Abdel Hadad looked down at the drawing Yusuf Khouri had made. He pointed at the X at the rear left corner of the Paramount Theater. “That’s as close as we can get?”
“Without being obvious and thus,” Khouri smiled, “without getting caught.”
“It’s a pretty substantial structure,” Basara said, also standing at the dinette and staring at the diagram on the table. “I checked it out yesterday.”
“I know that,” Khouri replied. “But the point is to cause panic, not bring down the building. When the audience and their entertainment all stampede out of the theater like spooked cattle, that’s when the real action starts. From here” – he put his finger on the sheet of paper – “here, and here.”
“That’s a six-foot fence around the service parking area, dude,” Basara said, shaking his head.
Khouri fixed him with a hard look. He knew Basara was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his flippant, negative attitude had become annoying. “Muhammad, I live here, remember? I know about the fence. I also know it’s wood. I loosened two boards early this morning. We’ll have a clear field of fire. That’s my job, anyway. You and Abdel will be at the corners.”
“Okay, Yusuf,” Hadad said. “Callahan and the band will come out the service entrance to their bus in the fenced-in lot that you’ll have covered. And Muhammad and I will mow down the people and any cops streaming out the exits. All well and good. But we’re supposed to get away after, right? I don’t mind being killed in battle, but I didn’t sign up for a suicide mission.”
Khouri nodded. “Nor did I, Abdel. The beach is the escape route. Our car will be parked two blocks north and one block west here at the Berkeley Hotel, on 6th Avenue.” He pointed at a square on the paper. “We’ll get away in the panic and confusion. Just a few off-duty cops are used at these concerts for security at the entrances and for directing traffic after. They’ll have standard-issue handguns only. Sustained fire on the place will keep their heads down. By the time reinforcements arrive, we’ll be gone. We’ll take off our ski masks, ditch them under the boardwalk, and head north.”
Basara snorted. “Yeah, just three dudes with AK-47s strolling on the beach in the moonlight. This ain’t Tripoli, man.”
Khouri looked at Hadad as he gestured with his thumb at the other man. “Is he for real?”
Hadad shrugged. “L.A.”
Khouri turned back to Basara who was frowning at him, lips tight, obviously not pleased at being dissed. “Look, Muhammad, if you want to back out, now is the time. I’m sure the sheikh will understand.”
Basara glared at him, fists clenched, jaw muscles working, before his shoulders relaxed and he shook his head. “Hey, man, it’s just my way of talking about problems, that’s all. I didn’t mean anything by it. Of course I don’t want out. I’m in this the whole nine yards.”
private practice. Thirty years later, I retired to begin a new career as a writer. I enjoy cooking, tennis, politics, films and film history, the wonders of the cosmos, and, of course, reading.
Thrillers is one of my favorite genres, so thrillers is what I like to write. My wife and I (mainly Diane) raised two sons we’re proud of and who are pursuing careers having nothing to do with the medical field! After living in Pennsylvania for a number of years, Diane and
I settled in North Carolina, where the winters are easy to take and the only weather we get antsy about is the occasional hurricane.