Life After 9/11

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The Olympics in Salt Lake City

“Dear sweet God in Heaven, why is place so fricking cold?” Logan cried out as he stepped off the plane in Salt Lake City. He were greeted by the freezing cold weather prevalent to the mountain region of the United States of America. Logan (who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Los Angeles) was clearly not used to cold weather. Unlike him, Deirdre (who was born and raised in Saint Charles, Missouri) knew what the weather in winter was like.

“Well, it’s not exactly warm like it is at home,” Deirdre said as she wrestled the kids to her side. “And in case you forgot, I grew up in Missouri, where it gets cold during the winter. Plus, it’s the Winter Olympics. They don’t play games like these during the summer.”

“Indeed,” said Logan. “But do they hate us enough to make us go to a place where our blood will freeze?”

“I should know, as not only do they want us here for the Olympics, but they want us to promote “Frostfall” while we’re there,” said Deirdre. “The movie’s been out since November; it should have left the theaters by now. I don’t understand why people would want to watch the movie during the Olympics.”

“And that’s another issue I’m taking up with the team at the next meeting,” said Logan. “They’re trying to milk that cash cow for all its worth.”

“Logan, I warned you about this,” said Deirdre. “I told you that they would exploit the movie, but did you listen? No, you didn’t. Now we have to deal with these useless Hollywood bureaucrats who are trying to turn “Frostfall” into the next big thing. I don’t like it at all.”

“I know,” Logan said angrily. “I should have listened to you and left “Frostfall” alone.”

“Because you didn’t listen to me and took over “Frostfall”, you made it bigger and better than Harry Potter, which wasn’t an easy feat,” said Deirdre. “Now, instead of Harry Potter mania, we have people who stopped reading the books, not because Father Diego told them that the book was full of witchcraft, but because Logan Dara read the books and determined that they were poorly-written and unoriginal.”

“I see,” said Logan.

“Next time, sign up for the Summer Games,” said Deirdre. “That way, you won’t be complaining about the cold.”

“Then you’ll be complaining about the heat,” said Logan. “You’ll complain about the heat so much that you’ll beg me to sign up for the Winter Games. Whether it’s summer or winter, you always complain about the weather. You can’t win.”

“What do you know?” Deirdre said as they met Dicky and Andrea at the airport terminal. They too were barely dressed for the winter. Everyone wore heavy jackets save for Deirdre, who had bundled herself and the children in winter coats.

Dicky saw them and said, “This is unfair! I got this makeover a few weeks ago and then they expect me come here and freeze my butt off. What’s wrong with people nowadays?”

“I did warn you that we were going to freeze our butts off when we got here when I called you a few days ago,” said Deirdre.

“You did,” said Andrea. “But it would have been nice if they gave us a warning first.”

The group came to Salt Lake City to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. Many athletes from around the world were there, either to compete or watch the games. Logan frowned at the amount of media coverage the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was getting, thinking to himself this is pointless. Why aren’t they covering something that’s a lot more important, such as why Afghanistan and many other Middle Eastern countries aren’t allowed to participate in this year’s Olympic games when they could the last time we were at the Olympics games?

“Let’s go, Logan,” Leilar said as he snapped out of his reverie. “They’re all waiting for you. I had to drag your mother here and you know how she is about planes.”

“Yes, I’m not fond of airplanes,” Eleani said as she glared at Logan. “I especially had to bribe Emily to come here, as the poor thing refuses to leave the house, not even to see her own brother.” Logan’s younger sister, Emily, glared at him; she had Down Syndrome and was severely disabled. She never attended school or left the house except to go to church. (There were times when Logan wished he had remained an only child and not have to deal with a sister like Emily Dara.)

“Yeah,” Logan said as he shouldered his bag and began walking towards the shuttle that would take the group to their hotel room. He would have to deal with his doubts later.

“At least they were smart enough not to expose us as the heroes who stopped 9/11,” Dicky said as the cousins sat in the locker room. The opening ceremony featured many aspects of American life, but left out the fact that Logan, Dicky, and Andrea stopped the 9/11 attacks from happening. (Something they were all grateful for.)

