Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Stinking License

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 0800 hrs.
The place was packed, but I was first in line. I had been second in line until the old bat in front of me decided to go home and nurse her severed hamstring, and as they opened the doors I congratulated myself on never forgetting to travel without a knife.
I shouldn't have to be here anyway, I thought, looking around at the motley crowd assembled to renew--or gain their first--driving priviliges. I've been driving my entire adult life--often with a license to do so--but that didn't matter. The liberal judge I faced last year decided to "interpret" the Constitution as liberal judges do, and I ended up with a year's driving suspension due to some technicality about operating a vehicle while drunk and bleeding. Now I had to take the driving test all over again to get my license back, like some common sixteen-year-old. Speaking of which...
"Hey there honey," I said to the teenage girl behind me in line. "You familiar with the mercenary position?"
"Predator!" she yelled, pointing. Luckily my name was called just as the crowd moved in on me.
"Randall Nathaniel McFab?" I walked up to the counter and faced the DMV worker. He was young, maybe 30, and suspiciously tan. That usually meant gay, foreign, or...both.
"I'm McFab," I said. "Just give me my license, and a helicopter rating while you're at it. I learned to fly 'em watching Rambo."
"Oh, it's not that easy, Mr. McFab," he said, chuckling.
"I wasn't joking, Pedro. If you watch Rambo one frame at a time you can actually learn to fly a Cobra. Maybe you should try it."
"My name isn't Pedro," he said, a bit huffy in my opinion. "I am officer Saddam Al-Qaeda Bin Laden of the East Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles." He pointed to his badge, which just read, Holy Fuck! That's really your name?
"Holy fuck," I said, "that's really your name?"
"Yes, yes, I know..." he said. "When my parents named me, your government was giving weapons and money to all of those people. Seemed reasonable and patriotic at the time. You may call me Jihadi of Allah if it makes you more comfortable, or...Brad. I also go by Brad."
"Brad sounds kinda gay, Jihadi. Let's get on with this. I need my license back."
"Of course, just a few preliminary..." He inspected my birth certificate, apparently surprised it was printed on blood-stained camo. "You are Randall Nathaniel McFab, son of Nathaniel Randall McFab and 'Mama' McFab, correct?"
He typed into a computer. "And your date of birth?"
"I'm 27."
He looked at me and chuckled. "Oh, sir, we have it all here, and your bald head..."
I told him my date of birth, and he shook his head sympathetically.
"Very very good, sir," he said. "One more formality before the driving test. You just need to look into here," he said, pointing out a device on the counter, "and read aloud the letters you see."
"What, are you saying I'm illiterate?" I demanded.
"No sir, it is for vision, you know...a man your age..."
I put my nose up against the device and peered into the eye-holes, hoping it might at least have pictures of naked chicks or something. Instead, it was filled with bizarre, blurred characters...almost as if...
"You bastard!" I stepped back from the counter and levelled my gaze at Jihadi. "You're testing Americans with Arabic letters? It's come to that now, has it?"
"No sir, I--"
"People!" I said, turning towards the long line behind me. "America has been co-opted by the Islamo-facists. It's not enough that we have to suck up to the A-rabs for gas, now we have to read their pagan language just to get a driver's license!"
The crowd indicated they were with me by their silence, though I did hear a "shut the fuck up" and a "you're holding up the line!" from the liberals in attendance.
"Sir," Jihadi said, "perhaps if you tried again with your glasses...The glasses specified as necessary on your last driver's license."
So that's how it was. He wanted to see a handicapped American. Fine, let him get his kicks. I pulled my glasses out of my ankle sheath and peered into the device again with the specs on.
"Hmm..." I said, "It's in English now. Must have switched it on me...Okay, 'I..A...M...'"
"Keep going," Jihadi said.
"'A,'" I said, still reading, "'P...R...I...C...K.'"
"Yes!" Jihadi said. "You have passed the vision test and I daresay demonstrated a healthy self-awareness. All that is left, " he said, lowering his voice, "is the driving portion."
