DRAWING DEAD

Reads: 257  | Likes: 7  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of endless retaliation.
After his Afghan family is blown to pieces in a U.S. bombing campaign, Farooq and his Uncle Vetro set out for revenge. Jihad.

Submitted: April 27, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 26, 2019

A A A

A A A


DRAWING DEAD

 

Chapter 1

Farooq is 18 years old, finishing secondary school, and is in the process of choosing which college he will attend in the fall. His sister, Lily, is just one year younger than him and soon their parents will be empty nesters.

“Who will help you with the farm when I’m gone father?” Farooq would ask.

“Not to worry,” his father would assure him. “Between your Uncle Vetro and your sister, we’ll manage.”

His Uncle Vetro, lived with the family. He was often traveling on business but was plenty strong enough to help

“Where is Uncle V?” Farooq asked. “Is he going to Mosque tonight?”

“He’s around here somewhere.” Saul said. “I don’t know why you don’t come to Saturday Mosque with your mother and me.”

“I like the Friday night sermons better.” Farooq replied.

Father just smiled to himself, knowing the real reason.

 

After dinner Farooq helped Lily and his mother with the dishes, then he got ready to leave.

“I’ll have him home by midnight my brother” Vetro said to Saul

Saul replied “He’s a grown man. He knows when to be home.” Which to Farooq was oxymoronic like. Nevertheless he was always home by midnight.

The prayer service seemed to take longer than usual. When everybody left, Farooq, Uncle V and six or seven elders walked towards the back room.

They had a sweet poker room set-up in the back with felt tables, built in cup holders, stacks of clay chips and a few new decks of cards. The Elders were wonderful spiritual leaders but lousy Texas Hold-Em poker players. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for Farooq.

“You have been very lucky the last few weeks Farooq,” one of the Elders said, making reference to the fact the youngster won a lot.

“It’s not luck,” Uncle V interrupted the Elder. “My nephew has a great mind and the ability to determine every probable outcome as if he were a computer. It’s not luck. All the great colleges in the world want him to attend their school Oxford, Harvard, Kabul, just to name a few,” Vetro said with the pride of his nephew being heard with every word.

The Elders mumbled to themselves while setting up the night’s game. They were a competitive bunch.

“Then surely a great mind like yours will stay here, in Afghanistan, to help its people.”  Elder 1 said. Elder 1 was the leader.

Farooq paused. He hadn’t thought so far ahead. When receiving his acceptance into some of the most world-renowned high education facilities, Farooq had but one thing on his mind: 'Who will help Father with the farm if I am to leave?'

“I’m not sure where I’m going yet, but I will always be dedicated to my people.” Farooq said. “But for now, I’d really just enjoy some poker.”

The game proceeded and it was getting late. An Elder, sitting opposite of Farooq and smoking a cigarette, made a small raise from  early position.

Farooq, on the big blind, looked down and turned the corner of his cards for his eyes to quickly peek. Ace-King suited spades. He raised. The Elder, without hesitation called.

Uncle V, who was dealing this hand, burns one and turns over 5-3-2 rainbow (different suits).

Farooq thought to himself, surely the Elder didn’t have any of that in his hand.

“All-in,” Farooq said.

Expecting an easy fold from his competitor, Farooq was shocked to see the immediate, snap call. The Elder turned over his cards and revealed to the table he had a set of deuces.( 3 two's)

“I guess your computer mind didn’t calculate that,” the Elder said.

Uncle V proceeded to the turn.  A harmless Jack of hearts. The river came the four of clubs. Farooq caught the straight.

“Never underestimate luck,” Farooq said with a smile.

The digital clock above the doorway in the back room said 11:40 in bright red . Farooq, wishing he could play all night, cashed out nearly 100,000 Afghan Afghani which is equivalent to $1,200 USD.

“What do you do with all your winnings, young Farooq,”  Elder 2 asked.

Stuffing the Afghani in his pockets, Farooq told the players,“Where I go to school and the places I will visit, the cost of living will be expensive.” Farooq said. “I cannot and will not ask my family for help. That is their money and they need it as well.

“Vetro,” Elder 1 said. “We need to speak in regards to tomorrow’s travel."

“Yes, of course,” Uncle Vetro responded.

“Farooq, can you make it home yourself? The neighborhood is as safe as it’s ever been, thanks to our Elders.

“Of course, Uncle V. I’m a grown man,” Farooq proudly embellished.

“Yes, a grown man with a curfew” one of the Elders joked and they all laughed.

“Good night.” Farooq said with a smile as he left the back room.

Off he went and shortly he would arrive home to his quiet room where his family was peacefully  asleep. Counting his earnings from the night, Farooq quickly leaned his head towards the pillow and was entering the dreams of tomorrow.

The alarm went off and Farooq jumped out of bed. It was Saturday. Saturday meant farming. Farming meant Farooq would be busy for the day, working on the family poppy field. The main export for the family was to the local municipality. That was the family’s life. That was Farooq’s life for the eighteen years he’s existed.

Poppy to this family was corn to Nebraskans, Soy beans to Illinoisans and oil to Texans. The Elders who Farooq played poker with were titans of the industry.

After the long Saturday was a relaxing Sunday for the family. Sunday started with prayer, followed by food and football. This Sunday was the quarter final match between their home country of Afghanistan against rival Syria. Exciting days.

Uncle V would join the family most weekends, but today he was travelling. Farooq remembered walking home alone Friday night and wondering what the Elders had to speak with him about. Farooq was sure his uncle was headed to Canada where he was a legal resident.

“Dual Citizenship,” Uncle V would like to brag. But he spoke more of the U.S. than he did of Canada in conversation.

After the football match, laying on the couch at home on family day, Farooq lost himself in hypothetical poker situations. One hand after the next, crossing through his head at lightening speed. Finally, he had to think about something else.

“Father,” Farooq quietly said. “Would… would you be disappointed in me if I chose to attend school in America?”

His Father laughed, sat up in his recliner and turned the nightly news to a lower volume. He turned to his son and put one hand on his shoulder.

“Farooq, Oh Farooq, nothing you could do would ever disappoint me. You are a father’s dream!

 

The President of the United States was informed that his country was under attack, while he read books to a third grade class in Washington D.C. The children didn’t know what was going on while the President sat there for another ten minutes. But back in the grown up world, three airplanes crashed into America causing incredible carnage. Nearly three thousand died quickly and thousands more over time. Vengeance was the first thing on the minds of Americans after the tears stopped. President Bash declared “the people responsible for this will pay dearly.” There were many meetings with the generals and advisors. Some of them were hawkish, some dovish, but mostly hawkish.

“We must act soon!” Vice-President Chewey said.

“Agreed.” said General Maddux the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. He usually agreed to anything that had to do with battle.

“We’re a lean mean fighting machine.” Maddux assured the President.

“I’m sure you are.” President Bash replied. “But who do we strike? It looks like all fifteen terrorist on the planes were from Saudi Arabia. Do we bomb them even though the Crown Prince says they had nothing to do with it?”

“Alcindo claims responsibility for this act” one of the other generals in the room interjects. “Intel shows them training in the Afghan dessert far from the population.”

“Maybe we carpet bomb Afghanistan for their role in this.” Defense Secretary Rumface says.

“What role is that?” Bash asks.

“Well we have to bomb someone!” V. P. Chewey screamed pounding his fist on the desk. “We can’t look weak in this situation. Maybe just hurt them economically by wiping out their commerce and some infrastructure.” he added

“Can we do it without killing civilian Afghans?” Bash asked

“We can try, but you understand there is always collateral damage.” another general added.

“We can have a campaign set up in a few hours hitting specific targets and keeping casualties to a minimum.” General Maddux said. He had an excitement in his voice like a kid conning his mom out of an ice cream cone. “Just give us the word.” he added almost begging the President.

“Show me a plan.” Bash said.

“Yes sir!” The Generals stood up together and rushed out of the room before the President could change his mind.

“I don’t know how I bomb Afghanistan when the Saudi’s did this deed.” Bash said to Chewey as the two of them sat alone in the situation room.

“You’re going to have to change that way of thinking if you’re going to convince the American people that this is the right response.” Chewey advised.

“But is it,Chewey?” Bash asked.

“It is if you believe it is, and I believe it is. I’ll bring you the latest intel reports to help you with your decision.” Chewey said trying to assure the President.

