Chapter Forty Nine

Amaya drives them to the airport, private flight to Kansas City, the Missouri side. Fights are being held in a isolated warehouse twenty miles south near a small town called Belton. The boys are at a dump of an Econo Lodge in Belton.
We’re like the worried moms club. I have to report regularly what I see through Dasha’s eyes, particularly Amaya, but even Nikko asks what’s going on every hour.
They get checked in at Hampton, go straight to work. Dasha drives them to Belton, finds a spot where Eloise can surreptitiously operate the drone. They have descriptions of the car, and we already have the plate number from Surveillance, it’s simple to get shots of the vehicle, a basic SUV, luggage carrier on top. There are six boys in this group, two adults. They sure travel cheap.
The six of us are around two laptops and an IPad, the drone is broadcasting flawlessly, picture sharp, Eloise zooms in on the plates, backs off . Three boys emerge from one room, Surveillance says they’re in three rooms, three boys in two, the adults in one. It doesn’t appear the boys are in any way guarded. Looks like a couple older ones and one fourteen or fifteen. They aren’t beat up, at least not so we can see from the faces.
Eloise gets each one front and side. They’re laughing, whatever else happens, they aren’t unhappy. Audio kicks in.
Boy One, “Darrell said they got two local chumps tonight, at least I ain’t gotta fight one of us, even though we mostly act, it’s still always harder.”
Boy Two, “You din’t hafta fight one of ours last week neither, kicked that flat slob’s ass. I hada go up against Freddie, he’s a nasty little fuck.”
Boy Three, “When’s the others comin’?”
Boy One, “Darrell said they come in tomorrow, not today. They’s off last week, so they gonna be fresh.”
Boy Three, “Man, ain’t Jamal in that group? I always seems to draw Jamal, he always kicks my ass.”
Boy One, “Jamal kick every kid’s ass what’s his age. Seen him punk a guy two years older, they oughta make him fight age up, too big for fifteen. He’s just mean. We do this half fake with each other, everyone gets it ‘cept Jamal.”
Boy Three, “Shee-yit, them old pukes like it when one of us gets beat to hell, don’t matter to them if one’s bigger.”
Boy Two, “This ain’t about fair, Tommy, you coulda figured that out by now. Sides, kid gets his butt whipped, Darrell usually go easy on him the next fight, try and set ‘em up with somethin’ easy. Them old guys, they just want to see some blood on a kid.”
Boy One, “You could get to Jamal, quit trying to duke it out, jump him get your skinny ass arm around his neck, choke him out. You ain’t never gonna get no place tryin’ to punch with him.”
A man comes out of another room, “Saddle up guys, let’s get fed, nice treat tonight, BBQ joint called Snead’s.  Get you some protein in ‘fore the action tamarra.”
Boy One, “Leastwise they feed us okay. I heard Jake’s group gets McDonald’s dang near ever meal.”
Boy Three, “McDonald’s okay.”
Boy Two, “Don’t matter none to me, just give me enough.”
Another man comes out of the room, knocks on the next door, three more boys come shuffling out. Eloise zooms in on each face, tapes the car backing out and heading out of the lot. The audio shuts down, video of the drone returning, Eloise waves as they come into focus, the drone shuts down.
Amaya, “That thing is so cool.”
Janah, “We have our first recording and a bonus, the boys talking about what they do and mention another group. Be good to match it up with what Surveillance is able to collect on the others.”
I’m mentaling Dasha, “Eloise did great, everything nice and clear, images sharp. What are you going to do now?”
Dasha, “Follow to restaurant, we put tracking on car. When they leave, we will be here to see eef ees more talking, then to hotel.”
“I’ll let you know when the second team gets to town. Surveillance will get video and photos, we’ll see if it works out to have the drone look them over as well.”

Dasha, “Da, okay. We also tomorrow haf to go to fight place and tape. Fighting start at nine, but we haf to be set up by seven. I will find gud place to hide car.”
