It was a crisp September morning as I completed my morning jog. Clear skies indicated a likely day of sunny warmth that make late summer so glorious. I uneasily completed the daily inspection sheet on my lift truck. I knew it was my last day on the cushy job of servicing only the electricians.
There was a big meeting scheduled for all the big shots. Long simmering disputes were to be settled in order to facilitate the completion of a contract to remodel and upgrade this paper mill in Alsop Illinois. The one predictable result of the meeting would be my return to the operator pool paid by Meyers, the general contractor. The Electrical contractor would be required to hire their own operator through the Union.
As I finished my inspection Joe, the Labor Foreman, came by, harried as usual, and told me to stand by for further orders; I handed him the morning Safety Meeting sheet and waited in the cool sunlight. Activity on the site was at a near standstill because all the Foremen and Superintendents were at the meeting. As the sun began to warm the morning the Electrician Apprentice rushed out of the parts trailer.
“I just gotta’ tell you. A plane just flew into the World Trade Center in New York. It’s all over news radio.”
“This is earth shaking”, I replied. “Go back and find out what you can.”
The Apprentice soon returned. He reported “They are saying that there are other planes reported off course, that is a likely terror attack, and they are blaming it on Muslim Terrorists.” He began to turn away.
“No, wait, I have something I got to get said. This is bigger than you think. It is not the Muslims though they will be blamed. It is much bigger than that. This is a day that will change History. Mark my words.”
“How can you be so sure about that?”
“Nobody could penetrate NORAD without inside help. It can only be a false flag attack to justify war against Middle Eastern Countries.”
“What is a false flag?”
“Do you remember in your High School History the phrase ‘Remember the Maine’ or the Gulf of Tolkien incident?”
“Let me explain this as fast as I can. False Flag incidents are real or imaginary attacks by a weaker enemy on a stronger nation which are used to justify war. Think of the school yard bully who provokes his victim, then uses anything the poor kid says or does as an excuse to rough him up; put that on a much greater scale.”
“But who does this? Who would attack their own Country?
“In the CIA and other Intelligence Agencies, it is sometimes known as Black Ops. Or Rogue elements. Think of the Watergate burglaries or the assignation of President John F. Kennedy.”
“I don’t know anything about that. How can you be sure It was not just the Arabs or Muslims, whatever they are?”
“Try this” I said. If I pointed to a hornet nest and asked you to stick your hand in it, would you do it?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well I don’t think there are any Arab or Muslim Countries that would either. They know they would get their ass kicked, retribution would be swift and deadly.” I hesitated and added “Listen please. I just want somebody to know that I wasn’t fooled. It may not be reveled in my life time; but you should live long enough for the truth to come out. Then you can tell your friends that you knew a nut that recognized the truth from the start. And here are some predictions to go with it. The United States will seize on this to make war against oil rich States and unleash Israel to shit all over the Palestinians without restraints. Mark my words!”
Just then Joe hurried over. “Mike, I need a favor; there are three new Carpenters in the Safety Trailer who need safety training before they can begin work. Can you handle that for me?
“Sure” I answered, “should I report to the Operator Pool after that?”
“No. Just wait there where I can find you.”
The carpenters were waiting, sullen at the training table, burly, big bellied and beleaguered. I had a sudden inspiration. “Hay” I said “How many times have you guys had to sit through Safety Training?”
The middle aged gents replied in series “Oh five, six times”.
“Well how about we jump right to the written test. Everybody passes. If you have any questions or anything you’re unsure of just ask me or look them up on this answer sheet. I’m going to watch television.”
I passed out the test form and bio-data sheets. “Just call me if you need me.”
I walked past the counter and turned on the TV. Greedy for the latest, I flipped through the channels. All three networks, CNN and Fox were following the story. “This is History in the making”; I shot over my shoulder.
The talking faces were all speculating about the North tower when the second plane hit. “This is big. A second plane just hit the South tower”: I announced loudly. The carpenters were unperturbed.
I continued to slowly flip through the channels searching for some substance in the reporting. The byword was Terrorism. America was under attack. I was beside myself. “Are you guys getting any of this?’ They seemed totally unconcerned.
Then reports began coming in about a plane striking the Pentagon. I tried to interest the carpenters. They had found a deck of playing cards.
