Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza, Lorenzo James Henrie as Chris and Cliff Curtis as Travis – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 1, Gallery – Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
The Cast of characters have been set and now it is time to discuss who will be playing the main characters. Plus since there are no new videos showing any more sneak peaks, because, hey, too much will give it all away! We should discuss the cast of characters and take guesses on what we see for them in the show. So let us begin with the male Character of;
Cliff Curtis who plays Travis Manawa, a high school English teacher, Madison’s fiance and a divorced teacher who shares custody of his son Chris with ex-wife Liza, is a native New Zealand born actor who has been in several movies such as Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors, Blow, and The Dark Horse. His television roles include NBC series Trauma, and Body of Proof, and starring in ABC’s Missing. He has played both Latin and Arabic characters in his career. I have seen him on the show Trauma as the character Reuben “Rabbit” Palchuck. I really related to his character as he played an emt who had a traumatic childhood. Cliff plays, in my opinion, strong characters who most people wouldn’t suspect of having the depth that he does. He may not be Clint Eastwood strong or Mel Gibson strong but I definitely see a quiet strength and determination that I feel will be a blend of Rick and Morgan from the original show, The Walking Dead. He has a petulant son who defies him, just as Carl does at times with Rick. Cliff’s character Travis will have his work cut out forhim in keeping his blended family together in the crumbling world around him.
Kim Dickens who plays Madison Clark, a high school guidance counselor and is the single mother of Alicia and Nick. Kim is an American actress who is best known for her roles in the HBO dramas Deadwood (2004–06) and Treme (2010–13). Dickens also had supporting roles in films Mercury Rising (1998), Hollow Man (2000),House of Sand and Fog (2003), The Blind Side (2009), and Gone Girl (2014). Madison has had her “Flu shot” so continues to attend her duties as a guidance counselor. She has the tough job of keeping the kids from getting scared and spreading potentially false rumors, and keeping everyone calm as the world seems to fall apart around them. I see a possible blend of Lori and Andrea in her character Madison. It will be interesting to see.
Frank Dillane as Nick Clark, Madison’s college-flunk out son who is battling a drug problem. Frank Dillane is an English actor, known for playing Owen Coffin in In the Heart of the Sea and Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This young man has grown so much since his days on the Harry Potter Franchise as young Tom Riddle. He has changed and seems to have immersed himself in the character wholeheartedly. He is a stereotypical blend of young college dropout with a drug problem and one of the first to see the feeding frenzy going on at the drug house. His character Nick, has a lot of developing to go through during the show, what with trying to get people to believe what he saw and also go through drug withdrawals as they begin the fight for their lives.
Alycia Debnam – Carey who plays Alicia Clark, Madison’s high-achieving and ambitious daughter who is in a relationship with her jock boyfriend Matt. She is able to read situations well and often finds herself at odds with Nick due to his unmotivated nature. Alycia is an Australian actress. She is best known for her roles in the 2014 films Into the Storm and The Devil’s Hand. Debnam-Carey is also known for her current portrayal of “Lexa” in The CW series, The 100. Alycia’s character is the opposite of Nick in that she is an over achiever looking for solutions. I see her as a wonderful blend of Beth and Maggie. She has a quiet strength and determination that Beth seemed to lack at times but Maggie had in spades. It will be interesting to see her character development as well going from someone who knows the rules to living on the run and off the grid so to speak.
Elizabeth Rodriquez as Liza, Travis’s ex-wife and mother to their son Chris. A free-spirited bohemian type, she is attempting to rebound from her disastrous marriage. She is in nursing school. Elizabeth is an American actress. She received a Tony Award nomination, and won the Outer Critics Circle Award, as well as a Theatre World Award, for her performance in Stephen Adly Guirgis 2011 play on Broadway, The Motherf*cker with the Hat. Rodriguez is best known for her role as Aleida Diaz in the Netflix comedy-drama series, Orange Is the New Black (2013–present). Elizabeth’s Character Liza will definitely be of great use with her nursing skills in the coming apocalypse. She is a woman who already has a lot on her plate and is about to be overloaded with even more bad news when her son Chris, seems to be swallowed up by the chaos that ensues. Will she have the strength to carry on like Michonne? Only time will tell.
Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar, Ofelia’s father. He is a barber that moves his family to LA from a different culture decades ago to start fresh. Ruben is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, actor, Latin jazz musician, and activist, performing musically most often in the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres. Ruben is a true heavy hitter with the star power in that he has appeared in many movies and television shows spanning a career since 1983. He is a world renowned Latin Jazz singer, who has been active since 1968 in the music industry. Ruben’s Character Daniel is a force to be reckoned with. He has a quiet strength who will stand by his family and defend his own. Reluctantly he accepts Travis’s family during the fallout but make no mistake. He will protect his own.
Mercedes Mason as Ofelia Salazar, born and raised in the U.S. and protective of her immigrant parents. Mercedes is sometimes credited as Mercedes Masohn, is a Swedish American actress known for playing the role of Zondra in the American television series Chuck and the role of Isabel Zambada in the American procedural drama The Finder. She starred in the 2011 American horror film Quarantine 2: Terminal. She played Louise Leonard in the 2012–13 American supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue. Mercedes character Ofelia, is another with a strong familial protective side to her. It will be interesting to see who will help keep this main group of characters together as the show progresses beyond the first show. Could she be a love interest for Chris or Nick? Or will she become a strong independent woman who looks for more character and strength in her partner than what the two young men show at the beginning.
Lorenzo James Henrie who plays Chris Manawa, Travis and Liza’s son, who resents his father for their divorce. Lorenzo is an actor, known for Star Trek(2009), Almost Kings (2010) and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Lorenzo’s character Chris looks like, in the beginning, that he gets swallowed up by the crowd and is lost in a sea of chaos. It is very plain in the previews that Chris resents his dad for the divorce and leaving both him and his mother to start a new family with Madison and her kids. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how the teenage and young adult kids work out their differences to work together for survival.
There you have it, the main characters that are to be seen during the first season of the show. Who will survive and who will thrive in the newly developing world. I am looking forward to this show and have high hopes that it will be able to catapult itself into the cult status that The Walking Dead has become. With many awaiting with baited breath, (pun intended) for the sound of walkers to fill the screen and a refreshing look at the collapse of a large city like Los Angeles. What are your thoughts and do you think it will be a hit or a miss?
This week we have finally, finally gotten a date for the new show “Fear the Walking Dead”! Cassidy Frazee called it saying the show would start on August 23rd! Cassidy has been writing for Rachel Tsoumbakos and giving his insight to the show “Humans”. So our hats are off to Cassidy for calling this one and being absolutely correct! The weeks are counting down rather quickly and with each new preview we get to see a bit more of the big picture. We even get to see a couple of walkers munching away!
I like how it shows everything falling apart and the descent into the madness that Rick and the gang have been living in for the past 6 years. It will be interesting to see who the core actors are who manage to survive season after season. I saw a brief glimpse of the principal of the school and it doesn’t look like he makes it to the second show. That, however, remains to be seen on August 23rd. I know I am looking forward to how they will spin the whole falling apart and am greatly interested to see if any people group together to help each other out for the greater good or if it is basically every man or woman for themselves.
It will be interesting to see how fast the scenery changes as well around the characters. Will it take quite awhile to have things start reverting back to nature or will people struggle to continue their lives as they knew it before, basically struggle to stay in denial. I see portions of the show that almost make you want to scream at the t.v. Nick is telling the truth about what he saw in that druggie house! The kid, Tobias, is on to something teach, you better listen! We all know how much the government always tells us the truth as well. Will the kids adapt faster than the adults? Up until now we have really only had Carl to base our reactions on and how he has adapted. Will the new teens with family struggles with newly joined families be able to cope better than the parents?
