Chapter Thirty Seven III

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
Ambrose Bierce

“Precious angel, you come to see old lady? I am forever in your debt. You save my life. Now you have to look out for old grandmother forever, ancient Chinese custom. Please sit and let Shaolin bring tea. Who is this, more girls to follow you around? Is this one more useful than lazy Shaolin? Where is tea Shaolin! Master J can’t wait all day while you gossip with cooks, bring tea! Who is this one, Japanese, where is plaid skirt and knee socks? She is a child, why not in school? What are you called, Japanese?”
“Nikko, honorable grandmother,” she bows slowly.
Mrs. Fong, “Sit here with us. Perhaps good for nothing Shaolin will eventually bring tea before old lady goes to her ancestors. You have good manners, parents bring you up well. Not all full of foolishness like many Japanese girls. Giggle like idiot every two seconds.”
She turns to Janah, “White Angel, young girl is lovely, so delicate, she has family in city?”
I materialize with the tea, pour out three cups and leave the pot on the table. Mrs. Fong ignores me. I smile and return to the kitchen to make lunch.
“Nikko is Nishiko Murakami, daughter of Soichi and Ari Murakami.”
“I’ve heard of this family, many shops in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Honorable merchants, work very hard like Mrs. Fong. Not like lazy American families full of French fries and Disney foolishness. You work in shops, Nishiko?”
“Yes ma’am. Since I was little.”
“Now you are with White Angel. No, you are with Shaolin I think.”
“Mrs. Fong is most perceptive.”
“Shaolin doesn’t need protection, White Angel needs protection. You are student of Shaolin, I think. Both guardians of Master J.”
Nikko nods.
“Then it is right for you to sit with her. Shaolin can take care of herself. Besides, she’s making lunch for us, being useful for once. You are most fortunate to be a student of the priest. Her skill is unique. She is master of many arts, the kitchen, calligraphy and gung fu, in which she is untouchable. Never tell her I said that. She will get full of herself and have attitude.”
Mrs. Fong stops and peers carefully at Nikko, “You must be unusually talented. Shaolin doesn’t need aggravation of some stupid girl. Full time job watching Janah. You heard what she did here?”
“Yes, grandmother.”
“She and White Angel are legend in Chinatown. They can go anywhere, are welcomed and respected. You have been accorded a great honor.”
Janah, “As we are honored to have her with us.”
Mrs. Fong sips her tea, openly studying Nikko. Coy and discreet is not Mrs. Fong’s way. She doesn’t care what people think, she doesn’t care even more if she makes them uncomfortable with her scrutiny. Nikko holds her gaze. Mrs. Fong smiles slightly, she found someone else who doesn’t care what people think, never intimidated.
I arrive with the dishes, delicate egg drop soup for a first course. Then perfectly, if I do say so myself, stir fried vegetables, crisp enough to crunch, flavored with hints of garlic, ginger and a whisper of sesame oil. Crushed red pepper adds a snappy zest. Oolong to balance the intensity of the food. Grilled shrimp as a side dish for Nikko and Mrs. Fong, plump and seared until just done. Simple, filling enough for lunch. When they finish, I clear the table.
Mrs. Fong, “Shaolin, you have honored yourself and the temple with your actions. I am grateful for your skills. You and White Angel are my grandchildren. It is your job to take care of aging grandmother. I won’t make a fuss over you for fulfilling your obligations. I should at least acknowledge your help, that is proper.”
I bow silently.
Mrs. Fong, “What are you waiting for priest? More compliments? There are none here. Take Janah where she can help old ones, children. Try not to get in her way, you and Japanese. Go, and don’t wait three weeks next time. I may not live that long and you will be sorry.”
She hugs Janah and shoos us out the door, “Go away, Mrs. Fong can’t sit all day, go work.”
We park Janah in her room at the rear of Mei’s shop. A line formed as soon as Janah was spotted at Fong’s.
Nikko, “Old lady is strange, she sees how I am with you and knows my family too, how?”
“That’s Mrs. Fong, there’s almost nothing she doesn’t have a finger in. Information flows through that restaurant faster than Reuter’s. I’m not sure she sleeps either. She dotes on Janah. Of course, we do too. What can I say? It’s a perfect life from my point of view.”
Nikko, “Hai.”
I review some of the more common herbs and their uses with Nikko. Janah visits with the near dozen who came to see her. Sometimes there are two or three in the little room. They all know each other and chatter away in Chinese while Janah attends to their complaints and ailments. Three more show up, then another two. I’m beginning to think it’s going to be one of those nights, then it slows, the last leaves at seven thirty. Janah gathers herbs to take home. We make our way back to the Village and the apartment.
Janah, “Hit the showers, we’re doing exactly nothing the rest of the evening. Lacy’s coming by with food. No cooking, no cleaning, no nothing. I explained that we’d had a mentally rough trip. She offered to get the dinner, I jumped at it.”
“In the tub, bubbles. Nikko and I will do a job on you then shower.”
“You’re sure you feel like it?”
“It’s relaxing to bathe you, we can zone out, stay with the job at hand. You know the drill, just sit in the tub and take it like a woman.”
Janah giggles, a welcome sound in short supply the last week. An hour later we’re sprawled out on the mat, massaging feet and hands. The apartment scented with lavender. Lacy appears with the food, I help her unload and arrange. We sit around the table talking of nothing, eating. Lacy tells a story about some RSG nonsense and a club where she’d gone to hear the Pamela Andersons.
The Pamela Andersons are a three girl band formed at Chapmans. They do their own stuff, no covers. They were, and are, blunt, salacious and a raucous rockin’ good time.
“They had the crowd on its feet. They were funny and they rocked the place, even put in a plug for Chapmans. I believe Zipper said, ‘The coolest fucking school on the planet.’ Nothing I can use in a brochure, maybe there’s some word of mouth value.”
Janah, “You don’t have brochures, all your students come from word of mouth. I think the Chapmans social network by now surpasses Mrs. Epsteins.”
“That’s wide and deep. Still, I have no trouble filling classes. The parents I’ve used as sounding boards over the years occasionally advise expansion. That’s not happening. Bigger would mean more layers of administration, less hands on by me. I don’t want to get distanced from the students. Your dad understands precisely, so do the others really. They’d love to be able to refer more students. They also don’t want the school to lose its unique flavor.”
“So everyone talks it over, just to air it out, then quietly forgets about it?”
“Yes. They can go to their friends and say they raised the question, it didn’t seem like the right time. One day I guess people will grasp there’s not going to be a right time. It’s worked as an excuse so far.”
Lacy hugs around, off to her place, all the way down the hall. Janah and Nikko go off to bed, I take a couple of minutes to tidy up the kitchen. I sense Janah taking advantage of Nishiko, I take advantage of an FX series, something about Americans who are KGB spies planted in the US, set in the 1980s. They clearly didn’t accomplish much, the US is still here, the Soviet Union isn’t.

