The sunlight came pouring into the room waking up Joseph. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes and looking around, he could not see Allie. The murmur of many voices floated to him from outside his window. Getting up he investigated and found the entire camp, as well as Allie, at morning prayers. Joseph watched as Allie spread out his prayer rug and performed his morning ritual. He was impressed, as he always was, by the feeling of peaceful devotion and harmony that he always felt when he attended Mosque. He could not understand how so much violence could come from that. Yet he knew that evil people could and did use any religion to justify whatever they wanted. He quickly washed and dressed and joined the campers for breakfast. When breakfast was over, he and Allie watched the camp color war and were surprised and delighted by the vigor and intensity displayed by not only the staff but by the campers as well. While there were foot races, swimming and diving competitions, the contests that seemed to arouse the most interest among the campers were the Martial Arts. The hand-to-hand combat was realistic and as close to the real thing as any Joseph had known. The kids showed more spirit and enthusiasm than any basic trainees he had ever seen. Several times the referees had to step in and stop the bouts.
'We try to teach our boys the Martial Arts because they teach discipline as well as how to defend yourself. The kids sometimes go overboard. But, lets face it - most of them come from dangerous parts of the city and need some form of personal protection in order to survive.' The camp director said. 'One never knows when one will need to protect himself.'
'True.' said Joseph. 'I remember one night about two years ago on a back street in New York City when I had to use my training to defend against a mugger. If I had not had that training I would not be standing here today.'
After lunch Allie and Joseph watched and acted as referees in the event of the day, a 'Paint Gun' game. This was not your usual 'Cowboy and Indian' game, but rather a well-planned military firefight. There were platoons and leaders and trackers. The exercise ended when one of the teams captured the other's command post. The losers were all lined up and made to strip off their clothing and kneel down in subjugation. The victors then marched the vanquished off to the dock to be executed. The execution consisted of the losers being forced to jump into the lake while the winners shouted 'Into the sea with you'. After the losers were all soaked, the winners lined up and Joseph and Allie then presented the winning team members with medals and ribbons.
It was a fun day and everyone was exhausted. While they were at dinner, Allie received a call and appeared to be arguing with the caller. When he hung up, he whispered to Joseph that they had to leave right away. When Joseph asked why, the Arab just said he would fill him in later on the way home. Allie made their apologies and they packed their stuff and got into the car and left.
Once in the car, Allie turned to Joseph and said, 'I'm sorry, but that was a call from the office of His Eminence, the Emir. His plans have changed and he will fly into N.Y.C. tomorrow morning. He has requested a meeting with you in Paterson at your house tomorrow night.'
'My God, I wonder what's happened to change his plans. I don't think we can get ready to receive him by then.'
'There is nothing special we need to do. As for his change of plans, I should have expected it. He usually does things like this. It is a matter of security with him. He likes to change plans at the last minute. Keeps his enemies off guard. If you remember, Arafat also changed plans at the last moment as well as making it a habit of sleeping in a different place every night to avoid being assassinated.'
'Well, I think it is wonderful to have the meeting at my home. Just think of how Fazzi would have felt having the Emir as his guest. Is there anything I have to do to get ready for him?'
'There is nothing for you to do. I will take care of everything. That is why you pay me.' Allie said. 'Oh! Yes, there is one thing more. I know it is silly, but do you happen to have a gun at the house?'
Joseph laughed, 'As a matter of fact I do. It is locked in the safe in my bedroom. I purchased it to protect Fazzi and myself when we were traveling together. Before that he used that big chauffer of his for a bodyguard. While Fazzi tolerated him, I hated him and never trusted him to protect us.'
'Well, you better let me have it. I will see that it is returned to you when he leaves. The only armed personnel allowed around him will be his security people. You and the house will be searched before the Emir is allowed into the house. And Joseph one thing more - please do not argue with him. He hates to be argued with. Treat him with respect just like a King. He is coming to meet you for the first time and he wants to ascertain if you are Fazzi's true son. While you may have the legal papers to prove Fazzi adopted you, in the eyes of our people, his Excellency is the only legal approval that really counts. If he deems you such, it will really open every doorway for us. It will make both of us very powerful men and I think we will both like that very much.'
