B. CRAIG GRAFTON - MUSLIM TIME
Author is a retired attorney having practiced for 35 years in Illinois who now lives in Texas and started writing stories about a year and a half ago.
This would soon be over praise Allah. It had been quite the ordeal for him and his family ever since he and his daughter had built that clock for a school science project. The teacher panicking. The authorities called. The school evacuated until the bomb squad determined that it was exactly what it was suppose to be, a clock.
Then the news vultures feasting on the fallout. Causing so much alarm that the school board revoked his daughter’s three day suspension and profusely apologized to the world. But that wasn’t enough, the media still had to set things p.c. right. So they interviewed their neighbors, his daughter’s friends and teachers. The responses were all the same and inane. Oh they’re nice people, great neighbors, mind their own business, are so polite and respectful. Oh she’s a good student. All the kids just love her. How dare that teacher report her.
This was so typical of these Americans to go out of their way to appear that they don’t racially or ethnically profile any one. Americans don’t dare offend anyone and especially a young preteen Muslim girl. Americans just want us to like them, to be our friends, even though we never asked them to. They are so condescending, arrogant, forcing their ways upon us.
This hoopla had been a lot of hassle to Ratib Saad, his wife Jameena and their daughter Jasmine. But it all would be worth it now as Ratib saw it as an opportunity to do the will of Allah.
Now in a few hours his daughter would meet with the President and show him the clock as he requested. That foolish man had taken it upon himself to invite his daughter to the White House. So like him trying to be compassionate, trying to convince the American people that Muslims were just ordinary people like themselves. Never passing up a chance to make political hay with his liberal agenda. Not advancing a Muslim agenda as he should be doing since he was born to a Muslim father and therefore he too was a Muslim under Muslim law. He had not followed the teachings of the Prophet. It was time that he paid for his sins.
“Are you excited?” Ratib asked his daughter.
“Just a little.”
“Let me get you something to calm your nerves,” he said as he went to into the hotel suite’s bathroom, the luxury suite that was being paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. “I’ll get something to calm you down and be right back.”
Jameena, Jasmine’s mother, said nothing as her husband left. She sensed that all was not right with him. Ratib the engineer was planning something. She must remain vigilant as he had been acting strange lately.
She knew that they had a future here in America. It must not be jeopardized. After all that’s why as college students they had come to America, for a future in a progressive modern nation. There was no future in the country where they were from, a country socially and economically stuck in the seventh century. They met in college, fell in love, got their degrees, got jobs, got married and had their daughter. Everything done logically in order. She was a doctor, he an engineer. They named their daughter Jasmine, the American spelling, but a common name in their country, and a name that fit in well here in America as even non Muslim girls had that name. Jasmine had a future too. She wanted to be an engineer like her father who she adored, wanted to constructively make things. That’s how she got involved in the science project.
Now Jameena sensed that Ratib somehow was going to ruin it all. His emotions had been raw ever since he learned that his brother had been killed fighting the Americans in Yemen. His feelings toward America had morphed into extreme hatred. How such an educated man let himself be driven by emotions was beyond her ability to understand.
Ratib re-entered the room. “Here swallow these pills,” he said handing his daughter two small marble like round things.
Jasmine looked at her father. “These don’t like medicine,” she replied rolling the hard pills between her fingers.
“Take them daughter. Do as your father says. This is a historic day as these Americans say. You must be calm and ready and do your part to make it happen.”
Jasmine looked pleadingly at her mother but her mother turned away from her. Ratib watched the faces of both women for any tell tale signs of trouble when suddenly there was a knock and a voice at the door. “FBI here to escort you to the presentation,” came a female voice from the other side.
“Swallow them now!” he whispered to Jasmine. “Obey your father.”
Fearful yet not wishing to disobey she did so. They were solid, had a metal smooth feel as she swirled them around in her mouth against her teeth. The two pills hurt going down her throat as they settled in the pit of her stomach.
