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Lured Into A Secretive Squad

I had moved with my parents out of the old downtown area some years before. In my twenties I was established as a copywriter for a big, American advertising agency. I had my own place and a new car. Although my apartment was only about a mile from the old, working-class neighbourhood of my youth, it was a different world. I had grown into a world of taste and excess.

I scanned the news online as I always do in the morning. I surfed from story to story until I came upon a name I remembered well from my past, about twenty years back. Mister Hahn was a barber in the old neighbourhood. He had given me my first haircut and many more after that. He lived with his wife and daughter in an apartment over his barber shop.

I read that Mister Hahn’s shop had been invaded by a trio of skinhead neo-Nazis. They had raped his daughter, Molly, beat Mister Hahn and his wife mercilessly and painted a swastika on the storefront window of the shop. There was a photograph of the shop with the swastika spray painted on the glass and a yearbook photo of Molly – a very beautiful young woman.

I left the office at eleven that morning and drove down to the old Dennison Avenue neighbourhood to see how Mister Hahn and his family were doing. Molly didn’t want to come out of her bedroom. I don’t blame her. She’d been through Hell at the brutal hands of white supremacists. Two police detectives were interviewing Mr. Hahn. I stood back and watched until they were done. Mrs. Hahn had been taken to a hospital.

A voice at my back surprised me. I turned around to face a lovely young woman, short and slight. A cascade of smooth, black hair framed her tawny face and a pair of almond shaped eyes of electric blue looked into mine with serious intent.

“Do you know Mr. Hahn?” she said.

“Yes,” I said. “He gave me my first haircut when I was a kid. I grew up here. Why?”

“How do you feel about what happened here, and to the daughter?” she said.

“I’m angry and frustrated. Molly is a lovely young woman. She must have suffered terribly.” I said.

“Are you Jewish,” she said.

“I was born Jewish,” I said.

“What’s your name?”
“Gordon Goldstein. What’s your name?” I said.

“Aileen Schachter. Do you wish you could do something about this situation?”

“If I could…,” I said.

“You can,” she said, “if you really want to.”

“How?” I said.

“Have you ever heard of N3,” she said.

“No. What’s N3?”

“Do you know Newton’s third law?”

“Isn’t it something like every action causes an equal opposite reaction, or something like that?” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “To be more exact, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our group is dedicated to the protection of and retribution for Jewish victims.”

“And you’re called N3 for that reason,” I said.

“Correct,” she said. “We’re going after the skinheads who did this to the Hahns. Do you want to be part of it?”

“I don’t know. I feel like I’m being recruited,” I said.

“It’s up to you and your own conscience,” she said. “We’ll be meeting tonight at seven in the upstairs meeting room at the downtown YM-YWHA building. I’d like to see you there.”

I knew she was just trying to lure me into her band of vigilantes with her good looks and a hint that it might be worth my while. On the other hand, I had nothing to lose, I would like to get revenge for the victims and maybe I should attend the meeting.

“We’re not a secret group,” she said. “We’re a secretive group.” She went over to where the cop was interviewing Mr. Hahn, got permission to go to Molly and went up to the apartment over the shop with its swastika sprayed onto the storefront window. I returned to my office and contemplated joining N3.

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