I watch through her eyes as they follow well behind the target car. They know where the car is going, no need for a close tail. It’s five thirty there, six thirty here. Since I’m the mental contact, I don’t do dinner, we order Empire Szechuan, Amaya makes drinks, Janah opens wine. The food arrives thirty minutes later.
I relay what I see, “Dasha is approaching the target car, she has the tracking device in her hand, she’s near the right rear fender, a couple comes out of the restaurant, walks past her, nods. Dasha moves to the door as if she’s going inside. The couple gets in a sedan, it backs out, drives down the lot, exits to the street. She at the back of the target car, slips the device under the bumper, I hear a soft thunk, she’s got it attached, now she’s going back to the Escalade.”
Dasha, “We are back to motel now. Tracking will tell us when they return. We will take one more pass with drone, get more video, maybe also audio.”
“Make sure the car is well hidden, I don’t know how the local police operate. It’s a pretty small place, they may prowl around all night. Even look for cars out of place. No, wait, drive around until you see the targets are leaving the restaurant, park just before they show up. Keep a sharp eye out for cops on patrol. If you see a police car, bring in the drone and leave, we can live with the video we have.”

The target car is in motion, soon back to the motel, Dasha has the Escalade out of sight, there are no cars around. Where she is, there’s nothing but the brick wall of the motel. Eloise has the drone in the air, the targets are exiting the SUV, a low end Ford something.
“That was good shit, man I was some hungry. Thanks Darrell, nice of you to get us real food, then other boys always at a fast food joint or other.”
Darrell, “No reason to eat that crap three times a day. Good for breakfast, we don’t gotta show up someplace in a group, lunch we generally eat on the road. When I get a chance to have a real sit down meal, I take it. Everybody ready to get it on tomorrow? Got two local punks need a lesson in whip ass. Then we put on a show with our others guys, swap a bloody nose or a busted lip, ain’t no thing, not for the money we haul in. Remember, if it’s our team, hit ‘em but don’t bust no ribs or nothin’ ever-one knows how to fold into the punch, act like they’s hurt bad. Getting’ ass whipped is for the locals.”
We’re listening to the conversation via the drone, laughing. Turns out, most of it’s an act. Slick, very slick.
Janah, “Tell the girls to fly home tomorrow, I’m pulling Surveillance, this is a waste of our time and resources. If these guys want to have a travelling road show of fake fights that suckers pay to see and bet on, I don’t know why we care.”
Chloe, “Aren’t these boys getting hurt? What about the local kids they really do hurt?”
Janah, “Everyone is a volunteer, we deal in innocents that are either coerced or powerless. The boys in these groups don’t have their hands tied, they can leave whenever they wish, the local kids think they’re the bad boys in the hood. Nobody makes them fight. It’s a stupid situation, but not a lethal one. Worse stuff happens in school yards every day. The girls did a great job, they found out we don’t need to intervene. If they hadn’t gone, we’d only be shutting down a scam. I don’t care if suckers want to pay for a fraud.”
I’m online with Dasha, “You guys found out that we don’t need to get involved, saved the Society a lot of money and aggravation. Tomorrow, you can come home.”
Dasha, “Daria has gud idea, we fly out, spend time and money, we will haf fun with fake fight boys.”
I listen, decide to let them loose.

Chapter Fifty

The twins disguise, temp hair color, Daria in sneakers and a do-rag, Dasha in three inch heel boots with a fedora and sunglasses. Eloise looks like a skinny boy anyway, short hair and baggy jeans, lace up shoes and a button shirt, the boy next door.
It’s eight thirty, the lot is filling, the three walk to the entrance, Darrell is outside smoking a cigarette.
Daria walks up to him, takes his mind, Dasha does the talking, “My brother will fight tonight, your best fighter.”
He looks her over, he’s wanting to argue, but Daria’s got his brain locked, “ How old is he?”
Dasha, “Fifteen.”
Darrell, “Got to put up five hundred to fight honey.”
Dasha hands him the bills, he fans the five hundreds, Dasha says, “Where do I make bet?”
