They started coming out right away. They looked a little impatient too, especially the rabbi. You know, my uncle. I can’t get tired of mentioning that, you know. Well, the rabbi, my uncle, was leading them out, and he looked really annoyed, if you know what I mean. But, then again, that’s really the only expression I ever saw on his face, so maybe I was misinterpreting it. Maybe that’s just how he looked all the time. I’m not so sure really. Actually, I don’t know. So forget it.
There were a lot of hostages. I may have forgotten to mention that. I get a little distracted, sometimes. I’ve been known to forget a few details, here and there. It makes it difficult when telling a joke, as I may have mentioned. You might have gotten the impression that there were only a few dozen or so people in the hotel. Judging by the look on his face, I think that was Moretti’s impression. Actually, the convention was pretty popular, if you know what I mean. There were over two hundred people there. It’s a good thing they were on our side. Well, sort of. I mean, for hostages, that is. I bet you this was the easiest hostage takeover in the history of hostage takeovers since the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery. Or, was it the takeover of the Japanese embassy in Lima? I don’t know. Maybe the whole thing was some twisted plot by delusional sociologists in Oslo or something. I don’t know. I could believe it though. Then again, you may not have noticed, but I’m pretty impressionable. Really, I am.
Anyway, the hostages were all coming out of the hotel pretty orderly. The only one that was really making any kind of trouble was Arikman. He was a committed guy, you know. He kept shouting “Free the Palestinians!” The other hostages had to keep him moving towards the police lines. After a few hundred times of trying to get the crowd to shout along with him, he finally quieted down. No one in the crowd seemed to understand what he wanted them to do, and no one really responded, except for one guy that shouted “Attica” in return. But after Moretti gave me a dirty look, I stopped. It was just that I kind of felt sorry for the guy, if you know what I mean.
“Who’s that?” Moretti asked, pointing to Arikman. “Is that Mustafa?”
“No, that’s Asher Arikman, he’s kind of the head hostage,” I said. “I mean the head of the Committee of Rabbis Aligned with the Palestinian People.”
“Never heard of them.”
“Yeah, well, they were the ones holding the conference in the hotel. There’s also a group from People Unified Against Territorial Zionsts, but I understand they don’t have much influence.”
“Whatever, Kid.” Moretti seemed distracted. “I should probably question him.” Moretti spoke into his shoulder mike and a couple of cops in riot gear came over to Arikman. He started to argue with them. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was making wild gestures with his arms. The cops weren’t having any of it. They grabbed his arms, pinned them behind his back and led him away.
Where’s this Mustaffa guy?” asked Moretti.
“Over there.” I pointed him and Steve out to Moretti. You couldn’t miss them. They were holding their plastic toy guns up over their heads. I reminded Moretti that their guns weren’t real. Considering how the cops treated Arikman, I didn’t want Mustafa getting beaten up. Well, not really.
“We’ll see about that, Kid.” Moretti spoke into his shoulder mike again and some more riot cops came out of the crowd. Mustafa and Steve handed them their toy guns and the cops snapped them in half. It’s was a good thing they were paid for. I had to hand it to that rabbi. He seemed to really know what he was doing. The cops though didn’t seem too happy about it. It almost seemed like they would have preferred them to be real guns. But, that seems kind of crazy, if you ask me. I don’t know. Maybe, it only seems that way, because I’m not a cop. And, it’s not one of those career choices I ever considered, except for a brief flirtation with a Canadian Mounty career. Even when I was a kid, when all the other kids wanted to dress up or play cops and robbers, it never really interested me. I mean, who wants to spend all day yelling at guys for sniffing their air freshener at a stoplight? I don’t know; I guess there’s more to it than that. I thought about asking Moretti.
But Moretti seemed to have lost interest in the whole affair. Or, maybe he just lost interest in me. All the hostages had been led away and we were standing there in front of the hotel all by ourselves. But, as soon as I started to ask him about a career in law enforcement, he grabbed me by the arm and said, “I don’t want to hear it, Kid.” Then he handed me off to a big burly cop, who started leading me away.
As I was being led away a TV crew came up to us. The reporter shouted a question at me. “How does it feel to be a victim of Islamofascist terrorism?” I guess she thought I was one of the hostages.
I thought about it for a minute. A victim? Yeah, I guess that’s it really. I am just another victim, if you know what I mean. But, then again, who isn’t these days, right? “Well, you get used to it after awhile,” I said.
“What’s your name kid?” she asked.
“America,” I shouted back. There wasn’t much more to say, and the big burly cop wasn’t going to let me. His big hand closed around my arm and he dragged me past the crowd. But, then again, I suppose there wasn’t much more that needed to be said, if you know what I mean. It was the only time that my name ever seemed to really make sense. Yeah, my name is America. So, stop looking at me like that, okay.