'Powerful?? I don't want to be powerful.'
'You will have no choice. His word is law. No more questions now. After he leaves, and if he approves of you, I will be glad to tell you everything and anything you want to know. Look, I think it will be best if you drop me at my apartment. I have some things to arrange for tomorrow evening. If you will wait while I go up I will bring you an overnight bag with appropriate clothing for me to wear. If you take it home with you now, it will save me having to lug it tomorrow night.'
'What about me?' Joseph asked. 'Will I need anything special?'
'Just a business suit will do for you.' When they reached Allie's apartment Allie said, 'There is no need for you to come up. Wait for me in the car.'
'Hey, do I have a few minutes to stretch my legs while you are up there?' Joseph asked.
'Sure it will take me about ten to twenty minutes. You can even come up if you want to wait up there.'
'No thanks. I just want to stretch my legs a bit.' Joseph said, getting out of the car and stretching himself. After Allie entered his apartment building, Joseph walked up the block, rounded the corner and pulled out his cell phone. He quickly punched in Barns' telephone number and when he got on the phone he quickly gave him a report on what was going on.
'Keep us informed if you can. We will have your back covered -just in case. This sounds like it might be important. Speaking of important, I have arranged a meeting with 'Our Friend' on Tuesday. How does that sound?'
'Great. I'll be there. You make the arrangements.' he said and rang off. He then called Summaya and told her to prepare the guest room for tomorrow night. Then he headed back to the car. A few minutes later, Allie exited his apartment and found Joseph waiting for him at the car.
'I hope I wasn't too long.' he said and threw his overnight bag in the back seat.
'No, I did have time to call and tell the housekeeper to prepare the guest room for tomorrow night and then take the evening off. Do you think I should also have her prepare some food as well?'
Allie laughed, 'You do not have to do that. I will order some food delivered to the house for His Eminence and us. But the one thing she can do for me is to iron what I have in the bag and hang it in the closet for me. I've had this packed away for so long that it has become wrinkled. It is a special robe that his adherents wears when they have an audience with the Emir.'
'Well in that case I will have her do that and then she can take the evening off unless you think we need her to serve the food.'
'No, we will not need her and I don't want outsiders in the house when our guest is there. In fact, it might even be better if you give her Monday off also. That way you and I can sleep late without worry of her finding us in bed together.' Allie snickered. 'Look, I don't know what the Emir wants to say to you and the fewer people around the better. I have a few things to do tonight. You go home and get a good night's sleep. Maybe you will have a repeat of last night's dream. Perhaps you will discover it was really my manhood that you were riding and we will make it come true after His Eminence leaves.'
'This really has me worried.' Joseph said, 'What if he doesn't like me?'
'Don't be foolish. How can he not like you? I think that this is going to really work out very well.' Allie said as he hugged Joseph and kissed both his cheeks then went back into the apartment building.
Joseph drove home.
Late Sunday afternoon, Allie arrived and started to prepare for the visit. He checked that Joseph was dressed nicely and then dressed himself in the beautifully embroidered Arab caftan that the housekeeper had ironed for him. The soldier took his gun out of the safe and gave it to Allie. About 5:30 P.M. the Emir's security team, consisting of two men, arrived and did a search of the estate and Joseph. Allie turned over Joseph's gun and the security guard signaled the Emir that all was secure. While one of the security men stayed with Joseph, Allie and the other man left the room to escort the Emir from his car. They soon returned with the Emir. Joseph was surprised when the door to the library opened and a little man, maybe 5 feet 9 inches, entered the room. Allie started to introduce Joseph when the Emir smiled at Allie, then raised his hand and pointed at Joseph.
'All of you except Yussef leave the room - now! What I have to say is for his ears only.' he said and when Allie hesitated he said 'You too, Allie' and patting him on the shoulder, he added, 'You did well my son, and I will talk to you later.'
After everyone had left he turned to Joseph and said, 'I wanted them out of here because I needed the time to get to know you. May we sit down together?'
'Yes, Your Eminence. Where would you care to sit?'