 

Chapter 2

When Farooq arrived home from school he found his father sitting in front of the television with tears in his eyes.

“Look at what some monsters have done” he said pointing to the T.V. They showed over and over again the planes crashing into the American Towers and Pentagon. ‘It’s not real’ Farooq thought. Maybe a Hollywood movie. But his father  tears were very real. The Tamashu family knelt and prayed for the innocent souls that had perished.

“Who could do this, father?” Farooq asked his Dad.

“The devil,” father answered.

Over the next few days, Saul was glued to the T.V. watching the news. C.N.N. and Al Jazeera mostly.

“It looks like Saudi Extremist are responsible for the terror act against the U.S.A.” he told his family at dinner. “The Americans will retaliate hard against them. May Allah be with the innocent.”

“Is Uncle Vetro back yet? We need to go to Mosque tonight.” Farooq asked.

“No. It looks like you have to go by yourself.” Father said. “Be sure to keep peace in your prayers.”

“Yes, father, I will.” Farooq replied.

The game broke up early. Uncle V and two of the other elders were missing so they played shorthanded for a while. Farooq was still able to win a few Afghani. He got home early to find his father still awake in front of the television.

“Now the U.S. wants to blame others instead of the Saudi’s. Too many business dealings I’m sure. The Saudi’s say they had nothing to do with it. My ass,” father said. “President Bash is trying to blame Iraq and says terrorists trained in Afghanistan deserts. Politics make my head hurt, I’m going to bed,” Father said getting out of his recliner and turning off the T.V.

‘Did you win tonight? He asked Farooq.

“Win? Farooq asked trying to play dumb. He knew his father did not approve of gambling.

“Don’t play stupid son. I know you gamble with the Elders.” said father.

“I don’t gamble, I play poker.” Farooq said seriously.

“Your uncle tells me you’re a very talented player.” Father said

“When will he be home?’ Farooq asked.

“Not a good time for Muslims to be on airplanes.” Father said as he hugged his son good night.

“Get some rest. We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.”

 

Farooq would swear to Allah that father would sit and watch T.V. all week, waiting for Saturday and Farooq to help him. They have four acres to hand harvest and he’s sure his father could have done some during the week. Farooq doesn’t mind too much. Father is getting a bit older and even though he won’t admit it, is starting to slow down a bit. Yet Farooq  still fears his Dad’s right hand. He’s a tough loving man. Besides, mother and sister Lilly make sure to send them off with a hearty breakfast, and bring water and fruit to the fields for an afternoon snack out of the sun.

“We work like mules and they water and feed us like…mules.” father said as they all laughed.

On this day the melon was especially sweet. They sat on a blanket, under a tree, just off the main road into town.

“Think fast!” GeGe shouted as he kicked the soccer ball at Farooq. He was a terrible player and missed him by five meters. GeGe was a friend from school. Farooq stood to his feet to shake hands with his classmate.

“We are playing those ass wipes from town. We sure could use your skills. Come play.” GeGe asked Farooq. Although he would have liked to do nothing more than play football and compete with his friends, he knew he had work to finish.

“I wish I could my brother, but I have a few more hours of field to harvest.” Farooq said in a disappointed tone.

“Why don’t you go play, and I’ll finish your chores.” His sister offered.

“Isn’t my sister beautiful?” Farooq said very exited.

“Yes she is.” GeGe answered in a different voice and a creepy stare towards Lily.

“Can I go mother?” Farooq asked

“Yes and take your friend with the raging hormones with you before your fathers blood pressure spikes..” Mother answered

“May I, father?" He asked as his dad stared a hole through GeGe.

“Don’t disrespect your mother by being late for dinner.” He said without a blink.

 "Never, father.” Farooq assured him as the boys started jogging up the road.

“I’m making meatloaf.” Mother yelled at them as they were about 30 meters away.

“Can GeGe come for dinner?” Farooq yelled back.

“Of course." Mother said. Farooq might have heard father say no but he ignored it. Farooq knew Lily would like it. She’s been crushing on GeGe at school for a while.

“The ball, stupid.” Farooq made GeGe aware that he forgot the ball a few meters wide of the blanket.

“Shit!” GeGe said making a u turn without breaking stride. Farooq knelt to tie his shoe laces, hoping they wouldn’t break during the game.

Farooq wasn’t sure if he heard the blast or saw the flash of the bomb first. Either way it was the sound and vision of something that can never be forgotten. As this burned a picture in his brain, he could see the U.S. fighter jets overhead.He could also see his home begin to catch fire, but sat paralyzed in disbelief. Perhaps it's a dream he thought, hoping the alarm would go off and end his nightmare. The towns people and Elders helped Farooq gather whatever pieces of his family they could find and put them in four wooden coffins. GeGe's family was also killed in the bombing. They carried the coffins in a parade like ceremony to the burial grounds, draped in Afghan flags. These were a couple of numb days. Farooq’s hearing was finally coming back and his headache was better. If not for the care of neighbors, Farooq would have laid on the charred blanket and died of a broken heart.

 

There was a meeting at the Mosque after the burial of hundreds of families like Farooq’s. The bombings knocked out power though the town but there was a lot of energy in the air. The rows of candles provided enough light to see the vengeance on the faces of the Afghan people. All the young Muslims wanted weapons to fight the Infidel in the invasion they feared was coming. Jihad had arrived.

A few of the Elders got the crowd under control and led the congregation in prayer. When they finished, Elder 1 spoke in a calm collected voice giving instructions and locations for people to pick up weapons and move to areas of the mountains that were safe.

When everyone was leaving, a few of the Elders told Farooq to stay behind. They walked in the back room where they played poker. ‘No way’ Farooq thought ‘not a game now.’ Elder 2, who was always second in charge and seemed to take care of logistics, moved a rug and pulled up a trap door that Farooq never knew existed. It led to a tunnel that led to a man cave. A real man cave that was dug into the side of a mountain. This was not the first time the Elders had to fight an invasion. They were better prepared from experience than most would suspect. The cave was lit up by generators. It was plenty big enough to sleep dozens of people and looked like it had tunnels leading even deeper into the mountain side. It had a satellite connection and there were lap tops and televisions spread out across a huge table. The ventilation system was a thing of beauty. Elder 1 handed Farooq a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator.

“I am ready to fight the good fight,” Farooq said bravely “Where do I go for my weapon?”

“We have other plans for you.” Elder 2 said as he opened a suitcase full of passports and different currency. “We are sending you to live with your uncle in North America. Your mind will only be of use to your country if we keep it from being blown out of your head by the Infidel.”

They shaved his beard, cut his hair and unibrow. They tried to make him look as American as possible. Photo shopped his picture into a U.S. passport belonging to Freddy Tomas of Boise, Idaho.

“I know this is happening at warp speed for you,” Said Elder 1 “but trust us, we’ve been through this before with the Russians. A couple of the Elders will bring you to Germany and from there you will fly to Canada. Your uncle Vetro will pick you up there. Wait for our instructions. This will be a test of patience and faith.”

“Please just give me a weapon and let me kill some of them.” Farooq pleaded. 

“Patience my son and we will kill them all.” Elder 1 told young Farooq while hugging him. “Now go to your uncle.”

 

Chapter 3

After what seemed like days, Farooq finally arrived in the Canadian airport. He found his uncle waiting for him at the terminal. They hugged and cried in each other’s arms for what seemed like twenty minutes. Not only did Farooq lose his family, but uncle Vetro did too. A brother, a sister in law, and a niece who he adored, and they all adored him. Vetro and Farooq were the only family left and they hugged each other like they would never let go.

“We must go.” Vetro finally said wiping tears from his eyes and picking up Farooq’s bag.  It was just a couple of change of clothes that the Elders put together for Farooq. There was nothing left of the farm house. They walked in the parking lot to Vetro’s vehicle.

“Uncle Vetro, this thing is beautiful!” exclaimed Farooq admiring the Range Rover sitting in front of him.

“My name is Victor my nephew, NEVER call me Vetro again,” said uncle V with a tone that Farooq had never heard before. “Victor Patterson. And you are Freddy Tomas. Never answer to any other name. Do you understand?”

“Yes, of course, Uncle Victor.” Freddy answered. They got in the S.U.V. and Freddy was in awe. He had never seen such luxury. The electronics were like a space ship!

