Harmless

She was a mild-mannered Muslim. She came to my small store two or three times a week, wearing her burka. She was short and slender and her eyes smiled. Once, when no one else was around, she removed the burka as she praised the cleanliness of my store in a soft and meek tone of voice. She spoke so softly it would have been hard to hear, except that it was very clear English. She exposed serene, untroubled features, verging on beauty.

Yesterday, after closing, I strolled around the neighborhood. I saw her walking up ahead of me in her timid little steps a few houses away. She walked into a corner house, whether her own or that of a friend, I did not know. I turned at the corner and was passing that house’s backyard fence when I heard this low-volume, yet intensely fierce yelling: “Kill him! Kill the infidel! Kill the American! Kill the white man! Kill the Christian! Kill the Jew!” I stopped, in shock. Then peering through a crack in the wooden fence I saw two little boys, aged about 4 and 5, smiting with wooden swords a 3-foot high imitation statue of David, and another of George Washington. “Kill, kill, kill! Hate, hate, hate!” shouted the pleasant, smiling-eyed, meek little mother of evil.

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