Read Abuse of Power Online

Authors: Michael Savage

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Spies & Politics, #Terrorism, #Thrillers

Abuse of Power

BOOK: Abuse of Power
8.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Contents

Title Page

Epigraph

Prologue

Part 1

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Part 2

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Part 3

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Acknowledgments

Also by Michael Savage

About the Author

Copyright

 

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
—BARRY GOLDWATER, 1964

 

Prologue

If the others knew what Abdal al-Fida was up to they would kill him. Not fast, not pleasantly, and not just to make him suffer. These people killed the way others tweeted, to let people know they weren’t happy. To discourage dissent.

To them he was simply a foot soldier, an expendable observer sent out to study the enemy, report, and await further instructions. Any deviation from that would be met with swift and brutal punishment.

But after three long weeks sitting in a cramped office cubicle doing routine computer repairs, Abdal was tired of waiting, tired of hoping the phone would ring. His beard was growing longer as the others busied themselves with endless debates and hand-wringing and second-guessing.

It’s all in the hands of Allah anyway,
he thought.
Why not be bold and
trust
in Him?

He didn’t want to believe it was a lack of nerve. That would be too discouraging. To have committed his life and energy to a cause, only to find out he was alone—

I refuse to believe that.
But the thought was equally stubborn.

His mother once told him that he came into this world a squawking bird, violently flapping his spindly little wings as if his cage were too small to contain him. Maybe that was Allah sending a message as well, for he was no different now.

Abdal’s faith in Allah’s plan was absolute, and that was what gave him the courage to undertake what he was doing now. After that, proactivity became its own motor. Actions drove other actions and soon there was no changing course, no
desire
to reverse direction.

What would he tell them later? That contacting someone he knew here in America—someone who was well connected with the black market and was far under the radar—he had used his own money to procure the things he needed.

Building the device, as he’d been trained to do, had been simple. He was afraid he’d forget steps, have to improvise, but once he was focused everything came back to him. It was all he could do to keep his fingers from trembling with excitement as he dismantled the disposable cell phone he’d bought at a nearby Walgreens. He laid out the components, rewired connections, recalled with an almost rhapsodic joy the tart smell of the solder as he worked—

And as he sat in his small apartment he thought of Sara. He wondered if he should call her.

While he had no intention of taking his own life—unlike so many of his naïve brethren he was in no hurry to get to Paradise—he was aware that he might not survive the week. The only thing certain in war was that nothing was certain.

He smiled as he thought of the girl he had managed to grow so fond of. Not that he’d fought it. Every soldier needs a distraction, and they didn’t come prettier than this one. But then something happened. It wasn’t even part of his cover, an effort to blend in; it was genuine. Surprisingly, unexpectedly real. So real that he had broken other rules, had told her who he was and what he was about. She already knew what had happened to his family before he relocated from Karachi, and she understood the rage he carried with him every single moment of his life. Maybe that was one of the things he found so attractive: Sara shared much of that rage herself.

In the end, he decided it was best not to call her. Not until the deed was done. Not until she couldn’t do the one thing no one else on earth could possibly have done: talk him out of giving San Francisco its very own ground zero.

 

PART ONE

Ride-Along

 

1

San Francisco, California

“Pump two,” Leon said. “See it?”

“I see it,” Jamal Thomas replied.

It was just after sunset and the battered old Camry was parked down the block from the Arco station on Mission Street. Jamal squinted through the dirty windshield at a shiny gray Land Rover that had just pulled up to the pumps. The driver had climbed out and crossed to the minimart, wallet in hand. Arab, from the look of him. Not just the skin color but the arrogance, the strut. He reminded Jamal of the movies he’d seen on YouTube of blacks in the 1960s, flexing their new legal rights, amped up by the power of numbers, ready for payback after centuries of being second-class.

“Why that one?” Jamal asked. “Why not a Benz or a Beamer?”

Leon shot him a frown. “This ain’t
about
the car. It’s about—”

“I know what it’s about,” Jamal said. “But we might as well wait for a sweeter ride.”

Leon shook his head. Jamal continued to look out the window.

What this was about was Jamal and Leon trying to get the rest of the Sawyer Street crew to take Jamal seriously. Jamal was almost seventeen and even his brother, who was just three years older, still treated him like a wannabe. He’d spent two years selling apple jacks at school, but that wasn’t good enough for them. It was time to prove himself. Show them he had a pair that clanged.

Jamal’s hand was resting on his waistband, where he’d tucked the gun. Leon had given him a Glock 9mm for his birthday the week before, a bronze-colored beauty that came in a shipment smuggled from Vietnam, part of the old Ku gunrunning network. The weapon felt solid against Jamal’s belly—not the weight of it but the coiled power, the right it gave him to enforce his will on some rich boy or a chump who looked at him funny or a blonde he just wanted because he wanted
that blonde.

