Danny nodded. " 'Round here they're just called the Letts."
Finch cocked his head, as if this were news to him. "For whatever bullshit sentimental reason, they seem to be Bishop's favorite group. He's friends with the guy who runs it, a Hebe name of Louis Fraina with documented ties to Mother Rus sia. We're hearing rumors Fraina might be the lead plotter in all this."
"All what?" Danny said. "I was kept in the dark on a need-to-know basis."
Finch looked over at Thomas Coughlin. Danny's father raised his hands, palms up, and shrugged.
"They may be planning something big in the spring."
"A national May Day revolt."
Danny laughed. No one else did.
His father nodded. "A bomb campaign followed by armed revolt, coordinated among all the radical cells in all the major cities across the country."
"To what end? It's not like they can storm Washington."
"That's what Nicholas said about St. Petersburg," Finch said.
Danny removed his greatcoat and the blue coat underneath, stood there in his T-shirt as he unbuckled his gun belt and hung it on the closet door. He poured himself a glass of rye and didn't offer anyone else the bottle. "So this Bishop fella, he's connected to the Letts?"
A nod from Finch. "Sometimes. The Letts have no ostensible connection to the Galleanists, but they're all radicals, so Bishop has connections to both of them."
"Bolsheviks on one hand," Danny said, "anarchists on the other." "And Nathan Bishop linking them together."
"So I infiltrate the Letts and see if they're making bombs for May Day or--what--if they're connected to Galleani in some way?"
"If not him, then his followers," Hoover said.
"And if they're not?" Danny said.
"Get their mailing list," Finch said.
Danny poured himself another drink. "What?"
"Their mailing list. It's the key to breaking any group of subversives. When I raided the offi ces of Cronaca last year? They'd just fi nished printing their latest issue. I got the names of every single person they were sending it to. Based on that list, the Justice Department managed to deport sixty of them."
"Uh-huh. I heard Justice once deported a guy for calling Wilson a cocksucker."
"We tried," Hoover said. "Unfortunately the judge decided jail was more fitting."
Even Danny's father was incredulous. "For calling a man a cock-sucker?"
"For calling the president of the United States a cocksucker," Finch said.
"And if I see Tessa or Federico?" Danny caught a whiff of her scent suddenly.
"Shoot 'em in the face," Finch said. "Then say, 'Halt.'"
"I'm missing a link here," Danny said.
His father said, "No, you're fi ne."
"The Bolsheviks are talkers. The Galleanists are terrorists. One doesn't necessarily equal the other."
"Nor do they necessarily cancel one another out," Hoover said. "Be that as it may, they--"
"Hey." Finch's tone was sharp, his eyes too clear. "You say 'Bolsheviks' or 'Communists' like there are nuances here the rest of us are too thick to grasp. They're not different--they're fucking terrorists. Every last one. This country's heading for one hell of a showdown, Officer. We think that showdown will happen on May Day. That you won't be able to swing a cat without hitting some revolutionary with a bomb or a rifle. And if that occurs, this country will tear itself apart. Picture it--the bodies of innocent Americans strewn all over our streets. Thousands of kids, mothers, workingmen. And for what? Because these cocksuckers hate the life we have. Because it's better than theirs. Because we're better than them. We're richer, we're freer, we've got a lot of the best real estate in a world that's mostly desert or undrinkable ocean. But we don't hoard that, we share. Do they thank us for sharing? For welcoming them to our shores? No. They try to kill us. They try to tear down our government like we're the fucking Romanovs. Well, we're not the fucking Romanovs. We're the only successful democracy in the world. And we're done apologizing for it."
Danny waited a moment and then clapped.
Hoover looked ready to bite him again, but Finch took a bow.
Danny saw Salutation Street again, the wall transformed into a white drizzle, the floor vanishing underfoot. He'd never talked about it to anyone, not even Nora. How did you put words to helplessness? You didn't. You couldn't. Falling from the fi rst floor straight through to the basement, he'd felt seized with the utter certainty that he'd never eat again, walk a street again, feel a pillow against his cheek.
You own me, he'd thought. To God. To chance. To his own helplessness.
"I'll do it," Danny said.
"Patriotism or pride?" Finch arched one eyebrow.
"One of the two," Danny said.
After Finch and Hoover left, Danny and his father sat at the small table and took turns with the bottle of rye. "Since when did you let federal cops shoehorn in on BPD business?"
"Since the war changed this country." His father gave him a distant smile and took a sip from the bottle. "If we'd come out on the losing side, maybe we'd still be the same, but we didn't. Volstead"--he held up the bottle and sighed--"will change it further. Shrink it, I think. The future is federal, not local."
"Mine?" His father chuckled. "I'm an old man from an even older time. No, not my future."
His father nodded. "And yours. If you can keep your penis at home where it belongs." He corked the bottle and slid it across to Danny. "How long will it take you to grow a beard fit for a Red?"
Danny pointed at the thick stubble already sprouting from his cheeks. "Guess."
His father rose from the table. "Give your uniform a good brushing before putting it away. You won't be needing it for a while."
"You saying I'm a detective?"
"What do you think?"
"Say it, Dad."
His father stared across the room at him, his face blank. Eventually, he nodded. "You do this, you'll have your gold shield."
"I hear you showed up at a BSC meeting the other night. After you told me you wouldn't rat on your own."
"So you're a union man now?"
Danny shook his head. "Just like their coffee."
His father gave him another long look, his hand on the doorknob. "You might want to strip that bed of yours, give those sheets a good washing." He gave Danny a firm nod and left.