What questions do you have about the new show? What do you see as a big difference from the original show, “The Walking Dead.” The biggest question I have, will Chris Hardwick be doing a Fear the Talking Dead after the show? What do you think?
This past week went way to fast for my liking. Once again I am here to give you new updates on new teaser trailers for the upcoming show, “Fear the Walking Dead.” There is one out about a soccer mom who is shutting a van door and in the reflection you see a walker, but unfortunately you had to be watching Humans to see it! The teasers for this show have been described by many as vastly different than the Walking Dead premier teasers. Fear the Walking Dead is full of sunshine and light along with color and beautiful who are clean, showered and well groomed. The walking dead was dark and dreary and had a heavy, foreboding feeling to it.
The one thing I have noticed is that the scenes that are shown are so tightly closed in on the particular shot that you almost feel like pushing the boundaries of the shot and seeing what is the bigger picture. What is just out of sight of the camera that could be dangerous or a walker just out of sight. These kinds of shots that are in movies or tv shows tend to frustrate me because I can’t see what they are afraid of or what they should be running from. So I seriously hope they don’t do that all the way through the new show.
I have been very lucky to be one of the fans of the Walking Dead and get a chance to see Michael Cudlitz at Comic Con this year in Des Moines. The Wizarding Worlds Comic Con is set to come back next year to Des Moines as well and I look forward to possibly getting to meet some of the cast of the new show “Fear the Walking Dead” as well.
Still no word as to the actual date of when the show will start in August. I do hope they come up with a date soon so we can count down the days until it starts and get our recorders set to record it. You know we are going to want to watch the premier a couple of times before the second one even airs.
In this show it is said the walkers will be all freshly turned so we will get to see just how fresh they will be making them in costuming. In The Walking Dead they have had to keep aging the walkers and showing more decomposition where “Fear the Walking Dead” will have all newly dead people. I really do love the costuming aspect of it and see the creativity they come up with to keep the shows fresh and your attention on the detail.
Well that wraps it up for this week, I hope everyone has a wonderful week and watch out for new trailers to be released!
What questions, thoughts or ideas do you have about the show? Post your comments on what you would like to see as well below.
This show is set to air in August sometime. We don’t have a concrete date yet but I wanted to give some insight to what I think the show will be like. I am a huge fan of the original show The Walking Dead and have mixed feelings about whether or not it will live up to its predecessor. The previews so far have been pretty minimal and leave a lot to the imagination. The cast of characters are shaping up to be some pretty good characters with actors such as Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, and Frank Dillane.
The story settings are completely different from the Walking Dead in that it takes place in Los Angeles where it is as different from Atlanta, Georgia as Iowa is from Hawaii.Los Angeles has a landscape that just goes on and on with one city running into another for miles.
The interesting thing I find even in my research of the cast of characters and their jobs in real life or their skill sets, none of them so far are survivalists in the apocalyptic sense. No Dooms day preppers or wilderness survivalists, just ordinary teachers, students and such. There is one military person who will have a recurring spot on the show but not even that guarantees a good set of survival skills. I like how they take the ordinary people, like you and I, who have not prepared for this type of situation and throw them in there and just wait to see if they can survive it. The people chosen to tell the story give a wide variety of opinions from “The Government would tell us the truth” to “It’s just the flu, right?” It will be interesting to see what finally happened in the days following Rick Grime’s shooting until he awoke. Finally we will get to see how things got so bad. For now, we see people who are safe in their normal everyday lives with just a hint of what might be coming just over the horizon.
I sincerely hope that Fear the Walking Dead lives up to its predecessor, The Walking Dead. Maybe that is why they are holding previews to a bare minimum in case it doesn’t get received as well. Time and opinions will tell.
I will be doing a weekly blog update as more previews show and a set air date arrives. I look forward to your comments and questions and I will do my best to answer them.
