Curtis Lovelle started from a light sleep as the alarm on his wrist watch chimed. For a brief moment, he forgot where he was, his eyes trying to take in his surroundings in the dim light of a crescent moon. Then his mind came fully awake and he remembered exactly where he was, and why he was there. He fumbled with the watch, trying to quiet it in the dark. After what seemed a ridiculously long struggle, he silenced the chirp and took a deep breath. He rolled over and lifted himself up onto all fours, then rose up on his knees to peer over the edge of the parapet. He was on the roof of a warehouse, conducting a stakeout. He was looking out across a parking lot, over a small line of shops, and across a street to a dimly lit building. Somewhere inside that building, Osama Bin Laden was probably in his own bed. Certainly, he was in the building. Lovelle had watched him go inside just a few hours earlier.
The building was Bin Laden’s compound in Sudan. The year was 1992. Right then, most of the world had no idea who Bin Laden was, or the horror that he would visit upon it. But Lovelle wasn’t most of the world. He knew exactly what Bin Laden would do, unless someone stopped him. And, he knew that he was the only one who could, or at least would, stop the terrorist before it was too late.
Lovelle had allowed himself the cat nap because there was nothing else to do, and because he believed he might need the rest for what was to come. He remembered reading an oft repeated line in a Robert Ludlum book. It went something like, “Rest is a weapon.” He didn’t often take seriously the spy fiction he liked to read, but, that line had seemed pretty sensible. Now, however, dawn was approaching and there was nothing else to do but think. So he thought about how he had gotten to this place. How he found himself on a rooftop, in a foreign land, with a scoped Browning Automatic Rifle, waiting for the future world’s most notorious terrorist to show his face. He was there to kill the man before he could build the terrorist organization that would be Al-Qaeda. That, he had determined, was the only way to prevent the attack of September 11, 2001, or any other like it.
For thirty-three years Lovelle had been the quintessential average Joe. He was a poster boy for normalcy. A good, but not spectacular student through high school and college, and then a good but not spectacular employee in the sales department of several companies. Never much of a self promoter, he attracted just enough attention to facilitate a slow and steady rise up the corporate ladder. He had a good marriage, with a lovely wife and a handsome young son. He was normal, and he was happy being normal. Then one day he woke up, and he wasn’t normal anymore. In fact, he believed that he was the most unique individual on the planet.
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