Chapter 1   Fayetteville, 2000 Hrs Thursday

I’m superstitious.

Anyone who spends most of his career getting in the way of bombs and bullets learns. It’s better to be lucky than good.

Best to be both, but no one survives without luck.

My best friend once told me, “Dumb luck can kill you.”

I didn’t argue, because he was right.

Kettle Creek Apartments, Fayetteville, is occupied by middle class folk from the city. Civilian employees, and military families from Fort Bragg. My place is one bedroom, seven hundred square feet. Big enough to be comfortable, not big enough to own me.

Perfect for a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

I sit in the living room, sipping a beer. Watching the news. Every station is showing live footage of a New York City street. Jammed with emergency vehicles. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances. The firemen wear oxygen bottles and breathing masks. They carry injured civilians from a subway. Dozens of injured people, a constant stream.