Coconut Grove marked the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin-Laden by recreating his death. U.S. Army rangers pretended he was hiding in our abandoned Grand Bay Hotel.
It was early Tuesday morning when we heard huge helicopters flying over our house. Francesca and I were, to say the least, shocked out of slumber.
So were 10,000 other Grove residents.
We ran outside at 2 AM to look for an unseen enemy. A fighter jet thundered in wide circles as, a mile north, Army Rangers were rappelling down to the roof of the twelve-story hotel.
It seemed like the beginning of WW III, or perhaps, if you're voting for Mitt, The Rapture. How else could you explain this nightmare? Neighbors heard the helicopters, gunfire, and blasts of explosions as a hundred soldiers seized the dark hotel. A mile south we were just looking to the sky and the roar of an angry, circling jet. Fifteen minutes later it left and the choppers thundered overhead again.
When it ended we had no idea what the hell had happened. We chalked it up to a major terrorist response and tried to get back to sleep. The morning Miami Herald revealed nothing as did the Internet.
Finally, Wednesday's paper ran the headline, "Resident's Shell-Shocked by Dead-of-Night Military Drill".
The article was written by Carl Hiaasen's son, Scott. No doubt this only-in-Miami story will end up in one of his dad's novels.
It explained how "an unannounced military training exercise had jolted many unsuspecting residents from their beds". He got that right. Hiaasen quoted Army spokesman Major Michael Burns explaining how this was all okay as "no real bullets were used".
As a Grove resident I have heard plenty of middle-of-the-night gunfire. Once it went on for so long I rode my bike to downtown Grove to witness the end of a major gunfight. But that was during the cocaine wars and there's been nothing like that for years.
The army maneuvers got our attention. Maybe its the key to restoring Coconut Grove's sagging tourist industry.
The Grove Chamber could encourage the military to recreate The Osama Experience every year. It could be our Burning Man, something to out-Disney Orlando.
I hear the ads now, "Step inside the thunder! Experience the power, the military might of that amazing night in Abbottabad, Pakistan..."
But no, I'd rather sleep.