(This is the final chapter of Mother of Satan. For previous chapters click here.)
Mohammad enjoyed driving his newly acquired, 1987 Nissan Maxima. It had the style of a bygone era, once representing the quintessential “Gangsta” car of the ’80s.
The car, which had been “tricked out” with gleaming chrome wheels and two enormous highly amplified speakers hidden behind the back seats. The entire car pulsed with the heavy base of rap, as an endless loop of preprogrammed compact discs delivered their angry messages with crystal fidelity.
Mohammad enjoyed stopping in traffic at stop lights and watching others, watch him uncomfortably out of the corner of their eyes. While he realized this was drawing attention to himself, a reckless feeling of abandon was surging within him, fueling his very being with a sense of euphoric invulnerability.
With night came the first sighting of the new moon which begins the month-long fast of Ramadan. From dawn until sunset, Mohammad would abstain from food, sex and other sensual pleasures. He would sleep in the car. While it lacked the creature comforts of his old motel room, it was far better than sleeping at construction sites. He managed to find a rest area, off the Beltway, where a running car wouldn’t attract attention.
Under the new moon’s glow, he parked amid a huddled cluster of 18-wheel tractor trailers that had nestled in for a night’s rest. Surrounding himself with these massive vehicles made his small Maxima seem all the more obscure. The comforting drone of the trucker’s idling diesels formed a chorus line for Mohammad’s dreams. Their dieseling sound slowly lulled him to sleep, a soothing, melodic sound that soon enjoined the never ending movie playing within Mohammad’s mind.
As he drifted deeper and deeper into sleep, the visions began to return and once again he could feel himself flying over the winding river of the Potomac. He could clearly hear the roaring engine of his plane as it carried him swiftly into the bright, white cloud that was his destiny.
Mohammad awoke the following morning at dawn. The sun greeted his face through the foggy windshield as he awoke to the sounds of shifting gears and the belching exhausts of departing truckers resuming their journeys down I-95. Mohammad’s breath was foul and his throat hurt from snoring, making it painful to swallow. He would spend the rest of the day making final preparations for the morning to come.
First he must find a quiet place to work. He chose the National Arboretum off New York Avenue, a 20-minute drive from the rest area. The Arboretum is an often-overlooked National Park filled with acres of beautiful North America trees and botanicals. It is an esthetic slice of nature’s beauty misplaced on the edge of the city’s warehouse district. The impeccable landscape and tranquil setting made it a perfect location for the privacy Mohammad required for the final stages of his work.
He parked the Maxima next to a tall Alberta Spruce, popped the trunk, and removed his knapsack carefully. In it he had enough Semtex explosive to wipe out two square city blocks. The detonator was a reverse triggering device, which Mohammad decided he would connect the following morning. Pulling the trigger would cock the explosive detonator, while releasing it would cause an instant detonation. There would be no turning back once the trigger had been pulled. Snipers and SWAT teams become pointless once you’ve have made it to ground zero. Detonation becomes inevitable.
Next, he pulled a two foot square piece of fiberboard from the trunk and laid it on the lawn. Then he poured a 10-pound box of thin, finishing nails and spread them evenly across the top of the board. Once this was done, he sprayed a thin dose of adhesive on top of the nails. Once the adhesive had dried, the Semtex would then be applied behind the light fiberboard, to then be sandwiched between a second piece of quarter-inch piece steel, also two foot square. Upon detonation of the Semtex, a thousand nails would then be propelled into deadly flight. The shotgun effect of this detonation was sure to thin the herd of any densely populated assembly.
It was now Mohammad’s divine mission to ensure that this instrument would have its crucifying effect on the president’s Inauguration. He realized that Semtex and nails would never make the kind of statement the virus would have, still Mohammad felt it was the best he could do under circumstances.
As the glue dried, Mohammad passed the time listening to the All News Station on his car radio. He wanted to hear as many details of the Inauguration as possible. It was noon when they broadcast the first reports of the police shoot out in Clinton.
“Early details of this incident are sketchy,” the newscaster reported. “For now, what we do know, is that a shoot-out ensued during a stake out of a parking lot in Prince George’s County, Md. Members of the stake out, which included both federal and local law enforcement officers, confronted an armed suspect, according to police. When the suspect refused to surrender his weapon after discharging it at police, police returned fire, according to Rollin Royce, a police spokesman.
