The Hundredth Meridian

The Great Unrest

Bro. Billy Joe had been correct, Héctor reflected bitterly: Abdul Agha and the Crusade for Souls were a nationwide story all right, though everyone tried to pretend it was nothing more than a curious local phenomenon.  From the start, the New Mexico media had sought the appropriate tone in reference to a “certain unrest” in Valencia County, and their colleagues across the country had followed suit.  As far as Héctor Villa was concerned, the business merely amounted to the Crusades all over again.

Once the contents have been safely removed, a machine shed, unlike a cathedral, doesn’t offer a great deal to damage.  Bradford’s barn remained largely intact after the attack, save for a few dents in the galvanized sheeting and the scorched places on the concrete floor where the barbecue grills had been overturned.  Fortunately, the Muslims had been routed by the furious Christians before they could utilize the propane canisters as suicide bombs, so no one was very much hurt beyond a few bruisings and some pulled hair.  Still, the psychological trauma produced by the assault was enormous.  The Moorish chieftains had been identified and arrested, including the blind cleric, Abdul’s father, who had directed the attack from the safety of a new Hummer parked across the road.  (The vehicle, loaded with firearms, had, according to police reports, been stolen from a...

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