The "drug-deal-gone-bad" story played well in the local media. Conspiracy theorists immediately came out with stuff about "men-in-black", government agents, and Arab terrorists, but these stories were pretty much regarded as "tinfoil hat" stuff by the average citizen – that is, if they thought about it at all.

The TDY to Yemen was canceled. Lucy and I got married in a Civil Ceremony at the Merced County Courthouse.

I soon found myself with a 50% disability and a medical retirement, due to a fractured neck vertebrae, as well as my sleep apnea, but I immediately got a job offer as an Arab Language Specialist at Langley.

Lucky thing, that, eh? – and at SMS-14, too? Combined with my medical retirement, it gives us a nice living, even at Northern Virginia prices.

The whole family moved East – Jenny is now working for the FBI, at Quantico. Susan is completing her nursing studies at The George Washington University, and Ray is now flying Blackhawks for the Maryland Guard.

Along the way, I got a little reconstructive surgery, so that nobody mistakes me for an Arab, anymore. The dark skin and the epicanthic fold does tend to shake up some folks, who can't figure out what I am – most guess I'm Mongolian - but it kind of reminds Lucy of Steve, and so it's all good.

And so, we all lived happily ever after…for a little while, anyway.