“At least one federal agent has been reported injured and, we are told, a police dog was also shot and killed during the incident. The suspect’s name is being withheld, pending notification of next of kin. We’ll have more details as they develop.”
Mohammad knew, as soon as he heard the broadcast, that this was a trap that had been intended for him. He almost felt sorry for the poor fool who died in his place.
“In national news,” the newscaster said, “tomorrow marks the beginning of three days of festivities starting with the second Inauguration of the president. After his Inaugural Address, the president plans to motorcade back to the White House to begin the celebrations that are scheduled to be held in honor of his reelection. Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world have been invited to attend with musical entertainment provided by some of the greatest names in rock, country, and soul to include the original Broadway cast of Indira.”
Gan·dhi (gän¹dê, gàn¹-), Indira Nehru
Mohammad smiled to himself. Four years ago the president’s Inaugural Address lasted 28 minutes. Shear vanity would compel him to talk even longer this time as he savored each moment of his reclamation of power. The longer — the better — thought Mohammad.
As dusk gave way to darkness, Mohammad realized that he had just witnessed his last sunset. Almost immediately he dismissed the thought as being overly sentimental. With the darkness he could break his fast and fill his empty stomach with nourishment. But first, he knew that the car he was driving had been reported stolen, and more importantly, the car’s tag number had been entered into the N.C.I.C. computer. Any routine check of this tag by a passing patrol car could spell disaster. s a precautionary measure, Mohammad removed a fresh pair of tags from a rental car parked at a Hertz lot 10 minutes after the agency had closed for the day. That should buy him some time, at least until it opened in the morning. By then, it would no longer matter.
Mohammad still had a large amount of cash left, which he knew he would no longer need. Without bothering to count it, he filled a large manila envelope with the remaining cash, less a thousand dollars for his final expenses, and addressed the envelope to his attorney, Lee Williams. He included a brief note which read: “Use the money to ensure that Ramzi Kamel’s loyalty is repaid in prison.”
It was dark now and he began to eat. He watched the stream of headlights, slowly exiting the city, bumper upon bumper. The major arteries were clogged with the chronic sclerosis of the commuter exodus. Like two opposing tides, this migratory ebb and flow marked the cycle of day, passing into night for Washington. In a few hours the arteries would flow freely again, with fresh blood, and the evening’s streets would once again belong to the night people. The hustlers and hookers were now just waking up, taking their first tastes of the breakfast of champions. Freshly nourished, they would soon emerge from their dwellings to reclaim their turf, and engage once again, in the commerce of darkness.
Mohammad welcomed that change. He wanted to explore the vices that a thousand dollars could buy him during his last remaining night on earth. He felt entitled to one last indulgence of the flesh.
He waited until midnight before beginning his patrol of the red-light district. By then, a full army of hookers was on parade. The streets were littered with them, scantily dressed, wearing mink coat vests without the sleeves. Mohammad slowly circled the blocks sampling each whore with his eyes. He was driving with his left hand while clutching his hard penis in his right. He decided upon one of two possibilities. The first was an Asian female in her 20s. She was wearing hip high, black boots with silver studs that seemed to sparkle as they climbed up her ass. The lustful fantasy her image created surged deeply within his loins. The second was a blonde in a tight, red mini skirt. She had a cheap, Marilyn Monroe look about her. Either one would do, thought Mohammad. As he circled back he observed the blonde climbing into a black BMW with Virginia tags. He passed them slowly before stopping to pick up the Asian.
“You looking for a date?” she asked with a smile.
“You’re not a cop are you?” she asked while seating herself in the front seat.
“No, I’m not. Do I look like a cop?” asked Mohammad while shaking his exposed penis at her. Her question was so stupid that it could only have been asked in America. As a former policeman himself, Mohammad couldn’t believe that anyone would even ask such a stupid question.
If I were a cop, do you seriously believe that I’m under any obligation to tell you, he thought to himself. Only in America! Obviously this question originated as the brainchild of some self proclaimed lawyer incarceramus, proving once again that there should be a law against law books in all jail libraries.
