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September 28, 2012. Cincinnati, Ohio
They called him Mash‘al, or ―The Torch.‖ He was an Islamic extremist and a
paranoid schizophrenic, a dangerous cocktail. Since the time he was a teenager, Mash‘al
began finding his own personal secret messages from Mohammed in the Qur‘an. When
he was young, the Prophet only needed him to do minor tasks, like removing all the
brown bottles from the local convenience store or catching mice and putting them in a
duct-taped Slurpee cup. But that was small potatoes. The Prophet was calling him to do
something important, that was sure. Mash‘al‘s parents in Iran had given up on him long
ago. The father had a fairly respectable job working for a petroleum company. His
mother did a good job raising Mash‘al and his three brothers. But Mash‘al was too much
for them to handle. One day, his father would find Mash‘al high on opium lying around
the house. The next day he would learn that his son had vandalized a fruit stand, throwing
the fruit all over the bazaar, claiming that the Prophet was calling him to cast out all the
evil fruit pits. Left to his own devices, he was easily recruited by Al Qaeda. This next
mission for Islam was something only a certifiable lunatic would do.
The Planner had mailed the anti-psychotic medications to his small apartment in
Cincinnati. The Planner insisted that Mash‘al take the medicine. If he did not, he would
not become a true Abisali, a Warrior of the Faith. Mash‘al did not want to take the pills,
but he knew if he did not, he would let down the Master. Incredibly, the pills gave him a
focus he had never experienced. The inner voices, constantly screaming at him that he
was not worthy, that he was a mangy wolf, that he had too much hair….they had all died
down. The silence from the voices was most welcome and allowed him to focus. The
only downside was the drugs made him a little lethargic, but Mash‘al was in good shape.
He would be fine.
Today was the day Mash‘al would fulfill his destiny as the spear point of jihad. He
could not wait. Mash‘al opened the door to the lobby of his downtown Cincinnati
apartment building and met the UPS man. He was terribly excited to receive the brown
package. He bounded up the steps two at a time until he reached 2J, then opened his door
with the key and dashed to the kitchen table. He ripped off the paper covering with a
knife, and opened the cardboard package. Inside, wrapped in cellophane was a set of gray
janitor‘s overalls, with a red and white emblem on the shoulder which read ―Mills
Janitorial‖. There was also a red baseball cap with the same emblem. Also included in the
package were a black .45 Beretta and silencer, and an orange key to a storage locker.
Mash‘al could barely breathe, he was so excited. This was really happening. The
Prophet was practically demanding that he complete his tasks today. He quickly donned
the baseball cap and put the overalls over his clothing, zipping himself up in front. The
overalls were the correct size. He grabbed his keys and, checking the hallway to make
sure no one saw him, ran down the stairs and out the door to the parking lot.
In a half hour, he had arrived at the Store-A-Lot storage facility in downtown
Cincinnati. He parked his beat-up Mazda in front of locker 73. Taking out the orange key,
Mash‘al unlocked the powder blue door, and then, from the inside, swung up the
corrugated metal garage door. There was only one thing in the locker, a white plastic
trash barrel with the words ―Mills Janitorial‖ stenciled on the side. Mash‘al lifted off the