"You're not the driving tester, are you?" I asked, hoping against hope.
"No sir," Jihadi said, "the driving tester is an American just like you. Meet her outside in the parking lot." He handed me a slip of paper and I headed outside.

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 1100 hrs.
I waited outside for two hours with no tester and no vehicle in sight. I was about to go back in and demand an explanation when an early-nineties Mercury Cougar with 20-inch rims drove up to the curb, a bass beat from its stereo shaking both me and the windows of the DMV office. I would have assumed the car was being turned in as not roadworthy were it not for the "DMV Test Vehicle" signs magneted to the doors.
The tinted driver's side door opened and a large black woman stepped out, her fishnet-clad ankle the size of my thigh. Though the cheetah-print skirt and black half-top slimmed her some, she easily went a good two-and-a-half bills.
"'Sup, Playah?" She asked, or said...I wasn't sure which.
"I...I'm supposed to take a test?" I held out the form I'd been given.
"I'm Tykeesha," she said. "I be testin' you." She took the form and stuffed it into her ample cleavage, where it disappeared. "Ah-ite. Let's roll." She waddled to the passenger side and I got in the driver's seat.
"How do you adjust this?" I asked, fishing for the lever to bring the seat forward. It was so far back and down, I was practically in the back seat and could just see over the dashboard.
"How do you..." I turned the music down, too late for one of my fillings which I swallowed politely. "The seat, I--"
"You don't wanna look like a bitch, do you?" she asked. "Drivin' all up on the windshield like a gram-mamma?"
"No, I guess not."
She made a note on her clipboard and I glanced over. Doesn't wanna look like a bitch, she had written. "Ah-ite," she said, "start it up and pull up in the skreet."
I started the car and turned left onto the skreet.
"Now," she said, "what's the first thing you look for?"
"Prostitutes," I answered honestly.
"That's a good answer," she said, marking the clipboard, "but I mean before you start lookin' for ho's. You look for the five-o."
"Ah, the police," I said, making sure to maintain a safe speed. "Yes, I wouldn't want to get a ticket."
"Nah, nah," she said, "you don't wanna get caught rollin' dirty."
"Rolling dirty? You mean with the illegal firearms and explosives I often carry in my mom's vehicle?"
"Yeah, playah, dat shit." She scribbled on the clipboard some more.
"No worries," I said, "the police don't even know I've been driving around drunk without a license virtually every day since my D.U.I."
"Word, mofo," she said solemnly. "Word."
"Word to your mother," I grinned. This was going to be easy. "Word to your mother."
We carried on down the road a bit and she pointed ahead. "Construction zone," she said, "what do you do here?"
"Get my crunk on," I said, pulling a Zima out of my trousers and opening it with my teeth. I drained the bottle in two or three swallows.
"'Das what I'm talkin' 'bout, playah," she said.
We drove on, approaching a school zone. "Ah shit," I said, speaking her language. "Fifteen miles an hour up in here. I gotta be high to drive that slow!" I took a tube of toothpaste out of my trousers, squirted some into a pyrex pipe, and set my lighter to it.
"Goddamn!" Tykeesha exclaimed. "You smokin' toothpaste?"
"Hell...yeah..."I said, as the Crest hit me, hard. The road up ahead turned sharply, and merged into a yellow-brick rainbow in the clouds so pretty color fast now...

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 1700 hrs.
I woke up handcuffed on a cold concrete floor, Tykeesha standing over me.
"Damn, bitch..." I murmured..."'dat was some shiznit..."
"Can it, asshole," Tykeesha said. "You didn't really think they hire uneducated people with ghetto mentalities to work for the D.M.V., did you?"
I noticed she was wearing a tasteful pants suit now. "Well, I..."
"I fail more drivers than anyone in the department," she said, "though I rarely get to charge them with D.U.I. involving toothpaste."
I looked up helplessly, wondering whose puke I was laying in. "So I don't get to drive?"
"You'll be lucky if you don't go to jail," she said, her huge thighs blocking out the overhead lights.