Darrell, “Guy inside, ask for Chappie, tell him I said your boy fights Jamal.”
They walk in the warehouse, crowd is milling around, there’s beer for sale, scent of marijuana in the air. Many are crowded around two boards, with the names of fighters, their records, as if records of fake fights meant something. Chappie has a line of customers, Daria and Eloise wander around while Dasha waits.
Ten minutes later she’s in front of Chappie, “I talk to Darrell, he says to see you. I have a fighter, he will fight a boy called Jamal, you know Jamal?”
Chappie studies her, Daria is off to one side, Chappie’s brain goes fuzzy, “If Darrel says so, s’alright by me you boy wants his ass whipped. Jamal scheduled to fight fifth, our kid be glad to skip it, Jamal kick his ass ever’ time. You’re on, lessen you wanna make a bet, step aside, I got customers waitin’.”
Dasha, “How much is bet?”
Chappie leans forward, now he’s interested, “How much you thinkin’ bout?”
Dasha, “How much on Jamal now?”
Chappie checks his sheet, odds change with the money bet, Jamal is offering five to one, all the money is on him.
Chappie, “Whatever you want, odds five to one, put up a grand, you win you get five.”
Daria is coaching her, “Odds will go up later, wait until start of fight.”
Dasha, “Maybe later.”
Chappie laughs, “Don’t got much faith in your boy, huh? Okay, maybe later, maybe better you save your money.”
The girls who are temporary boys walk the warehouse, crowd is gathered around the ring, everyone standing. This is a fast in and out business, no time to set up chairs in rows, take them down later. It’s an empty warehouse with a dirt floor, lucky there’s actual lighting and flush toilets.
It’s not a dress up wealthy crowd, more like the south side of middle class and working stiffs. No trophy wives, unless there’s a trophy for fourth place. Fat guys, hard boned working men, a few women, chunky tater salad types, couple showing cleavage nobody wants to look at. No one seems concerned about second hand smoke.
Showtime.
Couple of twelve year olds come out, face off, referee reads off stage names and win loss records.
The two kids start circling, trade a few tentative jabs, the audience gets restive quickly, “Come on pussies! Do some fucking damage.”
The blond boy cracks his opponent on the jaw, follows up with a straight left to his midsection. The kid folds into it, any idiot could see they’d played this game before. Midsection pokes a jab at Blond, taps his nose, trickle of blood.
“Thass more like it, get it on kiddies.”
In the end, they wind up like schoolyard kids, quick flurries of punches, then wrestling on the dirt floor, Midsection wraps an arm around Blond’s neck, puts on a good show of strangling him, twenty seconds later Blond taps out.
The fights go like that, until the fourth, the opponent is a local, up against one of the boys from the other group. Unfortunately for local, the traveling groups always put up their best fighters.
The local kid isn’t bad, I’m watching through Dasha’s eyes, appears he’s had some ground fighting training. Local goes at it, takes a few shots, gives some, then he goes for the legs. Mistake. Guess he’s assuming the Travel kid is a puncher. Travel lets him grab the legs, sinks his elbow hard into Local’s spine, which earns him an early release. Travel jumps up, Local’s on his hands and knees trying to stand, until three hard kicks to his ribs and a knee to the side of his head renders him insensate.
Travel does the obligatory hands in the air jump around the ring, shouts of encouragement from the winning bettors, moans and groans from the losers.
Dasha is back at Chappie’s table, “What are odds, maybe make bet now.”
Chappie, “Smart, ten to one, Jamal’s got a good rep, few folks making small bets on your long shot, guy behind Dasha says, “can we move it? I got ten thousand to put on Jamal.”
Dasha steps aside, Chappie says, “Can’t go but three to five, you want it?”
Bettor smiles, “Easy money.”
Chappie takes his cash, looks at Dasha, “I’m gonna take a hit your boy wins. Give you fifteen to one take the problem off my hands.”
Dasha, “How much you have against?”
