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Spy, Thriller, Africa, Terrorist, Espionage
Lies, Murder, Sex, Corruption, Betrayal

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!



an unfortunate place to die

The youth sat in the rear of the outdoor café, the AK-47 that was cradled across his lap hidden from view under the folds of the tablecloth. A half-drunk cup of Arab coffee sat on the table in front of him. At his feet was the canvas bag he had used to smuggle the weapon into the café together with an ammunition belt holding three additional clips of thirty rounds each. He sat there nervously fingering the instrument of carnage in his lap, running his hand along its smooth, well-oiled stock. His leaders in Somalia had taught him the AK-47 was the second most holy object in his life after the Quran. The first time they had inspected it and found it to be dirty, they had beaten him with it. Now, he cleaned it meticulously three times a day, a ritual he performed with the same devotion as answering the call to prayer. The leaders had also trained him well in its use, teaching him how to fire it with deadly accuracy whether stationary or on the run, changing clips in seconds without taking his eye off the target.   

Now, he was again back in Kenya where he had been raised, the oldest of four children of a single mother who had worked as a prostitute in the slum to feed her family. The slum had been a nightmarish place infested with rats and lacking in even the most fundamental sanitation. It was also inhabited by criminals, and he knew his mother frequently went unpaid for her services and often was lucky if she was not beaten. At fourteen, he had managed to escape the slum, and, like hundreds of other disillusioned Muslim youths, had made the journey to Somalia to become a soldier of Allah. And now he had returned as a sharply-honed instrument of Allah’s will.

The café was about two-thirds full, most of the patrons sitting in small groups sipping their morning coffee, smoking, and chatting in Arabic. A large awning overhead provided protection from the equatorial sun. The traffic in the street was busy as usual on a weekday morning, the air laden with dust and motor vehicle exhaust. He sat there expressionless, his eyes focused on the one-story, flat-roofed police station on the opposite side of the street. Its main entrance opened directly onto the street, and to the left of the entrance two police cars were parked diagonally facing the building. He had been watching the police station for the past thirty minutes, observing the blue-shirted policemen, interspersed with a few civilians, going in and out. He had sat in this same place many times before in preparing for this moment, and his practiced eye saw nothing out of the ordinary. He glanced furtively around. On the other side of the café, a comrade sat alone facing in the same direction, his AK-47 similarly hidden from view.

The area in front of the police station had been staked out for weeks, and the distances carefully measured. They had then practiced the operation endlessly in Somalia in a mock-up setting laid out in the exact dimensions of the actual scene, several times with live ammunition. The plan was simple. One member of the team was to drive a truck with a canvas top over the bed of the truck down the street, stopping directly in front of the police station. Two other members of the team armed with a rocket propelled grenade launcher would be positioned under the canvas top with a back-up rocket launcher in case the first round missed or there was a malfunction of some kind. When the truck was in position, they would pull the canvas top back and fire an RPG through the front window of the police station.  As soon as the round had gone into the building and detonated, all three of them would immediately abandon the truck and flee on foot in different directions that had been carefully mapped out. Simultaneously, the two members of the team in the café would advance across the street with their AK-47’s and create the killing field, an interlocking field of fire across the front entrance to the police station through which anyone attempting to flee the building would be gunned down. Then, once the exodus had stopped, they would then enter the building to mop up anyone still left inside before also fleeing on foot over previously mapped out routes. The whole operation was timed to take no longer than four minutes from the time the canvas top on the truck was pulled back.  

He sat there staring at the police station trying to visualize the operation in his mind one final time. Then, he saw the other two members of the team, neither of them older than thirteen, coming down the street on a motor scooter. They rode slowly past the cafe casually scanning both sides of the street to see if anything seemed out of place. As they cruised slowly past, the passenger on the back of the scooter glanced briefly at his two comrades sitting in the café, who were to signal if they had detected anything amiss. Both of them remained motionless, and the motor scooter continued past, eventually disappearing into the traffic. When the two youths on the motor scooter had reached a certain point several blocks down the street, they were to signal to the leader waiting for them there whether all was in readiness. The leader would then give the final order.

The youth tensed, his eyes now focused in the direction in which the motor scooter had disappeared. He gave a silent prayer to Allah that he would be brave and acquit himself well, and, in the event he died, he would be received in Paradise. He also prayed that if the operation failed, he would not incur the wrath of the leaders and be beaten, and that his mother and his siblings would not suffer at their hands for his inadequacies, which they had often threatened. Then, he saw the motor scooter coming back down the street. When the scooter was abreast of the café, if the passenger in the back raised his right arm over his head, the operation was on; and if he raised his left arm, it meant the operation was called off, and the two team members in the café were then to return their weapons to their canvas bags and slip away.

