Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tight Package

0900 hours. The Fort Braggart Museum of Unnecessary Military Interventions.
We stood on the parade ground outside the museum, a hundred or so of us, there to pay our respects at Fort Braggart's most solemn ceremony. Special Deaths Day is when our local Army base pays tribute to those Special Forces operators who have died participating in action sports while off duty. It was a time for tears, from the opening strains of the band playing "Wipeout" to the closing prayer when Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" was performed with the accordian and banjo.
The event drew a mostly military crowd, but I fit right in among the mourners in my black BDU's and cowboy hat. Today was to be an extra-special Special Deaths Day, because they were holding a ceremony to say goodbye to the recently-deceased Green Beret Sergeant Jimmy "Steel Trap" Thicker, who met his end a couple of weeks ago plummeting to his death in a tragic bungie-jumping accident. Sergeant Thicker had dived off of County Line Bridge after mistakenly strapping both ends of his bungie cord to his ankle, and my inside sources say that his last words were, "Oh, right...Tie it to the..."
The liberal media claimed there was alcohol involved in the accident, but the men who served with Steel Trap all came to his defense, insisting he was really just a complete moron.
At any rate, we would honor him today, and though I've never been in the military I never miss a chance to show respect for the men who have served, or to try to sleep with the women who have served.
I eyed the crowd as the band struck up "Wipeout." The military men looked perfect in their class-A's, and if I wasn't not gay I'd admit I wanted to have sex with most of them. There were civvies too, some of whom I had met at various gun shows and Pat Buchanan fund-raisers. The sad part, though, were the loved ones...Sergeant Thicker's widow and pregnant girlfriend were both scheduled to talk, though apparently not to each other. The girlfriend's car had pulled up with the word "whore" painted on it, and I suspected it might be the work of the wife. Women. They can't understand that ceremony takes precedence over reality.
I watched them both cry as a young corporal played the last mournful strains of "Wipeout" on his military-issue Stratocaster, and thanked God I live in a country where dead soldiers get a nice send-off.

Finally, the rendition of "Wipeout" ended, and frankly I thought the dancing midgets were in bad taste. Today's speaker, Captain Luther Hargreaves, took the stand, and he walked up those wooden steps like he had a purpose. I respect that sort of thing--walking.
"Good morning, captive audience," Captain Hargreaves began. "I would like to welcome all soldiers, families, and--" he looked at me--"self-styled mercenaries--to the 20th annual remembrance of those who have died doing...Well, stupid shit."
"As you may know," he continued, "this ceremony began with the death of Corporal Luke Atme, who died surfing for the U.S.A. I was there. I pulled his charred and still-smoking remains from the waters off Malibu, and to this day I wish I had told him not to surf in those conditions." He paused to wipe his eyes. "But that's old news, and today we're here to mourn yet another spec-ops soldier, one who lasted six months in the Green Berets before doing something really stupid and dying as a result. I don't remember his name, but I'm sure it's important."
I was crying so hard, I stepped around the back of the stage to hide my tears. That's when I saw it. I farted, I was so shocked, and by farted I mean shit my pants.
There was a bomb...Right beside the speaker's podium.
"BOMB!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I ran onstage and tackled Captain Hargreaves, sending him falling off into the crowd. I saw the stunned faces and realized it was up to me to keep panic from happening. I grabbed the mic on the podium.
"Don't panic!" I yelled. "It's just a bomb. Very unlikely to kill all of us." People were stampeding despite my words of comfort. "For fuck's sake, we don't even know how much shrapnel is in there...Calm down, people!" It didn't work--most people are pussies, that's why Bush didn't win a majority. I decided to appeal to those who could actually help.
"Soldiers," I called out. "We have a bomb situation. We've got to defuse it."
"Right on, fuck off," someone in uniform shouted back from thirty yards away.
Great. I'd have to handle this alone. That's the merc's lot anyway, so it didn't surprise me.
I approached the small parcel. It looked like an ordinary cardboard box, sitting right next to the podium as if it belonged there. Nothing belongs anywhere--first lesson you learn as a man of action.
If it was a bomb, and it obviously was since it wasn't labeled "not bomb" by the anti-terror staff on base, there was only one way to render it safe.
"I need some help here, soldiers, " I called out, after urinating twice on the package. The moisture from our pee would render the explosives inside inert. No one came up to help.
"Damnit men, you're Army!" I barked. "They have video games about you! Now suck it up like men and pee on this cardboard box!"
Finally, a few crept up, and joined me in soaking the box in urine. After seeing it didn't explode, even more soldiers came to help, one brave soul even taking a dump on the device.
"You fucker!"
Who said that? It was the widow, charging towards us from the safety of the crowd.
"Those are...Oh my God, we were gonna spread..." she cried.
"No thanks necessary," I said. "The bomb's soaked in urine and feces."
"Those were his ashes!" she screamed. " pissed on his..."
Well, some widows are a little touchy. Sorry, Mrs. Thicker.

1600 hours. The McFab compound.
People are weird. You try to stay vigilant, help them out, and they respond with lawsuits. I don't think there's a normal man among us who wouldn't urinate on a suspicious package. Seems to me, you should label stuff if it's that damned important. But that's just me--I'm a man of action.