'Let us both sit on the sofa. It looks comfortable and conducive to conversation.'
They moved to the sofa and the two of them sat down close to each other. For a few minutes the Emir just sat there looking into Joseph's blue eyes... At first it was very unnerving, but the soldier knew he was being tested so he just stared back at the man. After a while they both smiled and in very formal Arabic, the Emir announced, 'Fazzi was right and I was wrong,' he admitted and then wagged his finger playfully at Joseph. 'But you are never to tell anyone I said that. As Emir, I cannot admit to being in error. You are truly Fazzi's son, as much as if you were born of his seed. I can see that now. But at the time, not having met you, I could not put my seal on your adoption.' He leaned his small frame back into the soft cushions and sighed, 'I remember that last night before he died, your father was telling me of all the plans he had for you. He wanted you to convert and be one of us in spirit as well as body. At that time I would not hear it much less permit it. We had harsh words over it and you might say that we even fought over it. He was angry with me, and even went so far as to say that my judgment was in error. No one ever questioned my judgments before or since.'
'I know that Fazzi wanted me to convert, but he never insisted I had to do it.' Joseph said. 'It was not you or Fazzi that was in error. It was I that made the mistake - I should have told him that I would surrender to the concept of Islam and accept the path of jihad to find the way.'
'But my son, you already have. That is what I can see in your eyes and your heart. You do not have to go through any formal ritual. You are Muslim.' He said. 'As a matter of fact, to tell the truth, I would prefer that you did not take the last step just yet.. You are of much more use to us as you are. I would rather you stay Christian to the outside world. In fact I insist on it. It will serve our cause more that way. There is more that we can accomplish with you as a practicing Christian. That is my wish. As His chief teacher on earth, I could command it, but I would rather you accept my suggestion and accept Allah in your heart.'
'Whatever your Eminence wishes is what I will do.' Joseph said and then added, 'I only wish Fazzi were alive to see the two of us here and now. My surrender to Allah would have pleased him so much.'
'Yes, it would have. But one thing troubles me. How come no fight, no argument? The one thing that Fazzi loved about you, was your love of freedom and your willingness to question? I must admit that I looked forward to it. You must remember that surrender does not mean defeat. Between us, you and I, there can be a feeling of complete freedom. I have too many people around me that think I am Al Mahdi (the messiah). I need someone to remind me that I am not. With the help of Allah, that someone could be you.'
'There are still some things I question and will continue to question, but I'm sure I will find the peace I want and need. Fazzi would have loved to see this.'
'My son, I am sure he is watching us right now and that there are tears in his eyes and he is saying that now, at last, he can enjoy his place in paradise. However, here on earth, you must never be afraid to question me, but do it with discretion and when we are alone. I will be as honest as I can be with you and I demand that you be the same with me. I am still fool enough to wish to be viewed as infallible by others. In private you have my permission to fight for what you believe in. If both of us will agree to this, we can then ask the others to join us.
Joseph, offering his hand in agreement said, 'Then the matter is settled.'
Taking Joseph's hand in his the Emir agreed then he got up and walked to the door and opened it and announced, 'Come in gentlemen. I want you to meet our new and very special family member. I want you all to know that I have decided to grant his father's dying wish and place my unqualified blessing on both him and Fazzi's adoption of him as his son. There will be no more questions as to his legitimacy. Further more as Fazzi was my devoted commander, his son, Yussef ibn Fazzi, now takes his place in my heart and in the hearts of our people. You, Yussef, will be like my son. Since Fazzi is no longer here to do it ---it now becomes my duty as well as my pleasure to find for you a suitable Muslim girl for you to take to your bed as a wife. I was thinking, perhaps one of my granddaughters or someone of that station? Yes, one of my Granddaughters. I have one in mind. Perhaps she is a little too young for you now, but in a few years she will be ripe and fit for you. If she finds favor in your eyes you could be a true son to me. We will have to work on it.' He said with a twinkle in his eye. 'Now let's celebrate this happy evening by eating together as a family.'
