Nouri Al Mailiki, walked frantically in his bullet proof fiber glass encased office. Half filled wine bottle on his oak desk at the corner, wasn’t giving him any courage these days. Rather it seemd more half empty than anything else. Yet, out of habit the Coalition party annoited Minster Of Defence, decided to gulp some of it as he impatiently awaited some good news from his commandants on ground zero. Ground Zero, what was a more American way of saying that, he thought and let out a tired chuckle. He was about to slump in his chair and find some calmness in the numbing chaos, when the phone on his desk rung. 
” Praise be to Allah Sir, Our soldiers couldn’t find anyone, but I assure you, we will, by the night fall..” The croaky voice on the other side of the line spoke. Some news was always better than no news, the commander had come to have known.
” No one? Commander, listen, and listen to me very carefully. It won’t be late before the press gets a whiff of this. And believe me they will. Once the evening news is done with, you and I will be thrown on the streets. Do you Understand? ” The Minister spoke slowly and very clearly. Both of them knew the gravity of the situation. But then political abolishment was far more insulting than a service termination.  
” Sir, I assure you. We will find those bastard insurgents by the nightfall. If only we get some CIA intel, our job could be completed in hours” The Commander sounded unsure. It was still worth the shot. 
” Abdul Al Obeidi, America defines political suicide at this moment. No way. I can’t allow that. You need to find them in one hour. Or….” The Minister fell silent. A sudden thought burst through his mind. Something that was sure to buy him some time. Atleast a couple of days more. And make his wine tastier.
” Commander, get those Al Watbah volunteers to pay for this. Get to them. Arrest every volunteer that you find on the streets. Now that would give us something to save face with” The Minister blurted out everything that his mind could concoct. 
” Sir, if i may, That would actually make them rataliate strongly….”
” Commander, They’ve gotten a hit on you. So either you strike them first or they do. Give me something to work here, my old friend. Until we get to those goddamn jihadi’s. Do this!” The Minister slammed down the phone. And looked at himself in the glass. The Grey hair and sunken eyes had to count for something. And probably by nightfall they would.
” I’m telling you brother, Gollum couldn’t have known about the ring?” Alladin proclaimed to his friend who sat rather ominously to his left. One hand of his was trying to tune the Derborn made radio to a news channel, and the  other skillfully wheeling the car through the traffic. The whole city of Tahjar was on the move, as a result of the official 3 hour cease fire. It also meant that it was 2hrs of rare peace. UN though highly dysfunctional in his country, would manage to achieve some revels from time to time. And for that, they needed to stay. Beyond the city of course.
               The boys, each edging out of their teens had until noon to submit their research papers. That was the only task they could do in the time given.
” See, Gollum follows the fellowship to Moria right? It doesn’t make sense, because he gets to Frodo only near mordor ” Zaqib spoke adamantly. It was murderous to wait for a reply when you have the perfect comeback, he thought to himself. An involuntary smile escaped him.
” There was the fellowship with frodo earlier,….. for Allah’s sake, stop smiling like a moron !!” Alladin finally tuned into Jazeera English 104.7 FM.
” Ahaa, I knew you would say that. Then how would you explain Gollum escaping Moria, which was kinda swarming with Goblins and Oruk-hai !!” Zaqib jumped at the opportunity, bludgeoning his friend with logic.
” Mountain pass through Isildur, you know and even if…. We need to take a left here.. There’s a military check point, to the right, Zak ” Alladin slowed down his Ford Hatchback. He glided past a few fruit stalls which attracted not much of the populace, and past the mobile recharge shops, which did. In a war torn country, to be able to communicate their well-being was more important than actually being alive. He moved the car forward, just about enough to peep over his dashboard, and to his right. Indeed, The Military Check point remained vigil as ever. He couldn’t afford to go that way.