Everyone has advice to follow of how to become the next successful writer. Stephen King obviously has ideas on what you should or shouldn’t do. A good friend of mine, Martin Crosbie has really good ideas of ways to go about getting your book out there and noticed. Go on amazon.com and just type in How to Publish and you will see hundreds if not thousands of books giving you advice, ideas and in some cases, lectures of what to do and what not to do. Everyone of these authors has found what works for them. Trust me, it works really well for them. The thing most fail to realize is that you have to find what combination of the “success formula” works best for you! Is it a bit of Stephen, a dash of Martin and a little Matthew Davenport for good measure.
All of the ideas and plans used by these folks are all good and work. The key is finding what works best for you. Stephen King says cut out tv and write in a room with no distractions. Terry Brooks, from my understanding writes in silence as well. Others, like to write with a cat on their lap, like the one that is on mine now, helping me type. Others want noise, tv going, kids playing, music playing, or any of the above and more.to help them get into the writing zone. Some say you have to get the whole thing written in no more than 3 months time otherwise you will lose your flow of the story. Some people crank out stories in several days, weeks, or like me, some of our stories have taken over a year to complete. Some people write daily, and they say you aren’t a true writer unless yo do write daily. That, again is not always true either. Sometimes life happens and doesn’t allow you to write daily.
Online marketing is another little nightmare that can be hard to figure out and many have an opinion on. The thing most need to know about, remember and just plain relax on is this. Experiment with things, facebook, twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, or the hundreds of other sites that you frequent. Test the waters there and see what kind of reaction you get. Avoid the “Buy my book” angle though. It can be hard, but it is doable. Are there going to be things that just don’t work for you? Heck yes! not very good with Twitter, that’s o.k. Don’t have a clue as to how to work Goodreads. That’s perfectly alright as well. There are plenty of people out there willing to help you out and teach you how to at least get a basic working knowledge of it.
A good friend of mine, Cassidy Frazee writes like a machine! She blocks everything out, is organized and knows how she wants the story to go. Me? I am a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I have a general idea of the story but when I’m writing it, I often get surprised by a turn of events I didn’t plan or see coming. Others jump around in their stories writing this part, then going back to that part. That would drive me nuts!
A good friend gave me a bit of advice a long time ago that I still use to this day. “Everyone has advice on life, raising babies, how to publish, etc. Take the advice you want or works for you, use it and throw the rest away. It’s the same with publishing. When you aren’t selling millions like Stephen King, “But I followed his advice to the letter! but I did notice that part worked some for us” Or you aren’t selling thousands like Martin Crosbie, “Again, I followed his book and did all the homework! but that bit on the facebooking and the places to get advertising worked pretty well.” That’s o.k! you just need to find what works for you and your book.
You aren’t Stephen King or Martin Crosbie or even Cassidy Frazee. Take what is working for you, make it better and keep exploring and trying new things. One day you will notice that you are doing exactly what you are meant to do and what works best for you. Just as you have to keep your voice in the story, you have to write and market in a way that works best for you and your book.
Keep learning, keep growing, find new ways and ideas. If it doesn’t work, that’s o.k just move on to the next thing and take note of the things that do work for you. The thing to remember is to keep going, keep writing and don’t stop learning.
It is with great pleasure to get a chance to interview Ethan for a second time! He has published several books this year and his lates is due out the 9th of October! As a special surprise he will be giving away Arctic Wargames for free October 9th, 10th and 11th! Without further delay here is Ethan!
Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, Canadian Intelligence Service Agents, find themselves in lawless North Africa on the trail of an assassination plot. The target is the US President, and the hit is scheduled to take place during a G-20 summit in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. But the source of their information is the deceitful leader of one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the area. Ambushes and questionable loyalties turn an already difficult mission into a dark maze of betrayal and misdirection.
Forced to return to Tripoli, Justin and Carrie dig up new intelligence pointing to a powerful Saudi prince bankrolling the assassination plan. What’s worse, Justin and Carrie realize something crucial is very, very wrong with their plan. The summit is only forty-eight hours away and they still have to stop the Saudi prince, dismantle the assassination plot, and save the life of Tripoli’s target.