'Your Eminence, I would be pleased to accept the hand of such a lovely young woman. You honor me too much. Since the hour is late, would you do me the great honor of accepting my invitation to stay over night here in my house?' Joseph asked.
Allie turned white. 'I'm sure that his Eminence has made other arrangements and security is difficult to adjust to these sudden changes.' he said.
The Emir, laughing, snapped his fingers at his security officer and in a quiet voice said, 'Make it so. It is my wish to spend the night here in the home of my dear friend, the son of Fazzi Muhammad. Now let us eat - I am famished.'
As they were walking into the dinning room Joseph held back and whispered to Allie, 'Allie, please make sure that his Eminence is made comfortable in the room adjoining mine. His staff will take over Kassie's old room.'
Hearing this, Allie pulled him aside and asked, 'And what about me? Where am I going to sleep? You are not thinking that you and I could share a room with the Emir in the adjoining room, are you?'
'Well if you are so ashamed and afraid of His Eminence finding out that we sleep together, you can go home, or get a motel room or sleep in your car. I do not care what you do. Hospitality once offered, you know, it is not permitted to withdraw it.' Joseph whispered out of ear shot of the Emir, and then he again caught up with the Emir and held his chair for him at the head of the table.
As the Emir sat at the table he asked Joseph, 'Are you sure that you have room for all of us? I will not put you out of your bedroom. You know that my entourage and I are Arabs and as such, we are happy to sleep on the desert floor. You, as much as I would love to think of you as an Arab, are not accustomed to doing that. Do not worry about us, just to sleep under the same roof with Fazzi's son is honor enough.'
'You are most kind, Your Eminence, but as a soldier, I too, have slept on the ground. However, I think we have room. You can use the adjoining room to mine and some of your staff can use my sister's old room. Mr. Balbak was planning on going home. He has a report to type up for me on a Boys' Camp we were at yesterday. There was a lot that I liked about it, but also some rather disturbing things. I want to see if he feels the same way.'
'Oh! And what did you find that troubled you?' asked the Emir.
'Just a feeling. It is hard to put my finger on. But it was a bit too military for my tastes. Maybe it is because I will soon be leaving the army, but.. '
'By all means! If you think it is some kind of plot, we would not want the American government to have an opportunity to raid it.'
'I am sure it will be OK. They do have some very good ideas and the staff seems to be very good.' Joseph said. 'We will have to see how it turns out. It will need a lot more investigation before I allow the fund's money to be used in questionable manners.'
Allie asked about the political situation back home and the Emir told him that the time was fast approaching for the Emirate to take over. My UN speech will pave the road.
'I would love to hear that speech. When are you going to give it?' Joseph asked.
'All the speeches will be sometime on Tuesday and Wednesday. Your President will speak on Tuesday morning. I can arrange a seat in our delegation if you would like. As the head of The Arab/American Charity Fund you can act as the Fund's representative.' the Emir said. 'It is done all the time and I would be happy to arrange it. It would be nice to have an American by my side to act as my translator. Someone who might catch some hidden meaning in the President's speech that slips by our people.'
'I would be happy to assist you. I have not had the chance to observe the new President up close yet. He and I do not always agree on policy. I hope that it will not cause me problems as far as my discharge, but I don't think so.' Joseph said. 'I will have to check it out.'
'There will be no problem. I will ask your State Department for permission. You see, Yussef, it pays to have friends in high places. It is all a matter of a thing called, chits. They do something for us - we do something for them. Do not worry; I will take care of it. I will send a car for you Tuesday morning.'
'That would be wonderful. I was planning on visiting my friend, Rich Worth, in the city Monday night. I could take a cab to the U.N. in the morning and meet you there.'
'That is even better. However, you just give my security chief Mr. Worth's address and Tuesday morning at 9 AM we will have a limo with diplomatic plates and full motorcycle escort waiting to drive you to the General Assembly. That way you won't get tangled in traffic and I won't have to worry about you getting there late.'
