Jonathan Skyler notices a young man across the room dining with some people. The man looks vaguely familiar . Later, Jonathan says hello to Ben Ali. Ben was seven years old the last time he saw him in Baghdad. Jonathan doesn’t know, but Ben, now an attorney representing the oil industry is a “Sleeper Cell,” destined to carry out one of the most devastating events in the city of New York. A Sleeper Cell is agents or spies placed in a target country to be activated at a later point in time. The story begins in 2000 and ends in 2024.
Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid al-Mosul the Emir of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and the sister law firm of Ben’s employer, its French counterpart had called for a closing in Paris. The participants would be the French firm of Dumont, el Abir, Delais and Henri. In addition, the director of the Departmente Economique Developmente and the CEO of the United oil Company de France.
The deal according to the dossier assigned to Ben Ali was a drilling rights closing between the French oil company and the Dubai consultants for rights at La Rochelle, off the coast of France. Ben Ali would observe as a legal auditor for his firm to protect the Dubai interests. It was always appropriate to have at least two attorneys from different countries at such closings to insure the correctness and legal ramifications were correct.
Ben’s plane ride was uneventful, except for riding out a storm over the Atlantic. The landing at the Charles De Gaul airport was smooth as the plane taxied and finally docked. Ben moved through the breezeway and recognized his name on a placard being held by an individual in Chauffeur clothing. He greeted Ben “Is-salaam 9aleekum (peace be upon you!)” Wa 9aleekum Is-salaam (and upon you be peace!)Ben replied.
“I’ve been detailed to pick you up, check you into your hotel and provide anything you wish during your stay here in Paris.” I am Hassan Naeem, here is my beeper number as he handed Ben his card.
The lights of Paris were bright as they drove along the Rue Du Faubourg Saint-Honore.
He only had three days and two nights stay in Paris. As usual, he had faxed his itinerary to his mentor in Iraq and would expect a visit by someone representing the Imam
The limo stopped at the Hotel Le Bistrol. It was chosen by the firm as one of the hotels to use for all their traveling attorneys from stateside. The Le Bistrol is located On the Fashionable Rue Du Faubourg Saint-Honore, One of Paris' Most Elegant Shopping Streets and just steps from Elysee Palace, home of France's President, and Hotel Le Bristol is in Close Proximity to the Financial District and within Walking Distance of the Champs Elysee. The other participants were billeted in other hotels across Paris.
Hassan checked him in, got his room card and the bellhop, who introduced himself as Francois took his carryall bag. Ben in passing nodded to the desk clerk in acknowledgment.
They got on the elevator, it was a quiet ride. The elevator stopped at the eighth floor and they got off, the bellhop leading.
The bellman opened the door into a luxurious suite. filled with refined woodwork and sumptuous earth tone fabrics. The suite’s spacious rooms were further enhanced by 18th century furniture and original paintings. Central air conditioning and a high speed Internet connection had been installed as an update and the suite’s balcony overlooked the views of the most amazing sights of Paris. The bathroom was a generous white Carrara marble with separate showers, fluffy white towels, bathrobe and toiletry incidentals.
The bellhop hung his carryall in the bedroom closet; Ben thanked the bellhop, tipped him a few francs and settled down for the evening. He ordered room service. Ben didn’t eat much on the plane and knew he had to read the firm’s brief resume of the characters and synopsis of the deal so he could be knowledgeable for tomorrows closing.
The closing took place at the offices of Dumont, el Abir, Delais and Henri. It went smoothly with lunch being served in the firm’s dining room and idle chit chat between participants. The last papers were signed late that afternoon, and Ben walked back to his hotel.
Ben noticed the red light on his telephone, indicating a message was left. He picked up the receiver and heard a woman’s voice “Hi, this is Lin Mohammadi, I will meet you for dinner downstairs in the dining room at 7:00 this evening. Ben wondered who she was, but knew he had one evening left in Paris before the ride home. He also knew that someone was to contact him while he was in Paris. He guessed that she must be the contact.
Ben settled down to watch the news on TV. His limited knowledge of French was a slight handicap, but by watching and catching some of the words he knew from his high and college French Classes was able recognize the jest of what was being shown and discussed.
It was almost 7:00 as he left the room for his rendezvous at dinner. The Maitre De cordially invited him into the dinning room and seated him near the window overlooking the Champs Elysee the waiter dressed in a white short jacket, black cross tie and black pants approached Ben’s table.
“Bonsoir Monsieur, I am Jean Paul, I am your waiter this evening, how many will be in your party?”
Jonathan tried out his French; “Du, Merci.”
“Oui Monsieur” The waiter took away plates, glasses and silverware, leaving Ben’s and a place setting across from him.