He watched the motor scooter as it came back down the street, his body tense and his palms moist with sweat. As the scooter passed the café, the passenger’s right arm shot into the air. The youth took a deep breath and grasped the AK-47 tightly in his hands.         






The Fantasy Girl - SAMPLE



Chapter 1

The nightmares are the worst part. I can be in a deep sleep or the middle of some other dream, and then all of a sudden I’m back in the fucking Humvee again. It’s so clear, it’s almost like I’m wide awake, that same narrow street with the bombed-out buildings on both sides hemming us in. We were going fast with everybody quiet and on edge, the stink of our sweat mixing with the smell of the Humvee’s exhaust, all of us wondering what the fuck we were heading into. Some guys were probably praying to themselves. I can feel the dryness in my throat again, and I’m craving a drink. I know what’s coming, but I can’t move; it’s like I’m frozen.

Then we go over the bomb again. The noise comes close to shattering my eardrums, but the concussion from the blast is worse, rattling my brain around in my head as once again I’m airborne, landing hard on my back in the street with the pain going through my body like a powerful electric shock. I can hear somebody screaming and feel the heat from the flames. I’m struggling to remain conscious as I force my body to crawl toward the sound of the screaming. And then there’s nothing, and I’m awake, soaked with sweat and shaking, my body sprawled across the bed. I lie there without moving, staring at the ceiling and waiting for my heart rate to go down. Instinctively, I feel around to make sure I’m all in one piece even though I know it was only a dream. I lie there like that in the darkness, sometimes for an hour or more, not moving, waiting for the images to recede. Finally, when I can get up the strength, I drag myself into the bathroom and throw up, as if my body, like my head, is trying to purge it all away. Then, I go into the kitchen and make myself a pot of coffee, and sit there and wait for dawn to come.

Chapter 2

Becoming a cop hadn’t exactly been a lifelong dream of mine. I grew up on the Cape, the oldest of four kids, and, like in many families, as the oldest I had it the toughest. I could never please my father, who worked two jobs to put food on the table for us and always seemed angry at the world in general, and me in particular. My father had grown up the hard way with a father who’d beat him, and I guess that was the only way he knew how to discipline a kid, especially a boy, which quickly led me to stay away from him as much as I could. I started getting into fights in middle school, and fighting at school got me in trouble, which got me into even more trouble at home. My mother tried to keep bad reports from the school away from my father, but that didn’t always work and on those occasions there’d be hell to pay. I finally dropped out of high school the summer after my junior year to join the Army and get away. My father’s parting words to me had been maybe the Army could make something out of me because he couldn’t. My mother had simply cried.

Even though I’d dropped out of high school, getting into the Army hadn’t been all that hard back then with Iraq and Afghanistan both pretty hot and not exactly a lot of guys rushing down to their local recruiter to sign up. In its infinite wisdom, the Army decided to make me a military policeman, which turned out to have its advantages when they sent me to Iraq, where I spent a lot of my time guarding the Green Zone and running VIPs back and forth to the airport, which was pretty much a tit job compared to what a lot of guys wound up doing over there.

On the whole, though, Iraq turned out to be even worse than I’d expected, especially outside the wire. It was hot, filthy, boring, and really fucking dangerous. You never knew who the enemy was, and every day you lived in constant fear of being shot at or blown to pieces by an IED. They strapped bombs onto women and even onto little kids, they packed them in cars, and sometimes they just left them on the side of the road under some object that might draw your attention, like a copy of Playboy or something. There were bomb blasts constantly, and practically every day you rode by a place where there were dead and maimed bodies from a recent detonation littered all over the street. They even planted bombs under the people who’d been blown up, so cleaning up after a bomb blast was tricky and took a long time with the dead just left lying out in the open. The smell of burnt flesh was awful, and it was something you never got used to.

And it was a pretty lonely existence. The women who served in the U. S. military over there were mostly either ugly or gay, or both, although that didn’t stop about a zillion horny guys from hitting on them just about every time they turned around no matter how ugly they were. Anytime any of those women had ever wanted to get laid, she could’ve easily had a couple battalions of hard dicks to choose from. And the Arab women, who were mostly covered up from head to toe anyway, didn’t hold much appeal, and nobody’d wanted some Arab woman’s crazy brothers coming after him with Kalashnikovs because he’d fucked their sister. So, you pretty much had to take care of your needs yourself. Of course, it wasn’t like I’d ever been a great ladies’ man or anything back in high school; back then, I think a lot of the girls had probably stayed away from me intentionally.