"I, uh..." I slicked my hair back with some spare puke. "I don't suppose, after I'm arraigned and all..."
"You and me?" she asked, scowling. She picked me up then, effortlessly, and cradled me to her bosum. "Let's roll, playah," she whispered.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arms and the Armed Man

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. Outside Myopic Mike's Precision Rifle Range and Gun Shop. 1300 hrs.
A mercenary's arsenal of firearms is like an Asian's car--sure, you can function without it, but how are you gonna kill people? I had spent the previous evening cataloging my personal weapons cache and wasn't happy with the results.
I have two water guns which I fill with urine--one with my own and the other from a donor. They're great for blinding your enemy but sometimes a bit more is required. I also have the shotgun I acquired in typical mercenary fashion--I took it off a dead man. I'm sure Grandpa understands. And I have seven knives, but that's two less than the experts at Soldier of Fortune suggest you carry for everyday protection.
And that's it. I've not been allowed to purchase any guns since that incident at Chuck E. Cheese seven years ago, and the lack of firepower has seriously hindered my ability to perform as a merc.
But now I had hope. I had just received a letter from my attorney letting me know I was authorized to go out in public without the genital bracelet, and I hoped my firearms ban had ended as well.
I parked my mom's car outside Myopic Mike's and headed in with a very large purchase in mind.

Myopic Mike's Precision Rifle Range and Gun Shop. 1305 hrs.
"Howdy, Mike!" I said, walking up to the counter. I was a regular visitor, stopping by often to oggle the guns behind the counter.
Mike squinted at me behind thick, almost-opaque glasses. "Aunt Stella?"
"No, it's me, Randy McFab."
"Oh." His face fell. "I guess you want to talk guns."
"No Mike, this time I want to buy guns!"
"Well..." He looked at his watch, holding it mere millimeters from his face. "I was gonna hit the rifle range for some shooting, Randy."
At that, a stream of men poured out from the door to the range.
"Just taking a break!" one of the men said. "You've got it all to yourself, Mike!"
"Why do you all always leave when I want to shoot?" Mike asked, addressing a display of hunting jackets on the sales floor.
"Don't worry about it," I said. "I really do have money this time."
"No, not Costa Rican postage stamps. This is real money." I fanned a wad of cash close enough to his eyes for him to see it. "My momma sued Mountain Dew on account of it making me Republican. I've got some spending money now."
"Well, alright then..." Mike gestured towards the gleaming steel displayed on the wall behind him. "What do you want? That Remington 700 you keep asking about? Larry Pitts down at the Circuit City swears he hit a gnat at 1000 yards with one the other day...'Course, the gnat was on a horse's abdomen..."
"Nah, Mike. I need concealed carry." I pointed at a .44 magnum revolver with an eight-inch barrel in the case between us. "Something small," I said. "A pea-shooter."
"Great!" He took the pistol out of the case and handed it to me. The grip felt like warm bone in my hand, and I could almost taste the gore this piece could create.
"I'll need hollow-points, of course," I said.
"Sure, won't be much use without it." He turned towards a computer terminal on the counter. "I just need to run a quick check...Liberal law, you know..."
"No problem," I beamed, my genitals riding free in my BDU trousers.
"Just need your driver's license."
"Yessir," I said, handing him my learner's permit.
He eyed it carefully. "You're...You're forty-two, aren't you?"
"Yes. I had a regular license, but then I ate some mushrooms a few years ago and forgot how to drive. Minor thing really, they're fixing it."
"Alright. Be just a couple minutes." He typed into the the terminal, and I walked around to check out the merchandise in the rest of the store.
They had some good stuff. For hunters like me they stocked both Uncle Jon's Old-Timey Deer Poison and Boar in Heat Sportsman's Cologne. For personal protection, they carried armor-penetrating ammo and other necessities like Israeli-issued gas masks. Damn, I'd have to come back with more money.
"Um...Randy?" Mike was calling from the counter.
"Yes? Do you need my holster size?"
"No, Randy, the...the background check came back, uh..."