“This is a lot nicer than our tractor and Nissan pickup back home,”  Freddy laughed.

“Remember how your father would yell at us for grinding the gears on that truck?” Victor asked. They laughed for a second before Freddy began to weep again.

 “Now, now, my nephew” Victor said, rubbing Freddy’s head trying to comfort his brother’s child.” Find some music on the radio and relax. We have a long ride ahead of us.”

The G.P.S. in the dashboard said they were heading south for a couple of hours. They stopped for gas and Freddy got some snacks. He grabbed some beef jerky and instantly fell in love with flaming hot Cheetos and a big bottle of ice tea. The Range Rover pulled up to a secluded house on a quiet street after about thirty minutes of driving in rough terrain. Victor started up a generator and got some lights on. Freddy helped him get a fire going and the two of them sat on a sofa, wrapped in blankets waiting for the house to warm up.

“You have no electricity, Uncle Vetro, I mean Victor?” asked Freddy hoping not to be scolded for the slip of the tongue

“No,” Victor answered. “No cable, no wi-fi and cell phone service is spotty at best. That reminds me,” he said as he pulled some phones out of a drawer. “These are burner phones. We dispose of them each time we use them. Understand?” Freddy nodded. “We will only be here tonight.” Victor continued, "tomorrow we go to our U.S. home. It’s much nicer. I think you will like American amenities. Let’s get some sleep. It’s a long drive tomorrow. Perhaps you could drive some,” Victor suggested, knowing full well any teenage boy would love to get behind the wheel of such an awesome truck.

The next morning, before they put out the fire and turned off the generator, Victor opened a paper bag and gave Freddy a State of Idaho driver’s license.

“This is you, Freddy Tomas of Boise, Idaho. You are twenty one years old and have a clean driving record. It matches your passport. I guess you have dual citizenship also,” joked Victor

“Why twenty one and not eighteen, my real age?” Freddy asked.

“There are places you will be going with me that you must be twenty one to gain entry. We have about a ten hour drive ahead of us. I will introduce you to an In and Out Burger along the way.” Victor explained

Freddy asked to drive. ”Later, after we cross the border. There are some rough roads to get across,” Victor told him.

In the States and after a burger that Freddy inhaled, Victor gave Freddy the keys and showed him how to use cruise control.

“Set it on the speed limit. Staying off the radar is very important to our mission,” Victor instructed.

“What mission is that?” Freddy asked.

“You’ll learn in time,” Victor said.

“Is that why we don’t use our fake identification at proper entry points into the United States?” Freddy asked.

“Yes authorities are looking at anyone who looks Middle Eastern” Victor said. He then put in a Loretta Stone learn English c d. “Our English must get better and from now on, we will only speak English to each other.

They arrived at a nice three bedroom house in an upper middle class neighborhood, on a quiet street. They pulled into an attached two car garage and entered the house. Victor gave Freddy a quick tour showing him his room and bathroom. The fridge was full and there was plenty of food in the freezer.

“And this is the office,” Victor said, opening some French doors into a den just off the family room. There were a couple of lap top computers sitting on a big desk next to a state of the art stereo system.

“Wow!” Freddy said. “This is all yours?” He asked his uncle.

“This is all 'ours' my nephew. Now get cleaned up and we will go to Mosque. I know a nice pizzeria for dinner.” Victor said.

“I think I like the United States.” said Freddy like a kid thinking about pizza.

“The United States is the Infidel,” snapped Victor. “Did you forget what they did to our family? Perhaps Mosque and prayer will do you good.” Freddy shook his head in agreement, embarrassed for having said that.

The Mosque was entered though a side door. There were only about a dozen people praying and socializing. Freddy was hoping there was a poker room in the back, but that was only wishful thinking. They spent the night watching American television, eating left over pizza and trying to improve their English.

The next morning Victor had a surprise for Freddy. He set up an on line poker account for Freddy to play. “I funded it with five hundred dollars U.S. Let’s see your skills. Have fun. I’ll be leaving tomorrow for a few days. There’s plenty of food. Stay inside. Here’s a phone in case you need to reach me. But that’s tomorrow. Today we buy you some clothes and have a nice dinner in town. A good time to practice our English,” Victor told him.

The next morning Victor was gone. He left a note. ‘Dear nephew, I’ll be home for prayer’s on Friday. Allah Akbar.'

Freddy was soon playing three games at a time at on line poker. He thought the Elders were donkeys, but the on line players made them look like pros. He ran  his uncle’s five hundred dollar stake up to fourteen thousand dollars. He wasn’t sure how pleased Victor would be by this. Money didn’t seem to be an issue to him. He wore expensive suits and had nice watches, two houses and a great vehicle. Whenever he paid for dinners he always had a wad of cash in his pocket. This routine went on day after day. When Uncle Victor was gone, Freddy stayed home playing poker and learning English. When Victor was home they worshipped and went to different restaurants.

A few weeks later after a Friday prayer, Uncle V told Freddy they were headed to Canada in the morning.

“I can’t” objected Freddy. “I have a 500,000 dollar guaranteed tournament I’m entered in tomorrow.”

“Then you will miss it.” Victor told him in a stern voice. “I have a surprise for you I think you will enjoy tomorrow.” he added in a nicer voice. “Brush up on your English tonight and we will be leaving first thing in the morning."

Freddy put in his ear phones pretending to listen to Rosetta Stone but he was actually listening to American rap music that he had grown to like more and more.

Freddy did most of the driving on the ten hour journey the next morning. But when it came time to cross the border, Victor got behind the wheel. He knew the back roads well. Freddy just watched the scenery and tried to find a radio station without static. When they arrived at the house they saw a vehicle in the driveway and smoke coming from the chimney.

“Good, our company is here.” Victor said getting out of the S.U.V. Freddy walked in the house and nearly didn’t recognize the men in the suits. It was Elder 1 and Elder 2 along with a big Muslim that Freddy had never seen before.

“Farooq,” Elder 1 said holding out his arms. Farooq ran to him like a lost child to his found mother. They hugged tight.

“Farooq, let me take a look at you.” said Elder 2 in Arabic

“It’s Freddy now, my brothers” Freddy said in English.

“Your English sounds good but for now you are my Farooq and we will speak in our native tongue. The language of Muhammad. The way Allah intended,” Elder 1 told Freddy.

“I’ll be glad to.” Farooq replied in Arabic. "I miss my language, I miss my name, I miss my country, I miss my family,” Farooq said, trying to hold back the tears. The Elders gave him a group hug. “How are things at home?” Farooq asked.

“Not good,” Elder 2 answered. “The occupation is expanding and many of our brothers are taking refuge in the mountains. It’s ironic that we kill the infidel with weapons they gave us to kill the Russians. We will send them home broken and addicted to opium just as we did the Russian pigs. Praise Allah.”

“How can I fight?” asked Freddy, growing more hateful by the minute.

“That’s why we are here,” Elder 2 said, pointing to the big Muslim. The huge man put a case the size of a small shoe box on the table. “We have excess to a virus strand that will strike down our enemies, Allah willing. We have six doses of it and one dose of the cure. When the virus hits the air it will die in two minutes if it doesn’t find a body to incubate in. Incubation takes two or three days. After the virus matures there will be flu like symptoms then death within twenty four hours. The matured virus is very contagious and will kill all it comes in contact with in twenty four hours.”

Farooq ran the numbers in his head to the tenth power and couldn’t imagine the possible death total.

“With only six doses we must pick our targets carefully,” Elder 2 continued, opening the case. He showed a canister of breath spray and a vial with a needle packed tight in a foam liner. “The Binaca has six sprays in it. The vaccine must be taken after the virus has matured.  Allah be with you my son. We must leave now. Your uncle will tell you what you need to know and when you need to know it. They all hugged and said their goodbyes. The Elders were off with the big Muslim who never said a word. Victor closed the case and said in English, “Let’s go. It may not be safe here.”

He hid the case the best he could in the back of the Range Rover. He moved some blankets and carpet when Farooq saw the pistol. “Uncle Vetro, is that necessary?” He asked in Arabic.

"English," Victor snapped. “And yes it is necessary. Make no mistake about it my nephew, we are in the middle of Jihad and, Allah willing, he will bless us with the strength to honor Him.”