Chapter Thirty Eight III

Ch’an is really the method of no method.
There is no bridge provided, because there is no river.
If you let go of your attaching mind,
at that very moment, you are enlightened.
Ch’an Master Sheng-yen

Susan is having tea with Ari Murakami, chatting lightly about living in New York, their work, family. They are gently learning the essential details about each other that make for strong personal bonds. Susan is not Japanese, yet that isn’t quite accurate. A great, great grandmother had been Japanese. That ancestor married a French soldier of fortune, ultimately emigrating to the United States prior to the turn of the 20th century. The physical characteristics, dark hair, beautiful mysterious eyes, silky burnished skin, were only diluted, not extinguished. Susan’s matriarchal line had a gene or two that retained the lovely oriental features, and it became hers and mine.
While the two moms begin to get inside one another, the three of us attentively listen to Hanshi Murakami. This first session is on the creation of a katana. The ancient method of hammering, folding, hammering and folding layers of soft and hard steel into the flexible, nearly unbreakable weapon that is its destiny. The katana is the traditional samurai sword. A curved blade of something over two feet, not including the tsuka, the handle.
He names of the various parts. How the curvature varies, how to display it properly, how to sheathe and unsheathe it. Janah Googled ‘The Japanese Sword Guide’ to familiarize herself. She asked his permission to watch, to improve her Japanese. It pleases him that we request the lessons be given in the language.
First, terminology, the basics of  handling the sword, then our dress preparation and the two hours are up. Next week we begin stances and basic moves, with bamboo swords. He offers no displays of his ability, other than what’s needed for instruction. He doesn’t need to impress me, my experienced eyes see his oneness with the weapon. It is his arm, longer and sharper.
We bow to Hanshi, gather up Sis and hug Mrs. Murakami, who invites Susan back on the next training day. Today they talked lightly, as is the Japanese way. It would take weeks, lots of tea, gentle, seemingly meaningless conversation. People who say they know someone after a conversation or two are fools. Susan and Ari are not fools.
Back at the condo, I review the lesson with Chris and Kara. Explaining and demonstrating is the perfect way to practice. Chris is enthralled. She asks a million questions. Her martial art nature is fascinated by all the branches. It would surely find its way to her novels.
Kara, “How do you practice with those things? It seems dangerous.”
“Very carefully, K-mom. We won’t even begin to handle the katana for a long time. We only practice against each other with bokken, wooden swords. Everything is decided by Hanshi, he’ll know when.”
Chris, “He’s given you a sword, an actual Samurai sword?”
“Not yet. Nikko will inherit his personal katana, it’s unimaginably beautiful, all his swords are. If I learn, he has offered his own instructor’s sword, an incredible honor. I could barely breathe when he showed it to me. We won’t touch them until he decides and we won’t possess them other than at his home for a long while beyond that. He’ll formally present them to us to keep when he’s satisfied. We have so much to do, Nikko is training in hapkido, and we have endless sessions of our mixed fighting. This is it for me. Although if I ever master the sword, perhaps aikido, years from now. I’m following dad’s rule about learning new tricks to avoid becoming an old dog.”
Chris, “You’re inheriting a traditional samurai sword? The real deal? My God girl, I’d be honored just to see one with that long history.”
“Come with Sis next week, you can see it for yourself. They are just incredible. It feels like a living thing in your hands. Hanshi will be delighted that another master takes interest.”