But like I said, as unpleasant as it was my time in Iraq, for the most part, wasn’t as bad as a lot of people’s. I had pretty regular hours, slept on a cot and shat in a real toilet, the food was decent, alcohol was plentiful, and we had the internet and movies. Sometimes we even had live entertainment from an American or Australian band that was over there because they weren’t good enough to play anywhere else. To help while away the time, I picked up body building thinking it would help me keep in shape. After a while, though, I started to really get into it and wound up going to the gym in the Green Zone five or six days a week in my off time. I began reading a lot about body building online and learned how to work on specific muscle groups to refine my overall look. I couldn’t see myself entering body building competitions when I got back to the States in a skimpy thong with oil all over me, and most of the guys who did that kind of thing were more bulked up than I wanted to be anyway. But I liked the look and the feeling it gave me, and I thought it might improve my chances with the ladies once I got back to the real world.

I managed to get my high school GED while I was over there and made it to sergeant before my tour ended. And I was fortunate to get out of there alive and not come home in a body bag, although I came pretty fucking close. We were playing backup, which was the worst part of our unit’s job. Whenever somebody in our division got their subpubic appendage caught in the ringer somewhere, there was always another unit assigned to be on call to come pull them out. But every once in a while, that other unit wasn’t enough and they needed more backup, and our unit rotated with a bunch of others to serve that function. Fortunately, we weren’t on call very often, but when we were there was always the possibility we could wind up in some pretty scary shit. If the call came in, which could be anytime day or night, we had to scramble and get there by the most direct route, usually riding into some shit show with little or no idea what the fuck was going on. And that was what we were doing the night we got hit. Somebody had set up an ambush and must’ve figured out in advance the way help would most likely come. So, heading to the rescue in one of the older version Humvees that had no armor plating in the floor, we wound up driving right over a bomb they’d planted in the middle of the street.

There were five of us crammed into the Humvee, and I was up top manning the M60. The explosion lifted the thing up like a toy and deposited it in the middle of the street on its side, where it burst into flames. The two guys in the front didn’t have a chance and were dead on impact. I got thrown out onto the street, fracturing my collarbone, cracking my hip and a couple vertebrae in my back, and giving me a pretty severe concussion. I remember lying there in the street in some pretty serious pain, but that’s all the memory I have of what happened until I woke up sometime later on a table in a med unit with bright lights glaring down at me from the ceiling and two male nurses standing over me. I had burns on my hands and a number of other parts of my body, my head felt like somebody’d used it as a soccer ball, and I was in a lot of pain just about everywhere. But because my injuries were non-life threatening and treatable in country, I didn’t get an early trip home, although when I was able to go back to my unit after about three weeks of bed rest, they put me on light duty for the rest of my tour. When I finally got my ass out of there and made it home, I was eligible to re-enlist and they tried to entice me into staying in, but I knew reenlistment meant going back to Iraq, maybe multiple times, and that didn’t seem very attractive. I’d been lucky the first go-around, and I wasn’t interested in having my number come up a second time. I wound up spending my last three months in the Army at Fort Bragg in North Carolina painting rocks until I was discharged.

When I got out, it took me a while to get readjusted, coming back to a world that on one hand was familiar but at the same time wasn’t. All the stuff I’d thought about for months on end, the sights, the smells, the food, the women, the freedom, it was all there, but it was like Iraq was on some far away planet people only knew vaguely about and didn’t want to let intrude into their otherwise comfortable lives. Young soldiers were getting the shit blown out of them every day, not to mention all the Iraqi civilians, and nobody seemed to really understand what it was like or cared. They just wanted to live their own lives and not think about it. It made me angry, like I wanted to shake them all and tell them to wake the fuck up. Here I was, where I’d dreamed for months of being again, but somehow it was all wrong and I didn’t fit in, and I began to feel isolated and alone. And then the nightmares started.

After a bunch of those, and the feeling I was starting to fall into a deep hole, I decided I’d better try to get some help and see if there was something they could do for me. I didn’t know where to go so I figured I’d try the VA, which was at least free, and I figured they’d be the ones who’d probably know the most about returning vets. What a fucking joke although I have to admit people warned me. I went there a total of four times and each time it was the same: you spent literally hours sitting around waiting to be seen, first by a receptionist just to check you in and go over your paperwork, and then by somebody you explained your problem to, and then by somebody in the psych unit who told you your reactions were common among returning vets, and they’d probably recede over time. Finally, on the fourth visit they must’ve figured I wasn’t going to go away so they assigned me to a therapist who was supposed to evaluate me.

