army, asset, Baghdad, Candy cane, China, Christmas, Christmas tree, college football, Diplomats, Drama, Fiction, Florida, football, ginger, gingerbread, Green Beret, hitman, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Marine, Mystery, Rangers, Russia, Salvatore Ferragamo, Saudi Arabia, Special Forces, Spies, Spy, The Spy Who Loves Christmas, Turkey, US Embassy, usa, Vonda Norwood
This story is not about espionage. It is a mystery about the spy who loves Christmas.
In the year of nineteen ninety, President Saddam Hussein told the world that he would not send his military into the neighboring, sovereign state of Kuwait. But on August second, around two in the morning, the Iraqis went in and robbed, tortured and murdered Kuwaiti citizens. They rounded up Westerners there and in Iraq and then took those captives to Baghdad, where they held them in strategic places and hoped that their human shields would spare those specific areas from retaliatory attacks by western nations.
Early August, while many Westerners in Iraq hid from the military, and as diplomats from their countries worked to locate them and aid their escape, a thirty-two year-old American named Glendale White moseyed up the center of a bustling open-air market in Baghdad. It was eighty degrees and twenty minutes passed noon. Through a haze of smoke made by timbers in fire alters, which roasted seasoned fatty fish, Glen’s black wingtips crunched against a dusting of fine sand on top a concrete path. Merchants roared announcing their wares to the crowds who scrambled to and from display tables and rummaged for high-end and brand-name plunder.
The aroma of warm cloves filled Glen’s nostrils and a tear spilled from the corner of his right eye. He brought a chaffed knuckle to his face and absorbed the moisture. Glancing left toward a row of five, multicolored, makeshift tents, he caught sight of a merchant staring at him. At the last tent and in front of a table of pomegranates, the gawker, who wore a white dishdasha, stood stiff with his hands at his sides and his shoulders squared and his big, brown eyes locked on Glen.
The American kept that Iraqi peripherally in place and he headed toward him. Glen weaved around and sidestepped passed shoppers and he studied a pile of radios and their torn wires. The Iraqi stood frozen in front of bright red fruit, but his stare followed the American’s every move. At the first tent, Glen halted and he browsed overcoats that hung from a metal pole. The Iraqi blinked rapidly, until Glen continued to stroll.
Arriving at tent number four, where men’s dress shoes were strewn on a red carpet, Glen crouched, he grabbed a brown shoe and he mumbled, “Salvatore Ferragamo.” The ogler cleared his throat softly. Glen dropped the shoe. He sprung up, pivoted right and marched forward.
At a hand shake away, the six-foot and two-inch-tall American stopped and he stared down at the stoic stranger, who then raised his chin and smiled and he placed his hands behind his back. With a heavy Arabic accent, the Iraqi shouted in English, “You here? Now you remember your good friend Sami?”
Sami had wavy, salt and pepper hair. He stood about five-feet and four inches tall. Over his head, Glen scanned the dark interior of the tent. Behind the pile pomegranates and a wood table with four silver platters displaying colorful spices, stood another man, who bore a frown, and whose sparse hair had more salt than pepper. That man in the shadow was about the same height and he wore the same type of white robe as the one calling himself Sami. “You are here now, but they…” Sami shook his head. “…not here!”