Now, Dasha doesn’t know jack about this, but Janah does, and I’m feeding the information to Dasha, what to ask, how to play it.
Chappie, “Forty grand.”
I mental, “Twenty five hundred at fifteen to one gets you his forty thousand riding on Jamal.”
Dasha, “Gud,” she hands Chappie a stack of hundreds.
Chappie looks at twenty five Benjamins, “Honey, I’m officially even no matter what happens, hope you win.”
Dasha turns and walks to the edge of the ring.
Darrell announces a newcomer with no record, then Jamal with a perfect one, the crowd sneers, Daria is three inches shorter and half the size of Jamal and that’s shading it in her favor. Jamal is a chunky black kid, shaved head, muscular arms, big chest, too much middle, stocky legs. Grinning idiotically, prancing around the ring, pork fat boy has a minute left to revel in his delusion.
From what we know, Jamal is not one of the fighters who plays the fake it game. He likes hurting people, he doesn’t care if it’s one of the fighters in the traveling group or one of the locals. The adults dragging these boys around know Jamal is a betting favorite, he ups the take. They can always lowball the odds for him to win, long shot bettors suck up the difference.
See, when you take bets, you don’t bet. You want to match up dollars for one side with dollars for the other. You’re going to keep ten percent of the loser’s money. That means, if the total betting is a hundred grand, fifty for one fighter, fifty on another, you, the bookie, are going to make five grand no matter what happens. That’s the basics of the book. Winner wins, bookie wins, loser pays, two out of three ain’t bad.
Jamal is a plus and a minus for the bookie. He draws bets, mostly to win. So Chappie has to lower the odds for Jamal, and raise them for bets on the other guy until he evens out bets on both sides. Some nights, it doesn’t even out. That’s okay, he loses overall occasionally, or he can win with uneven bets, or he can have the bucks match up perfectly on both sides and collect his ten percent. For the bookie, three things can happen, but only one of them is bad.
Jamal is circling Daria. Daria isn’t circling anything, she doesn’t even appear interested, in Jamal, the crowd, Middle East peace, or even the Dow Jones Industrials.
Jamal gives the crowd a perplexed look, like, ‘what’s the deal?’
He announces to the crowd, “Punk so scared, he cain’t move!”
The crowd cheers, most of them bet on Jamal, they want to see a good, brutal show and collect their winnings. The audience starts the synchronized clap thing, Jamal raises his hand, Clap! raises them again, Clap!, you get the idea. He gets them into a frenzy, then turns to face Daria.
Jamal doesn’t know Daria is female, he thinks he’s got a local boy in a panic, and he’s all over that. He’s going to hurt the shit out of the kid, build his rep, collect his pay.
He comes in, shoots a jab. Oops, the opponent doesn’t move, doesn’t fucking blink.
Jamal shoots a second jab, a hand casually swipes it away, shrugs.
A voice, “Come on, Jamal, you gonna hit something or fuck around all night?”
Jamal looks over to the voice, “Punk frozen, fuckin’ with ‘em.”
He turns to Daria, she plants her fist square into his nose, not only with the shoulder and torso twist I’d shown her, but her qi. Jamal’s nose is not going to resemble itself, ever.
He sails against the ropes, blood down his lips and chin, she has his attention.
Jamal’s been popped in the nose before, not quite like this. It doesn’t take him out, but it gives him pause, the smaller kid has a good punch. To recover, he dances around, snorts blood onto the floor. Looks real mean.
Daria looks bored, her hands dangle against her hips, too much trouble to hold in fighting stance.
“What’s the deal Jamal? Lots of talk, don’t see the walk, got money on your ass, boy.”
Jamal has failed to do any damage to his opponent, he’s listening to slurs from the crackers. He’s had better nights, he’s sorely pissed.
He stalks, tries a kick, Daria lets it connect, doesn’t move, doesn’t sway, doesn’t fold into it. Jamal’s ankle hurts.
He tries a hook, Daria steps into it, his bicep catches her head, not his fist. She short jabs his gut, Jamal lifts off the floor, sails back to his butt. He pukes.