“An interest! Geez girl, this is…I can’t even say what it is. I’m so there.”
“Next Friday, Sis will set it up with Nikko’s mom.”
“Goody. You know there’ll be a katana in the next book. I can’t wait to start researching, this is too cool.”
“C-mom is so easy to please, don’t you just love her?”
Susan, “More every day, and more than that.”
Nikko, “There, finished.”
She braided Susan’s hair into a ponytail that hangs between her shoulder blades, a red ribbon dangles neatly from the end.
Susan goes to the bedroom to check it out, “Dang, this is neat, you might have cornered yourself into a new job.”
“I’m happy you like it, Daphne and I find it useful to train, long hair out of the way.”
Susan, “What do you think Chris?”
“Elegant, your hair pulled against your head like that. I’m liking it, a lot, it gives you a subtle mystery, those eyes. Lucky the children are here, I’d be very physical.”
Susan, “Let the tension build, later I’ll help you release it.”
She asks me, “Janah have any preferences about her girls’ hair?”
“She likes to play with it loose, so at night we deconstruct. We wash it every day, has to be taken apart anyway. We braid once in a while, mostly just ponytail.”
Janah, “I like being surrounded by that thick soft hair on either side, I stick my face in it and breathe, now it doesn’t matter which way I turn.”
Kara, “You sleep in the middle?”
“They’re my blankets.”
Kara, “What a brat! You two spoil her so rotten.”
“She has the most wonderful ways of showing her appreciation, don’t you find Nikko?”
Nikko’s deadpan expression never changes, “Good to be Janah’s hoes.”
The women explode. When they can finally talk, Chris, wiping the laughing tears from her eyes says, “Geez girl, you nearly gave me a heart attack, you’re getting just like Daphne.”
“That’s not a bad thing. Nikko’s sense of humor is very similar to de Seelk’s. I hear Daphne laughing with her all the time. If I’m tuned in, I catch the comments or get them on the replay.”
Susan, “I’m still fascinated by how you guys do that, any closer to an explanation?”
Janah, “We still aren’t sure, that’s not even right, we still have no clue. We have to pay attention now to keep ourselves individualized, not to be merged all the time. It helps to practice, we don’t want to slip into oneness at the wrong moment, out in the world. We think our family likes us as two. When we’re alone, we aren’t two.”
Susan, “What happens with Nikko there?”
Janah looks at Nikko, nods that it is okay to talk about. She might enjoy telling the moms herself.
“Often at the apartment, almost always at night in bed for a time, there’s only one girl.”
Susan, “What do you mean?”
“There’s only one, and there are two. There’s no separation. The one is both. There is white hair, then black hair, no taller shorter, eyes more like Daphne, smile more like Janah. It’s ghostly, not a ghost. More like an optical illusion where there is one thing, then it shifts to something else. I see it one way as mistress, another way as Master J, or both. It doesn’t matter how they appear, it is the one.”
Susan, “Can you speak to them, her?”
“No need. There’s nothing to say, everything is understood.”
Chris dabs her eyes, “Could there be anything more beautiful?”
“Well, there’s Janah, dancing in the bliss.”
“Mistress is biased about Master J, understandably. As she is part of what I am blessed to see, she can’t see herself as the one. I can answer your question quite simply. No. There is nothing more beautiful, it’s not possible.”
Tears fall. The moms have not seen it directly, Nikko’s succinct description made it perfectly clear. Our intimate mystery closes any distance between one and another. We are one another. Only Nikko has seen the physical manifestation of the two as one. Perhaps Master Tan, he had not spoken of it. Clearly the Shaolin understood, felt the presence of both when they saw either. Nikko has moved beyond that. She is a daily eyewitness to the mystery. It binds her to us in a way incomprehensible to one who cannot see.