Shit. "What, is there a waiting period?"
"Well, no, it..." He pulled a printout from the computer station, folding the twenty or so pages into a neat stack. "It says..." He put his nose right on the paper, reading carefully. "It says...'No fucking way.' Then it says that again. For twenty pages."
Damn damn damn! "It doesn't say why?"
"No, but..." He squinted at the printout. "There's a note from the head of the ATF...Just says 'You've got to be fucking kidding me.'"
So. That's how it was. Despite the Second Amendment, a patriot can't bear arms if said patriot has committed a few gun-related felonies. The liberals win again.
"Have you seen this, though?" Mike asked, and produced a large purple-and-yellow plastic rifle from behind the counter. "This is the Super Soaker 9000," he said. "You fill this baby with urine, and..."
"You had me at urine," I said, and handed him the cash.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Caucus Sucker

DeerTick, East Carolina. The E. Howard Hunt Convention Center and Jai-Alai Courts. 0900 hrs.
I couldn't believe I was really here. For a small-town hard-case like me to be hanging out in downtown Deer Tick--our state capitol and chief beef-jerky exporter--was one thing; to be attending our Republican caucus and helping to pick our Presidential nominee was the thrill of a lifetime.
Welcome Reactionaries, the banner hung across the hanger-sized hall proclaimed. As huge as the words were, they were almost lost in the sea of American and Confederate flags that symbolized our conservative virtues--loving your country, and sentimentally glorifying a genocidal racist past. This was my kind of convention.
I had already noticed some hot Republican chicks checking out my camo tuxedo. The ballot box might not be the only thing getting stuffed tonight, I thought, winking at a redhead over my complimentary virgin martini. She winked back. This was truly the best day of my life, and I'd only gotten here by sheer luck.

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The McFab compound. Three days before the convention.
I rushed to answer the phone before it quit ringing, struggling to pull up my pants and hide my Mike Huckabee calendar at the same time. I tossed the calendar under my bed and got to the phone on the sixth ring.
"I can't believe it's not butter consumer hot line," I answered.
"Um...Randy McFab please?"
"Maybe. Depends on who's calling." I never give away my identity without good reason--a mercenary is always aware of operational security.
"You don't know me, but--"
"That's good enough for me. This is Randy McFab."
"Well, yes sir. I'm calling on behalf of the East Carolina Armed Republicans."
Ah, ECAR. I'd been a member since Hector was a pup, whatever the hell that means.
"Continue," I said. "This line is secure."
"I'm happy to tell you that you have been selected to represent Parish County at the East Carolina Republican Presidential Caucus, Mr. McFab."
"I--what? Why?" I couldn't believe it. All my hard work, all the times I stood up for what was right by 1950's standards--had it finally paid off? It had.
"Yes, Mr. McFab. We chose from among all the people in the county who still support George Bush...And you were that person. We'll be happy to cover your expenses, and we're sure you'll support whichever candidate is most dangerously out of touch with the majority of Americans."
"You bet I will," I said. "Semper fuckin' Fi."
I started packing immediately.

DeerTick, East Carolina. The E. Howard Hunt Convention Center and Jai-Alai Courts. 1100 hrs.
I had been mixing and mingling, sharing my political views with my fellow patriots and getting high on virgin drinks and second-hand cigarette smoke, when an important-looking fellow in a Brooks Brothers suit thrust a microphone in my face. A younger, more casually dressed man behind him pointed a video camera in my direction.
"Welcome to the caucus," Brooks Brothers said. "What issues are most important to you?"
Holy Shit. I recognized him. Brooks Brothers was none other than Guy Testoral, the weatherman for the local Fox affiliate. He never predicted sunshine, because sunshine is for liberals and pansies.
"Well, Mr. Testoral, I--" Strange. My voice was echoing throughout the convention center. I glanced up and saw that our interaction was being displayed on the huge video screens that adorned each wall of the building. They had been interviewing random attendees, but I never expected I would be one of them. This was no time for stage fright, so I put on my game face and answered like a pro. "You're really cool, Mr. Testoral. I...Hello everyone."