Over the next few weeks, Victor was gone from the Boise house quite a bit. Even though Freddy was playing poker on-line four games at a time, he was getting cabin fever. He ran the account  up to over $100,000 U.S. But to him it was just a number next to an avatar named Farooq. He set up a second account and moved money around that Victor didn’t know about. He kept the name Farooq to show the world that an Arab was kicking their ass on the felt.

After prayers at the Mosque on Friday, Victor informed Freddy that he was going to start traveling with him. He told him his English was good enough to start blending in public. ‘The rap music must have done it.’ Freddy thought to himself. Even though he despised the word mother fucker. ‘So disrespectful,’ he thought

“That’s great news, uncle. Where and when?” Freddy asked with anticipation.

“We’ll leave in the morning.” Victor said. “Pack a bag for a couple of days. Travel light.”

That morning Freddy threw a bag into the back of the Range Rover. Victor threw in two.

“Is the pistol still back here? Where’s the virus?” Asked Farooq.

“I’ll tell you things on a need to know basis,” Victor said, like a Captain to a Private. “All you need to know is that it’s a beautiful sunny day that we are blessed with,” Victor added. “You drive,” He told Freddy, tossing him the keys. “But I get the radio and no more snoopy the dog.” They shared a hug before the ride

 

In the oval office sat Bash, Chewey, and Rumface.

“We’re still no closer than we were weeks ago to getting the bastards that bombed us.”Bash said in a frustrated tone.

“Our approval ratings are up 10 points over the last couple of weeks.” Chewey said trying to shine some light on the situation. “Our latest intel shows a buildup of weapons of mass destruction taking place in Iraq.”

“Hussma denies it but he won’t let our inspectors in to check.” Rumface added.

“Is the Intel solid?” Bash asked

“Very. I saw it myself.” Chewey assured the President.

“It’s a slam dunk.” said Rumface, “The former administration should have finished off Hussma when they had the chance," he said referring to the last conflict the U.S.A. had with the Arab leader, when Bash's father was President.

“Maybe we could finish the job your father started." Chewey added, "Logistically we have troops and resources in the region. Expanding into Iraq will be no problem. The Iraqi people will welcome us with flowers. We’ll be in and out of there in a couple of months. The American people still want justice. This will show the world our strength.” Chewey told Bash trying to convince him to invade another country. The logistics that Chewey was talking about were provided by the company that he was the C.E.O. of. Food, housing transportation etc. were providing billions of tax payer dollars to the company he ran.

“Do It! Those Iraqis never learn.” Bash ordered.

 

Chapter 4

Victor and Freddy stopped at different restaurants and bars over the next few weeks. Freddy would show his I.D. and sit at the bar with a coke. Father didn’t approve of alcohol. Even though Freddy was living in a completely different world now, he still tried to please his mother and father. Uncle Victor usually went in a back room or sat in a corner somewhere talking to some shady looking characters. Freddy’s favorite places to stop were the strip clubs. “Take your time, Uncle V,” he would tell Victor whenever they walked into one. Victor would always walk out of these meetings with a fat envelope stuffed into the inside pocket of one of his expensive suits. He would then put it in one of the bags in the back of the Range Rover. Freddy was sure it was cash in the packages but never asked. Need to know basis, he remembered.

Whenever one of the stops was near a casino, Freddy would go play poker for a couple of hours while Victor took care of business. Weeks turned into months and Freddy gained fifteen pounds from fast food, sugary drinks, and sitting on his ass. He liked the life style, gambling, money, hanging out in strip clubs, no fields to harvest. Victor even got Freddy his own vehicle. A two year old Lexus, with all the bells and whistles. Victor told Freddy it was given to him by an associate who owed him. There were some trips that Freddy couldn’t go on, so he would drive himself in his new ride to the casinos. The only time he felt like an Afghan man was when he went to the Mosque.

When he wasn’t at the casino’s playing poker, he was playing four games at a time on-line. He ran his account up to just over $200,000 U.S. dollars.

One of the burner phones rang. “Yes, hello,” Freddy answered, after he figured out which one was ringing.

“I need you to come to Las Vegas,” the voice on the other end said.

“What, who is this?” asked Freddy, not 100% sure it was Victors voice.

“It’s me, my nephew. Come to Las Vegas to the Rio Hotel room 1818. Pack enough clothes for a week. Lose this phone along the way and don’t forget to set your cruise control. Leave now. See you soon. Allah Akbar," Victor said and hung up after giving the instructions.

Freddy kept his cruise control set the entire ten + hours it took to get there. He found the Rio and was knocking on door 1818 with suitcase in hand. “Come in” said Victor looking down the hall and locking the door behind them. “My nephew,” he said hugging Freddy. “Seems you put on a few pounds,” he joked poking Freddy’s love handles. “The time has come to avenge our family and country and, Allah willing, we will be victorious,” Victor declared, with excitement in his every word. He helped Freddy get settled in the adjacent room 1816. There was a common door so the two could enter each other’s rooms without going into the hall. “It will be better if we are not seen together while we are here,” Victor said.

They sat down at a table back in Victor’s room. He handed his nephew a bottle of water from the mini fridge. “Tell me all that you remember about the virus the Elders gave us back in Canada?” He asked.

“Well,” Freddy said, trying to get a bad beat hand out of his head and remember the encounter. “If the virus doesn’t get into a host body within two minutes of being air born it will die.”

“Good.” Victor said “Go on.”

"When the virus gets into you system, it takes two or three days of incubation. When flu like symptoms start it means the virus is active and contagious. Anyone who has the matured virus or comes in contact with it will die within 24 hours without the vaccine of which there is only one,” Freddy said proudly like he got an A+ on a test.

“Excellent,” said Victor, “Now listen closely. We have four sworn enemy’s that by the grace of Allah we are going to destroy. One, the United States for what they did to our family and what they our doing to our country as we speak. Two, the Jews for their illegal taking of our holy land and the oppression of our Palestinian brothers. Three, the Russians for their occupation of our country and the death of thousands of our people in the 1980”s. We will never forget or forgive. Four, the Saudi Arabians for their ties to the Western Infidels and not taking responsibility for the attacks on the U.S., causing the death's of our family's and countrymen.”

“That’s four, uncle. We have six doses of the virus,” Freddy said.

“Correct,” Victor said.” We must attack others to make this look random. I’m afraid if the USA suspects it’s the Afghans who do this, they will use nuclear power to burn our country out of existence,” Victor continued. “In a few days from now The World Series of Poker will begin. There will be thousands of players from around the world here. We will pick our targets and transfer the virus to them thru the poker chips. You will get into a hand with our enemies and  let them take some chips that you infected.”

“How will I infect the chips?” Freddy asked.

“By spraying a dose of the virus in your hand before touching the chips.” Victor answered.

“But uncle, won’t I become infected?” Freddy asked with concern in his tone.

“The vaccine is for you. When the virus has matured it can be destroyed with one shot of the cure into your thigh.” Victor went into his closet and pulled out the case the Elders had given to them. “Remember you must shoot yourself with the vaccine within 24 hours of your first flu like symptoms.”

Freddy asked, “How will we pick our victims and hope to sit at a table with them. There will be thousands of players?”

“Because, my nephew, we hacked the Tournament Director's software that assigns seats and moves players to balance tables. At any time I could move you to a table with our enemy targets.  You will have earbuds and I will use a walkie talkie to communicate with you. The first two targets will be random. The entry names are starting to show up on the Tournament Director's main screen. We have two days to choose. Most entries will come in just before the start of the tournament. Get some rest. You will need to be sharp and at your best if we are going to pull this off,” Victor said. He saw the look of anxiety on his young nephew's face. He kissed him on the top of his head and assured him it was all going to be alright.

 

Joseph Hacket from Australia was a target they both agreed on. A little known player, he would just be a sick person in Australia getting other people sick. Day 4 or 5 will bring the final table, but 90% of the players will be home by then. Christopher Bole from Germany was also going to be at the table. He was logical target number two.

“Tomorrow you play.” Victor said. “Tonight we pray and try to get some rest. I have you sitting at the table with our first two targets. They will be in seats 5 and 7. I know your nervous my nephew, but you have the grace of Allah with you.”

