If a business could be loved, the Sconset Market was. Located in the center of Sconset, the Sconset Market was in many ways not only the center of activity for the village but its heart and soul.
It was Friday, August 11, around noon, when young Andrew Russell entered the Sconset Market with his sister, Katie.
“Katie, what flavor do you want?” he asked.
Katie, who was not one to be rushed, replied, “I have to look first.”
They walked over the well-worn wooden floors to the ice cream cabinet. In spite of $8 ice cream cones and cereal that cost three times the price on the mainland, everyone, from vacationing CEOs to ten-year-olds, loved the Sconset Market.
The children’s Secret Service detail hovered near the doorway, keeping an eye on the other patrons in the store as well as the staff.
“Mint chocolate chip,” decided Katie. “In a cone,” she added.
“Mom says we should get a cup, not a cone,” retorted Andrew.
After getting their order, they walked outside to sit in the small brick-paved park adjacent to the store. They looked at the old elm they had climbed when they were younger.
Andrew said, “Let’s take the footbridge back.”
Katie nodded. The footbridge, another Sconset landmark, was a small wooden pedestrian bridge that spanned Gully Road.
As the children got up from their bench, a black van with “Cape Finished Flooring” written on its side pulled into the parking area.
The Secret Service agent accompanying the children noticed that both the driver and the passenger looked Middle Eastern. Profiling is morally questionable, but in this day and age it was a reality and a very effective tool. The agent nodded to her partner as the driver and passenger, both men, got out and entered the Sconset Market.
As the president’s children made their way to the footbridge, two agents went with them while the other two agents of the detail lingered at the store.
One of the agents went over to the van and looked in the passenger window while the other agent followed the van’s occupants into the store.
As the new arrivals walked down one of the two aisles grabbing some food, the Secret Service agent purposely bumped into one of them.
“Oh, sorry,” the agent said.
In his mid-twenties and of slight build, the man didn’t say anything; he just nodded.
The agent, wanting to engage, went further, saying, “Are you guys from around here?”
The man just shrugged and said in a low tone, “Just working.”
The Secret Service agent stared directly into the man’s eyes. His earpiece, his physique, and the bulge under his shirt gave away the fact that he was police, military, or a government agent.
For a few seconds there was a standoff as the two men looked hard at each other. It wasn’t a friendly moment.
A few seconds later the Secret Service agent disengaged and left the Sconset Market.
Once outside, he nodded to his partner and they left to catch up with the Russell children.
The other agent said, “I got the plate number.”
The lead agent nodded, his sixth sense still tingling, warning him that something about the men in the van was wrong. He was tempted to go back and engage the two again, but without anything concrete to work with, he instead moved on.
Life is all about opportunities—some realized, some missed. As it turns out, the Secret Service agent would have been well served to have put a bullet in each of the men.
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