, the best thing was to make the best of it in LA, where Russek at least had some strings to pull. And he would pull all of them to save Drew, who’d saved his life and returned his love.
Another guy who’d once saved Russek’s life was Warren Williams. At least that was the name he was going by in Afghanistan when Russek got hauled back onto active duty and ran into an independent contractor named Warren Williams. Tall, dark, handsome, suave, lethal: Williams had thrown Russek to the ground and covered him with his body when some lunatic in a burka opened fire on a crowded street. Williams had a sixth sense for trouble, which was why he was still alive. And Russek had admired that and valued Williams’ friendship right up until he drove Russek’s car into a situation that nearly killed him.
Of course Russek had been happy to see Williams on his front porch one evening almost a year after they’d parted in Kabul. “Goddamn, Warren, you haven’t changed at all,” he’d said, letting the mercenary into his home. “Drink?”
“Sure, and I’d be much obliged if you’d let me flop on your couch for a day or two,” Williams drawled. “I’m in transit.”
“Hell yes you can stay here,” Russek said, getting out the good scotch. “Where’re you in transit to?”
“Difficult to know, I haven’t got my marching orders yet,” Williams said, settling onto the couch he’d be sleeping on. “Iran, probably, but maybe Pakistan.”
“Your life’s very exciting.” Russek sat in the armchair next to the couch.
“Too exciting sometimes.” Williams smiled coolly. “Heard you had some excitement in Irvine lately. It took hours to get through security at LAX.”
“Oh, Jesus, we did.” Russek ran his hand over his eyes. “Forty thousand dead, hospitals, morgues, emergency services overwhelmed. I had to go down there with a squad to help keep order; I only drank Cokes and Gatorade for three days. And the DHS still doesn’t know what the poison was or how the poison got into the water supply or if there’s any left in it or if it will turn up in LA water. We had bottled water riots a few days ago.”
“I heard,” Williams said sympathetically. “You worried?”
“Not really.” Russek flashed his crooked smile. “I figure when your number’s up you gotta go. Whether it’s getting offed by some punk or poisoned tap water, that’s how it is. I drive on the freeway, too, so I’m either a lucky sumbitch or it just ain’t my time yet.”
“One can’t worry about these things.” Williams agreed. “Gets in the way of living while you can. Any idea who done it?”
“No, just a rumor that an old woman’s car broke down near the reservoir just before the event,” Russek said. “No one can remember anything about her except she was old.”
“Old or middle-aged?” Williams asked.
“What’s the difference?”
For those of who’d rather read this as a pdf, it’s here: Electricland_by_Mayerson_Serialization_Pages. Ain’t I nice?
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