The next morning after the guests left, Joseph went out into the garden and placed a call to Bill Barns. He informed the FBI Agent about what had happened and asked him to send a 'Sweep Man' over to the house. 'You never can tell. They had security men in the house overnight. They just might have left some little bugs around. I did a sweep with that portable unit you gave me and it looked OK, but like I said, you never can tell. Right now I'm calling you from the garden just to be sure. Do it this morning as the housekeeper is off.'
'I'll see to it as soon as we disconnect. I also want to come over to go over the meeting with our friend. He will be coming into the city tonight. As host nation, the President will be the first to talk early Tuesday morning and I wanted you to meet with him before he spoke. Tonight, he will be staying at a hotel in the city. I can pick you up and escort you.'
'Sounds great. We can talk more when you get here.'
'See you soon. I'm on my way as we talk.'
About a half hour later Bill and Joseph sat in the garden talking while a technician was scanning the house and grounds.
While they waited for him to finish Bill asked, 'All right, what about this camp? Is it legitimate?
'From what I was able to see and hear - plus what those mothers told me, I think not. They are using it as a recruiting and training ground for future operatives. There is too much militancy and I spotted a few framed pictures of known terrorists in some of the tents. While this doesn't really mean anything-you would think they would have taken them down for our visit. At this stage, if I were to withhold funding without a good reason, it would not stop it. On the other hand - if I do fund it - perhaps we could get to learn even more. We will just have to get more information and perhaps place an operative inside. What do you think I should do?'
'We don't have enough to close the place down now. I, too, would like someone in there. Do you know anyone we could use? Perhaps one of the boys whose mothers came to you.'
'That would be too risky. Besides I promised the women I would never expose them. I just can't ask them to spy on their friends.' Joseph said and then he smiled.... 'What about the Mossad? I'm sure they would have a young kid they could get into the camp for us. It would help them as well as us.'
'Maybe. I'll ask around. It might just work.' Bill stated as the technician rejoined them and reported.
'All clear, I found nothing. If there is nothing else, I'll leave now.' The man reported.
'Good and thanks.' Joseph said as the man packed his equipment into his van and drove off.
'Now brief me on how we are going to meet with the President tonight.' Joseph asked.
'Simple. I will bring you to the hotel. We will slip into one of our rooms and change into waiter's uniforms. Since it will be about dinnertime we will bring the President's dinner to him and the two of you will have supper together. He has told me that, baring a national emergency, he has set aside the entire evening for just the two of you. You can talk and get to know each other. Bring him up to date. Tell him everything. He likes to hear things 'from the source' and one thing he will not tolerate is being fed bullshit. He doesn't like you to leave out anything.
'By everything - you mean about my sexual relations with Fazzi, Richard and Allie?'
'He is well aware of your methods and while he may wish that they were different, he will not judge you by them.' Bill said and then started laughing. 'I didn't want to tell you this, but at the time he was informed of your methods I think he is said to have remarked that it was a hell of a lot better than 'Water-boarding'. Anyway be ready, I'll pick you up at 5 tonight.'
'I'm going to call Rich and tell him I'm staying at his place for a few days. You can pick me up there and then drop me off later. The Emir is sending a limo and escort for me the following morning to take me to the U.N.'
'Well aren't we the fancy one.' Bill said with envy in his voice. 'And what did you do for the little man to warrant such treatment.'
'As the head of one of the richest Arab philanthropic organizations on earth, I think I'm worth it!' Joseph laughed. 'No, Bill, get your mind out of the gutter. The Emir only slept in the room next to mine - not in my bed. You better go now as I have to call Rich and tell him I'm going to be staying in his place for a few days.'
'I did not mean that the way it came out. You're not mad at me.... Are you?'
'No. I'm just on edge.' Joseph said as Bill got into his car and left.
After Bill drove off, Joseph called Rich and asked him if it would be OK if he crashed at his place for a few days.
'You still have the key around the neck chain and you know you are always welcome here. Come early and we will have some time together before I have to leave for the theater. We can do lunch together.'
'I wish I could but I can't make it that early, but maybe we can have a late night snack together.' Joseph said.
'Great --- see you then.'
