The French call it "la terreur du silence."
The forklift came toward them at an idle, its driver perched high in the cage. He wore a hardhat, sun glasses, orange overalls and workgloves. One arm was in a sling but he nevertheless managed to work the controls of the vehicle. As he passed the limo, he swung the forklift sharply to the right and accelerated. Mamadou heard the roar of the engine, caught the movement out of the corner of his eyes. The two women stood staring with their mouths in big oval “ohs.” Then Clare Drake screamed, grabbed Jennifer’s arm, yanked her so hard her shoes were left behind. Mamadou dove, his shoulder caught Colin in the chest. The forklift hit the limo broadside and the windshield and passenger windows exploded, showering them both with glass.
The forklift backed up, the driver slamming it into reverse. Mamadou rolled, rose to a crouch, a gun in his hand. He fired once, twice, three times. The driver’s sunglasses shattered. He jerked, threw his arms into the air. His movement threw the cage door open and he collapsed to the side, then slowly began sliding headfirst out of the cage. His shoes—they weren’t workboots but almost new Gucci loafers—somehow got wedged in the forklift pedals and he hung upside down, his head bobbing just above a giant tire. There was the sound of tearing metal as the forklift hit the limo again, lurched, its huge wheels spinning. Then it stalled.
Colin got to his feet, shook shards of glass from his hair. “Jesus!”
Mamadou shook his head. “No. The Zulu.”
After the crowds drifted away and both Mamadou and Colin had answered questions from the police, the port authority, the company representative of the firm that owned the forklift, the customs people and the Coast Guard, Colin said, “I thought he was gone.”
Mamadou shrugged. “I guess he wasn’t. It was dark in the house...”
There didn’t seem to be too much to say.
The two women had been questioned as well then released and opted to take the first available flight out of Baltimore-Washington airport directly to Florida. Colin drove Mamadou back to his garage in Southeast D.C.. There wasn’t much to say during the ride either.