“What’s your name?” Mohammad asked.
“Skoot,” she said while clutching his cock in her hand and squeezing it, knowing that cops can’t let you touch their genitals.
“Scout?” Mohammad asked, flinching from the squeeze.
“ No, Scooooooot. It — a — nick — name,” she said with difficulty. “It mean ‘crazy’ in my country.”
“Cambochia, huh?” Mohammad asked, now certain of her origin in southeast Asia.
“How you know I’m Cambodian?” she asked, pleasantly surprised.
“What you want? How much you spend?” she asked.
“How much to fuck you in the ass?” he asked.
“I never do dat,”she said with a disgusted frown.
“Not even for five hundred dollars?” he asked.
“You give me five hundred, you wear rubber,” she said.
“We go to my place,” she said. “Turn left here. OK. You park over there.”
The two entered the lobby of the high rise and swiftly made their way toward the elevator. The man on the night desk who was reading a newspaper never bothered to look up as they passed. They rode to the eighth floor and turned left down the hallway. The musty carpet was heavily worn and the pale, dingy lighting did little to conceal the blistering beige paint that was barely clinging to the corridor walls. She unlocked the door to room #816.
As they crossed the threshold and entered the apartment, they were standing in a room decorated with beanbag chairs and a makeshift stand, constructed of cement blocks and unfinished pine boards that supported an aging stereo system. Music was left permanently on, playing a dull mix of top 40 on the FM band. The sofa was stained and torn and the surviving shag carpet had been flattened by years of foot traffic that went unabated by vacuuming. Mohammad followed the worn trail in the carpet that led to the sofa. He took a seat.
“Money first,” she demanded. “No money — no honey.”
Mohammad peeled off five one hundred dollar bills from his roll and handed them to her, saying, “Leave the boots on.” He hadn’t decided if he’d kill her yet. It would depend on whether or not she made a big deal about the rubber.
“I don’t like rubbers Skoot,” he said calmly.
“No rubber. No can do,” she said flatly. Mohammad had heard this line before.
He smiled while trying to remain calm. “How about if I give you seven hundred dollars? That’s a lucky number — seven. I promise you I’m not sick. Seven hundred is a lot of money and if you’re very good I’ll tip you too.”
Skoot paused for a long moment to consider his offer, then she spoke. “You tip me one hundred more and I do for you.”
“If you’re good — I tip you one hundred,” he said. “I give you one hundred after.”
She agreed in a voice that reflected pride in the hard bargain she’d driven. They both seemed to enjoy the art of their negotiation. Mohammad handed her an extra two hundred dollars as she peeled down her panties and lifted her buttocks in the air, doggie style, to present to him. Now it was time for Mohammad to drive the hard bargain.
He spread the cheeks of her buttocks and entered her ass slowly, savoring each moment of the ecstasy. It felt tight and warm as it enveloped his cock with its hot, elastic juices. She winced with pain as he entered deeper and deeper into the cavernous darkness of her hole. With each pounding thrust she cried out to him with phrases of encouragement. “Fuck your Skoot. Skoot want you. That feel good Baby.”
“I like you hard cock in my ass, baby.” This litany played on, like a broken record until Mohammad exploded in the depths of her bowels. He clung to her shoulders and violently trembled during the final spasms of his climax. His knees felt weak as he extracted his slippery, softened cock from the tight, button hole grasp of her ass.
She quickly sat up in a squat, grabbing a tissue from a box on the coffee table and began to wiped herself thoroughly. Mohammad tossed another hundred on the table and got up to leave, glancing at his watch. It was quarter to two.
“You’re a very good fuck, Skoot,” Mohammad said. “Seven hundred really was a lucky number for you,” he smiled, while thinking to himself what he should do next.
“Here,” she said, handing him her phone number. “I like you very much. You’re a very nice gentleman. You call me anytime and I do for you whatever you want, OK baby?” she asked, smiling.
Mohammad knew that in her own way Skoot was being sincere. Their transaction had been an honest one, and both had lived up to their end of the bargain. Mohammad decided he would let her live. They left the building together, said goodbye, and turned to walk away in separate directions.
