What I'm trying to say is that I may have unconsciously plagiarized this. The beginning part seems like it came from a comic book that I read when I was in the 8th grade. At the time, it was exciting, looking at the 4-color artwork of the passenger jet crashing into the skyscraper. The garishness of the line art, the way the moiré patterns made the smoke look like a polka-dot print. It was really exciting, like I said, reading it on the bus on the way to school. Thinking about the shattering glass and the broken concrete. When you're 13 years old, you just think about the special effects part, you don't think about people breathing in a supersonic wave of aerosolized jet fuel, burning from the inside out. You don't think about some poor bastard reading a funny story from his little brother in the morning's first batch of email, and then having to ride several thousand metric tons of rubble into the lowest sub-basement of his office tower - dead and mangled, buried in a king's tomb for the 21st century, his brother never getting the chance to write the email he would have written if he'd only had the chance. If you fucking dogs had just given him the chance, just given him the chance to look at the sun one last time.
What I'm trying to say here is that I may have unconsciously plagiarized this. It think it was a Tom Clancy or a Dale Brown? It's always the first couple of chapters. Everyone is in shock. This is the part about the living. In the book, if I remember it correctly, many of the characters are connected to the dead. They were wives, husbands, brothers, uncles, and colleagues. It depends of how good the writer is, how they transition between the personal and the global, between personal history and the big picture flow of events that just won't stop. But many of the people wake up, turn on the tv like every other morning, and get the opportunity to watch the people they love die. The writer takes you in close, lets you know what these people are thinking in those first moments. It's hard - very hard to imagine how people would react, but simple too. Just imagine the worst feeling you can. And then, as the scope of the story broadens, sometimes the writer will throw in headlines, or transcripts of newscasts. Like a little screenplay in the middle of the book.
The writer doesn't typically spend a lot of time on the clean up. Nobody wants to read about the clean up - sifting through the rubble in clouds of sheetrock gypsum dust, cutting away steel with gasoline powered circular saws lifting roostertails of metallic sparks. The countless hours of men and women in hardhats, having to do the hard thing of putting pieces of what once was a man in a plastic bag, a Tyvek bag so carefully set aside just for this day by a serious person who had to be paid to think ahead. When you're reading a book, this stuff isn’t very interesting, because it is hours and hours and days and days. It's a thousand people doing the same horrible thing a thousand times, getting up in the morning and doing the horrible thing that they have to, because somebody has to do it. The children had their tantrum, their suicidal homicidal jet fueled tantrum and now the adults have to drop everything and clean up, no matter how big the mess. The writer doesn't dwell on this part because it isn't shocking or entertaining. It's numbing, like an amputation that won't stop.
But this next part? This part is always my favorite, and the writer always spends plenty of time on it, savoring it. The writer has spent the first 100 pages pissing you off, confusing you, leading you down blind alleys, knocking you down down down. This part starts with a phone call. A calm voice wearing a suit reaches another calm voice, in a basement somewhere. In the basement is a computer. It's connected to a thousand other computers. Data is pouring in from all over. These people, the Basement People, have been thinking about this problem for years, their minds have been bent to it for decades. They have been swinging down in subterranean batting cages deep under the granite, and now a calm voice in a suit rings the red phone on the wall, an old Western Electric 500 wall unit. The calm voice in the suit says, "Play ball. Hardball."
The next few chapters are bang-slam, wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am fast. The adult part of you, that part that paid attention in civics class, always feels slightly guilty for enjoying it so much, because it's fascism - a thrill of naked power. But when I read it, I always take solace in the fact they they're my fascists. Everywhere at once black cars show up and people are led away to basements. Those people lead to other people. A nerdy guy, our nerdy guy, makes a big discovery. He was introduced at the beginning of the story. We didn't know why, but now we do. He may not be able to do 100 pushups with one arm, but he can follow money. He can hack money. From his desk, on the phone and on the internet, and on proprietary networks, he walks through shell corporations, holding companies, blind trusts, numbered accounts, bearer bond transactions. He blows daylight though money laundering operations, leveraged sales of real estate, safe houses and hidden bases of operation. He calls someone who calls someone who calls men with blacked out faces and spools of piano wire up their sleeves. They blow in the door of a row house somewhere in the Philippines. They blow it open with plastic explosives, and then capture the men inside and take apart their computers.
And then it's the scene we've all been waiting for. From outside the frame, someone hands the calm voice in a suit a slip of paper. On the slip of paper are coordinates. It's where HE is - the motherfucker responsible for this. Wherever he is. Maybe he's out of his mind with terror. I like to think so. But he probably feels safe with several hundred feet of solid rock over his head. But he forgot about something. He forgot about all our basements full of serious people. People thinking about problems just like him and his organization.
This part I didn't plagiarize. In my movie, the sky over The Murderer's home is dark with planes. Men fall from the sky, men the color of the desert, or forest, or the blackness of the night. Nearly invisible men cranked into another universe on speed, eyes so tweaked that they can see in the dark. X-ray eyes that see though dirt and rocks and even into the brain. These are the men than can do 100 pushups with one arm. These are the men that have memorized the map of the area and dream bloodsoaked dreams about it every night as they hang upside down from the ceiling of their bunker doing galvanically stimulated sit-ups in their sleep. They can run 7-minute miles under a full combat load. They have magnesium alloy backbones and each and every one of them is loaded down with ten-thousand rounds of cover-penetrating defilade-defeating high-lethality ammunition. They are shooting before they hit the ground. They kill every fucking thing that moves. If you shoot back, they kill you. If you run they kill you. They can look into the very depths of your soul, and they know with an adamantine certainty if you were involved. And if you were, they give it to you, right between the running lights. They have enough mercy to let you look your killer in the eyes before they push you feet first into the shredder of history and contingency.
They find him. There's no trial. They don't kill him. They lock him up under the Rocky Mountains, naked, in a perfectly transparent polycarbonate cube, suspended over a bottomless pit, where the lights are always on. Silent fans blow the smell of his fear and his hatred towards the sensors of bombs like metallic moles that burrow beneath the earth, bombs that are equipped with sensors that can smell that rot, sensors that can detect and distinguish that putrescence that takes up residence in the human soul. They wander under the earth in search of that smell, and when they find it, they attack. They come up from under the floor without warning and that person is gone, so that this can never happen again. Never. So that we don't do it to anyone and they don't do it to anyone ever again. So that the guy in the office can read the email from his brother and live to write him back.