Archive for the ‘One Night in Tehran’ Category

One Night in Tehran is now available as an audio book. You can download it on Audible and Amazon.

Listen to the first chapter here.

Chapter 5

Titus was brought to faith in Christ after living with a group of Iranian Christians for three months, following the discovery of his covert operation by the Iranian secret police. Although Javad, Darya, Mansoor, and Rahim are fictional Iranian Christians, their stories are shared by millions of persecuted Christians around the world. These are stories of torture, beheadings, stonings, imprisonment, and lesser forms of punishment meted out to them simply for naming the name of Christ. Yet, these believers continue to lift high the name of Jesus, to witness of the faithfulness of Christ and to go to their deaths praising God for the opportunity to do so.


Whatever I decided to do, I knew my future at the Agency was about to change dramatically.

I’d been preparing myself for such a change from the moment Javad’s family had come into their living room to pray for me just hours before I was to make my escape from Tehran. That night, Javad and Darya, their teenage son, Mansoor, along with Rahim, had joined hands and prayed a beautiful, fervent prayer for my well-being and safe travel through the mountains of Iran to safety in Turkey.

Javad, along with several of his relatives, owned a fruit and vegetable stand in one of Tehran’s open-air markets, and Darya was a nurse who worked at a neighborhood clinic. I had been forced to live with these Iranian Christians for three months in a safe house, while hiding out from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Each night, from my bed in a corner of their tiny living room, I had observed them at their kitchen table praying and reading their Bible together before going to bed. However, they didn’t keep their beliefs private. In fact, they seemed to have an insatiable desire to share their faith—especially with me. They did this even though their pastor, Youcef, was in prison because of his proselytizing. However, they were doing something even more dangerous. Not only were they proselytizing, they were also harboring an American spy and facilitating his escape from Iran.

Before leaving them, I had thanked them profusely for their help. I had also commended them because, even though they were required to go to work every day and pretend they were just harmless Iranian citizens, they had practiced excellent tradecraft in keeping me safe.

Javad had responded to my gratitude by saying, “Oh, Hammid, it’s not difficult for us to do this because we remember the words of Jesus. He said we were to be like sheep living among the wolves. He told us to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”


Chapter 4

Titus had a difficult time relating to his father when he was growing up. This stemmed from his father’s alcoholism and his reticence about his experiences in the Viet Nam War. Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone, that whenever Titus encounters a strong man, one who is full of self-confidence and is approachable, Titus is immediately drawn to him. Roman Hudson was such a man, and because of their relationship, he became enamored with both guns and the intelligence game. Once Titus became a covert operative, he continued to admire such men, but he rarely considered himself an equal with them.


Roman and Cynthia Hudson were welcoming, gracious people. I was immediately drawn to them, especially Roman, who owned a hardware store in a strip mall in Ann Arbor and started calling me “son” as soon as we were introduced.

Instead of returning home for Christmas during my freshman year, I spent my entire two-week break with Laura’s family in Ann Arbor. It was then I learned Roman had also been in Vietnam, but there was a big difference between him and my father—he was more than willing to talk about what he’d done over there.

The first time Roman had mentioned Southeast Asia was when Laura and I had stopped by the hardware store on Christmas Eve to see if we could help with the holiday rush. Laura’s mother, Cynthia, was working as a cashier, so Laura had opened up another cash register, while I went to find Roman. I located him at the back of the store in the sporting goods section where he was showing a gun to a customer.

Because I’d never been around firearms before, I watched in awe at how easily he handled the weapon, stripping it down, explaining its features, and then putting the whole thing back together in the blink of an eye. Roman noticed my fascination at his expertise, and when the customer left, he immediately began telling me stories of his time in Vietnam working for the CIA.

Laughing at himself, he said, “They called us spooks back then.”


Chapter 3

In this excerpt from Chapter 3, the main character in One Night in Tehran, Titus Ray, sounds as if he might be a bit vain about his looks. That’s only because he is.