Chapter Thirty Nine III

If you can describe it, it isn’t God
If you can say what it wants, it isn’t God
If there’s a God, it doesn’t need you for anything
Janah Svensson

We are watching the Sunday morning news programs, cold in New York, we had to bundle up just to cover the two blocks to the condo. When the wind whips through buildings in Manhattan the frigid intensity goes exponential. The family is going to stay inside, no visiting galleries or lunches out.
The TV program had been another of the endless discussions about evolution versus God did it. So called intelligent design. The usual speculation, pontification, hints of hostility, with occasional gusts of outright anger on both sides. Any intelligence must have been theoretical, none is evident in the arguments.
“This is one of those never go away things. An endless improvable speculation.”
Susan, “Don’t Shaolin wonder about the creation of the world, where we came from, all that kind of thing?”
“No. We wonder more about why people can’t get out of their own way. How to demonstrate the futility of my country, my land, my traditions, my, my, my. Janah says people spend time arguing about unsolvable issues in order to distract themselves from the hard work of issues right in front of them.”
Chris, “What does she mean?”
“Suppose we could prove that life arose from one or the other point of view. Prove it absolutely. How does that help feed the poor, educate the illiterate, comfort the afflicted or even fix the flipping potholes ?”
“It doesn’t.”
“Exactly. All these arguments do is create animosity in a world already full of anger. Much of it about who has the very bestest God. It’s so juvenile. If there’s a God that shot the starting pistol, and he, she or it wants us to know they’re responsible, he, she, it ought to make things a bit more plain. You know, write it in the sky or something. If we crawled out of the muck, then one might say we’ve made fairly decent progress in a short piece of time by universe standards.”
Kara, “I thought we had too many poor, illiterate and otherwise afflicted, not to mention potholes.”
“We do. What I mean is, if we evolved in the traditional sense, from bacteria to humans, in universe time, we’ve come pretty far in a relatively short period. We mostly don’t kill each other, we make a lot of sick people well, we have, if not great, at least semi-functional educational and health care systems, we even occasionally fix the roads, after a lot of argument about which construction firm made the fattest political contribution. Eventually asphalt finds its way into the hole.”
“So if there is a God who created everything, an intelligent designer, then the design could have been a lot more intelligent. If there is no designer, then on our own, we’ve done some things very well, some less well. While there are many things left to improve, overall, we’ve done ok.”
 “Good summary. We haven’t killed off ourselves yet. Considering some of the opportunities we’ve had, it’s at least commendable, almost remarkable, that we’re still here. Of course, if the level of ignorance being exhibited today continues, individual, group and environmental violence, who knows if we’ll make it? On one side we have all these isms and anger. The other side requires giant technological leaps we hope can bail us out of our environmental messiness. It might happen. We get new data so quickly now. Some research foundation concluded that in two weeks of the New York Times, there is more information than most people alive in the 18th century came across in their lifetimes.”
Susan, “Not to mention the shoe selections.”
Lacy, “Why can’t we have it both ways?”
Chris, “Meaning?”
“Suppose there is a God, a universal intellect, a prime mover so to speak. What kind of universe would that entity build?”
Janah, “Precisely the question.”
Susan, “Precisely what question?”
Lacy, “Why would a supreme being, an omnipotent intelligence, build a universe where it knew exactly how everything would turn out? Strikes me as pointless.”
“Like playing Scrabble knowing beforehand who’s going to spell what word and how the game would end.”
Lacy, “Yes. No matter how long it took, if the God, the intelligence, knew what to outcome would be, why set it in motion?”
Kara, “Maybe that’s why the religious have devils and sin. They figured out if they didn’t, then the whole thing really is pointless.”
