Only Jerome was wavering.
“I dunno,” he said. “Y’know, that’s where all our children were conceived. Where they learned to walk. There are two hamsters buried in the back yard.”
“Jerome,” Andrew said, “we’ve all got memories like those. But the plain fact is, the memories are all we have left. It’s like when a person dies: the spirit lives on but the body is no good any more.”
“Well,” Jerome said, “we might be able to buy it back someday.”
“ ‘Might.’ ‘Someday.’” David shook his head. “That’s the same sinking boat we’re all in, Jerry.” He held up a placating hand. “Now, you don’t have to go in on this with us. No one says you have to. But it sure would be impressive. It sure would send a message to those heartless rich bastards.”
Clay spoke up. “And whether we do yours or not, we sure need your help to get all the others done right. None of us has your scientific know-how.”
Jerome stared at his hands, pondering. The others let him for a while until Stacey finally asked, “So are you in, Jerry?”
Jerome looked to his right, where his wife, Karen, sat. “What do you think?”
She took his hand in hers and he winced at the pain in her voice. “Do you suppose the next owner of our house will leave the marks on the wall that chart the kids’ growth? Do you suppose the next owner will leave the mural I painted on the wall of Katie’s room? We’ve lost our home, Jerry. We’re never going in there again. We might as well hurt the bankers like they’ve hurt us.” She put her head on his shoulder and fought back tears.
“Remember the old saying,” Clay said, “that if you can destroy something, then you’re the one who controls it. This is your last chance to control what happens to your home.”
Jerome sighed deeply. “All right,” he said quietly. “I’m in.” He used his free hand to reach into his shirt pocket. He tossed a flash drive toward David. “There’s the plans for the bomb. It’s not tough to make; just use common-sense safety precautions. Our former homes will be infernos long before the fire trucks can arrive.”
“We’ll get a couple of our homes, then some in other parts of the city,” Andrew said. “Keep moving around so there’s no pattern. There’s plenty of houses those rich sons of bitches have taken over.” He looked down and began talking mostly to himself. “Kick us out of our own homes, treat us like criminals. It’s not our fault. We had good jobs until the economy tanked.” He looked up again and surveyed his former neighbors, now scattered across the city. “Let’s see the banks and mortgage companies try to resell homes that have been charred to the ground.”