The CIA tries to recruit people who are outstanding in every way, except for their physical characteristics. A person shouldn’t be too short or too tall–that would make them more noticeable, especially in an overseas environment, where they are already apt to be remembered because they are foreigners.

Neither should a recruit be too beautiful or too ugly, because that too would make them stand out in a crowd. The goal of a CIA recruiter is to find men and women who, while being trustworthy, intelligent and physically strong, look very ordinary and forgettable.

Titus Ray qualified because he had a face that “blended.”


When I thought about who might be assigned to my debriefing team, I decided it was time to shave off my beard. I also decided, after studying my face in the bathroom mirror, that Terry Howard was wrong; I didn’t look that bad. Granted, I wasn’t George Clooney handsome, but who was?

Years ago, someone had told me I was a pretty good-looking guy. Since then, no one had told me otherwise.

My trainers at The Farm had described my face as one that “blended.” They considered that a good thing. Put me in a restaurant, a bus station, a mosque, and I blended right in. I didn’t draw attention.

Only, as it turned out in Tehran, one time I did.

After taking a quick shower, I put on the clothing supplied for me by Support Services—a pair of dark slacks and a blue oxford shirt. My debriefers would be in very formal business attire, but I knew if I looked halfway decent and appeared to be in my right mind, that’s all they expected of me. Unlike Bud Thorsen—who had a nervous breakdown after a two-year stint in Yemen and had arrived at his debriefing sessions in his pajamas—I did not want a transfer to a desk job.

At least, I didn’t think so.

Chapter 2

A CIA safe house is nothing new to Titus Ray. He’s been housed, briefed and debriefed in them throughout the Middle East and the Washington D.C. area for the past twenty years.

The Gray, the CIA safe house in One Night in Tehran, is located in a gated residential area, but, most likely, the residents of this posh neighborhood have no idea the mansion down the road belongs to the US government.

How can you tell if your neighbor is a member of America’s clandestine agency? Here are a couple of things to ask: Do they entertain a lot of “faceless” people? Do they ever invite you over for dinner?


A few minutes after she left, Greg removed a sheet of paper from his shirt pocket. “Here’s the schedule for your debrief tomorrow,” he said. “It looks pretty straightforward. I know you’ve been through this drill several times.”

I took the schedule and stuffed it inside my jeans pocket without looking at it.

“You like working for the Agency, Greg?”

I wasn’t sure whether it was my question or the fact I was beginning to talk, but Greg smiled when he gave me his answer. “Yes, yes, I do.”

He took a sip of his coffee then gestured at his surroundings. “Obviously, this is a pretty cushy job.”

“Did you ever go operational, work in the field?”

His eyes shifted slightly to the left, and he hesitated a moment before answering. I had no doubt he was weighing whether it was more important to keep me talking or follow Agency rules. He decided on the former.

However, he sounded apologetic when he answered me. “Only Level 4 action, but Martha was Level 2. We met at an Agency in-house party and got married six months later.”

“So you had to transfer to Support services after you were married?”

“Yeah. There were some options, but . . .” he looked over at me, then up at a camera mounted in the ceiling, “you know how difficult it would have been to live any kind of normal life, much less see each other, if either of us had stayed in Operations.”

I agreed. “It wouldn’t have worked.”

He nodded his head, drained the last of his coffee, and walked over to the sink, carefully rinsing out his cup.

“Did Martha have a hard time adjusting?”

Looking perplexed, he asked, “Adjusting?”

“You know. Did she miss . . .” I struggled to find the right words, “her sense of purpose about what she was doing?”

He thought about my question for a moment. “I don’t think she missed the ops at first. We couldn’t really talk about it, of course, but I suspected her last assignment had gotten a bit ugly. I’m sure that made the change easier.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Look, Titus, you know we aren’t supposed to—”

“Did she stop believing?”

There was no mistaking the anger in his voice. “Believing? You mean did she stop believing her actions were helping her country?”

“No, of course not. I’m talking about that inner calling that—”

An alarm went off—a steady beep, beep, beep.