Think this can’t happen?

Abu Hakim removed a photo from the glove compartment. He looked at the photo; it was himself, astride a bicycle, the Washington Monument rising in the background. Abu Hakim’s hair was jelled and he smiled widely and genuinely in that photo. That was two years ago, when he had come to America to study at Cambridge.

The smell of car exhaust crept into Hakim’s car, as it sat idling in the Seattle drizzle, the gray sky matching Hakim’s mood. It had come to this. In Hamminayah, his mother worked and sent him money to help with his classes. The part-time job at the gas station could not pay for all of his expenses and he was so busy with his studies. He remembered the exuberance he had felt for the American way. But then there was the American invasion of Iraq. His country had been torn apart by unbelievers, and to make matters worse, his brother, Raham, had been kidnapped by Shia death-squads, his body found in a ditch near lake Habbinayah. The Shia heretics had used a power-drill as a torture device, drilling holes in Raham’s legs, making special targets of his kneecaps. His eyes were gone too. And all because of America. Because of oil. That is what the Imam told him and Hakim felt in his bones to be true. When he had received news of his brother’s death, he flew home to grieve with his family. His city lay in ruins. Most of the buildings around his neighborhood were dusty shells, amongst which insurgent snipers crept, day and night, killing everything that moved across the empty streets. Even women.

Islam, which had never before been that important in the mind of a younger Abu Hakim, now became a fire in his soul. Allah had lit that fire and it would burn until this city of Seattle was but ashes. Almost, so close had Abu come to living an American dream. He shoved the transmission into drive and motored in between two cars stopped in the heavy Seattle traffic, thinking about someone that had almost kept him from the fate he was about to face. A year ago, he met Sarah in class. He became like a child around her, her blonde hair reaching to her waste down her back. That blonde hair fascinated him. An angel must have hair like that… But then she had left him. After his brother had died, he became withdrawn and brooding. He had no time to grieve! She didn’t let him grieve… She wanted him to be happy all of the time, but that was not possible. Now someone else could feel and smell Sarah’s hair. Abu’s sinuses tingled and he pounded the steering wheel with his palm. He whimpered, cried a bit at the thought, then noticed that someone in a car next to him was staring. What a fool he was being! Letting the world’s pleasures come between he and his operation.

The Space Needle sought to pierce the sky. Traffic became ever more tangled, but Abu had much patience. Finally, he pulled to a spot under the Needle, leaving the engine to sputter in the damp air. The Al-Qaeda operatives had given him everything he needed. His consort, whom he’d met with months earlier had explained to him how the Uranium would be smuggled into the US: Hidden amongst stacks of wall clocks with Tritium arms, to fool the customs officers and their radiation detectors. All of it shipped into port in huge crates. Russia had provided the know-how. Jealous Russia… The trunk of the car was packed with a carefully constructed sphere of explosives. At the sphere’s core, the small amount of Uranium, holding all of the magical and invisible power, waiting for destructive release. Abu reached under the front seat and pulled to his lap a plunger with wires leading to the car’s engine, the bomb’s power source. He rocked to and fro. Alla Akbar, Alla Akbar, Alla Akbar…

Robert Jenkins jogged, painfully along the sidewalk, dodging puddles, dodging people. He’d forced himself to run after two months of inactivity. His wife, Jessica, had wanted some potatoes for tonight’s dinner, but the traffic was too horrendous to drive. So he ran. With potatoes. It was always interesting, all of the things you noticed while jogging that you never noticed at other times. He saw the leg of a child’s stuffed animal, laying along the curb, in the road, the water rushing over it. He could hear people talking too, their voices carrying despite the rain, bouncing off the high walls of businesses.

His back hurt. His right knee hurt. But what he’d seen in the mirror hurt more, so it was time to start exercising again. No more excuses. Yes he’d been busy at work, but… He wanted to get back home now though. Take a shower and watch a movie. Kiss his little girl good-night. Ahead, he could see the Space Needle. From where he was , he needed to take a right, then just a another mile or so.

Shadows. Then a blooming and bright lotus. So bright Robert became blind and fell. Could he have seen, could his scorched retinas have registered reality, Robert would have seen that lotus form a mushroom cloud, the Needle crumple like a straw, its customers and benefactors smashed on the street. The power of a broken atom swept out and away, carrying a vicious wind, which shattered windows and as he wind retracted, pulled people and everything else out into the street, only to burn in a hellstorm.

Shiva walked the Earth.

Robert’s mouth tasted metallic. Blind and confused he moved to where he remembered the sidewalk to be. The whole city had become silent. But no. A rushing wave of destruction. First only a little warmth, for a second, then the heat of a small star. The water in his body evaporated and mingled with the ether of a now-clearing sky… Alla Akbar Think this can’t happen? http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1274179818?bctid=2132859001


2 Responses to “Think this can’t happen?”

  1. November 16, 2008 at 6:27 am

    For some reason it looks like WordPress is sticking spaces after the periods in the URL – when it does the replacement it’ll end up 404ing the user. Not sure if this will help but figured I’d try pasting again http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1274179818?bctid=2132859001 That story and post had a Clancy like quality to it – frieghtening itself as entertainment, with that progressing feeling of discomfort as you realize how possible it could be. It’s some heavy and unpleasant stuff to ponder, but pretending that something like that couldn’t ever happen is in large part why 9/11 went down like it did.

  2. November 16, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks, Bill. WordPress has been doing some weird things lately. Plus computers hate me…

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