Meanwhile, at police headquarters, Lipskey, Rogers and Harrison were assembled in the squad room papering the final stages of their reports on the shooting. The phone rang and Rogers answered. It was Phil Donovan.
“Mr. Rogers, how are you this evening?” Donovan asked.
“Phil, you can call me Irwin, you can call me Rogers, but please … don’t ever call me Mr. Rogers.”
“Agreed,” Donovan laughed. “I didn’t really think of that until after I said it. Sorry. Anyway, the reason I called is, you’ll recall that I promised you and your partner once, that I’d pass on any information that happens to come my way.
“The truth is, there’s been nothing. No air traffic — no hard intelligence whatsoever. Except for one thing. It’s only a theory now, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass it on to you. We feel that it’s entirely possible that he’ll make an attempt on the president’s life tomorrow. Naturally we’ve passed this information on to the Secret Service already, but without any hard evidence they’re not putting too much stock in it.
“The reason I’m calling you, is to let you know personally that I believe he’s actually going to try it tomorrow. It’s the only thing that makes sense. What else could be keeping him here? I’d almost bet my life on it.”
“Well Phil,” Rogers said, “I’m afraid that sort of thing is out of my control, not to mention out of my league.”
“I know,” Donovan agreed, “but I thought you might want to be there just in case. If for no other reason than to get a good look at him, just in case he shows. I would think that as long as you guys have been hunting him, you’d at least be curious.”
“Oh, curious is not quite the word Phil,” Rogers said. “I just doubt that we’d even be allowed near the place ourselves.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Donovan said. “If it is, just give me a call, and I’ll take care of it. Check with Lipskey first, he should know what has to be done.”
“I’ll do that Phil, thanks for calling.”
“Sorry I didn’t have more I could give you,” Donovan said. “Oh and Irwin … try to be careful OK? I’m serious.”
“What did Donovan want?” Lipskey asked.
“He’s playing junior detective,” Rogers said with a dismissing laugh. “He thinks Mohammad’s going to take a shot at the president tomorrow.”
“So do I. That’s why we’re going to be there.”
Harrison, who’d been talking on the phone to his fiancée, suddenly smothered the mouthpiece with his large hand and looked up a Lipskey with an expression of disbelief.
Rogers winced at the news and looked up at the clock. It was 2 a.m. After 17 hours of work he was hoping he could finally catch up on his sleep. Maybe after the Inauguration.
Mohammad also needed to catch up on his sleep. He stopped long enough to fill the gas tank of the Maxima and grab a fist full of junk food to eat on his way out of the city. He would sleep at the same rest station where he had slept the night before. He knew that he must be alert and fully rested for his mission in the morning. The Inaugural ceremonies would begin promptly at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
Mohammad tilted back his leather seat and began to concentrate on the soothing beat of the trucker’s diesels while he waited for sleep to overtake him. He closed his eyes and, at the risk of being sentimental, allowed himself to look back one last time at the life he had lived.
It was a life, that in stages, had grown unbearable. The misery began at birth. Poverty was his first inheritance, a parting gift bestowed upon him by his shameless, philandering father who had deserted the family when Mohammad was nine.
Within a year, disease had killed off his two older brothers. What disease, Mohammad will never know, for his mother was too poor to afford a diagnosis, much less a treatment for her dying sons. Mohammad could still see the expression on his mother’s face as she sat helplessly beside her sons’ beds, cooling their heads with tepid, wet rags as the fever consumed them with its fire.
Mohammad was 10 when he became the man of their house. Through shear resourcefulness he had managed to provide for his mother and two remaining sisters. He began as a thief, learning quickly to pay a portion of his gains in tribute to the local police. In exchange, they would allow him to gently fleece the tourists. The foreigners, most of whom were Americans, treated him like a servant in his own country.
He learned to speak English because the language was useful in talking the foreigners out of their money. It was during these years that he had met Alexi Defarshi, who like Mohammad, was also an impoverished, fatherless soul. Neither boy could afford the luxury of conscience then. Not if they were to put food on the table.