“Like a terrorist, man,” Jamal said softly.

“What are you talkin’ about
now
?”

“I was just thinkin’ about how those guys feel when they
know
somethin’ big is going down while everybody else worries about their own shit. That’s got to be some heavy power trip.”

“Yeah, well, you only have to worry about that Land Rover and not some damn 9/11.”

“I’m on that,” Jamal said. “Just sayin’.”

Jamal was getting excited. Leon was right, but if power was the lesson of jacking a random car, he was ready to learn it.

They watched the Arab pump his gas, then get in and start the engine. The swarthy man fussed with the side-view mirror, adjusting it this way and that, then grabbed the wheel and rolled toward the exit.

Leon popped his transmission into gear, glanced at Jamal. “You ready?”

“I’m ready.”

Leon shifted his foot from the brake to the accelerator and eased after the Land Rover.

*   *   *

They followed the Rover straight to the Loin—the part of the city that had long ago given itself over to liquor stores and strip clubs, where anything and everything was bought and sold, twenty-four/seven.

Jamal wondered what a well-off Arab was doing down here. If he was looking for action, all he had to do was pick up the phone. He didn’t have to cruise through wine country. Maybe he had holdings here, invested some of that oil money in hookers and crack dealers.

An’ the government tells us businessmen are responsible for everything that’s wrong,
he thought.

“Next red light,” Leon said.

Leon’s voice was soft, steady. It pumped Jamal up, like the gun. He wanted to impress his brother, win his respect.

A few seconds later the car came to a stop at Eddy and Larkin. The red light burned like the devil’s own eye, fueling Jamal’s own sudden, intense focus on the moment, the gun, the target—

“Go!”

Leon’s voice broke through the near-hypnotic state. Jamal didn’t think. He pushed open the door and jumped out, ripping the Glock from his waistband as he went, holding it against the driver’s window, shouting, “Out of the car!”

The light turned and Leon roared past them, the Camry’s tires shedding rubber. The Arab looked at the gun in horrified disbelief. Jamal slammed the window with the heel of his other hand, angled the gun menacingly.

“I said
out
! Do it
now
or you’re a dead man!”

The Arab popped the lock and opened the door. He seemed resigned to losing his car. Jamal stepped back to let him out. Cars were beginning to pile up behind them. Jamal turned slightly so they wouldn’t have a good look at his face.

“Don’t shoot!” the Arab pleaded. “Take the car but don’t kill me!”

“Shut up!” Jamal snarled as he drew back his arm and pistol-whipped the Arab.

The man fell to the asphalt, his arms fluttering like bird wings, his white button-down shirt a coat of feathers.
The Arab wasn’t so tough now,
Jamal thought,
however much money he might have.
The young man sighted the gun on the man’s forehead, above his big, frightened eyes.

Jamal heard more horns as well as people shouting. He should have just shot him—no talk, no knock-down, no
thinking.
Now, too many people were watching. He heard a siren in the distance. Maybe it wasn’t for him, or maybe someone had already called the cops—

Jamal looked up the road, saw the Camry had pulled into an empty space curbside. It was too far to run. And he didn’t want to leave empty-handed.

Okay, you didn’t kill the guy but you can bounce with the car
. He could still score points by leading the cops to the Embarcadero and putting the Rover in the bay, or maybe driving it into the hot new lounge of the Phoenix Hotel—

Shoving the gun back in his waistband, Jamal jumped into the Rover, slammed the door, and stomped on the gas. He shot through the intersection, unaware that the light had changed back, clipping a Prius and spinning it ninety degrees. Jamal caromed off into a double-parked yellow panel job with the words
WONDER BREAD
painted across the side. He saw the
R
and the
B
grow large and then the world got very loud as the sound of the impact, the screech of twisting metal, and Jamal’s own scream blended into a single roar. He felt himself flying against the windshield as the rear end of the Rover went airborne and the thing flipped.

Jamal threw his hands out, felt his arms go through the suddenly liquid glass, felt countless pinpricks as the shards raked his hands and face and scalp. It seemed to take forever for the Rover to crash to the ground and everything to go still. In the cottony quiet that followed, all Jamal could hear was his own strained, wheezing breath and the throbbing blood in his ears. He was lying on his back, half out of the Rover, his head resting on the blacktop. He was looking back toward the front seat, which was upside down. Peripherally, he could see people ducking, shifting, reaching into the tangled metal that shielded him from the outside world. He couldn’t move his head, couldn’t feel his body, so he continued to stare ahead.

BOOK: Abuse of Power
8.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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