While writing, it’s proper etiquette to introduce a topic before branching out on rabbit trails.


I failed to read the signs of the times when I flew to Malta for a second visit. Newspaper articles provided warning after warning, but news that terrorists had hijacked an Egyptian airliner leaving Rome en route to Cairo, pointed the plane toward Libya, and had the plane riddled with bullets forcing an emergency landing wasn’t any big deal.

Sure, the emergency landing was in Malta but I’d already bought my tickets, would arrive a day or three after the dust had settled, and no worries.

But my naïve spirit immediately was quashed when I landed at Luqa Airport, looked out the window of the plane, and saw the charred remains of a large jetliner.

I suddenly knew I was not in a safe place.

I’ve retrospectively learned that three terrorists had commandeered the charred plane and announced upon landing in Malta that they would shoot and kill one of about 90 passengers every 20 (30?) minutes until the plane was refueled or all passengers killed.

Malta officials refused to kowtow to the terrorists and passenger after passenger was shot in the head and chucked from the plane.

Acting preemptively, a swat team from Egypt acted independently about four hours before an internationally contrived plan to free the passengers was implemented. The net result was that nearly 70 passengers, the entire crew, and two of the three terrorists were killed in the resulting gunfire and explosive fire that destroyed much of the plane.

The lead terrorist, although heavily wounded, escaped momentarily by pretending to be a passenger but soon was captured in the hospital he’d sought refuge in.

When I landed in Malta, the surviving terrorist was on the hit list of his cronies who feared the information he carried in his head and Maltese police were on high alert for terrorists of any color or shape entering the country to champion his death.

On the third day of my second trip to Malta, I was attacked by about eight uniformed policemen not keen on my presence in their world. I truly believe they would have beaten me to death had I not curled into the fetal position and offered no resistance.

They hauled me to jail with no charges. I felt vulnerable with a capital “V.” No one I knew in the entire world knew where I was and there’s certainly no paper trail to follow when charges haven’t been filed.

Anyway, the American ambassador to Malta, a young lady, offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. The options she gave me were: (1) Leave immediately for the airport and fly back to the United States; or (2) She’d leave and I’d be on my own.

The first time I went to Malta was like heaven on earth. I toured historical sites, wrote a novel, and played in the Maltese NBA.

The most common question I was asked by people who spoke English better than me was why Americans divorce so much.

Because it’s so easy, I consistently told them.

To some people in the world, the words “until death do us part” carry meaning. Others not so much.

Even from a Biblical basis, there are certain offenses against a spouse where divorce is condoned.

It’s a tough choice for most, and often made by one of the two parties in a marriage.

Personally, I surmise the Creator is more malleable than we think. Consistent, for sure, and fair, but living in Him transcends laws.

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