In time, when the boys had grown into men, each of them prospered in his own way. The old ways had become a part of both of them now and the habits of survival were impossible to break. Eventually Mohammad stopped paying tribute to the police. He joined them instead. Gradually, he rose among the ranks of the Shah’s secret police, gaining admittance into the inner circles of the dreaded Savak. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for his superiors and it was during this time that Mohammad became highly proficient in the art of torture.
The fear he produced in others became an aphrodisiac for him. A perverse, testicular inspiration began to overwhelm his entire being whenever duty required him to deliver his apocalyptic message. Mohammad sensed the power he had over life and death, and he reveled in the discretion that the state had granted him in the name of security. Others now paid tribute to Mohammad and doctors no longer required his payment for their services. His mother and sisters were given new identities and relocated in an affluent section of Teheran with a view of Mt. Damavand. No one would ever know that her son worked for the Savak.
His friend, Alexi Defarshi had moved to the United States, first as a student working through college, and later, after dropping out, as the Maitre D’ to the powerful. The two men stayed in touch.
Alexi’s specialty had always been vice. For a price, he would provide people with the object of their desires. During those early years in the United States, Alexi had proven himself to be a valuable asset for his homeland as well. At first, he helped infiltrate the Iranian student organizations for the Savak, identifying the radical student leaders who were advocating the overthrow of the Shah. Later, when the political tide turned against the Shah, Alexi, with the help of his friend Mohammad, worked on the side of the revolution.
This reminiscing did not come with out regret for Mohammad.
“We all must die one day Alexi,” Mohammad muttered to himself, half asleep. “You must remember that it was me who kept you alive for many years after your sentence of death had been passed. My lies kept them from you for as long as I could. I never wanted you to suffer. That is why I did the deed myself. Soon your death will be avenged my friend and I, who was your killer, will also be killed.”
But these pleadings of retribution did little to comfort the guilt that lay deep within Mohammad. Like the indelibly etched face of his mother, it was Alexi’s last stare that remained seared into his memory. That final expression, when the bullet entered his screaming mouth. Mercifully, these thoughts faded, as the darkness of sleep finally visited Mohammad Karun.
The following morning, during the briefing, Daren Harrison read the long guest list of invitations to the Inaugural. A Nobel Prize winner, a feminist and a puppet.
“This is some list,” Harrison said aloud.
“I blame Reagan for this crap,” said Rogers, who barely looked awake. “Reagan’s the one who started bringing all this Hollywood trash out here. Now this latest clown is trying to outdo Reagan. Look at this, he’s spending $34 million for a party. You’d think we’d elected an emperor for Christ sakes. It makes the whole thing look like a circus.”
“Well, I see we haven’t had our coffee yet, heh Detective Rogers?” Lipskey said as he kicked off their final briefing with a note of irritation. “Since we’re going to be working with the Secret Service today, might I suggest that we refrain from referring to the president as a ‘clown.’ The Secret Service tends to be sensitive to those kind of remarks, if you catch my drift. OK Rogers?”
Rogers saluted Lipskey with mock civility and said nothing. Once again, Lipskey was right.
“Remember people, this is a professional courtesy that we’re being extended here. This entire event is a Secret Service operation. We are merely guests who must report directly to them.”
“On a lighter note, let me tell you some good news,” Lipskey smiled. “Special Agent Elena Lopez has regained consciousness and all her tests indicate that she will make a full recovery.”
Lipskey paused for a moment at the lectern and smiled toward the gathering. A spontaneous round of applause broke out around the table. This helped to prolong Lipskey’s smile briefly, delaying the resumption of his customary, no-nonsense posture. He looked down at the lectern in quiet reflection, using the time to recompose. Then, he looked up and resumed the briefing.
“After the president gives his Inaugural Address, he is scheduled to attend parties throughout the city. The largest gathering will be at the U.S. Air Arena in Prince George’s County.”
Lipskey then held up a small digital radio pack for the task force to see.
Each of you will be issued these voice activated radios, together with these pins, which you will wear on your jacket lapels. They identify you to the members of the Secret Service. You are to wear them at all times. We will be manning the outside perimeter of the Capitol, near the Old Senate Office Building. An Army drill team will be assembled on the steps of the Capital. They are not really a drill team, nor are they soldiers. They’re actually a Special Secret Service Team and they have enough firepower to engage a small army.”
