I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr…
Eva might well have been looking into the face of the devil himself. Angelo stood in the door with a contrite expression Eva felt sure was manufactured. She didn’t let on about all that was quickly becoming much more than mere suspicions. A light rain was falling, the trees, tugged by a strong westerly wind.
“Can I come in?” he asked. “I heard about Jack and thought that I could help.”
Eva felt a flush of fire run through her. She knew he was lying and it filled her with such rage. Eva chewed her lip, the only inkling of her dislike for the man.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said, hoping to tear some small bit of information from him. “Sometimes you just don’t know people.”
“Don’t blame yourself,” said Angelo. His heart genuinely went out to her. But such were the consequences of war, he thought. “He just snapped. I blame myself.”
“Why would you?” her tone was more accusatory than she wished.
“I think I can straighten all of this out, you see, I know all the things the cops found weren’t his. He was protecting someone when the cops must have gotten tipped off somehow. I know who gave him those things, and I think we can straighten all of this out.”
“How?” asked Eva. Inside she wanted to scream, to attack Angelo and pull him apart for what he’d done to her family. She chewed her lip again, biting down to hold her emotions in check.
“It has to be someplace very public. Someplace where he can blend in,” said Angelo. “The protest. No one will find us in the middle of that.”
“Jack and me, and,” he paused, “and you. All I need to do is find him before the police do. For that I need you.”
“And what can I do?”
“Help me find him and get him to that protest on Sunday.” He held her eyes a moment. “Can I count on you, Eva?”
When he was gone Eva placed a call to the two people she knew could clear up a few things about Angelo. Across town Tom Koffer was meeting with his two “specialists” in his office. It was dark and quiet. They were there to finalize the plan, which was now all about risk management.
“So we’re set,” he said. Koffer leaned back in his chair. His tan suit coat was draped over the back of the chair. There were far too many variables, and he wasn’t at all confident about Rand’s commitment, or if he could be trusted. Variables would have to be eliminated.
“Depends on your boy,” said the first man. His expertise was as a sniper. After the military hiring onto some police force, for the money military contractors received, paid in cash, courtesy of the American taxpayer-not to mention incidentals like this job- just wasn’t an option.
“He said he’d have the target in place.”
“Let’s hope,” said the other man, the spotter. “Either way my partner and I get paid.”
“I’m expanding the target list.”
“Want them both gone?” asked the sniper. “That’ll cost you.”
Koffer stood and pulled his suit coat from the back of the chair. He slipped it on and started for the door. “Just get it done.”