Chaos, Butterflies, Planes and Walls – A short story for 9/11

Chaos, Butterflies, Planes and Walls

‘BUILD THAT WALL!!  BUILD THAT WALL!!! BUILD THAT WALL!!’ The chant echoed around the stadium as Donald Trump, strutting and preening, basked in the hysteria he had created and gloated. He had it in the can.


‘Damn CIA,’ I thought as I sweltered in the lousy Ford Taurus, a heap of junk that should have been scrapped years ago. ‘It’ll blend in,’ they’d told me. ‘Blend in! It was so battered it stood out!’

37 degrees and the damn air-con didn’t work! I had to have the windows shut so I could safely watch them. My shirt was sticking to my back. The fan was on full but made no difference – just blasted hot air in my face.

Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah were loading luggage into the hire car – a top of the range Buick. I bet the air-con worked in that mother! There’s no justice.

We’d had intel that Al Qaeda were planning a big one. The air was full of Bin Laden and his crew. They were up to something. Nobody knew what. Although they were not high on the list, there were bigger fish, my job was to find out.

As usual there was no money. We were spread thin. The Feds had shunted me over to CIA. I was it – the entire operation.  

I’d read up on what we had – a whole bunch of these guys had been trained in Afghanistan but nobody knew what they were planning. Their activity was being monitored but in a cursory manner.

These three had flown in from Germany, where the cell was based. We’d given the luggage the once over, no sign of explosives, no clue as to what they were up to. A mystery.  All nineteen jihadists were being loosely watched. A motley bunch mainly recruited from Saudi with odd ones from the Lebanon, Egypt and the UAE. Seemed to me that the top guys didn’t take them too seriously, just one of many threats.

My brief was to tail them and see where they were going, find out what they were planning, probably nothing – no way of knowing.

Fucking Florida! Hot as hell and muggy with it!

They looked like young kids. I met their flight and followed them to the car park – no problem. They headed out through town towards the freeway and I slid in behind, a couple of cars back, travelling fast.

A relief to be moving. I wound the window down to get some air!

A large butterfly was whipped into my face, flapped right into my eyes. Instinctively I swatted at it. The car veered and with a shriek of tyres I was up on the sidewalk. By the time I backed out and got going again there was no sign of them. They’d disappeared.


When American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower at 8.46 a.m. on the 11th September 2001 the world changed.