“Well, Sean paid them to leave us out,” said Logan. “Or as I recall, I heard him say to an announcer, “Expose my cousins and their role on 9/11 and I’ll make sure you’ll never work in broadcasting again.” I could only imagine the look on that poor guy’s face as he said that.”

“I can’t imagine that,” said Andrea. “Anyway, we need to have a plan to bail out of this game. It’s one thing to have us going up against our southern cousins in Atlanta and call the south “evil racists” for their role in slavery and segregation, but it’s another thing to fight against our eastern cousins. Hardly anyone in the family lives here, which is a shame in itself, and they weren’t chosen to play in the hockey tournament either.”

“Don’t worry about that,” said Logan. “I have a plan. Or rather, she does.” Dicky and Andrea stared at him. “Don’t worry, you two,” he said. “Deirdre knows when and how to shut down something she doesn’t like. Need I remind you that she and her two friends are calling out Disney’s bluff?”

“Yeah,” said Andrea. “It’s one thing to call a movie’s bluff, but this the Olympic Games! We can’t call other teams crap!”

“It’s not the world that’s crap,” Sean said as he walked into the room. “It’s the organizers of the Trichenberg Hockey Tournament. They’re the ones she needs to shut down.”

“Let’s hope she does it before the game,” said Dicky. “I hate to be plastered on TV for fighting against my cousins.”

“And neither should we,” said Logan. But he wondered if Deirdre would be up to the task of knocking down to organizers who dared to humiliate his family.

During the next two weeks, the Olympics was in full swing as the population of Salt Lake City and the entire world turned to watch the games. Even those who served in the military (such as Deirdre’s stepbrother Jackie Williams) weren’t forgotten, as they watched the games on TV while they weren’t on duty. Excitement swept through the whole world, as if it wasn’t exciting enough that the September 11 attacks were thwarted minutes before it happened.

Then came a few moments that no one saw coming, especially Karema Smittand.

She went to watch the figure skating competition with Derrick, Deirdre, and the children while the big hockey game between the East Coast and the West Coast was set up. No one said anything until the Little Texas Rangers Dance Troupe was brought to dance in the middle of the rink during the halftime show.

“Little Texas Rangers?” she cried out in anger. “How dare they bring out the Little Texas Rangers! Something is wrong with that show!”

“I don’t see what’s wrong with their performance,” said Deirdre.

“I was a Little Texas Ranger,” said Karema. “And that was before my mother went nuts and ruined that part of my showbiz career.”

“How sad,” said Deirdre. “And here I was beginning to wonder if I’m turning into my own mother.”

“I hope that their halftime show is not like the Super Bowl,” said Derrick, recalling the Super Bowl game that they watched on TV a few days before the trip to Salt Lake City. “That halftime show was kind of lame.”

“Don’t worry, there’s always next year,” said Karema. “Besides, the musician wasn’t half bad. You need to give half of them a chance, like what your sister’s doing.”

“It would be easy if I could shake off the last few years of my life,” said Derrick. “Deeds has no idea of how good she had it.”

“Well, there were times when I fought with Leilar or Eleani. Those two are indeed a pair and I had a hard time getting along with them, especially in the first few weeks when I hooked up with Logan,” said Deirdre. “Yet, Logan never likes to fight with anyone, which says a lot about who he is.”

“Indeed,” said Derrick. “Your cousin is insane. Seriously, he’s like fricking messed up in the head. Why didn’t they stop him before you were kidnapped?”

“I’m not at any liberty to discuss my cousin’s behavior, not unless I’m talking to Barbara Walters,” Deirdre snapped. “Plus, haven’t you seen the tabloids? Despicable! Why do they insist upon attempting to exploit me?”

“Who knows?” said Karema. “We’re old, we’re useless, and I don’t know the right people. I don’t have a way to reconnect with the people I’ve known before; they either died or forgot about me.”

Derrick was about to respond when the teams announced. Immediately, many people crowded into the stadium to watch the exhibition game between the two factions of the American Trichenberg family. The trio rolled their eyes as they watched the two teams roll into the rink; the East Coast team wore green and gold while the West Coast team wore blue and brown. The announcer (a very obnoxious man named John Martin) said, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Trichenberg Hockey Tournament!”

