Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Kill a Swami for Mommy

Fort Braggart Public Library and Rifle Range. 1500 hrs. Yesterday.
Fort Braggart's a small town, and probably wouldn't exist at all if not for the semi-secret military base that houses the Army's 3.1415th Extraordinary Forces Unit, "The Fighting Fascists." We do, however, have a public library that rivals any I've ever seen--over 200 books, and all of them action thrillers by the big names you find only at Wal-Mart and gun shows. I'd read them all, of course, but I still liked to stop by the library now and then to check the community bulletin board for lost pets I could recover and collect a bounty on. I had just torn down and pocketed the flyer for "Giblet," a missing poodle. He'd be worth a hundred alive; we could negotiate if I had to take him out to capture him. I turned my attention back to the corkboard and was shocked by what I saw next.
A Tantric Prayer for Peace, the flyer read. Join Illustrious Swami Varahishnu Gomez for an evening of peace and Tantric sex. My terrorist-sensitive radar started pinging like mad. Peace, huh? That's tango slang for "car bomb." I read on. Release your hatred and bodily fluids at our prayer meeting, and join your sacred chi to ours as we chant the war away. Single women admitted free. 7:00 p.m., The Pinto Being Vegetarian Cafe and Kabbalah Water Bar.
Swami? Vegetarians? Peace? I was 90-percent sure they were tangos, and the fine print at the bottom clinched it. Printed on Recycled Paper, it read. I tore the flyer down, my hands shaking with rage. You can hate America all you want, but...Well, no, you can't hate America. I headed to the payphone and did what any good patriot would do--I called Homeland Security.
"Is this Randy McFab again?" They know all the real Americans by name.
"Yeah, and I've got a fastball for you. There's--"
"Sir," she interrupted me, "we've asked you not to call this number again."
"But this is a fastball!" I said. "There's a jihadist swami on the loose in Fort Braggart, and--"
The line went dead. Shit. Swami Gomez's people must have had the local lines tapped. They had cut our comms, which meant Homeland Security probably wouldn't have anyone on these people. I hung up and took a deep breath. It was up to me.

The McFab compound. 1700 hrs.
If I was going to infiltrate the tangos, I'd have to look like one. I stood in front of my bedroom mirror, trying on various bits of my disguise kit until I had it just right. Terrorist groups are notoriously hard to infil, and you have to be perfect if you want to stay alive. I was perfect--buckskin jacket with fringe and rhinestones, jeans that hadn't even been ironed, combat boots without my usual Airborne-style lacing, and a tee-shirt that I altered to read "Don't Kill a Commie for Mommy." I left my mustache uncombed and unwaxed, just like a stinking hippy would. One more item, and my wardrobe would be complete.
I opened up my gun safe, opened up the safe I keep inside it, then opened the strongbox inside that, which held my weapon. I ran my finger lovingly along the barrel of Thunder God, my name for my Wankmaster 5000 air pistol, and thought about all the action we had seen together. T.G. had saved my life more times than I could count, most recently when that squirrel...I shuddered. It's bad luck to revive old combat memories just before a mission. I slammed a CO2 cartridge home, checked the action, and shoved the gun down the front of my pants, taking my time with that part. I was ready.
"Momma," I called towards the living room, "Can I use the car?"

1900 hrs. The Pinto Being Vegetarian Cafe.
It was the kind of place I would usually avoid. A down-at-the-heels converted house nestled in the liberal section of town, the Pinto Being was a haven for peaceniks and lesbians, two groups whose members would never, ever have sex with me. Beyond that, the place reeked of patchouli and coffee, both drugs in my book. Getting into character wasn't easy, but I did it. I swallowed back my outraged vomit and walked in.
"Welcome, brother." It was a broad's voice, barely audible over the bongo beats coming from an unseen drum corps. I searched through the haze of incense and found her.
"I come in war," I said. "I mean, peace. Don't eat the brown acid. Groovy." I knew the lingo.
She stepped closer and I couldn't help noticing she was hot--maybe the hottest tantrica I'd ever seen. A little blonde number, couldn't have been more than nineteen. Old, yeah, but not quite over the hill.
"Welcome to our peace party," she said. "I'm Vagilis. These are our loved ones." She swept her arm in a grand gesture, and as my eyes adjusted to the smoke I saw more figures, mostly female but a few nancy-boy hippies thrown in for good measure. I noticed all the chicks were hot. So were some of the guys.
"Right on, baby," I said. "Kill whitey."
"You're funny," she said, and I admit she had a nice smile for a terrorist. I was on a mission, though.
"I'd like to groove with Swami Gomez," I said. "That cat's the most!"
"Of course...But you will see me and my friend Clitora after, won't you?" She pointed to her friend, who was...Well, even hotter.
"Hoo-Ya! I mean, roger! I mean..." I composed myself. "I mean, yeah, sistah, we'll groove."
"You're so funny!" she said, and grabbed my wrist, leading me towards the back of the cafe.
The incense smoke got thicker, almost as if by design. Swami Gomez materialized out of the haze like some sort of haze-materializing-from wizard, seated on a couch of cushions and surrounded by four chicks who were, amazingly, even hotter than Vagilis and her friend.
The Swami himself was not what I expected--he looked like a cross between the Dali Lama and Benjamin Disraeli. In other words, he was a looker. Dressed in Speedos and a turban, he sat buddha-style on his cushions, smoking a cigarette through some weird apparatus full of water.
"Welcome, Officer," he said. Vagilis bowed and retreated.
"Officer?" I asked.
"The mustache," he said. "You're either a cop, or you're gay."
"I'm a man of fucking action!" I shouted. "A man without a mustache is only half a man--look it up in Army Field Manual F-2.71828." Shit, I'd slipped. "I mean, man, look it up if you were a warmonger, which neither of us is."
He laughed. "My dear friend. Come, partake with me. You mean no harm." He gestured towards his funny pipe. I'd come this far. I wasn't gonna let a little tobacco come between me and a successful infiltration. He lit the fresh, green tobacco, and I inhaled deeply. I'd always wondered what cigarettes were like.
The water in the weird pipe bubbled.

0200 hrs. The railroad tracks outside of town.
"Camptown ladies sing this song, doo-dah, doo-dah..." I walked along the tracks, the kudzu-covered trees barely visible in the darkness. "Camptown racetrack five mile long, oh, doo-dah day..."
I'd been singing for a few hours, and loving every minute of it. Swami Gomez had obviously poisoned his green tobacco with some sort of nerve agent, because for the first time in my life I was happy and wanted no one dead. I vaguely remembered the two chicks I'd met--they said I had a small...Hell, I can't recall. My last real memory before walking the train tracks was urinating on what appeared to be, but obviously couldn't have been, an American flag. It was probably a Syrian flag--very similar to ours, after all. It occured to me that terrorists could actually be pretty fun, and that a Mars bar dipped in ice cream would be freakin'--SHIT!
I had forgotten to assassinate the Swami. I considered going back to do the job, but realized I had no idea where I was, and that "Thunder God" probably needed repair since we had turned it into some sort of weird pipe. I decided to just keep walking, let the nerve agents wear off, and find a place that sold candy and ice cream.
The Swami and his tango cohorts had won this round, but it wouldn't happen again. I got suckered in by love and fun, and I had learned my lesson. I'm a man, not a person who enjoys love and fun.
You hear that, terrorists? McFab's still on your tail, and next time we meet you'll be the ones getting high and having a good time.