“Jaysus, what the fuck Jamal? Little punk throws a five inch punch, you on the floor losing your cookies? Get goddamn busy!”
His corner throws him a towel, he wipes his mouth, tosses it to the floor.
He starts to say something, but he can’t make the words come, his stomach flutters.
He rushes Daria.
She lets him connect, sinks to her butt, sticks her knees in his pelvis and sails his fat ass clean over her into the crowd. They scatter, couple of guys throw him back in the ring.
Jamal is officially the most confused person on the planet. He loses it, confusion leads to fear, followed by anger, he’s arrived. He tries a flurry, he connects okay, just that every punch hurts him more than it hurts the kid he hits. His wrist breaks, he screams.
“Tell Daria to get this finished.”
Dasha mentals her sister, Daria nods at nothing, then she hits Jamal so hard his head twists sideways, mouthpiece flies, he near cartwheels across the floor, splats down hard on the dirt and sawdust, stone cold zero still.
The place is dead silent. Then complaints of a ringer, Darrell steps up.
“Listen up people, ain’t no ringer, sooner or later every fighter comes up agin his match. Jamal’s turn tonight. Only kids here are fighters, the rest of yous growed up. Act like it, or we can skip this town next time up. Sides, tonight you seen the toughest kid I ever laid eyes on, you got your money’s worth.”
The talk moves to general grumbling, losers who thought they had easy money will take a while to get over it, always do.
While the next fight is getting set up, Darrell says to Dasha, “Yore brother is good, real good. You want to make good money, I can make it happen.”
Dasha, “She make gud money already. She likes to be alone, practice alone, for once, she wants to see what it is like, to fight, so we come here. You pay money now, we go.”
Darrell wants to persuade, Daria grabs his brain again, he takes Dasha over to Chappie, he coughs up the forty grand. No more conversation, the girls leave before the crowd starts beefing again.

Chapter Fifty One

I mental Dasha as they drive back to the Hampton, “Daria created a small celebration here, Amaya and Chloe are having a cocktail, the rest of the drinkers popped a bottle of champagne, it’s one o’clock but we’re too excited to go to bed just yet.”
Dasha, “Sister ees tired, Dasha ees tired, we use chee on boy, also to distract Darrell. I am making us beeg vodka when we get to room, then rest.”
“You did a great job losing your accent. Can’t have the targets knowing you’re Russian.”

Dasha, “We are at hotel now Dahfoney. Fly home tomorrow, bye now.”
I turn to the others and relay the general message, twins are tired, getting to bed, looking forward to home.
Nikko, “With forty thousand in their pockets.”
Zi, “Yes, stroke of genius Janah.”
Janah, “It was free money, there was no chance of her losing, only a small chance the organizers would balk. Wouldn’t look good to try and renege on the bet, they didn’t lose anything anyway, only the suckers.”
Chloe, “The girls did splendidly for a first time out.”
Amaya, “And the psycho-twins did not even kill anyone.”
“Nobody tried to hurt them. I was a little worried that the ten grand bettor might get testy. Lucky for him he shut up.”
Amaya, “They are on a ten o’clock flight, I will pick them up, you want to come along Daphne?”
“Sure, Chloe will want to see Daria.”
Chloe, “Yes, I’m coming too. They should arrive around three or so, we’ll have them back at four. Wonder if they’ll be up for dinner out, maybe the next night.”
Amaya, “Something here, then we shall ask Dasha what they would like day after. She will haf opeenyon and give us our instructions.”
Janah laughs, “True. Easy dealing with Dasha, never have to guess what she wants.”
We wind down, yawns around, everyone wanders off to bed.
Piled up in our room, Janah says, “This one turned out different. I didn’t know whether to walk away at first. But the conversations we heard verified my decision. These kids are in this voluntarily. It’s not a rich life, but they are treated decently, when they decide they’ve had enough, nobody tries to force them to stay. It’s all illegal as heck, but so are we.”