Tripoli’s Target promises to take the reader through a great story as it becomes the next international bestseller. Fans of David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and Daniel Silva will love this high-octane spy thriller.
Q. Now that you have published more than one book, Congratulations by the way, have you changed any of your writing habits?
A. Thanks for the congratulations. I have started to be more organized, in the sense of dedicating a certain amount of time to writing, editing, promoting and marketing my works. In the past, I would go in campaigns, focusing on one aspect and forgetting the rest. Now, I work on making little progress in all fronts at the same time.
Q. What part of writing do you find the most fulfilling?
A. The brewing of the plot in my mind and the beginning of a new novel is always very exciting and very fulfilling. Then, the hard work begins, the writing of the whole book.
Q. Are you going to continue in the self-publishing route or do you also submit to agents or publishing houses?
A. I love the self-publishing route, the freedom, the flexibility, the possibilities. I’m going to continue to publish my works independently. Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, so if an agent comes knocking things may change.
Q. If you could play any part in your books, what part would it be? (Think Stephen King who played parts in some of his books to movies)
A. I’ve never thought of that. I would play a minor role, perhaps of the secondary characters.
Q. What have you done to help build your platform as an author to let others know of your works?
A. I use my blog as a place to connect with my fans, along with my Facebook page and my Twitter. I’m active on various writers’ forums as well and have approached bookstores and libraries for author presentations.
Q. What started you on the writing path? When did you decide to become a published author?
A. I wrote short stories when I was a teen. Then I went to university and had no time for writing, other than exams. After law school, I continued graduate studies and received a Master of Laws degree. A 150-page thesis was the product of my research. Once I finished it, I decided to try to write more stories, this time the ones that I wanted to write. I was blessed with time to work on Arctic Wargame and other novels.
I shopped Arctic Wargame around in 2009 and 2010. Those were not good times for the publishing industry. I got great feedback. A few agents asked for a partial manuscript and two or three for a full. Upon the suggestion of a good friend, I dusted off my work, revised it and now everyone can enjoy it and my future novels.
Q. Who is your biggest supporter in your writing career?
A. My wife is very understanding and supportive. I must also thank God for the talent, with which He has blessed me.
Q. Do you have any more stories ready to come out? Do you plan to keep writing in this genre?
A. I’m planning to continue the Justin Hall series with more installments. In Fog of War, the third installment in this series, Justin infiltrates Iran to help extract a defector, a nuclear scientist who can provide information on Iran’s uranium enrichment program and its plans to build a nuclear bomb. Then Justin and Carrie will have to continue their investigation in some of the most dangerous regions of the planet, including Somalia and Yemen, the hotbeds of terrorism in the making. The release of Fog of War is tentatively planned for early summer 2013.
Q. Where can we find your books and sites at? Links?
I love readers’ feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to write to each and every one of them.
Here is an excerpt from Joe’s book.
“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat
an army of lions led by a sheep.”
“It is better to die in revenge than to live on in shame.”
May 13, 6:15 p.m. local time
Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his short khaki pants, his gaze glued to the silver BMW Suburban in front of him. He heaved a wheezing sigh and tapped on the brake pedal. A red traffic light halted the five-vehicle convoy.
A stream of cars rushed through the intersection leading to the business district of downtown Tripoli. Tall skyscrapers rose over most of the city’s old colonial-style buildings. The green and gold banner of Jacobs Properties—one of the major British real estate developers in Libya—beamed from atop the glass-and-steel façade of the newly finished Continental Hotel. The same logo had been painted hastily on the left side of the BMW packed with Semtex explosives. Walid, its driver and a Jacobs subcontractor, had exchanged his blue coveralls for a business suit and the promise of martyrdom.
A glance at the dashboard clock told Satam the synchronized explosion would take place in ten minutes. The thought of the coming carnage drained the last drop of courage from his heart. He rolled down the window, but the humid air—blended with the aroma of fried falafel, onions, and lamb donairs from a nearby street vendor—made him nauseated. He gasped for air, sticking his head out of the window. He coughed and struggled to catch his breath. The drivers in the other vehicles shot him curious glares. Behind the truck, the driver of an old Mercedes honked his horn twice. Satam swallowed hard and wiped the sweat off his narrow forehead. He waved at his audience to show them he was doing all right.
