Enemy of Mine: A Pike Logan Thriller

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Authors: Brad Taylor
travel.”
    About time.
    “Well, I was hoping to run something by you. Your unit, actually. See if that intelligence fusion cell you always bragged about can corroborate anything. Surely that thing is wired throughout the countryby now. Pride of the Lebanese Armed Forces. Isn’t that what you said it would be?”
    He glanced at the floor, then said, “I’m not in Special Forces anymore.”
    “Oh…well, can you still get access? As a regular grunt?”
    “Pike, I’m not in the Army. I quit after the 2006 war.”
    “Really? You would be the last guy I thought would leave the Army. What happened?”
    His demeanor shifted, and not in a good way. “Israel invaded us and the Lebanese Armed Forces did nothing, letting Hezbollah do all the fighting that should have been done by the LAF. We didn’t even react when the Israelis blew up one of our convoys, killing a general. It was disgusting. Even my Special Forces unit sat on the sidelines and watched the civilians get slaughtered. If it hadn’t been for Hezbollah, many, many more would have been killed.”
    The answer surprised me, not the least because of his vociferousness about the subject. This wasn’t the soldier I had left. A man all about unity and Lebanese solidarity, about a true armed force that had no sectarian leanings. Now he was siding with Hezbollah, the “militia” that started the fight in the first place by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. And it was Hezbollah that Israel went after. Not the LAF. I wasn’t looking to get into a political argument, realizing more things had changed than the crow’s-feet.
    “I’m sorry to hear that. It was good seeing you again. We’ll get out of your hair.”
    He sat up. “Don’t look at me like that. I don’t need your pity, and I’m not confused. I’m the one who lives here. I saw it happen. Thousands of Lebanese
civilians
killed, compared against
maybe
one hundred and fifty Israelis. All soldiers.”
    He was gripping the armchair hard and breathing heavy, daring me to say something against him. I recognized the signs. We were skating over a sore that I had opened, and he was about to do something we’d both regret.
    I said, “I’m not looking for a fight. We’ll just leave.”
    He stood up, mocking me. “Not looking for a fight? That’s not what you used to say. All that training to protect something and all you were doing was helping out the Israelis. You in the West are all alike. Train the stupid locals then leave when the hostilities get to a level you don’t like. You don’t know what suffering is.”
    That was enough. Very few had suffered as I had, and the fact that he had two children walking the earth told me he wasn’t one of them. I balled up my fists, ready to go as far as he wanted to take it. I saw Jennifer jump up, probably wondering what she should do. I was wrong.
    She stepped between us, looked Samir in the eye and said, “Pike’s family was murdered. Both his wife and child. For nothing. That’s why he changed the subject when you started talking about marriage. Don’t push his buttons about suffering. I promise you won’t like the results.”
    I whipped my head to her. Samir’s mouth fell open.
    She continued. “He has the same rage you do. He looks just like you when he gets worked up. He didn’t invade Lebanon; so don’t take it out on us.”
    Samir looked from her to me. I said nothing, but my expression told him it was true. He sagged back into his chair. When he spoke, he was back to being the Samir I knew.
    “I am sorry. Sorry for the both of us.”
    I exhaled and sat down as well.
    “That’s okay,” I said. “The rage is mostly gone now.” I smiled. “Jennifer was just trying to scare you.”
    He scraped something off of his knee and said, “Maybe I can help anyway. I have sources. I can ask around.”
    “No, no. This is like what we used to investigate. I’m not going to ask you about the price of bread in Tripoli. Don’t worry about it. It was good

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