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“Are you too big a coward to tell me the truth, or are you a pathological liar?”

“I . . .” he stammered, “I’m neither. I’m just really, really scared right now. This isn’t fair.”

“There is no fair in espionage, you asshole. This field shit isn’t as fun as it looks, is it? A little easier hanging behind the secure perimeter of Langley where you’re the only sheriff in town, isn’t it?”

“It’s not how it looks. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

Rapp wanted to reach out and choke him. Tell him to hand over the tapes that he’d made from Lewis’s office, but he needed to keep that ace buried in the hole for a while. Maybe forever. His voice dripping with sarcasm, Rapp said, “Really? I’m sure a good-looking billionaire like Sidorov is hanging out with you because you’re a real hit with the ladies, right?”

Johnson didn’t answer.

“Tell me . . . did you bother to inform Langley about your new friend?” Rapp knew he hadn’t, but asked anyway.

“I’m not in bed with him.”

“Answer my question.”

“I told certain people . . . but nothing had been put in writing. I was waiting to see how serious things got.”

Rapp glanced at Coleman and then without bothering to make eye contact with Johnson, he unleashed another vicious backhanded slap. Johnson yelped like a kid. Rapp slid his 9mm Glock from his holster and began screwing the black cylindrical silencer onto the end. “Here’s how this works. Left foot . . . right foot . . . left knee . . . right knee. Most guys pass out when you get to the first knee. You . . . I don’t think you’ll make it past the second foot.” Rapp pointed the gun at Johnson’s left foot and took aim.

“Wait!” Johnson screamed. “I was working for him, all right? But it was all background stuff. Nothing that had anything to do with National Security.”

“Again, a half truth,” Rapp said. “You were working for him, but don’t try to make it sound like you were doing anything remotely legal.”

“I never said legal.”

Rapp looked down. Took aim and fired the weapon. A small hole appeared on the outside of Jonson’s left foot. A second later, blood began oozing out of the puncture and then Johnson started screaming. One of Coleman’s guys had a rag ready to go and he shoved it into Johnson’s mouth.

Rapp checked his watch. All four men stood there watching Johnson writhe in pain. Fifteen seconds later Rapp pulled the rag out of Johnson’s mouth. Before he could ask another question Johnson began blabbing. Rapp listened to a good minute of it. Johnson had been doing nothing even remotely legal for Sidorov, and if the power players in Washington found out what he’d been up to they would gladly pay Rapp every penny in their war chests to have the problem dealt with in a very final way.

Rapp took the rag and shoved it back into Johnson’s mouth. He walked to the rear of the van and Coleman followed him. “Take him to the Quarry, put him in a cell, and give him a notepad and a pen. Have him write it all down. Chapter and verse. Everything he’s done for Sidorov.”

“Can I dangle a carrot?”

“Hell, yeah. Dangle it all you want. Hit him over the head with it. I don’t care.”

Coleman looked doubtful. “Can I dangle it in good conscience?”

“Hell, yeah. This little snake has some talent. If I can trust him, I’d rather have him working for us than freelancing.”

“Shooting him in the foot may not have been the best way of recruiting him.”

Rapp shook off the concern. “I shot him through the outside of the foot. No permanent damage. In two weeks he’ll be completely healed.”

“Still . . .” Coleman gave him a disapproving frown. “I still might kill him, so don’t go all Naval Academy on me.”

“A lot of people saw you tonight. If he vanishes, there will be questions.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time, and once people find out what he was doing, they might not look so hard to find him.”

“Should I call Doc?”

“No.” Rapp shook his head. “I want to keep him out of it for now. Have Johnson write down everything he can think of. Every single time he’s strayed off the reservation.”

“You think there’s more than just this Sidorov thing and the job he was doing for Adams?”

“Who knows, but this could be a gold mine. Tell the boys to give him a little Vicodin. Just enough to take the edge off, but keep him awake. I’ll be back out there a bit before seven and I want him edgy.” Rapp leaned back and looked around the corner of the van. Johnson was balancing on one foot and crying. Rapp shook his head in disgust and said, “And if he’s dumb enough to hold back on the little dirty op he was running with Adams . . . well, then you’re going to have a hard time talking me out of killing him.”

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