Breed Book 4, Part 14


“It feels weird, getting Starbucks in Seattle,” Mikaela said, sitting in the corner booth opposite Mira. “Like we’re visiting mocha Mecca.”

“You’re awfully nonchalant about meeting a suspected terrorist in public,” Mira said quietly, “though everyone going around in masks is quite a boon to anonymity.”

“Oh, I’m very chalant, I’m just good at hiding it. And you’re a friend, questionable shit you’ve done to the side of it, and I guess I’m still hoping I can talk you back from the edge.”

“Why do I get the sense there’s an ‘and’ in there?” Mira asked, bemused.

Mikaela sighed, weighing her response with care. “I love our freinds, I love that they were there to support Breed lives and black lives in tandem. But, there are just things they can’t get. And I don’t even think it’s a complex my dad gave me, but at least once a day, I fixate on a black person murdered by police, or at least their indifference. Breonna Taylor, an EMT shot eight times while she slept in her bed. David McAtee, who fed police for free at his stand, but was still gunned down for being black and in the wrong place at the wrong time. God, I need to stop listing or we’ll be here literally all night, just from the names off the top of my head. But that’s why I was so glad you texted. Our friends are great, loving, caring people. But there are things, about the intersection of being what we all share and being black, that they just can’t understand, and that I can’t explain without becoming an angry black stereotype.”

“I am angry, though,” Mira said, her voice trembling. “And we have every right to be angry. We should not have to watch our brothers and sisters die like this. The only rational, human response is anger. But then again, my anger’s made me a terrorist.”

 “You’re not wrong. We do have a right to be angry. And maybe that’s just another way kyriarchy has kept us down, by making our righteous anger unacceptable. And I don’t think you’re a terrorist.”

“The U.S. government disagrees,” Mira said with a laugh. “Especially that orange prick in the White House. Which is kind of why I’m here.”

“Ooh, nice segue.”

“I took my minor in English Lit seriously,” Mira said, punctuating it with another laugh. “This feels nice, you know, normal, just having some coffee with a friend, no life or death consequences. So I feel awful I’m going to be the one to ruin it, but I really don’t know what to do. I know Drump didn’t kill Greg Lloyd, but he’s spent four years making the people who did or could feel safe, feel supported. Given aid and comfort to our enemies, called them very fine people. I’m angry, blindly angry, but even I was shocked when I heard the plan. Raif is going to try and kill him, and I don’t want to stop him. But I recognize, through my anger, that maybe I should. Maybe we should be stopped. And for a lot of reasons, some you’ve mentioned tonight, I wanted you to be the one to make that call. It’s not fair, maybe, to do that to you, but I trust you- even if that means trusting you to make sure I fail, if that’s what you think should happen.”

“God damn; you do not play around.”

“Yeah, for you, you have to get rid of a burner cell phone. Inconvenient, to be sure. But I go through a whole routine every time we meet like this, have to buy new clothes, steal a car, get new IDs, new phones. I don’t make contact for a simple chat.”

“Do you want to know what I decide?”

“Probably best I don’t. If you do decide to stop us, it won’t work if I’m working to neutralize you.”

“This is weird. You know this is weird, right? It’s like you’re working with me against you.”

“That’s kind of exactly how it is. And maybe I’m just worn out and tired, burnt out, looking for a way out.”

“The tell would be that you said ‘out’ like three times in that sentence; I took my mathematics minor seriously.”

“But I trust you to do the right thing, even if I’m not sure I know what that is anymore.” She slid out of the booth, scooping up her coffee on the way. “I hope I see you. Honestly. But I understand if this is a bridge too far for you.”

“Take care, Mira,” Mikaela replied. She waited as many alligators as she could count, though she kept losing track, before excitedly dialing her other burner. “Rox,” Mikaela said, “we have a serious fucking problem.”

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