"Very good sir. But tell us about your views," Testoral said.
"Well...I'm a simple man," I said, and everyone applauded at that. "I know that you don't need no book learnin' to plow a straight line or govern a nation." The applause was louder. "I am against terrorists, especially when they attack America." The response was deafening, and I was shocked to see that the thousands of people present stood rapt, watching me on the screen.
"I can see you're a man who has thought out his positions," Testoral said. "Why don't you tell us your name."
"McFab," I said, speaking into the mic. "James...I mean, Randy McFab."
"McFab!" someone yelled from across the room.
"Mr. McFab," Testoral said, "what would you do if you were President?"
"I would free G. Gordon Liddy, sir."
"He, uh, he's been free for years."
"Then I'd free him again!" The place erupted in cheers. Damn, this could get addictive.
"And what should be done about Iraq?" Testoral asked.
"Kill 'em all," I said, "and let Reagan--i.e. God--sort 'em out!"
Someone else shouted McFab! and it became a chant. McFab! McFab! McFab!
"Quiet, please," Testoral implored the crowd. "What about health care, Mr. McFab? Which candidate has the answer?"
"None of 'em. If people without insurance are unhappy with their health care, they should complain to their doctors. And as for gun control..."
Guns! Guns! Guns! the crowd yelled.
"As for gun control, " I continued, "gun control just means staying on target when you're emptying a clip into a Puerto Rican who's trying to steal your bike." More applause. "Not that a real man would exercise or ride a bike, " I added, and the shouts and applause went on for nearly a minute.
When it finally died down, Testoral asked me one more question. "What about the majority of Americans who don't agree with our small-town, uneducated beliefs? What place do they have in a democracy that doesn't actually count a majority?"
"Mr. Testoral...It only takes three people to make a majority. God, guns, and guts. And two of those ain't even people."
The convention center got louder than the end zone stands at a Georgia Bulldogs game.
McFab! McFab! McFab! McFab! McFab!
Testoral thanked me and I headed towards the bar for a virgin scotch on the rocks.

DeerTick, East Carolina. The E. Howard Hunt Convention Center and Jai-Alai Courts. 2000 hrs.
Wow. Since my interview, I'd been congratulated by hundreds of people, even people with jobs who normally don't talk to me. I had four or five fat, ugly chicks to choose from for tonight's entertainment, and some of them were only fat or ugly--not both. I was on top of the world, and the virgin boilermakers I'd been drinking only added to my elation.
"McFab?" It was Testoral. "I need to speak to you in private."
I discarded my O'Douls and followed him through a door and into a smoky room.
It was dark and, as I said, smoky. Seven or eight men sat around a table, looking very serious and smoking even more seriously.
"So...McFab." He was at the head of the table, and was fat enough to be the obvious leader.
"Yes sir. Randy McFab." I stood at parade rest, just like I'd been taught from books and movies about the Marine Corps.
"The people love you, McFab," he said. "Do you know that?"
"Love is an emotion common to liberals and hippies," I said.
"And that," he said, pounding the table, "is why we want you!"
"Want me? " I didn't get it. "What, you need someone killed? I should tell you I charge seven bucks an hour plus expenses, and I expect a back rub and--"
"No, no," he laughed. "Maybe you don't know me. I'm Boss Balltoucher," he said. "Don't ask how I got the nickname, it's a long story. The fact is, McFab..." He paused to cough violently and light another cigarette. "I've been running the Republican party here since Hector was a pup. Who the the hell is Hector? I don't know either. The point is, the people here love you, and I know a candidate when I see one. We want to nominate you as our...Well, nominee."
Heads nodded around the table.
"Nominee for what?" I asked. "I don't understand."
"For President," Balltoucher said. "For President of the United States."
My head swam. This was way beyond even my most extravagant dreams, the ones involving Ann Coulter and a loofah.
"I don't know what to say," I said. "Except that...Yes, I should clearly be President of the United States."