Susan, “The religious never give a good explanation why an all powerful God lets this devil run around creating havoc. I can’t even go there, it’s so silly. Answers like original sin and all that Adam and Eve nonsense are childish. Why would a God need humans to worship he/she/it? Does God have self-esteem issues?”
Lacy, “Well, the religious have other issues, insecurities, which drive their beliefs. I like wondering how such an incredible universe came into being. Like there was this very tiny spot that mysteriously exploded and billions of years later, here we are? Suppose, just for imagination’s sake, we decide that a powerful intelligence, God if you will, was hanging out and decided to create something so intricate even God couldn’t predict what would ultimately happen? Something with infinite possibility, that once in place, God couldn’t change or affect. Now there’s a project worthy of God. Eternal creation, chaos, destruction and re-creation, for eternity.”
Janah, “And such a God would hardly require worship, or even recognition. The creation goes on forever, out of God’s hands. Planned such that everything that could happen, would happen, in an entirely random way.”
Lacy, “Yes, intelligence can learn how things happen and we may even be able to predict the likelihood of this event over that one. We cannot predict any particular outcome of even the simplest things with absolute certainty.”
Chris, “It’s a totally cool idea. Isn’t it scary for most people?”
Chris has hit the nail on the head, which Janah acknowledges, “You nailed it C-mom. Everything about reality is too scary for most people. The mind, thought and uncertainty don’t do well together. They have to live together, they don’t like it much. The mind tries to pretend uncertainty doesn’t really exist. We like to think that if we can understand the process, we can predict the outcome. The universe constantly proves us wrong. If humans are still around fifty thousand years from now, check with me again, maybe we’ll have improved our guesses a bit. Or perhaps we’ll have evolved to understand that uncertainty is what it’s all about, to embrace it.”
Susan, “So that’s where all the need for religious certainty comes from. Belief in a God who loves us and wants us live forever?”
Janah, “Common belief is born out of the self, which is created by the mind’s desire for continuity and certainty. The belief that if I do this, I will get that. Or out of fear, if I annoy God, I’m going to suffer. Then religion arises, offering a method to deal with uncertainty and the promise of eternal life. After which, so called leaders, invariably men, figure out there’s a way to control people by using reward and punishment. It’s bizarre. The thing people originally try to avoid, fear, is turned into the very weapon used to control them. Then men discovered it was a convenient way to control women, by religious authority. Even going so far as to arrange marriages, as if daughters were chattel to be bargained away for personal benefit of the father. It starts with uncertainty trying to become certainty.”
“I’m certain that if I don’t get in the kitchen, we’ll all starve. While you continue to solve the mysteries of creation, I’m going to solve the mystery of chili and cornbread. We’re going southwestern, traditional and vegetarian. The chili’s been chaotically mingling flavors all night, Brownian motion and all. While it’s heating, I’m doing cornbread, plain and jalapeno cheese. Brownies, ice cream and hot fudge for dessert. Beer, tequila and nachos will set the appropriate south of the border atmosphere.”
A few minutes later the moms and Lacy each have a cold bottle of Asahi, limes available for flavoring, and a bottle of Gran Patron Platinum for the fearless. The super dry Japanese beer goes exceptionally well with spicy Tex-Mex. My vows preclude intoxicants, Nikko doesn’t care for hard liquor or beer, she does like wine, occasionally sake. Janah sticks to the odd glass of champagne, sometimes wine.  Chris and Kara sip a shot of Patron along with the Asahi. The tequila is too good to be chugged in one shot, that’s for college kids, get drunk just to get drunk. Kara, Lacy and Chris had been there, done that. Sis never had the time. Chris long ago assured her she hadn’t missed anything but stupidity.
Fifteen minutes later there’s a pile of nachos with creamy cheese, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and habaneras on the side. The conversation shifts away from the big picture to more earthy matters like who the best looking announcer is on the upcoming football game. Janah votes for a girl with great legs in a car commercial.