Joseph arrived at Rich's apartment and found that Richard had let Agent Barns in before going to the theater. He dropped off his overnight bag and the two of them went to the hotel. There they changed into waiter's uniforms and picked up the dinner cart and took it up to the President's suite. The Secret Service agents let them in. When they entered the living room they found the President waiting for them. Barns introduced Joseph.
'Come sit down and let's eat together. It's not as good as the White House food, but they tell me it is better than Kentucky Fried Chicken. Agent Barns will you be joining us?'
'Thank you Mr. President, but I think it would be better if the two of you were alone. I will wait in the outer room in case you need me.' Bill said. 'My job was to bring Sgt. Benson here for you to meet.'
'OK then. Sergeant please sit down and let's help ourselves.' He said as Bill left the room. 'I have been wanting to meet you since my predecessor first told me about you and your mission. I must say that I have reviewed your file and I could not believe what I was reading. If I had not known better, I would have thought I was reading a spy novel or science fiction. Both of which I enjoy reading. Can I admit something to you in confidence?'
'In confidence? Sir, I thought everything we will say tonight is in confidence.' Joseph laughed.
'Yes it is, but this is something, personal.'
'Sir, you are my commanding officer. What you say here remains here.' Joseph said.
'Good. We understand each other then.' The President said. 'Before I became President I must admit that I was very critical of military people. I never realized how much you servicepeople gave for the country. To this day it really amazes me and has changed my feelings about the military. Now, that said, I want to hear all about this operation of yours. Reading the file is fine but I must hear it from your lips. Start at the beginning.'
Joseph began telling him about how he fell into the situation and all about how the FBI had convinced him and the Worthingtons to work with them. The entire story took about three hours with Joseph ended by relating the events of last night's visit by the Emir.
'So Mr. President, don't be shocked when you see me sitting next to him tomorrow while you address the UN.'
'After hearing that story, I would not be shocked to see you standing up at the speakers podium giving the Emir's damn speech.' The President said as he laughed, leaned back in his chair, and pulled out two cigars and offered one to Joseph.
'Sorry, Sir, but I don't smoke.' Joseph said.
Lighting up his cigar, the President said, 'Good for you --- and don't start now. This country can survive without politicians like me but you are not so easy to replace. I have tried to quit but it is hard. My wife has been trying to get me to stop, but it is.... Anyway what is your take on this Emirate business? Is it really as dangerous as my people are trying to make me believe?'
Joseph went over it with him and told him what he thought. He was sure that by the time he was finished he had convinced him that if the Emirate ever got into power, it would make the Second World War look like a side show. 'As bad as some of your people may have tried to tell you it is - they have no concept of what it really means. They will tell you that Islam means submission to God. However, the key word is not God but submission. While most other religions do require submission of some sort - they do allow for free will. According to the Koran you must submit. If you will not submit yourself to their concept of God - you must submit to those that do. You then become second-class beings, non-Muslims, just tolerated in a Muslim society. .' Joseph said. 'This is no big hidden secrete. It is their duty and it is written in the Koran. Some will say that this is a literal translation. However those who know the language know the truth. In the lands that they took over, non-Muslims are second-class citizens. Need I remind you of what our Servicemen and women in Saudi Arabia have to put up with? A Chaplain has to remove his Crosses when they are off base and females, well enough said.'
'I know what you are saying. We are working on it. But there is little we can do until we develop an alternate fuel source.'
'I'm not here to argue with you but just think of what will happen when and if the Emirate gets hold of that Oil. When they do, you had better have some other way to make up the difference. I understand that we only import 10% of our oil from there. If we can't make it up, we become a second rate power. The Emirate and the Oil cartel will be running our country and we will have lost it all.'
'That's a bit overstating it. Isn't it Sergeant?' the President asked.
'No Sir I don't think so. I can only tell you what I have heard from the mouths of their leaders. They and the Oil Cartel will fight you anyway they can. They want us hooked on oil. They will use the money we pay them to buy up everything they can and then take over American industry. Their entry into the Stock Market is only the first step. They are now in the process of buying up and will continue to buy up the entertainment industry and the News media. They will then only permit what they want to be fed to the public. Little by little, then more and more until they can take over as they will in Spain, France, Germany and England.'
To be continued.....