Breed Book 4, Part 59


The Oval Office had been deathly still since Rox and Anita left. Mahmoud had shut down every electronic in the room, just in case there were any hidden panic buttons or bugs that might cause troubles- but also, because he needed the quiet, to be able to think. “I’ve been wondering, since I got here, if you recognized me,” Mahmoud asked.

“Should I?” Drump asked, the question dripping with contempt.

Mahmoud chuckled quietly. “You know? Yeah.” He turned, glaring at him. “Because I sure as hell remember you. Remember you calling for me to be put in Guantanamo, or deported. All because the racists at my school couldn’t tell the difference between a time piece and a bomb. I was one of the three racist pillars that began your Presidential run: Obama birtherism, Mexicans all being rapists, and me.”

“Oh. You’re that kid,” he said dismissively.

“And I’m not saying you should remember my face, but when condemning a child, I think it’s only fair you remember them. Then again, you’ve condemned a lot of children on your watch, haven’t you? First there were the camps, where kids got emotionally and sometimes physically abused. Then when the virus hit, your genocidal brown shirts started moving them around, just to make sure more of them got sick and spread it through the camps. Then you deported them anyway, and disappeared the Breed kids to Gitmo, because apparently the concentration camps just weren’t cruel enough for you.” Mahmoud slammed his gun onto the corner of the Resolute Desk.  

“You threw me in the deepest, darkest scariest hole you could. You treated me like a monster, and I’d be lying if I told you didn’t want to become one, to breath fire and snarl when I finally got loose. But that would make it easy on you. You’d get to justify your fear, and hate.” Mahmoud pulled up his shirt, revealing the scar from his feeding tube. “I stopped eating in Guantanamo. I lost all hope I’d ever leave that place. I just wanted to die. It wasn’t,” he breathed out raggedly. “I wasn’t doing it for change, or to get access to lawyers, or win back rights for my fellow detainees. Maybe that could have happened, too, but I was done. And they couldn’t even give me that freedom, to give up, so they violated my body to force me to stay alive.

“I was wrong, by the way. I’m breathing free air again, and I kick myself every time I realize I nearly lost that. No. I nearly let you take that away from me. You can’t hold a man’s head underwater and then blame him when he succumbs to drowning. That would have been a tragedy. But understand, I’m only here because of the heroic defiance of people like my friends out there. Whether you live or die today depends on people you have persecuted standing between you and harm. If your stochastic terrorism had hurt even one of the people defending you here today, it would all fall apart. You’d have killed yourself, and have no one to blame for it- though I imagine you’d try anyway.”

“Are you going to save me? Or did you come all this way just to watch me die?”

Mahmoud sighed. “I saved you before I started talking.” He closed his eyes, and the television came back on, and the phone started ringing. The muted television showed the two disabled tanks on the White House lawn. “I know you don’t apologize, and I’m not looking for you to be sorry. Maybe after this you’ll see people like me as more human than you did. We’re more human- and more decent– than you ever learned to pretend to be. But you’ll forgive me if I’m not holding my breath.”

“Get the fuck out of my office.”

“Don’t get comfortable. It won’t be yours for much longer.” He started towards the door. “Oh, and my friends and I are going to need pardons.”

“Like hell. You won’t make it off the lawn before my people grab you. I hope this was worth it, to lose your freedom all over again.” “You don’t understand,” Mahmoud said, turning around. “I have everything. The contents of your computers here. At your tower. In Florida. And the one Putin’s keeping for you; not smart keeping a back door into it in the Oval Office. And I don’t just have your tax returns, I have every skeleton you ever committed to paper, which is more than enough to find the rest. You help my friends, I might even wait until after the election to release it all. You know with one phone call I could get a much better deal, five months removed, from the next administration. Besides, you’ve pardoned far shadier people- and these ones just saved your fucking life. You owe them.”

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