“Satam, what’s the matter, brother?” the radio set on the dashboard crackled. He recognized Walid’s gruff voice.
Satam looked at the BMW. His watery eyes met the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear-view mirror of the Suburban. The driver’s usual wicked smirk stretched his lips, revealing his large buckteeth. Walid waved his hands wildly. Satam could not see behind Walid’s black aviator shades but assumed his eyes were ablaze with rage.
“Nothing’s wrong. Just needed some air,” Satam replied over the radio.
He rolled up the window before Walid could scold him with another howl.
“Great. Now that you’ve closed the window, open your eyes!” Walid barked. “You’re not a coward like the infidels, are you?”
Satam shook his head.
A third voice came on air before he could say anything.
“Cousin, I pledged my honor so you could be a part of this mission. Don’t you back down now!” Satam’s cousin said. He was driving the Toyota at the head of the convoy.
Satam sighed and paused for a couple of seconds. “I’m not backing down. You can trust me. I will not disappoint you or the brotherhood.”
“That’s my flesh and blood who is soon to be a martyr,” said the cousin in a relaxed tone. “Our families will be proud of us, and our reward will be glorious.”
“It’s easy for you to say, since tonight you’ll be welcomed to paradise,” Satam said.
He noticed the traffic lights changing and stepped cautiously on the gas pedal. The truck jerked forward a few inches before the ride turned smooth again.
“Won’t take long before you join us there,” Walid said.
“Yes, but not before being dragged through the secret police hellish cells…” Satam’s voice trailed off.
“Allah will give you strength, cousin, and soon he’ll take you home.”
“He will, brother, he will.” Walid revved the BMW’s twelve-cylinder engine. “For sure, I’m going to miss this ride.”
“There will be plenty of rides up there to keep you and everyone else busy,” the cousin said with a quiet laugh. “Now may Allah be with us all. Over and out.”
Walid nodded and turned left toward the Continental Hotel.
Satam’s destination, the Gold Market, was to the right. He steered in that direction. He zigzagged through a few crooked streets and slowed down when reaching the Old City. The blacktop disappeared, and the uneven gravel crackled under the tires. Old cars, horse carts, and pedestrians came into view, along with whitewashed stores selling gold and jewelry. The streets narrowed into barely a single lane.
Satam rolled down the window for sideways glances to avoid brushing against planters, chairs, and vendors selling all kinds of junk. A stomach-churning stench from days old fish, fried grease, and sweat overwhelmed him. Satam felt his head grow heavy, and he hit the brakes.
The street vendors lost no time peddling their wares. A crowd of young boys swarmed his truck. He yelled and shoved away a few of the bravest salesmen waving handfuls of souvenirs in his face. He kept brushing away the hagglers, when suddenly a pointed metal object was shoved against his forearm. Startled, Satam withdrew his arm inside the cabin. He glanced at one of the boys holding a string of scimitar replicas, the sword tribesmen in North Africa carried in ancient times. The curved blade was dull with a rounded point to prevent accidental stabs. Still, the swift jab at his forearm summoned awful visions of the future.
He saw himself hanging upside down in a dark, grim dungeon, tied to the ceiling beams, while three secret police agents “interrogated” him. They would use various methods to “jog” his memory and break his psyche. Sleep deprivation and intimidation by police dogs were just the welcome package. Other techniques included breaking fingers and simulated suffocation with plastic wraps and water boarding. I will tell them everything right away before they even touch me. He struggled to wipe the vivid images from his mind.
Satam slammed on the truck’s horn to clear a path through the crowd. The blaring horn startled him more than the boys and the occasional onlookers. He glanced at the dashboard, realizing he had less than two minutes to reach the busy marketplace square five blocks away. It will be impossible to make it on time.