She was Asian, probably in her mid-twenties, petite and extremely attractive with dark skin that stood out against her white lab coat, beautiful long black hair and a soft smile. She wasn’t Chinese or Japanese, but maybe Thai or Malaysian. When we shook hands, her hand felt tiny in mine and exquisitely feminine. With a large three ring binder in one arm, she led me into a small office that was mostly empty except for a gray metal desk set and a single hard plastic chair. She started out by asking me why I’d come, and I told her about the nightmares. She then proceeded to ask me questions for about forty minutes, about my childhood, my parents, school, why I joined the Army, and about Iraq, taking non-stop notes in the binder as I talked. I watched her as we were going back and forth, thinking about how beautiful she was and what it would be like to be in bed with her. It wasn’t until we’d been talking for about thirty minutes that I was finally able to tell her about the Humvee getting blown up and all that shit. She nodded blankly, scribbling away as I described it all, obviously unable to really relate to anything I was saying.

Finally, at the end she told me nightmares were fairly common among returning combat vets, and as time went on I might develop some mild depression and perhaps at times feelings of isolation. She also told me to watch out for periods of anxiety and possibly moments of extreme anger. Like everybody else I’d seen, she said hopefully these symptoms would all recede over time and there wasn’t a lot they could do to speed up the process, that I needed to heal like I’d suffered an actual physical wound. She also warned me to stay away from drugs and alcohol. I asked her about medication, and she told me there wasn’t anything they could give me that was really going to help. She told me if I wanted to pursue a disability claim, I’d probably need a supporting opinion from somebody from the outside, and if it met the requirements they’d classify my symptoms as a disorder and I’d be eligible to receive disability payments although the process would probably take a while, maybe as long as a year. Yeah, like I really wanted to hire somebody to prove I was mentally disabled so I could get thirty bucks a month from the government and probably never get a job other than maybe working a pizza oven.

The whole thing was pretty superficial, like she was talking about somebody else’s problems and not mine, and I really had trouble relating to this woman other than having horny thoughts about her. Hopefully she couldn’t read my mind although I’m sure I probably wasn’t the first horny interviewee just back from Iraq or Afghanistan she’d had to deal with. In the end, I thanked her and we shook hands again, and I walked out and didn’t go back.

As far as the rest of my life was concerned, after I was discharged my choices were either to go back to school or get a job. School didn’t hold much appeal, even with the government paying for it, and I had second thoughts about trying to get a job as a cop, but that was the only training I had. I finally decided I’d try to find something with some small town police department, figuring working as a city cop, which would’ve paid more, might’ve been too much for me considering my mental state at that particular point in time. I managed to get an entry level job on the police force of a small town in New Hampshire called Lakeville, where they didn’t exactly have a lot of qualified candidates beating down the door. But I quickly found I couldn’t stand New Hampshire, or Cow Hampshire as some people called it, and those miserable long, depressing winters.

Needing to get out of New Hampshire, the Cape had seemed like an obvious choice since I’d grown up there, and by a stroke of luck I managed to hook up with the police department in the town of New Salisbury. Of course, being a small town cop on the Cape wasn’t a whole lot different from being a small town cop in New Hampshire; it was boring and the pay sucked, but at least I knew the Cape and the winters there weren’t as bad, and I was able to support myself on what New Salisbury was paying me living in a tiny one bedroom cottage on the property of an elderly couple who were tickled to have a cop as a tenant to protect them from God knows what.

When I moved back to the Cape and took the job with New Salisbury, I figured at some point I should try to reconnect with my parents, who were now fairly close by. I hadn’t had any contact with them since the day I’d walked out the door, which had obviously been my choice, but a lot of time had gone by, and I knew if I was ever going to have a relationship with them it was going to be up to me to take the first step, and the last thing I wanted was to run into my mother somewhere by accident. It took me about a month after I started work in New Salisbury to finally get up the courage to call them. There was no way I was going to just show up on their doorstep; I was afraid that might’ve been too much for all of us to handle. So, one evening after I knew they were probably finished with dinner, I dialed their number. It rang a couple of times, and then my father picked up. “Hi, Dad,” I said, “it’s Brian.”

There was a long silence on the other end of the line, and then finally he said, “We don’t know anybody by that name,” and hung up. And that had been pretty much it.