Since I have been a little busy with the OPEC Diet and what-not I haven’t had time to work up a good rant about anything for the last few days. So, instead, I will drop a short-short story here. I should warn you, though, that it won’t seem relevant to non-Americans.
The breeze was just strong enough to kick up some sand but too weak to blow away the smoke. It had been a long hard campaign and Captain Johansson was looking forward to its end. The ground was littered with the bodies of both sides. It would take weeks to separate, identify and bury the dead.
“Captain!” Johansson turned to see Sgt. Stone running over to him. Stone knew better than to salute out in the field; officers were primary targets and a salute was as good as a bull’s-eye painted on his chest. “Sir! We got him.”
“Which ‘him’, Sergeant?”
“Husam bin Abdel.”
Johansson’s eyes went wide. “The ‘Sword of Allah’ himself?” Sgt. Stone nodded. “Take him to my tent to await transport. Have Lt. Tannaka meet me there.”
“The el-tee didn’t survive the last volley, sir.”
Damn, thought Johansson, he was a good soldier and a good man. “Then go take off those stripes and get some ‘butter-bars’ from the Quartermaster. I’m giving you a field promotion effective immediately.”
Stone nodded and took off at a brisk pace. Johansson was amazed at the sergeant’s – correction – lieutenant’s energy. The captain lacked even the strength to weep over the loss of his friend. He walked to his tent as fast as he could manage. Before entering he poured some water out of his canteen into a cloth and quickly washed his face and hands, then combed his hair. He needed to project strength when faced with the enemy leader and a disheveled appearance would undermine that image. He straightened his posture to parade perfection then entered the tent. There was Lt. Stone with Husam bin Abdel.
Now how the hell did he get those bars and beat me here with the prisoner, wondered Johansson, he must have anticipated my actions and had the rank insignia in his pocket, already.
“Husam bin Abdel,” said the captain dispassionately. “This is a singular pleasure.”
The ‘Sword of Allah’ glared at the captain. “The pleasure is all yours, infidel.” Abdel was shackled hand and foot to a metal chair. Even his face was partially obscured by the cannibal mask that would prevent him from biting his captors. “I will tell you nothing…even if you torture me. Kill me now and spare us all the wasted time.”
“Torture?” Johansson feigned shock while Lt. Stone kept his features passive. “We have no intention of torturing you, Hasam ol’ boy. We don’t need any information from you. Your followers are all but decimated. The few that are left won’t be able to find a rat-hole deep enough to keep us from finding them. And even if they did get away, so what? Without the head, the body dies.”
“Then shoot me and be done,” snarled Abdel. “I am of no use to you.”
“Actually, that’s not quite true.” Johansson managed a small smile. “We intend to put you on trial. A very public trial. All of your war-crimes and atrocities will be trotted out for the world to see. Your follower’s suicide bombing that killed 157 men, women and children, for example.”
“Ha!” Abdel spit on the sandy floor. “What of the thousands who died in your bombing raids?”
“At least we declared war and tried to hit military targets,” shrugged the captain. “And when we are done, we’ll stick you in a dark hole where you will be locked down for 23 hours a day. No human contact. Your 72 houris in the afterlife will have to wait a good long time before you show up. The world will forget you ever existed after a while.”
“I will rob you of your entertainment,” said Abdel in a low voice.
“I think not,” countered Johansson. “You will be under 24 hour a day suicide watch. You will be guarded even from yourself night and day. If you injure yourself we’ll patch you up. If you stop eating, we’ll strap you down and feed you intravenously. Your cell will be padded and your blankets will be designed to come apart if you rig a noose. There will be no shoelaces, metal posts or anything else available to you which would allow you to injure yourself. If necessary, we will keep you in a straight-jacket 24/7.”
As Abdel listened some of the defiance left his face to be replaced by fear. If he could not kill the enemy then he needed to kill himself so he could not be used as a pawn for the infidels, but this, too, was denied him.
“We got you right where we want you and you’ll stay got,” said Johansson. “But I do have some good news.”
Abdel looked up in surprise. “What?”
“I just saved a bunch of money by switching my car insurance to Gekko.”
Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!
Tags: Good News?