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Reading today’s episode of hackoff.com gave me the chills. Tom has deeply woven the events of 9/11 in his story as Chapter 10 happens on 9/11 (and several of the main characters are in the World Trade Center South Tower at the time.)
While I wasn’t in either tower on 9/11, I was in Manhattan having taken a red eye from San Francisco the night before. I got to my hotel (The Benjamin) at about 7am and went to sleep to get a little more rest before my 10am meeting. I woke up at 9:15 (to the clock radio – I remember it vividly – it was a fancy Bose clock radio like the one I had at the time in my bedroom at home) to an announcer saying that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane and was on fire. At first I thought it was a joke (I was completely zoned out from the red eye and generally tired from the events of the previous five years) so I got up and went to the bathroom as though nothing spectacular was occurring. A few minutes later, when I walked back into the bedroom, the discussion on the radio has turned to panic, so I did something I never do – I turned on the TV in the hotel room. I sat there for the next 30 minutes in a trance as I watched the towers fall.
My story is a much longer one, but as I read through George Harcourt’s email to his wife Janet, all I could think about was the phone call I got from Amy on her way to the airport (DIA) to fly to New York to spend the week with me. She was in tears because no one knew what was going on and I hadn’t been answering my phone (I’d shut it off while I was sleeping). I assured her that I was fine and safe in the hotel, that I had no clue what was going on, but she should go back home, not come to New York, and I’d call her as soon as I knew what was up. That was the last phone call I was able to make the entire day, but I fired up my computer, connected to the hotel Internet, and remarkably was able to email and IM all day long.
The chills came from the story, knowing that Tom experienced something powerful that day, and unexpectedly remembering pieces of it. There was no need to suspend disbelief on this one – Tom is really showing his skills as a writer.