“Legality and morality are two different things. What if we get our people to approach the organizers, offer to take the boys who want out, or who can’t continue, get them trained in something. No threats of exposure, just a transition to a more normal life?”
Janah, “I like it. I’ll get on it tomorrow.”
We’re sleepy, and it’s only moments until we’re in another place, the infinite empty.
I blink awake, appears I’m up first, and it’s already eight, but we didn’t settle in until two. I fire up the coffee, brew a pot of tea, flip through the online Times until I sense the others stirring.
This morning is a pastry and fruit breakfast, too close to lunch for elaboration. Flaky croissants, almond poppy seed muffins, Doughnut Plant doughnuts, mixed berries with crème fraiche.
Chloe, “I am a Doughnut Plant junkie, these stretchy chewy things and the splendido icings are to die for.”
Amaya, “You should be a sweat hog by now Vesnushki. I would gain a thousand pounds if I ate as many of those things as you do.”
“You can’t gain any more weight than the weight of the food you eat. You would have to eat a thousand pounds of doughnuts.”
Amaya, “That’s how Nishiko stays so slim, she eats air, I think she diets on helium.”
Zi, “Calories fear Nikko, they cringe at the thought of sticking to her.”
Nikko, “We will be in the office until three, then home.”
Janah, “Daphne thought up a project for me, I’ll be on it the bulk of the day, we’ll have tea when the girls get home.”
Amaya, “I am creating literary wonders until lunch. Chloe, Daphne, we need to leave around two.”
“I’ll be ready, lunch light for anyone around at noon. Nothing formal, I’ll have sandwiches prepared and on the table, just take what you want.”
Our day set, everyone goes off to their projects, I collect the few plates and cups, fire up the dishwasher, Chloe and I spend the morning cleaning, then prepare egg and chicken salad sandwiches, chips and pickles for lunch.
Yay, our girls are back, their excitement is surpassed only by their nonchalance.
Dasha, “Dahfoney, you will wash my hair and we will haf tea.”
Chloe giggles, I’m on it, Daria and Eloise go to Chloe’s room for a steam clean, soon enough we are around the low table with a selection of green and oolong, sweets and Ascension Harmonics on the sound system. It’s a quiet tea, no conversation, more a meditation, stillness.
We are lost for the longer side of an hour, then Janah says, “I have our people approaching Darrel and the others. We will know more in a day or so.”
Chloe, “I hope they have the sense to see the advantage, Some of those boys need special care, they are fighting just when their brains are in a delicate state.”
Janah, “Don’t have a read yet. These people appear to have some feel for the kids, but I doubt they grasp the longer term consequences of young brains getting bashed around. I don’t want to take a heavy handed approach unless it’s called for. When I get feedback from our people, we’ll decide on a next step.”

Chapter Fifty Two

The girls returned on Saturday, it’s Sunday, a hang out day. At breakfast Dasha announces she want to go to the Palm for a bleu chizz burgher, sounds like a good idea, I call for a one o’clock reservation.
At the Palm, we study the merits of  burgers, filets, creamed spinach, half and half, half fries, half onion rings. Most of us order burgers, Nikko and Amaya have filets, we decide lunch is dinner and cut loose.
Sparkling wine and Chianti by the glass, great burgers, lovely filet, it’s a premiere steakhouse after all, then seven layer chocolate cake, New York cheesecake with raspberry sauce, mixed berries with crème anglaise, a custard sauce of crème, vanilla and sugar.
While we enjoy dessert, Amaya says, “I have an announcement, we shall all attend the premiere of Chloe’s first starring role. It will be next Friday, opening as Childers’s films do, in New York and Los Angeles. We shall make scads of money, I am already planning the sequel.”
“I never thought to ask, is it titled after the book?”
Amaya, “Yes, it is one of my requirements. Ultra-Violet, a play on Chloe’s eyes and the phrase in Kubrick’s adaption of A Clockwork Orange, the Anthony Burgess novel. Malcolm McDowell’s character, Alex, is fond of what he calls ultra-violence. A sociopathic leader with a nasty gang.”