” Ali, Take the left. We’ll come around the Mausoleum and then the sideway of Elvis Cafe  to the university!” Zaqib replied. Alladin nodded silently and pressed on the accelerator. The car gently moved forward, as an ambulance whizzed past and swirled into the left before them. As they followed it, the haste got justified. A couple of policemen had badly injured a man, who limped across the road. Another, probably his companion, lay dead on the ground. The two policemen trailed him, rather casually, knowing very well that he couldn’t escape. The onlookers, and surprisingly there were a few of them, were having their fair share of entertainment. A moment of impersonal drama. Other than them, everyone else shopped busily from the hawkers of sundries. The three hours had to be made the most of. Alladin honked twice to clear up a group of eager goat dealers before him and continued on
” You said Isengard right? ” Alladin continued the conversation.
” Isildur. Saruman’s Isildur ”
” Saruman’s ?” Alladin gave his friend a puzzled look.
” Saruman the white.. I mean, the original White wizard, when Gandalf was grey, at that…. ” Zaqib started his wikihow sermon
” Oohoo, I know who Saruman is. But I’m telling you his castle was in Isengard , and not Isildur, which is bugging me, how did you forget…. ”
UN council building will host a peace treaty meet at it’s premises in an hour. Our correspondent at the building, Informs us that delegates from all over the country along with President Sheik Abdulla, is expected to arrive in half an hour, despite the attack on minister of external affairs earlier today. The UN has once again urged the people to maintain peace and harmony and assured that the war would be handled….. “ the radio finally picked up something which made sense. Alladin instantly lowered the volume to a lesser ear bursting level. UN building was made of glass. Stones pelted at the glass, shattering it to pieces, was the image that had stuck with him. It was that simple. And It was very beautiful.
” And where are the Eagles? ” Zaqib refuelled the conversation, tapping his fingers to a jingle between the news.
” Whaa… You know what, I kinda guessed you would come there. So predictable !!”  Alladin snorted as took a turn towards mausoleum.
” Doesn’t obliviate you from answering the question, brother ” Zaqib remained relentless.
” OK first of all, Eagles can only be called once, that’s my theory, like once per..”
” Per movie? ” Zaqib chuckled
” Per Battle, and put down the car freshener, it’s expensive !” The younger of the two said.
” This is expensive. In Cairo, you get them for free on the pavements “
” Well this isn’t Cairo, and I’m not a jihadi militant , so put it back “
” Or an American. Oh they get loads of free stuff, I tell you. It’s shitty down there “
” True. Screw America. Screw everything that it’s got here ” Alladin grew impatient. Momentarily that is.
” Except Eminem. World ain’t gonna survive without him “
” And Shakira as well. Because the world needs to be populated too. Haha ” The two of them broke into a laughter. Unbeknownst to them, a local police van had been trailing them from past the mausoleum. Ford was American too. And the boy’s weren’t the only ones who hated America. Or the UN. One of the armed men in the van, with a dedicated untraceble phone, relayed the vehicle number to the headquarters and found a very valid reason to trail it. Student militentia issue was slowly becoming an untameable monster, as the country entered into it’s seventh year of unrest. Constant state of being at war, had numbed most. Those who remained effected, turned to arms. And students remained the most impressionable. Resurgence of Al Wathbah had become an uncomfortable reality. Like the one’s they were following.
The local police van crossed the Ford and came to a screeching stop before them. Instantly three policemen sprung out and marched towards the Ford with their Russian 2005 issued Kalashnikovs. One of them carefully strode forward to the car, and knocked at the window. The door remained closed for a discerning length of time. Which prompted the policeman to break the glass with his assault rifle.
   A boy behind the wheel smiled back at him, a stream of blood pouring down his nostrils. He looked at the empty seat beside him, as if he were looking at a person and muttered something. And just as casually leaned on the steering wheel, humming an English song. He died before the policeman could do anything, as the cyanide in his throat burned through his respiratory tracts. Five minutes later the body of Zaqib-ul-hassan, a Al Wathbah recruit killed earlier that day was discovered in the trunk. Ten minutes after that, the timer attached to the engine, reached zero. Abdul Al Obeidi, in the police van and his untraceable phone, got burned to ashes. The militentia therefore had the first strike…..

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