“Coming,” replied Ratib as he turned to Jasmine and commanded. “I will carry the clock there and give it to you when you go up to meet the President. Don’t press anything and don’t turn it on. Let the President do that. He wants to. You just show him how to do so,” he instructed his daughter.
Ratib waited for an acknowledgment, then Jasmine responded meekly, “Yes father.”
As Ratib went to the door, his back to the women, Jameena handed Jasmine two more pills. “Swallow these quickly. They will make you throw up those things your father gave you.” In a flash Jasmine did so before Ratib could turn around.
Ratib opened the door and recognized agents Thorne and Rose from yesterday’s briefing. “Come in.”
“Who has the clock?” asked agent Thorne as she and agent Rose entered the room.
“I have it. Do you wish to see it?” offered Ratib trying to show no fear or act suspiciously.
“Yes the President has instructed us to put it in this bag and have Jasmine hand it to him. The bag was a school book bag with the name of her elementary school and its logo, a pink unicorn, printed on the side.
“The School board thought that it will help its image,” she said as she took the clock from Ratib and put it in the bag and handed the bag to Jasmine. “Your school wants you carry it to show no hard feelings.” Jasmine strapped it over her shoulder to the dismay of her father. He decided it was best not to object. Leave it be.Things will still work out.
On the ride in the limo the pills that her mother had given Jasmine began to work their medicinal magic. As they arrived at their destination and were getting out Jasmine said, “Mother I feel sick. Would you take me to the restroom please.”
“I will have to escort you both. You’re my responsibility now. Follow me please,” agent Thorne informed them, leading them to the women’s room. Ratib followed. As the women entered the restroom Ratib started to enter too but agent Rose grabbed him by the shoulder and militarily commanded, “Please wait here sir.”
“I need to be with my family my daughter is sick,” he pleaded.
“Your wife the doctor will know what to do,” he said, his six foot four frame blocking the doorway as he authoritatively peered down at the five foot four Ratib.
Ratib resentfully did nothing further, fearful that to do so might jeopardize his plan.
Inside Jameena took charge. “Throw up here in the toilet,” she told Jasmine as she began to puke.
Jameena waited until she saw the two pills clink against the porcelain. Then quickly she flushed the toilet. When Jasmine was done regurgitating Jameena helped her daughter clean up and they re-entered the hallway led by agent Thorne.
“Jasmine you will come with me,” said agent Thorne. “I will escort you back stage to the Vice President. The President unfortunately is not going to be able to make it today, something has come up at the last moment and he sends his regrets. He knows that you were looking forward to meeting him but it can’t be helped. The Vice President will meet with you beforehand so that he can familiarize himself with the clock and not make a fool of himself as he’s been known to do on occasion.” She stopped and stifled a laugh then continued. She knew she shouldn’t have said that. “Mr. and Mrs. Saad, agent Rose will show you where your seats are, give you your instructions and then bring you back to meet the Vice President after he is done talking with Jasmine.”
Ratib cursed to himself, upset that at the last minute the President couldn’t be there. This must be the will of Allah he thought. The plan must continue.
Agent Thorne then led Jasmine away to the Vice President.
Agent Rose led the Saads to the exact center of the auditorium to the two chairs marked ‘reserved’. “These are your seats obviously. When the Vice President calls upon you, stand up, thank him and wave to the crowd in front, back and to the sides of you,” he instructed them. “You’ve been put in the center so that everyone will be able to get a good look at you. And I’m informed it’s symbolic, you being the center of attention.”
This is perfect thought Ratib right in the center of this huge auditorium with all these people around him. My daughter will kill the Vice President and his infidels on stage and I those in the audience. There will be many deaths. Praise be to Allah.
A the meeting with the Vice President Jasmine handed him the clock as he requested. Receiving it he made a feeble joke saying that it’s about time that Muslims were appreciated for their contributions to the world. Chuckling he blabbered on. “Well let’s just see what all these buttons do,” he giggled as he proceeded to push them all, one of which detonated the bombs in Ratib Saad’s stomach killing him, his wife and agent Rose. Their time had come. It was the will of Allah. Jasmine’s had not.