“Speaking of the Army,” Lipskey continued, “there also will be members of the 101st Airborne Division stationed on rooftops and along the major arteries that approach the city. Their mission is a strictly military one, I’m told, and don’t ask me what that means because I don’t know.”
“Our job will be to report any suspicious activity or persons over this radio which goes directly to Secret Service Command. We are not, repeat NOT, to engage any suspect without authorization unless that suspect poses a clear and eminent danger. I cannot stress this enough people. There will be thousands of dignitaries in this crowd and hundreds of cameras will be following their every move. If you screw up here, rest assured that you’ll be doing it live and on video tape. Let’s not become famous on the evening news. Questions?”
There were none.
“All right. We’ll meet at the corner of First and Constitution at exactly 11 hundred hours. I’ll give your assignments at that time. Until then, you’re free to leave.”
Police Mounted Units from across the country were arriving on horseback to take part in the ceremony. In growing numbers, the clattering hoofs of their freshly groomed steeds could be heard, beating their hollow, percussive rhythm upon the stretched blacktop ribbon of Pennsylvania Avenue. Flags slapped in the cold wind, displaying the myriad of colors of the States of the Union. Each participating police department was required by the Secret Service to have their officers sign waivers stipulating that their guns would either be rendered inoperable or left secured in a place other than on their person. The sidewalks along the motorcade route were filling up with anxious spectators who were positioning themselves early to get the best view of the presidential entourage.
It was now 10 o’clock and Mohammad had three hours to kill. It was still too early for him to return to the town of Clinton. He must wait until the last moment. Then, he would park his car a few blocks away from his destination, abandon it in a residential area, and walk the rest of the way on foot. Though Mohammad was getting hungry, he decided to remain on his fast until the end.
He passed the time assembling the triggering devise and attaching it to the explosive Semtex. All the while he listened to the All News Radio broadcast as it reported the breaking stories of the Inauguration. Mohammad would proceed the moment he heard the first note of the song he longed to hear. As he listened to the news broadcast, he spoke aloud to the broadcaster, as though he were calling in with a request to a late night disk jockey, “Play Hail to the Chief for me, will you?” he whispered, in a voice seething with hate.
Staff Sgt. Johnny Lambert from Olive Hill, Ky., was finishing the final stages of his deployment upon the roof of the Sam Rayburn Building, just southeast of the Capitol. Lambert had joined the Army eight years ago and had been assigned to the 101st Airborne ever since. He was proud to be in the Army. In his heart he knew that sooner or later he’d have wound up in jail if he’d stayed in Olive Hill. He’d have run moonshine or gotten into an argument with a member of the wrong family. Either way he was sure it would have been jail or the receiving end of 30-30 rifle slug.
“There just didn’t seem to be no percentage in that,” he was fond of saying.
Lambert had never been to an Inauguration before. He couldn’t take his eyes off the majestic, white dome of the Capitol. It made him feel proud inside. This country had been good to him and he knew it. America was putting a lot of trust in Johnny Lambert and he was not about to let them down. Not ever, he thought, as he unpacked his stinger missile.
“Rogers, you and Harrison take the area of the Supreme Court,” Lipskey said.
“Lipskey,” Rogers asked, “do you really think he’ll show?”
“Don’t you?” Lipskey asked.
Rogers shrugged but said nothing. As he turned to walk toward their post, Rogers asked Harrison, “What do you think Daren?”
“He’s coming all right,” Harrison said coldly.
Rogers then felt a small finger stabbing him in his back.
“Stick ’em up,” said the woman’s voice.
Rogers turned to confront her. It was Debbie Peerless. This was not the time to be seen talking to a reporter.
It’s you. Well … well. Hi ya, Debbie,” he said nervously, “meet my partner, Daren Harrison.”
“No comment,” Harrison said smiling, not altogether in jest.
“I didn’t know you’re a fan of the President Irwin,” said Peerless, wearing her usual, impossible to interpret, smile, “or is this an official visit?”
“Not official really, no,” Rogers fumbled. “Listen, I wish we had time to chat Debbie, but we have some place we have to be at, if you know what I mean.”