“Ah, of course, I’ve seen that movie, a classic.”
Dasha, “We will watch orange clock moovey tonight, Dahfoney.”
Amaya, “Cool, our family of sociopaths watching Burgess’ family of sociopaths.”
Dasha ignores her, finishes off the cake, “Gud food here, we will go now Dahfoney.”
With that, we decide to take the scenic route and walk home to digest. Down 2nd Avenue to 10th Street, cross from east to west and our apartment. It’s a little over three and a half miles, nothing in Manhattan.
We deconstruct, chill until tea, just tea, music and stillness. A good Sunday float day.
At seven, we round up again, Amaya does cocktail duty, Dasha and I make finger sandwiches, pate, caviar and smoked salmon. While we nibble, Malcolm McDowell does unspeakable things to respectable families around the film’s version of futuristic London.
Dasha’s verdict, “TV ees more violence than moovey, ees anyway gud, Alex ees creepy.”
“It was a 1962 short novel, then the movie was made in 1971. For the time, it was quite violent, almost groundbreaking. There were no video games back then, where characters slaughter hundreds of whatevers, soldiers, gangsters, zombies, while trying to get to the next level. Back then, the original James Bond flicks were considered violent.”
Dasha thinks this over, she says something to Daria in Russian, then, “Daria says Alex ees like Shadow, but not to control mind, just psychopath. There ees psychopath, then Shadow, worse, da?”
“It’s mostly true, not that black and white. Psychopaths are evil, they use lies, coercion and sometimes violence. Shadows take the mind, use violence when they think it necessary. At the extreme, both use violence for their own pleasure. I would say a Shadow is a psychopath with a kicker, the ability to make people obey. Aside from that, they both fall under the broad category of asshole.”
Dasha says something to Daria, then, “Sister and I are sociopath girls, da?”
Janah, “Yes, but not exactly. There are Shadows with limited ability, there are psychopaths high on the scale, others much lower, the same is true for sociopaths. The current measuring stick, the DSM V, doesn’t separate sociopath from psychopath, both are listed as antisocial personality disorder. My take is it’s a convenience of the system. Therapists don’t get paid unless there’s an official label to stick on the patient. You and Daria are not social, that’s different from antisocial. You are quite content to leave others alone as long as they leave you alone. You don’t want anything from them. You don’t do violence, excepting our work. To the extent we do what we do, the therapy community would call us all sociopaths. They would ignore our free schools, the ranches, lives restored, innocents freed, and focus on our handling of targets. We don’t subscribe to their labels. We do what we decide needs doing, not what social convention approves of.”
Dasha and Daria have another short discussion, “We understand, we do not mind eef we are sociopath, ees curious only. We feex bad men and any person who try to hurt fahmahley. We haf no opeenyon of gud or bad.”
Janah, “Do what is necessary, do not do the unnecessary. Each situation is different, use your best guess and don’t worry about subtleties.”
Dasha asks Daria, “What ees subtleties?”
Daria, “Tonkostyam.”   (prn. tone-kyost-yam)
Dasha, “Da, we do not care about tonkostyam.”
Amaya, “And now, my dear sort of sociopaths, it is time for you and us to rest. Take the mouse to your room and strip. Vesnushki and Daphne will be up to tuck you in. We are all tired, and have many projects tomorrow.”
It’s plain to see Amaya is right, our girls aren’t children anymore, but sagging shoulders and tired eyes are abundant. Chloe and I follow though, when we have the girls snuggled in Chloe goes off to Amaya, me to Janah.
Janah, “Get them settled?”
“They were nodding while Chloe and I pulled the comforters up. They’re almost seventeen in years, but still like us to come around at bedtime. We’re all tired girls, it was a restful Sunday, but the tension of our young ones on the road has caught up to us. Curl into me, let’s recharge.”
And we do, oblivious until Monday morning rolls around.

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