Shortly thereafter the South Tower collapsed in a sea of dust, spewing large chunks of concrete debris off the sides of the huge structure and down into the streets. Panicked crowds ran down the streets pursued by the rapidly expanding dust . “Did you guys see this?” I asked. “A hundred story building just went down in about ten or twelve seconds. Have any of you seen a controlled demolition?” They shook their heads. “Well that is what it looks like to me. Hey even Peter Jennings just compared it to a demolition.”
The carpenters were strangely non-pulsed as if nothing special was going on. They continued to play cards. One of them asked if it was OK to smoke. “You can see the no smoking signs, but just open the windows and I won’t tell.” I replied.
The crash in Shanks Ville seemed like a mere distraction after the North Tower followed the South in a screaming cloud of dust.
And so the day went. Bush made his first appearance looking a bit like a deer caught in the headlights. I speculated on how much he might know. Maybe not as much as he should have. Too much time jogging and working out with Condoleezza. After all, Cheney was the man. I couldn’t finish my sandwich.
As we got into the afternoon I just continued channel flipping looking for some meat on the bone of discourse. By 2:00 pm they had the FBI on to definitely tie the attacks to terrorism. I thought “Well, La De Da, boy genius at work.”
“Hey, Safety Man” one of the carpenters murmured “It’s three O’clock and nobody came to get us.”
“You’re all signed up. You can leave for the parking lot at three twenty. Just leave your paper work on the table and report at seven tomorrow morning.” I dashed out the door heading for the gate. Just then Joe appeared from inside the admin trailer. I button holed him.
“Joe, the paper work is on the table and the carpenters will start tomorrow. I just got to get the hell out of here, but I got to get past the guard.”
Joe shook my hand. “You covered for me, I’ll cover for you. Don’t worry about being docked. I’ll see you back in the Operators pool in the morning.”
I brushed past the Guard. I was quickly out of the lot and on the road. My usual route was strangely free of traffic. I put the pedal to the metal. I had to get home.
My arrival coincided with my Daughter Diana’s. We talked in the driveway. Diana was surprised to see me. This was the only day I hadn’t worked overtime since starting the Job. After quick a quick hello I asked Diana if she had heard anything about the attacks on the World Trade Center. She replied that the announcement came over the intercom and had been updated a few times.
“Daddy, I’m scared,” she said “the President says this is an act of war on the American People. All the kids think the Arabs did it. I don’t know what is going to happen next.”
Still keyed up from my interpretation of the events, I took a deep breath in an effort to calm myself enough to give Diana a rational explanation.
“First let me assure you the country is not actually under attack and you are in no danger. But this is some serious shit and I need you to understand, because this day signals a drastic change in History. It wasn’t the Arabs or the Muslims. It could only be an inside job and it had to involve the Government and Intelligence Agencies such as the CIA and also very likely the Israeli Mossad. This is what is called a false flag. It is an operation to create a causa Belli which means an excuse for war. They want an excuse to invade Iraq and other oil producing countries in the Middle East. Israel benefits by getting a freer hand for its expansion in into Palestine and other expansionist policies.”
Diana stopped me; “Daddy please! I don’t understand any of this. I don’t know these countries you’re talking about.”
“Good God!”, I replied; haven’t you covered any of this in Geography or History?”
“Not really.” She said.
It was an uncomforting moment for both of us, but cut short by the arrival of Jeannie, Diana’s older sister. We ended up all going inside together. I got glued to the television just in time to catch a CNN report that Osama Bin Laden had already been identified as the likely mastermind behind the attacks. “How convenient”, I thought.
At my direction, my little family ate dinner in the den so I could continue to catch the latest developments and try to explain things to my Wife Grace and two A student girls. I tried to explain the whole thing in terms of a crime and the importance of motive. I pointed out that there was a Latin phrase I learned in Law School. Qui Bono which translates to who benefits? I went on to point out the only benefit to Islamic terrorists would be unlimited warfare by the most powerful military on earth. I then pointed out that the USA had been softening up Iraq with my fly zones and targeted Ariel bombings for years. With so much of the world’s oil resources located in the Middle East, it is no surprise that the Government might like to install their own government as they had done in so many other countries over the years. I kept stressing the historical importance of the event and the likely changes in domestic and foreign policy that could affect the rest of their lives.
This seemed to be just too much for them to grasp and I saw their eyes glaze over in boredom. Maybe I just better let them do their homework. Before I could voice the thought, the report of Building Seven came in with repeated replays of its collapse as a perfectly classic controlled demolition. I was once again aghast.
