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“Who are you killing now?” Drill’s voice drifted in from the other room.

“Secretary of Commerce and some foreign trade weenie.” I responded as the hammer fell on the dummy round inside the Sig P226 Drill had given me a couple of weeks ago.

“Killed all the Brady’s? It’s not even noon yet.”

I could tell from the sound of his voice, Drill was probably on the gun looking for a new “friend of the cause” through the fixed 10 power scope.  It had been getting more difficult to find the right kind of “friend” lately; Drill was doing his job too well and word had apparently gotten out that it wasn’t safe to be OTC–other than Caucasian– in this neighborhood.

We were in the second hide since Drill broke me out of jail. We cleaned out the first hide that night taking all the ammunition and Drill’s essentials, his rifle and optics–while limiting the rest of the gear to some protein bars and a small wad of bills in case we had to drop out of sight for a while.

“The Brady Bunch was on the pirate station. We don’t get it anymore; just FedTV, your home for propaganda and sports!” I replied, swinging the Sig’s sights around at the appearance of a new head on the screen. The Secretary of Commerce had opened the press conference up to questions from the government approved queue of reporters and the television cameras were aiding my dry-fire practice by swinging wildly from audience to stage providing me with new targets.

“Oh yeah. Huh. What’s she saying?” Drill asked. “What’s who saying?” I frowned slightly as I tried to concentrate on stopping the Sig’s sights directly on a target and firing before rapidly moving to the next available face in the digital crowd. “The Secretary of Commerce? What’s she saying?” he said, a note of irritation creeping into his voice. “How should I know? I’m just practicing target acquisition. Anyway you’re my propaganda teacher; I don’t listen to these amateurs.”

“Gathering intel is part of the job, Shan. My contact only tells me what they want me to know; that’s why we have a TV, so you can tell me what’s going on in the outside world while I’m at work.”

I muttered a reply about how gathering intel was a part of his job, whereas I was just an alleged murderer on the run from the law all thanks to him.

Shan?” he replied, the note of irritation turning to anger.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m turning it up!” I replied as I ejected the dummy round from the Sig and laid the pistol on the table. “My hand was starting to hurt anyway.” I muttered afterward.

I found it hard to focus on what the Secretary was saying; ever since Drill had broken me out of jail the only things that could hold my attention for more than a few seconds involved shooting and anything that looked like it might be attached to the police.

About a week after I had been liberated as Drill liked to say, the President had passed NDAA II granting the authorities even broader powers to indefinitely detain anyone based on the appearance of providing support to or carrying out a terrorist act. Killing policemen was one of those acts that got you disappeared permanently.

Drill assured me that his employers had no intention of coming after me, but the same could not be said of the local police. For a little while I read everything I could get my hands on about the murders I was supposed to have committed. I was watching history be revised right in front of me; the people on the bus had changed their statements (or the media had changed it for them) so that I was the only one implicated and Drill wasn’t even mentioned. That was no big deal, but reading the accounts of my neighbors who identified me very specifically as the individual who had murdered a policeman during a blackout and stolen his squad car–I have to admit that hurt a little.

“Hey Shan?”

“Hmm?” I continued to stare glassy-eyed at the TV.

“You think an Asian would be okay?” he asked semi-jokingly “I mean she could be Asian anyway. Or tired. Either way.”

“Funny.” I said and tried to focus on the talking heads on the TV.

“Aww. You mad because I won’t let you use the big gun?” Drill teased.

“Classic overcompensatory statement, Drill.” I replied distractedly, now finally getting the gist of what was being discussed by the Secretary and the foreign trade-weenie standing next to her.

“Your face is a classic overcompensatory statement.” he laughed at his own joke “Besides, you’re the one always bugging me about getting to try it out. Si vis pacem, para bellum, right?” he said quoting the Latin if you wish for peace, prepare for war to me. “Well, acta non verba, Shan. I need to use the bathroom anyway. . .”

“Yeah, just a sec . . .” The Secretary of Commerce left the stage and introduced the Secretary of the Treasury as a new backdrop appeared on the stage behind the new man.

A large digital whiteboard behind the Secretary of Treasury displayed the title ‘current conversion rates’ with a picture of a type of currency I’d never seen before.

“Drill?!” I said excitedly as it finally occurred to me what was transpiring.

I heard him call out “You know there’s no talking while I’m in the bathroom!”

Drill appeared a few seconds later and sat next to me on the couch “Okay, what’s got you so excited you broke the bathroom-chatter rule?”
I pointed at the newest talking head who was busy yammering away about how this was going to effect overseas trade in the short-term “They’re getting rid of the dollar! ”

Drill looked at me. “Really? You called me in here for this?” he shook his head and stood up to stretch out a bit while he was off the gun. “Old news, Shan. Thanks though. . .I suppose.” Drill yawned and went into the kitchen.

“You knew about this?” I asked trying to maintain my indoor-voice volume.

“My family is crazy-rich, Shan. Like private islands and ownership in countries rich, remember?  Of course I knew about this.” Drill looked at me as if I’d suddenly discovered after several decades of life that water was wet and fire was hot.

“Well excuse the new guy, okay? I’m not privy to all this government-conspiracy-backroom-deal shit like you, all right?” I snapped.

“Relax, Shan. I just mean that in the broad scope of things this isn’t anything for us to worry about.” He smiled and cracked open a bottle of water “And my family converted all their paper dollars into hard currency years ago. They only left a little bit out there in digital form so they could keep doing business.” he shrugged “It’s sort of how I got to where I am after all.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, Shan, when a private citizen especially one from a wealthy old-money family gets bored and decides to go off and inject himself into a war–like yours truly did so many years ago–the government gets a bit concerned. Especially when that individual knows a bunch of things the government would rather be kept private.” he smiled like he was telling a first grader about coloring inside the lines “They pulled me out of a cafe in Iraq and brought me home, because they thought I’d made an ideological switch because I was helping the locals fight the mighty Joint Task Force troops.”

Drill retook his place at the rifle, laying his cheek against the adjustable rest and looking out through the scope as he continued “It wasn’t true, you know. I don’t care about the Iraqi’s anymore than I care about the campers down at the Reflecting Pool. I was bored and looking for some entertainment.” Drill began his process of checking out sectors for potential targets, slowly moving the rifle left to right, hesitating briefly in spots before moving on once more.

Drill had fallen silent for several moments leading me to think our conversation was concluded, when he suddenly began to speak again “Anyway, when they brought me home they debriefed me –that was what they told my parents anyway; it’s bad PR you know, for a rich kid to go off and kill American’s in a foreign country in the middle of a war–the debriefing lasted for about a month with several different interrogators. I’d imagine most, if not all of those men are dead now, by the way.”

He winked at me “I know a couple are for sure.” he patted the rifle fondly “the shit I told them, the government couldn’t have regular people learning about. Anyway, turns out I’m not at all fond of torture so they got everything I knew–the biggest bit of which was about the NAC–North American Confederation and the plans for the new monetary system.”

Drill raised his head and made a notation in a small notebook.

“So,” he smiled “not really news for me. When the government finally turned me over to my family, it was with the caveat that I be watched very closely because of what I knew. I made them a counteroffer and . . .” he gestured to the urban hide sight we’d been living in for the past few months “Viola.”

I crashed down onto the floor next to his rifle and tried to digest his revelation.

“That’s–that’s great, Drill. Is there anything else I should know?” I said hoping he would laugh at the disequilibrium he had caused me.

“Yeah.” he paused for several seconds with his finger on the trigger of his rifle before finally continuing “Don’t drink the water.”

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