“Say no more — I understand,” Peerless said with a laugh. “Nice to have met you Detective Harrison. By the way gentlemen, I love your pins.”
Mohammad had now arrived in Clinton. He parked the car in a residential area and listened intently to the radio as it began to play Hail to the Chief. Twenty-eight minutes and counting he thought. He locked the doors to the car while holding the two foot square metal plate of nails under his arm as though it were a painted portrait he was delivering. Then he briskly walked the three blocks to Hyde Field Airport.
He headed directly toward the plane that he had selected weeks earlier, while hiding in the woods. It was a mustard colored Cessna. Planes of this type are much easier to steal than cars. He strapped the explosive into the passenger seat and then climbed in behind the wheel and started the aircraft.
He yelled “clear” loudly and waited for the prop to turn. After a few sputtering revolutions, the engine began to warm up and Mohammad started his taxi toward the runway. There was no other traffic at this small, country airport.
He revved the engine one last time before beginning his take off. As he lifted the nose of the aircraft off the tarmac, he held his course steady, which was due south. There was a full tank of gas. Mohammad continued to listen to the All News Station as it broadcast the swearing in ceremony that had already begun. “ I do solemnly swear …” repeated the voice of the president.
Mohammed could now see the river of the Potomac. As he flew over it, he banked left, heading east toward the Chesapeake Bay. He was now at 4,000 feet. Time to begin his slow descent. Gradually he swooped down to 300 feet above the river. He then banked left 180 degrees in a crisp turn that was only completed when he feel the spotlight of the western sun glowing in his face. He dropped his altitude even more, flying between the river banks while heading due west toward Washington. He was less than 50 feet off the water, practically skimming the shimmering, golden waves, that glistened beneath him in the afternoon sun. He was now well below treetop and radar level.
The swearing in was now over and the President’s speech had begun. He was preaching about the 21st century again. Mohammad was just clearing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. But on this day, the bridge keeper had a Secret Service agent keeping him company inside the bridge house. The agent grabbed for his radio and screamed into it. “Red Light … Red Light. Unauthorized aircraft heading your way. It’s a yellow, single engine aircraft.”
Mohammad aimed directly at the Washington Monument. He knew that he needed to turn right just before reaching it. A swarm of agents were now shielding the president at the podium and shepherding him away toward the basement of the Capitol. The seated crowd of dignitaries remained frozen in their chairs as the interrupted president disappeared from their midst, in the middle of his speech.
Mohammad was now making his hard right, just before the monument. He was into his final approach now. Time to squeeze the trigger. He barely heard the crisp snap of the mechanism as he activated it.
Staff Sgt. Johnny Lambert had his orders. They were very clear. No plane. No way. Lambert poised the Stinger Missile on his shoulder and track the yellow bird like a quail, flying through a holler. Wham, the missile was off. It hissed a fiery path directly toward the yellow Cessna.
Mohammad was banking left now, he could see the white dome of the Rotunda and the crowd gathered beneath him. Then a bright, white light blinded his vision and his sense of being ceased to be. There was no time for pain. No further thought. In the flash of that second, all that was him, had been reduced to falling particles of incineration.
A secondary explosion now filled the sky with an orange fire, shrouded in black smoke. The Semtex had detonated and it hailed a shower of burning nails down upon the crowd. Rogers turned to look at Harrison. Neither man could speak. They stood frozen in place, listening to the sounds of falling metal descending through the trees and careening off the white edifices of the surrounding buildings. They both knew in their hearts that their search for Mohammad was finally over.
George Munkelwitz has been a law enforcement officer for 32 years. He spent 22 years patrolling the streets as a Prince George’s County Police officer. He served in Vietnam as a military intelligence specialist where he worked with the controversial Phoenix Program. Prior to the anthrax attack, he was writing the book “The Mother of Satan.” After the anthrax attack, an article appeared in the Washington Times magazine Insight, quoting his expertise in military intelligence, and mentioning his book. ABC news interviewed him but he felt the network treated him like a suspect and not an expert in the field. He never published the book after that interview. Nearly two decades later, his serial novel is finally published by Baltimore Post-Examiner.