The audience cheered as the lineup was announced. Deirdre turned to Derrick and said, “This game is going to suck. I just know it.”

“Yeah,” said Derrick. “I can’t wait to wipe the smiles off their faces when they realize that it’s going to look like the U.S. Civil War part II.”

“Screw those guys!” Karema snapped. “That game is going to suck! Just who do these jerks think they are, insulting your family like that?”

“They have no shame,” said Deirdre. “They are useless, clueless, brainless, gutless, and worthless!!!”

At that, the game stopped abruptly, with everyone in the place staring at her. No one said a word as Deirdre stood up and said, “I can’t believe that you would do this kind of shit! Lesser men in other countries would have been killed for doing what you bastards have done! I’m so sick of your shit that I want to step on a king cobra so hard it’ll make your mothers wish they aborted you! This game is over...FOREVER!!!”

At that, the stadium was cleared quickly; the audience was angry with Deirdre for her scathing remarks regarding the organizers of the game and making the mothers of those organizers wish that they had aborted them. The two sides of the Trichenberg family who would have played against each other also walked away from the rink in disgust. Logan said to her, “Thank you so much; you saved me from having to embarrass myself in front of the entire world. I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“What was I going to do? Let those racist sons of pigs force you to fight against your cousins for other people’s enjoyment?” Deirdre snapped in anger.

“That’s exploitation,” said Derrick. “They’re exploiting you for kicks!”

“Either that, or they’re in it for the money,” said Karema. “Who knows what goes on behind closed doors these days.”

“I’m beginning to suspect that the Sons of Ebal are behind this,” Sean snarled as he, Dicky, and Andrea came towards them. “They definitely had their sticky fingers all over most of the events that happened this year.”

“Don’t get me started with those assholes,” Logan cried out, who was not at all mindful that the children were nearby and they could hear every word he was saying. “I heard rumors that they were behind the Harry Potter movie and the 9/11 attacks.”

“I’ve noticed,” Sean said in anger. “I bet they arranged the match since we thwarted their plans to attack New York on 9/11 and made sure that the people they hired to kill you didn’t kill you.”

“And I bet they wanted you dead because of that one incident that happened in Australia a few years back,” said Dicky.

“Look guys, if you’re referring to the incident involving Rachel Grant, I wasn’t even there,” Sean said as he held up his hands in a gesture of mock surrender. “All I did was give those two hackers the tools they needed to disrupt that cult’s little asteuric ritual.”

“Well, whatever it was you did back then, it doesn’t matter. You’re their Number One enemy,” said Logan. “Everyone knows who you are. And the fact that you helped prevent the 9/11 attacks from happening isn’t going to fly with these guys.”

“And because your wife announced their presence so spectacularly to the world,” Sean began, but then screams was heard in the stadium’s plaza. A hooded man entered the stadium and shot into the crowd. A man was killed and three people were seriously injured. Many other people suffered cuts and bruises in the chaos that followed the shooting, yet the gunman was taken down by several of Sean’s cousins who came from Turkmenistan to watch the games.

“I wonder who was behind that attack,” Deirdre said as the police escorted the group back to their hotel room. It wasn’t a question of who did it and why they did it; it was the fact that once again, the Three Cousins had escaped from death.

“It’s like the Atlanta games all over again,” Sean said sadly, remembering the 1996 games, when an agent of the Sons of Ebal tried to kill him while he and Rachel were watching the games. Not only did that plan fail (because Sean and Rachel weren’t in the area where the agent was), but also an innocent woman was killed and many other people were injured. Sean was unaware of the attack until it was reported on the news later that night.

“Well, whatever it was, let’s be grateful we’re still alive,” said Logan. “Had we stayed inside the stadium a second longer, we could have been killed or seriously injured.”

“That was what they wanted,” said Sean. “They wanted us out of the way, and they were willing to kill us to get what they want. We must never give them the satisfaction of knowing that we can be defeated so easily. Let the Sons of Ebal rant and wail, for we will always return to stop them yet again.”

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