"Very gut." The voice sounded foreign, and it came from a small, skinny man at the table. "There is only one thing we require, Mr. McVab," he continued. "We require..."
Boss Balltoucher interrupted. "This is Dr. Heinrich Tang, Randy," he said, indicating the little man. "He worked for the East German family planning police. Until being fired."
"Um, hello doctor."
"Ja," doctor Tang said. "I was let go for...How do you say? Breakfast fetus? Anyway..." The doctor pushed himself back from the table, and I saw he was in a wheel chair. "I am quite certain, Herr McFab...I am quite certain you are electable...Unlike the serial adulterer Giuliani, or the Baptist Huckabee who thinks man lived with dinosaurs, or the stinking, filthy MORMON!" He screamed the last word, and shook violently for a few seconds before composing himself. "And as for that McCain," he continued, catching his breath. "Herr McCain got captured, didn't he? The wehrmacht does not get captured!"
"I agree, I guess," I said. "But as for what you require, I'm not sure what you mean."
"Yes!" Balltoucher took over again, and pulled down a world map from an overhead display. "This is the world, McFab," he said. "And as you can see the weather sucks."
There were indeed little sad faces over various countries.
"What we need," Balltoucher continued, "is a candidate who will listen to real science--scientists like Doctor Tang here--and realize global warming is a good thing!"
"Sehr gut," Doctor Tang added.
"But--global warming isn't real," I said. "It's a liberal lie."
"We all thought that," Balltoucher said. "Doctor Tang?"
"Ja." Tang wheeled himself towards the world map. "This is antarctica," he said, pointing towards the map. "The ice there is melting. Also here, in the nord pole. The warming is real, and even my research has failed to prove otherwise. Though I tried. Oh mein Gott I tried!"
"It's okay, doctor," Boss Balltoucher said, patting the German's shoulder. "His guilt crippled him," Balltoucher whispered towards me.
"So..." I didn't know what else to say.
"So, Mr. McFab," Balltoucher said, "we need a candidate who will say this is all for the good. Even the idiots out there now acknowledge that it's happening. We need someone who will say it's for the good, so we don't end up with a country full of sissies driving cars no bigger than what we need. So we don't end up turning off a light when we could leave it on for no reason. So we don't stop equating a large pickup truck with masculinity. So we stay American!"
"Ja," Doctor Tang said. "Weitzer zu American!"
"We can get you elected," Balltoucher said. "I mean, they have to count Florida."
I felt all my happiness drain out of me. The elation was gone, and even though I had been picked out to be special I knew the really special thing was to be right.
"You sicken me," I said. "All of you." I looked around the table to make sure they all knew they sickened me individually as well as as a group. "How can you be so blind?" I walked to the map and did some pointing of my own. "Alaska!" I shouted, thumping the map. "It's cold there! Russia!" I said, pointing to the southern hemisphere. "Cold there, too. Gentlemen," I said, leaning on the table, "there is no such thing as global warming, and anyone who thinks there is is a commie, a liberal, and probably much worse--a democrat!"
"But Randy," Balltoucher said, "the science--"
"The science? The science?" I got right up in his face. "Science is the liberal philosophy that claims gun deaths are caused by bullets; that murdering murderers doesn't solve the murder problem; that gay marriage isn't the reason my wife left me for a breakdancer! I spit on your science," I said, and spat on the coffee urn in the center of the table. "I'm not your candidate. If I'm running for anything, I'm running because I have warrants out for me. Not for this pack of lies."
I swept out of the room, pausing only to fill a cup of coffee from the urn and fill my pockets with a few of the Ba-Lack Obongo pins they had on the table.

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The McFab compound. 0 900 hrs. The next day.
"So," Mama said, a good bit of breakfast in her mouth, "I heard they nominated you for President."
"Yeah, they did." I took a bite of deer sausage and washed it down with Zima. "But they weren't real conservatives, Mama. They were closet liberals."
"Well, I hate that you had a job and didn't take it, but..." She handed me the morning paper with a few items circled. "Burger King is hiring."