The next morning, Freddy was wide eyed and nervous as a cat in a rocking chair store when he entered the convention center at the Rio Hotel. There were hundreds of tables in different rooms with thousands of players looking to find their seats.

"Tournament starts in ten minutes" a voice said from the speakers in the ceiling. Freddy played thousands of hands both live and on line, but the electricity in the air made him feel like a first time player. 

“Relax, my nephew,” a calming voice said coming through Freddy’s earbuds. Hearing Uncle Victor’s voice and knowing the walkie talkie’s worked made him feel a little better. “Remember seats 5 and 7 are the targets. Good luck.”

It didn’t take long to get started. Freddy limped in from early position and the Aussie Hacket raised to three times the blind. The small and big blind folded. Freddy looked at his cards with one hand and sprayed the first dose of the virus in his other hand from inside his hoodie pocket. He pulled out his hand and counted out calling chips. “I call,” he said and put the infected chips in the pot. There was two minutes for the chips to touch a host for the virus to survive. The flop came rag rag rag. Freddy didn’t even look. He checked and Hacket the Aussie bet.. Freddy folded and the Aussie started stacking his chips. It was that easy. Everyone plays with their chips, some shuffle them, some cut and stack them, some finger roll and Hacket was no different. He was shuffling the infected chips well within the two minute mark. 

The German was next. It took a while to isolate him in a hand. It folded around to Bole who min (minimum) raised from middle position. It folded around to Freddy in the big blind. ”I call,” he said, again putting infected chips into the pot. Dose number two. Freddy didn't look at the flop and checked expecting Bole the German to make a continuation bet. Bole checked. Freddy started to feel a little pressure. The clock was ticking. Freddy checked the turn card and Bole bet. Freddy quickly folded and the German started stacking his infected chips. Two targets infected with minimal chips lost. The only way Freddy can do Allah’s work is by staying in the tournament.

There wasn’t much movement at the tables. The cheap blinds and tight play kept most players around on day one. Freddy accumulated some chips and was probably the chip leader at his table. The Aussie player had also chipped up. Freddy thought he was a good player. After six hours of play there was a dinner break. Freddy went up to the rooms, entered room 1816, and walked thru the open common door. Victor was sitting with his nose in the computer.

“How did it go?” Victor asked without looking up.

“I got them both.” Freddy said with pride. Victor turned and leaped out of his chair to hug his nephew.

“Praise Allah,” Victor rejoiced. “In a few days from now, the world will be trying to figure out why there is a deadly virus in Australia and Germany. No ties to Afghanistan.

“But aren’t innocent civilians going to die?” Freddy asked, not really wanting to know the answer.

“It’s all for the greater good. It’s part of the Jihad. Allah Akbar,” Victor reasoned with Freddy.

“Uncle Victor, I am infected too.” Freddy said holding up his hand.

“You have the vaccine. When you start to feel like you’re getting the flu, take it,” Victor said, trying to get his anxious nephew to relax a little.

Freddy went back to his room. He checked if the vaccine was safe, in the case under his bed.

“Let’s choose our next targets,” Victor said, putting his nose back in the computer.” The Jews, Americans, Russians, and those western loving Saudi’s are next.

 Freddy grabbed a sandwich from the mini fridge and sat next to Victor at the computer screen. There were still thousands of players, but those numbers would start to dwindle with the blinds rising and bad players blaming luck for their exits. A lot of Hollywood stars and sport celebrities enter this tournament. They are usually not very good players but they get to be seen and the ten thousand dollar buy in is just walk around money for them. Freddy had to get back to the game. They checked their walkie talkie communication. “Loud and clear,” Freddy said and he walked out the door.

About an hour into the evening session, Freddy heard Victor in his earbuds. “You are going to be changing tables. I moved you to a table with a Jew. He is from Tel Aviv. He is sitting in seat four,” Victor told him. Just as Victor stopped talking, an assistant tournament director brought Freddy a hand full of chip racks and informed him he was changing tables. Even though he had tons of chips and was playing very well, all his focus was now on the Jew in seat four. The end of level twelve came and that was it for the night. The man from Tel Aviv was a tight player and the few hands he did play, Freddy couldn’t isolate. But there was always tomorrow. The players bagged their chips for the night.

 

Uncle Victor wasn’t happy that Freddy wasn’t able to infect the Jew, but he understood. “Let me know after the first break if I could move you,” Victor instructed Freddy the next morning. He gave his nephew a hug and went back to his room and sat in front of the computer with a cup of coffee. That gave Freddy two hours to infect the man from Tel Aviv so they could move on to the next target. About an hour into the session the opportunity presented itself. The tight Jew raised from under the gun (first to act). Freddy sprayed dose number three into his hand from the same hoodie he wore the day before. He just called from the button with the infected chips. He was afraid a raise might make the tight playing Jew fold. He just hoped the blinds would fold. The small blind instantly folded but the big blind was thinking about it. To Freddy it seemed to take forever for this guy to make a decision. The clock was ticking. He finally folded. The flop came rag rag rag.  Freddy didn’t even look. He knew the Jew was only playing pocket Aces or Kings. The Jew bet and Freddy quickly threw his cards into the muck (the pile of dead cards).  The Jew showed Aces and complained about not getting much action. He played one hand every couple of hours.

“Nice hand sir.” Freddy said trying to move the game along. ‘Just stack the chips’  he thought to himself. He did and Freddy breathed a sigh of relief believing it was less than two minutes. The man from Tel Aviv seemed to be about Freddy’s father’s age. He talked about having a son about Freddy’s age, a daughter and a loving wife. When you spend hours at a table with players they often talk about their families.

“How old are you, son?” the Jew asked Freddy.

“Twenty-one.” Freddy answered remembering he was Freddy Tomas from Boise, Idaho.

“My boy is eighteen” the Jew said. Freddy’s real age. Before he would let himself feel remorse for doing Allah’s work, he plugged his earphones into a burner phone that had music on it. Break time was only fifteen minutes so he hurried back to the room to tell Uncle Victor he was ready for Target number four.

 

The American was next.  He was talking to a girl about half his age in a sexy dress on the rail (where spectators stand). Freddy was guessing it wasn’t his wife. Victor told Freddy that Todd, the American lobbyist from Washington, was coming to the table. Freddy knocked out a player with the nut (highest possible) flush making the seat available.The lobbyist sat down and said his name was Todd. Todd had diarrhea of the mouth. For the next hour he didn’t stop talking about himself. Todd got all his chips in against a bigger stack. Action already passed Freddy so he was helpless. All he could do was hope Todd would win the hand so he didn't leave uninfected. Todd lost. Freddy quickly sprayed dose number four in his hand. He stood up and said, “It’s been a pleasure playing with you sir,” as he reached his hand across the table to shake with the lobbyist. Todd reached out and shook his hand complaining about a river card that didn’t matter. He was drawing dead (not a chance to win) in more ways than one.

Victor saw the open seat but was still searching for a target so he lets The Tournament Director software move the players. Dinner was coming soon and Victor thought he would take that time with Freddy’s help to find the next target. Freddy got back to the room and grabbed a sandwich. He developed a habit of putting Flaming Hot Cheetos’s on them. Victor was impressed with Freddy’s story of how he infected Todd. Players were dropping out quickly and tables were being broken up and reduced. Victor had to study the remaining players to pick the next two targets. Time was running out. Not only was the pool of players to choose from shrinking, Freddy was going to feel flu like symptoms soon. He needs to find a Russian and a Saudi to complete the mission. Freddy headed back to the game with Victor working hard at the computer. Freddy was having an incredible heater (winning streak) when he noticed the day was coming to an end, and still no word from Uncle V. He tapped his earbuds a few times hopping they were still working. When day two ended, Freddy bagged his massive amount of chips and quickly got back to the room to see if everything was okay. “Are you Okay Uncle Victor? Are the walkie talkie’s working?” Freddy asked, out of breath.

“Yes, my nephew, I’m fine. Look what I’ve done.” He said pointing to the computer screen. “Tomorrow morning you will start at a table with a Russian and a Saudi. And not just any Saudi but the Crown Prince himself.