Chapter Forty III

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
Lily Tomlin

Later that night, back at our place, I’m preparing a light late dinner. It’s approaching eight thirty. The southwestern extravaganza was over at two, after lazing at the condo with the family, we’d returned home around four. Janah took us through a yoga session, Nikko and I swatted at each other with bamboo swords afterwards. 
Janah, “By the way, there’s a job.”
“Perhaps you can bring Nikko up to date while I start these salads,” I head for the kitchen, “Do you want Bleu Cheese or Vinaigrette?”
Janah, “Bleu please.”
Nikko, “Yes, the same. What's the work?”
“There is a group of men and women who have one of those end of the world compounds, in Montana, where else? Guns, stockpiled food, the survival thing. ‘The government has sold us out to the UN’ types. Normally, we would have nothing to do with these folks. If they derive meaning from their paranoid little world, it’s fine with the Society. This crew of crackpots, however, is using their return to freedom blather to cover for their real interest, having a bunch of wives, some of whom are twelve to fifteen years old. There are even younger girls that appear to be wives in waiting. Their method is particularly perverse. They have legal wives who are of age, they have adopted a couple of the children in the States. Mostly they use adoption services in foreign countries. They’ve gotten what we believe to be a dozen kids that way.”
Nikko, “Sounds greedy enough.”
“Yes, any kid used for sex is one too many. There are four grown men in this stockade, one who runs the show and a couple of sons around sixteen. So, besides the grown women, there are a couple of extra “wives” each. One or two for the sons, all but three of the women are under eighteen, most well under. The adopted kids are between five and twelve. Apparently they want to keep a pipeline of young females for their future amusement.”
“This sounds like a version of the Mayor’s story.”
Janah, “It doesn’t appear they’re into the sadism of the last four psychopaths. There’s the common thread of men trying to control women, exploit them for power or money. Last time out one of the creeps was a woman. Unusual, but not unheard of.”
Nikko, “If the real wives are going along, they are part of the abuse.”
“Exactly. We have no evidence of their involvement sexually. It’s unclear what’s in it for the grown women. Spread out the work maybe, ability to control the girls. It sure isn’t love for the adopted kids.”
“Is humanity deteriorating to the least common denominator?”
Janah, “One view is that society is eroding fairly rapidly all around the world. I’m not so sure. I think it’s just more people, more problems, and higher awareness because of the speed of communications. A hundred years ago the percentage of bad behavior per capita could easily have been far worse. Today we’re more aware of it. That, however, is not our purview, our picture is not that big. So, where was I?”
Nikko, “Four men, two teenage boys, fifteen or so girls and women. Dogs or other access problems?”
“Two dogs, not nice ones either. These guys have been low key, keep to themselves and stay out of the public eye. The surrounding community hardly knows they exist. They present themselves as a kind of back to basics religion. They have no ties to any recognized group. Cut away the survivalist crap and it’s four adult men who think they’ve found a way to have lots of young girls to fulfill their fantasies. They’re willing to live in a constricted universe in order to do it.”
“Don’t need a lot of modern conveniences if you have a bunch of women to cook, wash and clean. And television or the internet opens up a different world to the kids.”
Janah stops for a second, “True,” she says to Nikko, “You didn’t ask, just so you understand, if the evidence wasn’t there for the Society to verify, we wouldn’t be involved. It would never have gotten to our level. They have sufficient proof of sexual contact between the men and the adolescents, that is between ages thirteen and seventeen, and two as young as eleven or twelve. Best we can tell, they don’t abuse the younger ones.”
“How did they get the details?”
“Surveillance by highly sensitive listening devices and satellite video. They have indications from bedroom noises, most of it was picked up by the conversation among the men, when they were alone talking. They made no secret of calling the girls their wives. There were clear references to sexual activity. We didn’t need photos to get the idea. Simple inexpensive listening devices can pick up conversation at a hundred yards. The stuff the Society used was ten times more sensitive, even Daphne would be impressed.”
Nikko, “Why not take them to court?”
“It would get tossed out in a second. Just on the grounds that we got the evidence illegally. They might be inconvenienced, have to endure child protection people coming around, eventually they’d walk. When we’re done, they’ll have to quit the game or move out of the country. We don’t get the impression these jokers have enough money or enough world sense to set up in Bangkok or Peru. Adopting foreign children, if you’re married and appear to be stable, is different from going to a foreign country permanently.”
Nikko, “I can make them incapable of sex, solve everybody’s problem.”
“If they don’t get it on the first refocusing, that’s what happens on the second. We haven’t had to do a second, but we’re new at this. For now, we get the girls out, scare the bejesus out of the pervs and come home.”
Nikko nods, Janah smiles and thinks, ‘If Daphne said they were going to Pakistan to refocus Osama, Nikko would nod and pack.’
“Good thing there’s three of us, sounds like a handful.”
Janah, “Which is why the Society put it in front of us rather than another Social Skills team. They don’t ever put two teams together for security purposes.”
We finish dinner, relax on the mat. Janah lays on my tummy, Nikko on Janah’s. I wind up getting a big blanket, there are always pillows on the mat, we sleep on the floor.

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