Action-adventure-romance-political-terrorist-thriller of American television culture versus the War on Terrorism—the Awakening Epic of Our Times…
EPISODE ONE – Prologue
Scene 1: On That Day, Where Were They?
Setting: September 11, 2001, New York, Chicago, Jalalabad
Booker Langston, defense attorney
He was angry with her. Not really. His Tuesday schedule went into flux with his fiancée’s casual request (non-negotiable demand) for a mutual shopping appointment before his afternoon court session, where he was set to deliver his closing argument, defending the accused.
Judy said it would be a quick decision on her final choice of the wedding gown design. But he knew women. Maybe he didn’t. He did know that he was in love with investment banker/trader Judith Yu, her brilliance of mind, her beauty, the warmth of her smile, and her malleable body. The perfect cultural match: 3rd generation Chinese, she a math whiz, to merge by wedding vows to a 2nd generation African, his family political refugees, the elite of the previous regime, from a civil war in Liberia. Now, totally Americanized, successful though not yet rich, ‘Bookie’ was gaining a rep as a savvy defender of the legally entangled downtrodden of New York City. Complacent in his happiness within this work day, he had agreed to meet her in the lobby of the World Trade Center, North Tower. She would ride the elevator down from her currency exchange executive position in the financial trading office of Cantleigh & Fitzpatrick on the 103rd Floor. He checked his watch. 8:40 am. He picked up his pace, grinning. This time he would be early. Surprise her. He had flowers in his hand, a small bouquet.
The shadow of an aircraft momentarily darkened his steps. A grumbling scream filled the skies above his head, and then….
Hugh Fox had done it. A little fakery, not fraudulent, but the bankers would not have loaned the funds to a 19-year-old kid, who some called an ‘erratic genius,’ where others colored him as wild and driven, tinged with unpredictability. The bankers were under the impression that the product he was developing and marketing was ‘transistor type’ because one of the contracts he had signed was with Radio Shack, giving comfort for a relationship with a major retail corporation and thus credence to an asset valuation to support the collateral…
Hugh Fox felt, no, knew that with this lending capital, he could now succeed. He was in a buoyant mood. Then, just as his finger hit the elevator’s down button, he looked out the hall window to see American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower.
A hole-in-the-wall office, on the second floor, in the Garment District. The name on the glass kept simple. S. Carlisle, Creative Fashions. Sam, as she was known to amiable friends, Sammie to her family, wasn’t satisfied with the moniker for a future fashion trademark. She would scribble out words, match, and juggle, but nothing screamed, ‘famous apparel stylist works here.’ Sam was smart, smart-alecky, with a natural dose of ambition. One had to be bold, if not brash, if not outlandish, to succeed in this world of couture glam.
Eve, one of her two seamstresses, arriving late, rushed in, slurring out her sentences.
“A plane hit the World Tower. And not a small plane, a big jet. You can see the smoke from the street.” So, all three of them did just that. Sam, Eve, and Madeline, the other seamstress and the occasional part-time bookkeeper. She saw others were straying outside, glancing, peering down to the end of the island. And yes, black smoke appeared from not just one but both towers. ‘How could one plane set both buildings on fire?’ thought Sam, now hearing the emergency sirens from all directions heading towards the ‘accident.’
… She turned her attention back to the television. Good God, it is Dante’s Hell, as she saw ‘ghosts’ coming out of a tsunami cloud of grey ash. Her eyes focused on two men, stumbling toward the camera, neither one recognizable, even to what ethnicity they might be. Leaning, holding each other up, strangers clinging. Aloud, to no one, shaking her head, she mourned, “Everyone is grey confusion, like amnesiac ghosts.” Then thinking as a fashion designer might, seeing the perspective of all people now running. “No ethnics; no discerning tribes, no stuffy cliques, no Benetton colors of culture. The world has gone drab.” No one was around to hear what she later called her epiphany. She threw in a couple of curse words to emphasize a world gone crazy. And then, thinking more, she gained direction, “I will use a grey-black fabric background with minimalist color slashes, walking art of a chained political statement, of starkness representing sadness personified. Disturbed Valentino embraces nihilist Versace.” And Samantha Carlisle began to sketch, ignoring the wail of distant sirens.
For his part, Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator, remembered it beginning as probably an ‘unremarkable day.’ He was driving on Lake Shore Drive on his way to a required yet probably tedious Illinois Legislative Committee Meeting on Administrative Policy. The radio’s music channel switched to ‘Breaking News,’ and he first learned of a plane crash into one of the World Trade Center buildings in New York. By the time he arrived at his meeting, it had been canceled, and people were milling outside, many of them staring at Chicago’s Sears Tower, wondering, as he put it later, ‘Would this building go from workplace to target’?
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, Pan-Islamic al-Qaeda leader
He had called his mother the night before. “You might not be able to reach me for some time.” She asked no questions. They had a pleasant visit about her life, his wives, and children. “No, they will not be coming with me for a month or so.” His mother did not ask why. He ended the call, both of them exchanging endearing goodbyes. Neither said they loved the other. That was not a ritual done in the bin Laden tribal clan. Yet, the call placed him in a good mood, as did other events yet to be.