“No way!” Freddy screamed. He had read that the Prince was a poker junkie but this was beyond his wildest dream. “The Crown Prince Abdullah? Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. He is using a different name at the tables but he registered under his family's name, and with a little digging, I was able to confirm it was him. I understand him hiding his identity. Not a good time to be an Arab in America.” Victor said. He was spot on. The Prince was traveling incognito. He wore sunglasses and a pulled up hoodie just like half of the other players. “I have them sitting next to each other in seats six and seven. With the grace of Allah we will complete our mission and return to our homeland shortly.” Victor gave his nephew a long strong victory hug. “Get some sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow.” Those words were the same one’s Freddy’s father used when he spoke about harvesting the farm. It brought a tear to Freddy’s eyes.

“Do you think mother and father would be proud of me?” Freddy asked with a crackling in his voice.

“So proud. You have avenged their murder and the murder of thousands of Afghan families. You have served Allah with honor. I am very proud of you and you should also be proud of yourself,” Victor assured him.

The next morning when Freddy took his seat he recognized the Crown Prince immediately. As American as Freddy tried to look, the Prince knew he was a fellow Arab. Freddy had to pick his spots quickly and carefully. The blinds were going up and the short stacks were pushing all in. That’s how tournaments end.

Freddy got a chance to go heads up when the Prince made a big raise in late position. It folded around to Freddy on the small blind. He put dose number five into his hand though the binaca canister, counted out calling chips with the virus, and put them in the pot. Freddy waited for the big Texan sitting next to him to fold the big blind.The big Texan was every bit of 6 foot 5 inches tall. He wore a ten gallon hat and a belt buckle the size of a frying pan. Like most Texans, he was overly loud, and overly proud to be from the lone star state. Big Tex called. The flop came 7-4-4 rainbow. Freddy checked without looking at his cards. Tex checked and the Crown Prince went all in as expected. Freddy looked at his cards 7-4 off suit. He flopped a full house!  He must fold to pass the tainted chips to the Prince. The Texan called for less with a shorter stack and turns up 5-6 of hearts for an open end straight draw. The Prince turned up a pair of Queens. The turn card came a Queen. The smile on the Prince’s face quickly vanished when the river came the 8 of spades, giving the big Texan the straight.  'YES,' the Texan shouted. “I’d rather be lucky than good,” he laughed as he was stacking the tainted chips. ‘You are neither’ Freddy thought to himself.

It was break time. Freddy had to talk to Victor. He rushed back to the room to tell his uncle of his predicament. They both agreed with one dose left, the Crown Prince was a more valuable target than the Russian. Freddy slammed an ice tea and shoved some beef jerky in his mouth rushing to get back before the end of break. He saw a little story on the bottom of the T. V. screen. Victor always had the news on even if he wasn’t watching it. It said U.S. troop buildup in Middle East. Australian airport quarantined after passengers fall ill.

“How are you feeling my nephew?" Victor asked.

“I’m fine” he replied. “You know I could be chip leader if I wasn’t doing Allah’s work,” he laughed. “Don’t worry I will take the vaccine as soon as I start to feel sick,” Freddy assured his uncle.

“Now go finished this mission. I love you, my nephew,” Victor said giving his nephew another long hug.

“I must get back and finish Allah’s work.” Freddy said, working hard to break his uncle’s hug.

“Allah Akbar,” they said to each other, and Freddy hustled back to the game.

It took about three hours of play before Freddy had a chance to get into a hand with the Prince. A player from early position limped in and the Crown Prince moved all in from the button. Freddy was in the big blind and moved all in over the top, with the final dose of the virus infecting the chips. The limper thought about it a few seconds and folded. Freddy didn’t want to show his cards and play out the hand, afraid he might accidently win. He had 7 2 off suit, but you never know for sure, it’s poker. So when the limper folded Freddy threw his cards into the muck pretending he forgot the Prince was still in the hand. 'OH NO' he yelled trying to make it look good.

“That sure was stupid.” the Prince said with an arrogant smirk on his face.

“I guess we all make mistakes my brother.” Farooq said in Arabic. That caught the attention of the Prince’s two body guards standing at the rail.

“English only at the table please,” the dealer reminded the players of the rules.

“Nice hand sir.” Freddy said in perfect English while the Prince was stacking his infected chips.

“Nice hand,” the Russian sitting next to the Saudi said. He put up his hand to slap the Prince a high five. The Prince put up his virus infected hand and spread it to the Russian within the two minute window. Never underestimate the power of luck.

For a brief moment Freddy felt remorse. Not for the Saudi or the Russian, may they burn in hell, but for the dealers who came in contact with the virus when they pushed the infected chips to the targets. Collateral damage he told himself to justify the killing of the innocent. He knew his father would have disapproved.

It was almost time to break for dinner, and Freddy was starting to feel a little ill. Body aches, head ache, and he was sure he was running a little fever. When they broke for dinner Freddy started to head back to his room. Along the way he overheard some tournament directors talking about dealers calling in sick that morning. Freddy knew he had to take the vaccine. He and Uncle Victor had to get back to Canada and eventually, he hoped, Afganastan. Freddy went into his room and started to talk to Uncle V though the closed adjacent door into his uncle’s room. The virus was mature and contagious and he didn’t want to expose his uncle to it.

“Some dealers are getting sick. I got the Prince and the Russian both with the last dose." Freddy said loud enough to be heard over the T.V. in the next room. “Do you think we should go now?” he asked. When he got no reply he opened the door slightly to see that Uncle Victor was gone. The lap top was gone and Freddy had feared he had been arrested. Freddy was confused and didn’t know what to do. But first things first, he thought, as he started sneezing. The vaccine.  He pulled out the case from under his bed and opened it but all he found was a note written in Arabic.

Dear Farooq my loving nephew, you have served your country and Allah well, and He will have your rewards for you. The authorities will soon figure out the source of this outbreak and find you.The Elders couldn’t chance you talking under torture and finding out it was Afghanistan who did this. I’m sorry.

Freddy just stood there in disbelief as he looked at the T.V. Wolf Blitzer was giving breaking news on the outbreaks of a deadly virus in Australia and Germany. Death totals were climbing rapidly and the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) was frantically trying to identify the strand.

 

Chapter 5

A few hours earlier Todd, the lobbyist, was sitting on a sofa in the White House hoping to have a word with the President. He was a frequent visitor. Todd was getting the sniffles and wiped his nose a couple of times with the back of his hand when no one was looking. “Hey Mr. President,” he said as Bash was walking by. “I just came from Capitol Hill and we sure could use your help on this legislation.”

“Todd, you never give up do you,” President Bash said stopping to talk and shake hands with the lobbyist.“Hey how did you do in that poker tournament?” he asked.

“No luck. Someone sucked out on the river against me,” he lied.

“We’ll talk later. I have to get to a meeting,” Bash said as he continued his journey down the West Wing.

 

Freddy knew his only chance at getting the vaccine to save his life was to get to Victor. He served Allah but he was not a suicide martyr type. He didn’t want to die. Freddy never felt so alone in his life. After his family was killed, he had the support of the Elders and his neighbors, who never left his side. And as he stood in room 1818, thousands of miles from home, so utterly alone, all he could do was weep. How could the only family he had left leave him to die. 'Didn't my uncle love me,' he thought. 'Did he ever really love me.'He thought his uncle would be hiding in Boise or Canada. He wasn’t sure how much of a head start Victor had so he got in his Lexus and hoped he could make up some time. If Victor kept the Range Rover on cruise control he had a chance, he thought. Freddy knew he had less than twenty four hours to live without the vaccine. He sped down I-15 in Nevada listening to the news on the radio. It seemed that the Aussie Hacket was infecting a lot of people on his sixteen hour flight home. When all those people got into the airport, bodies were dropping like flies. The W.H.O. was working with the local authorities. The government dispersed the military and put the entire Airport under quarantine. No flights or people in or out. Germany was experiencing the same thing in a neighborhood near Frankfort where the German Bole lived. The Chancellor ordered the army to secure the entire area. Nobody in or out. As Freddy listened to this, he could feel himself getting sicker. He was flying down the highway at speeds of 100 mph or more. He wasn't sure what would happen if he caught up to his uncle. 'Would he kill me or save me?' Freddy wondered.

 

The President walked into his meeting in the situation room. There waiting for him were Vice President Chewey, Defense Secretary Rumface, F.B.I. Director Jenkins, and The Homeland Security Director Sandburg.

“Where are we at with this virus business?” Bash asked while taking his seat at the head of the table.