He blasted the horn again and stepped on the gas. The truck moved slowly, and Satam wrestled to make a left turn. The alley grew wider. The truck sped up, its wheels dipping and climbing in and out of the potholes. He rushed straight ahead, inches away from oncoming taxis, their honks protesting his unsafe speed. A few sidewalk vendors dove out of the way, their overflowing baskets of bananas and grapes spilling all over the place. Tires screeched as he turned right, jumping the curb and narrowly missing a large bronze planter outside a soap store.
The Mediterranean Sea was now visible to his right, through palm trees, coffee shops, and fruit vendor stands. Satam stared ahead at the wide square, one of the busiest markets in El Mina, the ancient city. The bazaar rumbled with vendors squabbling over a few dinars with tight-fisted tourists. I made it. Yes, I made it. He turned his gaze to the left, toward Tripoli’s skyline, and slowed down before parking the truck in front of a small restaurant. He took a deep breath and dabbed at his forehead with the back of his hand, wiping off a sea of sweat.
The dashboard radio crackled and he picked up the receiver.
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The loud voice echoed over the radio. Satam recognized Walid’s shouts.
A second later, a loud explosion rocked the entire square. Satam’s gaze spun toward the business district, where a cloud of grayish smoke billowed around the Continental Hotel. Chaos erupted among the street vendors who scattered and forgot about their produce and the evening’s clients. The patrons of coffee shops rushed to the streets, staring in disbelief at the sight. Cries of hysteria overtook the growing crowd. Elderly women beat their heads and chests with clenched fists. Young men pointed and shouted, their bodies restless. The sharp siren of an ambulance sliced through the cacophony of terror.
With a quick movement of his wrist, Satam consulted his watch. Just as the digits registered 6:31, another explosion shocked the crowd. This time, the bomb hit closer, much closer, merely five blocks away. From inside his parked truck, Satam looked at the bright yellow glow of the blast. High flames leapt at a ten-story office building. A thick cloud of black smoke began to swallow up the tower. The crowd broke into smaller groups. People scurried in all directions. Some ran back to their shops and apartments. Others simply circled the area, perhaps unsure of the safe way out.
Satam knew his time had come. He revved the engine and stomped on the gas pedal. The truck arrowed toward the vendors’ tables. The market was mostly empty, and the truck crashed into crates of fish, baskets of grapes, and barrels of olive oil. Produce scattered everywhere as the truck rampaged through plastic tables and chairs.
A police truck zipped toward him. Satam steered around, not to escape, but to meet the approaching vehicle. The two policemen in the truck ignored Satam. They were going to drive past him, but Satam swerved hard. The right fender of his truck smashed into the left side of the police truck. The police truck jerked to the other side. He pulled over and stopped less than thirty feet away. The other policeman rolled down the window. Satam stared at the muzzle of an AK-47 assault rifle.
“Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot,” Satam shouted and opened his door.
A quick burst of bullets sent him ducking for cover in the front seat. A shower of glass shreds fell over his head.
They’re going to kill me before I even have a chance to open my mouth. Or one of the bullets will blow up the truck. I can’t let that happen.
He looked at the back of the truck. Thirty pounds of Semtex explosives wired into a homemade bomb were stored inside the seat compartments. He noticed the cellphone on the floor mat by his left hand. He reached for the phone. All it would take for him to set off the explosives—and pulverize himself and the policemen—was to tap three preset numbers. His fingers hovered over the phone, but he remembered his family’s honor and the reward waiting for him in paradise. He dropped the phone to the floor, buried his head in the seat, and locked his fingers behind his head.
A minute or so passed before the shooting stopped, but the screaming continued. At some point, he heard the distinct thuds of combat boots marching down the street. The police were approaching his truck. He looked up slowly as a policeman pulled open the driver’s door of his truck and aimed an AK-47 at his head
“Don’t move!” the policeman ordered.
Without a word, the policeman juggled the rifle in his hands and slammed its buttstock hard against Satam’s head.