Just then in walked one of the most beautiful creatures Ben had ever seen. Her breathtaking attributes were such that she could be in any fashion, cosmetic, or modeling magazine in any country representing the loveliness of women.
The matre de seated her across from Ben.
“Hello Mr. Ali, I am Lin, I haven’t eaten, would you please order for me. I would like a glass of white zinfandel to start.
Ben motioned and Jean Paul appeared at the table.
“Jean Paul, would you have the wine steward bring a menu, S’il vous plait”. “Oui Monsieur.”
The wine steward appeared, handed Ben the menu. After perusal, Ben picked a white zinfandel and ordered. Meanwhile taking in the beauty of Lin. He noticed that she was mid -Eastern Asian, about 5”8” tall with raven black hair page boy style, large brown eyes, smooth complexion. Her fingers were long like a piano player, with painted nails to compliment her lipstick. She wore rings on fingers of both hands and diamond studs in both ears and a necklace to match. Her makeup very little, was professionally applied and complimented her attire which was an emerald green patterned satin sheath dress with a mandarin collar.
They had dinner and Ben learned that she was a graduate of the University of Paris, Sorbonne with a Master’s degree in international studies, that her father was an Iraqi government official and mother Japanese. That she had attended various schools in Japan, The American University of Cairo and finally the Sorbonne in France.
She knew all about him, who he was, and the reason for him being there. Other than idle chit chat about Paris, the dinner went well.
They had after dinner drinks, she an amaretto on ice, he was satisfied with a cognac neat.
She accompanied Ben to his suite, he showed her around and they sat on the couch. She looked into Ben’s eyes and said; “Mr. Ali, tonight you belong to me.” With that exclamation, they got undressed, showered and got into bed. The love making went through the night and exhausted, they fell asleep.
She awoke the next morning, took a shower, got dressed, and smiled as she watched Ben asleep. She reached into her purse and deposited a yellow piece of paper on the night stand next to the sleeping Ben.
Foreign Intrigue: Friend or Terrorist, April 9, 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Intrigue:
In this novel the author displays the ever increasing multitude of problems the world will face as it enters into the near future. We also learn of some of the solutions that might take place if we set our minds to correcting the problems. One of those solutions is designing our cities to operate in an environmentally friendly manner. A case in point would be to develop such a plan for the rebuilding of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.
This story centers around sleeper cells ( a person or group of people that are positioned around the world by an organization, who then wait for a call to action from a command center. Usually to perform an act of terrorism.) This story reminds us that if we do not resolve our hatred for one another in a very short period of time, advancement in technology will ensure that those that wish the rest of humanity dead, will have the means to do so.
Begging For a Sequel
By: R.A. Harris
4.0 of 5 stars, Action-Thriller)
Author Ralph L. McNeal Sr.
Title Sleeper Cell
Every so often, a writer is able to capture the moment with a story that address current day issues, events and circumstances which all readers, both young and older, can identify. Mr. McNeal’s’ Sleeper Cell delivers a hard hitting written tapestry that brings to life in bold strokes the good, bad and ugly on an international stage with a style that reminds the reader of novels written by the likes of Nicholas Pileggi, Tom Clancy, John Grisham and Norman Mailer.
Sleeper Cell takes the reader to familiar places and while there introduces characters that could be your next door neighbor or business associate. Consequently, scary thoughts are made to enter ones’ mind when the curtain of secrecy is unveiled as you course through this novel. As you read, you will often pause in contemplation of the people you met during your travels and wonder if they might have been those who are the principal characters in Mr. McNeal’s story.
As I write this review, I am tempted to provide some detail, but that would steal the books thunder. Thus the reader will have to “find out” on his or her own.
Although relatively short, this book is loaded with action and begs for a sequel.
Congratulations, This one is a winner.
Sleeper Cell By: ralph L. McNeal, Sr.
Hurdle Mills, NC
Posted July 11, 2009, 1:46 PM EST: Mr. McNeal's Sleeper Cell is intriguing and so current that I had a hard time putting it down. He uses refreshing far-reaching knowledge of the various directions his book takes. Specific references of sports activities, the internals of the corporate environment, the military, even up to the Green Zone in Baghdad, all of which added to the excitement of his book. As a woman, his descriptions of the hotel rooms and the restaurants jumped out at me - so thorough that I could visualize details of the rooms. His excellent use of familiar attractions in various U.S. cities added pleasant memories. The descriptions of international projects brought a new interest that is both promising and unnerving, while the characters were believable and exciting. In his book, Mr. McNeal appears to draw from some of his own life experiences - all in the spirit of objectivity. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel with the hint of promised intrigue. This is a winner.