I went into a tirade. This is even more serious than I thought. They made this demolition blatantly obvious. I was pumped! This is so bold that it serves as a warning. They are showing their strength and the confidence to do whatever they want. I can’t be the only one that sees this for what it is. It is a message for informed people to keep their mouths shut.
“Do your homework girls. I’ve got to call some friends.”
I called Bill and began to share my observations and theories. To my consternation he testily interrupted me with “Wait a minute you can’t just say they did this and they did that. What the hell do you think you know? If you want to make wild accusations you need to identify specifics to have a solid argument. Don’t waste my time. “
I was suddenly deflated; my all day adrenalin rush had peaked. I felt fatigued and nauseous. Weekly I implored him; “Look can’t we just talk as two friends? Call this a working hypothesis and let me make a few predictions. They will call out the usual suspects, white wash an investigation, begin to wage war all over the planet and severely limit civil liberties…” Bill cut me off.
“Sorry man, I have to drive to Loyola in the morning. Maybe we can have breakfast Sunday.” Utterly demoralized, I felt a crying need for some kind of validation or empathy.
I called Mike and asked him if he had kept up with the events of the day and had any thoughts to share. He replied that he had got home just in time to catch Bush’s speech to the nation. “There’s gonna be some ass kickin” he said.
I cut in “You know it’s a false flag don’t you?”
“Mike, Mike, Mike, you know I am just a struggling Lawyer with a family practice. But don’t come to me with any criminal charges unless you have a case I could take to court. Don’t let your passions override your common sense. We’re not even pawns in the game. It is a big world out there and we can’t control it. Now if you will excuse me, I have a case in the morning.”
I looked around and discovered I was alone in the room with the TV still dwelling on the astounding news of the day. I flicked it off.
After showering I crawled into bed. Grace was already sleeping and my body was desperate for sleep, but my feverish mind would not allow it.
Totally burned out, I somehow made it through the long day of work. The girls had already returned to their normal activities as if the day before no longer had any particular significance. Grace maintained her disdain for any kind of political thought. Thursday was much the same but I was cheered by Milane’s call and invite to a small gathering at the country home of a mutual friend Kenny. Gatherings at Kenny’s were generally a frivolous affair of a few drinks, getting stoned and light conversation. It seemed like just what I needed go free my mind and sooth my spirit.
Grace and I pulled up to Kenny’s spacious garage. The doors were up, but nobody yet around. Kenny’s girlfriend stuck her head out the back door of the house and shouted “Kenny’s in the shower. Grab a drink from the fridge. We’ll be out soon. Just then Levitt pulled in behind us. He was a used car dealer relatively new to the group. Before I could say hello he burst into angry speech “Now you know what it is like for us. Those people are animals.”
Before I could muster a response Levitt breezed away and right in the back door. I felt unusually cold and shaken. Grace and I sat quietly in the open garage. I wished I had a joint. To my relief Milane and Pat arrived, closely followed by other good friends. Milane said let’s go in the house sweetie with her usual good cheer. We followed her in.
We all sat down. There was an awkward silence, almost if we all had become strangers. I shifted uneasily in the big easy chair. Suddenly there was the sound of a ruckus coming from the kitchen. The clatter and bang was followed by Levitt running at break neck speed through the room and out the screen door. Kenny pursued him, brandishing a long kitchen knife.
“You better run, you son of a bitch” Kenny screamed. Still barefoot his ample stomach over hung walking shorts not quite covering his ass. The room was in shock. Finally I spoke.” What happened Kenny?” I asked.
Kenny stood there livid. “The bastard tried to fxxx me in the ass! He wouldn’t stop.”
“You mean he pretended to don’t you?” Kenny was a big man.
“No, he kept trying to fxxx me. The cxxxxxxxxxx had a bone on.” The stunned silence became deafening.
Finally Kenny returned the knife to the kitchen and returned, Shorts hitched a bit higher, with a handful of neatly rolled joints. Kenny was a millwright but his sideline was dealing in fine herb. He started passing joints as fast as he could light them, then cranked the stereo to ear splitting level. This was no time for light chatter. As “Born to Run” became the universe, I inhaled hit after hit. It seemed I would never get stoned.
I woke up to a nearly empty room. Grace lightly shaking me. “Let’s go home Honey”. She guided me out the door.