“Well there’s good news and bad news Mr. President.” HSD Sandburg said.

“Hit me with the good stuff first Sandy,” Bash told him.

“The W.H.O. was able to identify the virus. There is a vaccine.” Sandburg said

“Well that’s great news,” interrupted the President.

“Unfortunately the virus and the vaccine were stolen from a lab in Africa a few months ago. If they had the vaccine the W.H.O. could mass produce it and distribute it around the world in forty eight hours. If they have to make the vaccine from scratch it could take an additional two days” the HSD said.

“That could mean thousands of more deaths the way this thing is spreading,” said Chewey, as if he gave a shit about human life.

“There’s even more bad news,” Sandburg continued. “Our friends in Israel have reported an outbreak in Tel Aviv. And worst of all, our Center for Disease Control (CDC) has unconfirmed reports of the virus in Nevada.”

Bash raised his voice,” What do you mean 'unconfirmed reports,' Sandy? Find out what the hell is going on. Jenkins, what do you have for me?” he asked his FBI Director

“Well, Mr. President,” Jenkins said, standing to his feet, “We believe it is a terrorist attack, although no one has claimed credit for it yet. We are in direct contact with every major law enforcement agency in the world. We believe that whoever has the virus also has the vaccine.  I’ve ordered Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Williams, in our Nevada office to look into the CDC’s claims. We do have reports that there is a link between some of the early deaths in Germany, Israel, and Australia. It seems a middle age male from each of those countries had just visited Nevada. And with this latest news about a possible outbreak, that sounds like much more than a coincidence. It seems all three men were playing in a poker tournament in Las Vegas.”

'TODD' the President screamed almost falling out of his chair.

“Todd who?” Rumface asked helping Bash to sit up in his seat.

“Todd, the lobbyist. He played in the tournament,” Bash said, visible shaking.

“Did you come in contact with him?” V.P. Chewey asked

“I shook hands with him on my way to the meeting,” The President said. The men in the room backed away from Bash as if he was on fire. Rumface ran and opened the door and yelled for the secret service agents that were standing right outside.

“Take the president to his quarters immediately. Keep your distance and nobody comes in contact with him. Call the White House Physician and the CDC and tell them the President may have been exposed to the virus,”Rumface instructed the agents.

“Let’s go, sir,” One of the agents told President Bash. Bash stood up but could hardly walk. Frozen in the time of crisis again.

Chewey took charge immediately. “Jenkins, get every agent available in Nevada on this case.”

“Yes,sir,” the FBI Director said, already dialing  ASAC Williams in the Nevada office.

“The National Guard is also available,” Director Sandburg added.

“Stress to everyone involved, if we don’t get that vaccine soon, the President of the United States may die. Let’s move, people,” V.P. Chewey said. “Tell Williams in Nevada I want him reporting directly to me.”

“May I remind you, sir, you are only the 'VICE' President,” FBI Director Jenkins said, feeling slighted from Chewey’s order not to follow chain of command.

“May I remind 'YOU', that may change soon. Give him my number,” Chewey replied. “And somebody find this Todd character”

Todd was found dead the next morning in a local hotel that he checked into under a different name. Seems after talking to the president, he spent the rest of the day with a couple of girls from the escort agency. The same agency that members of the House and Senate often used. When it came to hookers, Congress was very bipartisan.

 

Chapter 6

Dozens of agents descended on the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Special agents Michael and Muhammad were the lead investigators.  The CDC had suspended tournament play but the Russian and The Crown Prince had already busted out and were on their way back to their countries.  The players were actually upset. Even though people were dying, they wanted to keep playing. With the help of hotel security, it didn’t take long to track the common threads, the dead dealers, and the dead players, to be at the tables with Freddy.

“Look how he puts his hand in his hoody before he calls the German and Australian.” Agent one points out watching surveillance cameras.

“And watch this. He flops a full house and he folds it.” Another agent says looking at the table cameras. The tables had hidden camera’s to show the player’s hands for the T.V viewing audience.

“He definitely looks Middle Eastern to me,” Agent one observes, trying to confirm the terrorist theory.

“What are your people up to, Muhammed?” Michael said to his Arab partner.

“How the fuck should I know,” Muhammed answered his smart ass partner. “I’m more American than you are, asshole. Born and raised in this town. Let’s find this Freddy Tomas of Boise.” Muhammed added, looking at a copy of his driver’s license on his tournament entry form.

“A camera shows him leaving a few hours ago, and traffic cameras have him getting on I -15 North headed towards Idaho,” another agent updated the lead investigators.

“I’ll call ASAC Williams and update him,” Muhammed said. He put the phone on speaker so Agent Michael could listen in.

“Don’t try to stop him,” Williams said, “He might destroy the vaccine. We’ll take him by surprise in his home. Muhammed, you and Michael catch a jet and take him in Boise ".

“Also, sir, there is some video of a man with Freddy Tomas. When Tomas first gets to the Rio he goes to room 1818 and some guy lets him in. Freddy Tomas is registered in 1816,” Michael tells the boss.

“Well who the hell is in 1818?” Williams asks

 “Victor Patterson of Canada,” Michael says, looking at his notes. “He’s seen leaving the hotel hours before Tomas.”

“I’ll contact Canadian authorities and find out all we can about him. You guys get Freddy Tomas and that vaccine. The President's life depends on it. The CDC confirmed Bash is infected. Wheels up in thirty minutes.” Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Williams said.

“Yes, Sir!” Michael and Muhammed said in unison as Williams hung up. "Jynx." Michael told Muhammed like a middle school kid.

The Canadian RCMP got back to FBI Director Jenkins in Washington D. C. within 15 minutes with the information requested. “Victor Patterson, A.K.A. Vetro Tumashu. He’s an Afghan businessman suspected of being Taliban with ties to the opium trade. His address is in a remote area just outside Calgary,” The Canadian agent said.

“Any family here?” Director Jenkins asked.

“No. According to drone recon, his family was killed in an airstrike in Afghanastan. The bodies were in pieces but it looked like his brother, sister-in law, niece and nephew were all killed. We’re sending Agents to his residence,” The Canadian said.

“Don’t do a thing until our agents get there,” Jenkins ordered.

“They better hurry,” The Canadian said,“This is our jurisdiction and we don’t like suspected terrorist's running around.”

“Please just keep him under surveillance until we get there,” Jenkins pleaded.

 

Freddy reached the Idaho house feeling very ill. Delirious with fever, he noticed his uncles S.U.V. was not in the garage. He knew this was the end. He wished he stayed in Afganastan, fighting the infidel with a rifle from the mountains. He knew, no matter what his uncle said, that his Mother and Father would be ashamed of what he had done.Killing so many innocent people could not have been what a loving Allah would have wanted. He was ashamed of himself. Once again in his young life, all he wanted to do was lay down and die of a broken heart.

 When he walked in the door, he was greeted by Michael and Muhammed with automatic pistols in his face.“FBI! Freeze mother fucker!” Muhammed ordered.  Freddy was so sick he wasn’t offended by the language.

“Back off Muhammed,” Michael said, backing away from Freddy. “He’s sick.” Freddy could hardly stand. “Where’s the vaccine,” Michael barked at him.

“My uncle Victor has it.” Freddy said. “Tell him to please bring it to me,” he pleaded getting sicker by the minute. “Tell him I’ll give him two hundred thousand dollars from my poker account,” he said holding up a burner phone that was on the table.

“Sure sure,” Muhammed said. “Where is he?”

“Canada,” Freddy said as he fell to the floor.

“Don’t touch him I’ll call Williams,” Muhammed said, walking out to the garage.

“Are you sure this virus is only transferred thru contact?” A worried Agent Michael asked.

“That’s what they told us at the briefing.” Muhammed assured him as the door closed behind him. After a few minutes, Muhammed came back into the house to find Michael still pointing his gun at Freddy. “How’s he doing?” he asked


 “Fred is dead,” Michael said “Fred is dead.”

 Muhammed looked down at a teenage boy lying dead on the floor. “Poor misguided kid.” Muhammed said, showing some empathy.

“Fuck him,” Michael said. “May he burn in hell.  Do you people have a hell?” he asked, referring to Muhammed’s Muslim beliefs.

