One day, the Iraqi desert will be a garden…again.
Mohammed al-Tikriti, suicide bomber, former University of Baghdad student
He looked up and wiped the sweat streaming down his face with a trembling hand. Eight am… Baghdad sun knew no mercy even at this hour. He must concentrate, just a few more minutes! He stood next to his shabby, dusty Corolla, with faded taxi markings on it. The alley was deserted and deathly quiet, as expected. But just down the hill, barely thirty meters away and fully visible from his vantage point, was the intersection of the busiest road in the city.
Almost time. They should be here any moment.
He took an envelope out of his pocket and almost decided to leave it by the gate of the nearest house, securing it with a rock, when he saw an American press crew – a cameraman and a tall, slim woman, disguised as a man (who was she kidding?) – setting up their camera straight on the intersection.
He simply couldn’t believe his luck! Allah is merciful, he didn’t desert him in this hour of judgment! He cast a quick glance around – and another stroke of luck! A young boy, no more than eight or nine, rounded the corner, carrying a heavy jug of water, and made his way through the alley.
“Hey, boy! Come here, little boy,” he called, waving temptingly his last two dollar bills. “Want to make some real American money?”
The boy nodded and cautiously edged closer.
He handed the boy the envelope. “I want you to give this after the explosion to that pretty lady, dressed as a man. Do you see her?”
The boy’s shrewd eyes shot in the direction of the American press crew, and he nodded, giggling. Then, another thought made him frown.
“What explosion?” he asked suspiciously.
“You’ll see,” said the mysterious man. “The most important thing, stay hidden right here until after it happens. Understood?”
The boy nodded.
The man gave him an encouraging smile and got into his Corolla. Time!
He started the motor and quietly rolled closer to the intersection. Immediately, he heard the rumbling noise of a huge American truck, then he saw it. Praise Allah! Yet another stroke of luck – the monstrosity was full of soldiers. A big man with sergeant’s insignia sat in the cabin, next to the driver. Good! He’ll aim right at him. An officer is even better than mere soldiers.
“Allaaaaaaaaaaaah!” He slammed his foot on the accelerator and with a desperate cry launched his car forward, like a missile.
The big sergeant in the front seat turned his head towards him. The last thing the man’s mind registered was a surprise in sergeant’s blue eyes.