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54

Dear Charlie,

Its not the way you think. Read this fax. You can be wrong too, you know.

These are strange times. I wept real tears that day in your apartment because I didnt know anything except I was supposed to save Clares life by delivering phony dental records to you. I still dont know how you guessed I was part of the scam, you really are one smart cop. But I knew next to nothing. All they told me was that she had to get a new identity real fast and those records were the only way to do it. I wept because she was the one caused suffering to three others, and because even if she lived, I knew that Id lost her.

Take a moment to hear me out, Charlie. All that stuff you say about China raping its people-you think it doesnt apply to Americans too? Our system rapes; it just uses different concepts to do it. I spent my life patrolling the streets of this city, and it took everything I had, my husband, my daughter and even my good character. When I met you, she was all I had in the world. Nothing to be proud of, God knows, but she called me Mom. What would you have done for your flesh and blood? I think you would have held the world ransom if youd had to.

I dont know. Bad as she was, she was more flake than sadist. Heroin, you know, makes monsters.

There I go, blowing the punch line and leaving out the details. I got it all written down. Mario and some Chinese triad boss told meeverything. Soon as I got home I typed out all I could remember, which is most of it. It goes like this:

That stuff he told you about Clare convincing the mob to develop the relationship with China was mostly BS. Ever since the Sicilians multiplied their operation by opening up the Russia market, the New York boys have been looking for a way into China. Its a policy that comes from high up. They got lucky when the 14K asked them to look for best-quality uranium to supply to Xian. Apparently Xians been trading with the 14K for a while, mostly supplying heroin. The Mob and the 14K sent a party over with the uranium and some stuff they thought might interest him-free gifts, samples, treasures to the Great Khan, whatever

Chan read on quickly to the last lines:

Why did we let these subhuman mutants get so powerful?

God help me, I love you. Whether you forgive me or not, Im coming over on the first flight I can get tourist class. Take extraspecial care of yourself. Theres more to this. I got a feeling theres something really bad-I mean, even worse-about to go down. Whatever you think of me, dont die.

Moira

P.S. How did you know that I was conning you with those records? I could have been an innocent courier.

Chan crushed the fax into a ball, threw it in the waste bin in his kitchen. Then he took it out again, reread it. On a sheet of A4 paper he wrote: Chinese intuition. He slipped the page into the fax machine; then, softening again, he took it out and added: You were too good a cop not to know. It took only seconds to transmit to America.



| The Last Six Million Seconds | c