“My hell is having you for a partner. Let’s wait outside,” Muhammed answered, not wanting to be in the house with the dead infected kid. He pulled out his note pad and told Michael,  “Williams has ordered us to go to Canada. The Jet is being refueled and we’ll land in a small air field in Calgary. There will be a car waiting for us there, and we are to meet a Canadian RCMP woman and her partner outside this Vetro Tumashu’s residence.”

“Oh, great, a chick in charge,” Michael said as he lit up a cigarette.  Not only was he a racist but also a misogynist. The CDC arrived before he was done with his smoke and they were off to Canada. On the plane, Muhammed sat away from Michael, talking to ASAC Williams for a few minutes.

“What did he want?” Michael asked when he saw his partner hang up.

“Just an update. The World Health Organization along with the CDC are working on the vaccine but it still may be a couple of days before it’s ready to distribute,” Muhammed said with sadness in his voice.

“What about the President?” Michael asked.

“He’s stable for now. Even though he’s getting better care than anyone in the world, it’s still just a matter of time,” Muhammed replied. The rest of the trip was pretty quiet.

Michael and Muhammed drove up to the Canadian stakeout about a half a block away from Vetro’s house and got into the back seat of the Canadian agents vehicle.

“It’s about time you got here,” said the female agent.

“Rough terrain,” Michael snapped back, hating that a woman was in charge.

“We’re here now, what do we have?” Muhammed said, trying to be professional.

Canadian Agent two pulled out his notebook and began reading. “Vetro Tamusho, age 42 Afghan nationalist. Suspected Taliban drug dealer. We know he’s connected with the terrorist who infected the world."

“We have reason to believe he may be in possession of the vaccine,” Michael said

“Let’s go get it,” the female agent said. They walked to the trunk,“You guys take the back door. We’ll bust thru the front,” she said taking complete control of the situation. They put on vests and Canadian Agent two grabbed a battering ram. “Let’s do this.” They checked their weapons and tried to keep control of the adrenaline that was rushing through them. They walked past Vetro’s Range Rover that was sitting in the driveway. Michael and Muhammed quietly went around to the back door. When the Canadians broke in, Vetro ran towards the bedroom with the Agents in hot pursuit. Michael and Muhammed broke thru the back door. Vetro grabbed a gun from his bag on the bed and got off one round. It hit Canadian Agent two in the throat, just above his bullet proof vest. Female Agent returned fire, putting six shots into Vetro’s chest .

'SUSPECT DOWN' she yelled as Michael and Muhammed entered the bedroom with guns drawn. Muhammed holstered his weapon and checked the bodies. He checked Canadian Agent two first then knelt down next to Uncle Vetro.

“They’re both dead,” he said.

The female agent quickly looked into Vetro’s bag that was on the bed.  She moved some shirts out of the way, pulled out a  towel and unrolled it. A vial and needle appeared.

“We just saved thousands of lives,” she said holding up the vaccine.

“No, just one. The President's.” Michael said holding a pistol to the back of her head. A shot rang out and the Canadian female Agent turned to see Michael fall to the ground. Muhammed shot him right between the eyes with Vetro’s gun.

“Go'” Muhammed said. “Get that vial to the W.H.O. as fast as you can. I’ll call this in. This is the story I'll tell," he said to  the female Agent, "I came through the back door alone. Vetro shot one of yours and one of ours. You grabbed the vaccine and left for the W.H.O. while I secured the scene

“You saved thousands of lives here,” she told him as she looked at her partners lifeless body on the floor.

Muhammed waited until she left before he called it in. “Shots fired, officer down.” he said into Agent two’s radio. While he waited for the Calavary to arrive, he called Assistant Special Agent in Charge Williams.

“Tell him it’s done,” He said. Williams hung up and immediately placed a call.

“It’s done,” Williams said.

Vice President Chewey answered. “You are a true patriot. One of my first tasks as President will be to fire Jenkins and replace him with you as F.B.I.Director

“Thank you,sir,.” Williams responded. “And my job should go to Agent Muhammed”

“Of course, it will show we’re not anti-Muslim,” Chewey said, trying not to laugh.

 

Chapter 7

With the World Health Organization working on reproducing the vaccine, President Bash dies. Vice President Chewey is sworn in as President and promises justice for this terrorist act. He then took his seat behind his new desk in the oval office. He answered a call from Saudi Arabia informing him of the Crown Prince’s death.

“It looks like this is going to get worse before it gets better.” The President told America at a News Conference he scheduled. “Our troops will stay in The Middle East until these radical Islamic  terrorist are no longer a threat to us. No matter how long it takes. Thoughts and prayers to all those who are suffering. God Bless you and God bless The United States of America.

Thanks to the efforts of the W.H.O. with assistance from the C.D.C. and other health organizations world wide, the vaccine was reproduced and distributed around the world within forty eight hours. It took a long week before authorities could get a handle on the outbreaks. Most people stayed indoors. Schools, sporting events, and many places of business, were cancelled or closed, to keep the virus from spreading.

The news had their  biggest viewing audience ever. They praised the Canadian female Agent and Agent Muhammed, now head of the Nevada office, for being hero's. `They saved thousands of lives by their actions' the news told the world over and over again. Twenty four hour news cycles have a lot of time to fill.

Also continuously on the news, was a picture of Farooq Tamashu. It was his high school picture complete with beard and unibrow, looking as Muslim as he was. Far from the way he looked lying dead in Idaho. He was the new face of terrorism. The biggest mass murderer in history next to Dictators, Czar's, and Presidents. Anti Muslim sentiment was running rampant throughout the world.

The W.H.O. ordered those who died from the virus to be cremated. Some religions didn't agree with it, but most complied. There were vigils and memorials all around the world, for the thousands of people who perished. Urns of ashes with pictures of the victims, filled funeral homes, churches, gymnasiums, and anywhere people would gather to honor the dead.

Just outside Dallas,there was a memorial for the Big Texan infected in the W.S.O.P. tournament. Half the town showed up at his ranch for a giant B.B.Q. and party. Big Tex wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Next to his urn of ashes was a life size cardboard cut out of Tex. Complete with a ten gallon hat, giant belt buckle, and fancy cowboy boots, it stood over 7 feet tall. Even in death, Big Tex was over the top.

His two sons drank beer and greeted guests to the ranch. When they finally had a minute alone, they walked by the parked cars to have a smoke.

'What do we do now that that muslim killed our daddy," the younger boy  asked.

Big brother opened the back of his pick-up truck and exposed multiple automatic weapons, "We kill them all!" he said.

In Germany, nationalist's, wearing nazi arm bands, were burning Muslim neighborhoods without much resistance from the goverment.

Russia sent troops into Chechnya, arresting anyone who they believed had ties to any terrorist groups. That was pretty much half the population.

In Isreal, as if they need a reason to hate Muslims, troops were cracking down on any gatherings of Palastanian's, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The people resisted by throwing rocks at the soldiers. The soldiers retaliated by shooting bullets at the Palastinian's. Guess who won? Hammas, in Sryria, increased the amount of rockets being shot towards Tel Aviv. The Isreali Air Force bombed targets they thought responsible.

In the United States the National Gaurd was called out in Minnesota, to try and protect it's heavily populated Muslim area's.

President Chewey called a meeting with his Intel leaders. "Looks like the virus attack was retaliation for the bombing of Afganastan," Homeland Security Director,Sandburg said.

"We could increase troops in Iraq and Afganastan," Defense Secretary Rumface suggested, "and let's bomb the Pakastan mountains. What the hell we're in the neighborhood and that's where those radical Islamic terrorist's will run to hide.'

"Do it!" Chewey said.

"Yes, sir," General Maddux said, trying to hide the joy in his voice

 

Different terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, were growing in numbers by the thousands. Even though a few months earlier, Farooq was just a teenager thinkinking about college and loved playing poker, he was now a hero to young Muslims around the world. Kids couldn't wait to strap on suicide vests and kill the infidel in the name of Allah and Farooq, and the Elders couldn't wait to let them. They used Farooq as a recruiting tool on the internet all around the world. While all the young Muslims fought the Jihad, the Elders hid up high in the Afgan/Pakastan mountains. They settled in for what they knew would be a long conflict.

"They have the watches but we have the time," Elder 1 said, "shuffle up and deal."

With this cycle of endless retaliation, the world was truly 'drawing dead.'

The end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 T S Air. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Commercial Fiction Short Stories