Sunday, June 24, 2007

Base Is Hell

The ground shook and seemed to do so either just before or right as the blast was heard. A ball of fire filled the immediate area but still the troops marched on, walking right through the flames, right into them.

A drone picked up everything and relayed it back to Centcom where multi-star generals and colonels worried that the temperature of the blast might be too hot and could severely damage the drone.

Another blast went off. They saw some heads and limbs blown off and the broadcast from the drone go in and out.

"Don't do this now, come on, baby, we need you!" hollered General William B. Bravado as all eyes remained fixed on the flat screen monitor.

Then, quick as a flash, the reception was back displaying hundred of US service members dead on the field.

The generals and colonels cheered! The drone was back online!


Back at the barracks, General Bravado flipped on his TV and walked from his sunken den to the kitchen where he picked up a butcher knife and used the non-blade side to scratch his back. No sissy lofa sponge for a he-man like him. After five minutes of this, he examined the knife and saw the little skin flakes, like dandruff. He blew them off the knife and put it away. Grabbing a wine cooler, he headed back to his sunken den, adjusted the temperature of the room to 71 degrees, noting how hot it had been at Centcom -- probably seventy-nine degrees. Plopping his fat ass down on the overstuffed sofa, he saw that Rollerball was on. The original! Thank God for the satellites and modern technology.

Watching James Caan off and on, he reflected on America's New Military. He silently praised Jesus and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for insisting spy chips be implanted in all recruits upon induction. The first benefit was easy enough to spot: no more self-check outs.

No more worries about Mark Wilkersons, Kyle Snyders or Agustin Aguayos. Yeah, go ahead and try to resist, try to self-check out. We'd find you. They were experimental then and left a big bulge on the back of the neck, due to the power source needed to supply them, but they could track anyone around the globe.

It had been his daddy that had figured out spy chips could be used for more than tracking. Behavioral modifications. Montgomery McFatty had signed on immediately.

Overweight and prone to rejecting anything that resembled independent thought, McFatty was happy to abuse her knowledge of the social sciences in service of the Almighty Dollar. A shock collar could prevent a dog from barking or leaving the yard, what might they be able to do with spy chips?

$37 billion later -- the US had stopped funding public schools at that point -- the program produced verifiable results. The automatic zap -- which sounded like one of those bug lights -- had worked to make the test group agree to any action, regardless of whether it was a War Crime or not. Thanks to that research, there would be no more Ehren Watadas. Someone started raising legal arguments, hit the switch and, ZAP, their eyes clouded over and they forgot immediately.

The switch was a bit of a problem but McFatty eventually reduced it to the size of a mini-Oreo which wasn't surprising to anyone when the government got her per diem bill and had it itemized -- the woman was obsessed with mini-Oreos and assorted other junk foods. Now, in the palm of your hand, you could control it all. As the research progressed, it became possible to control entire brigades with one tiny remote device.

The TV screen flickered and Rollerball was replaced with scenes of a live battle. It was a group of Marines and General Bravado had to marvel over the one who had both a leg and an arm blown off but continued hopping forward. Modern day technology, nothing like it. It had reduced the time needed for the basic socialization and re-education civilians knew as basic training. Woops, land mine. That Marine was down for good.

These things happen in a war.

He did wonder, though, why they interrupted his movie feed to show him this?

It was late. Probably he should turn off the tube, hit the jacuzzi tub and chill for a few hours.

After he'd done just that for a few hours, he crawled into bed, between his silk sheets, and quickly fell asleep dreaming of two weeks from now when he'd be leaving this hell hole and returning Stateside.

The soft purr of his wake up call greeted him far too early. He wondered what the woman really looked like but hopped out of bed and hit the john.

As he dressed, he dreamed of seeing his second star. He felt a little less-than, a little inferior, with only one star. He'd been on this base for nearly five months and the fatalities for the US had climbed to 32,000. Surely, his second star was just around the corner.

He marched on over to headquarters.

"Men, and McFatty . . ."

Yes, McFatty was here. Probably eighty-three-years-old now and bigger than a double-wide trailer. But the chips had been her baby and she was determined to see them through, to measure their results until someone finally dug a plot big enough to hold her.

". . . we've suffered tremendous losses this week and, last night alone, we lost 4,229 troops. Brave men, controlled men. Men who continued marching straight forward, into the ambush, while requiring only three zaps."

McFatty held three fingers up and smiled with what little teeth she had left.

"Our losses have depleted our combat readiness and, while we wait for the twenty brigades the President is in the process of shipping over, we'll all have to make a few sacrifices."

General Bravado grimaced. First month here, he'd put in his requisition form for a skylight only to be told that due to events on the ground, he'd have to sacrifice a few weeks and live without it. Being a mere one-star general meant he was always low man on the base's totem pole and no one ever let him forget it.

Wait. They were being told they were being sent in?

"What!" he hollered from a gut reaction.

"That's right. All one star generals will be headed to the battlefield ASAP. Our fighting forces have been severely depleted."

"But what about the staff sergeants?" General Bravado insisted.

"All blown away. All Lieutenants, Captains, Majors, Colonels and one star generals are going to get to see some action! First hand!"

"B-b-but, I don't want to go. I want to stay on base. Who will Tivo my stories for me? Will the base masseur follow us to the battlefield? I'm used to chow like veal piccata and eggplant parmesan. I ain't eating no MREs!"

"Bravado! I am shocked by your statements! Shocked! Man, here is the chance for you to earn another star! To serve your country on the battlefield! To personally take part in this glorious battle!"

"Truth is, sir, I don't believe in this war. I don't think we ever should have invaded France in the first place and certainly not on so flimsy an excuse."

"Flimsy, Bravado? President Jenna Bush said the new line of French haute couture was designed solely to make her look fat. Our president is not fat! And did you see what the St. John's Bay French terry shorts did to Attorney General George P. Bush's ass? Those shorts made him cry! Are you going to stand by while America's morale is threatened?"

"With all due respect, sir, I don't believe St. John's clothing is made in France. I believe these are trumped up assertions designed to allow the United States to enter into an illegal war of choice."

"Good God, McFatty! I thought we had drummed all of this talk out of today's service with your gadgets!"

McFatty worked furiously with her remote device, so furiously that she even stopped stuffing her mouth, attempting to zap General Bravado.

"Sir, I request a C.O. application immediately."

"Bravado, we don't even have those anymore. McFatty!"

"Sir, since the Revolutionary War, the United States has allowed for C.O.s. I respectfully request that while you attempt to locate a form, I be allowed to remain on base --"


McFatty pointed to the remote.

"There were some crumbs preventing the button from going all the way down," she explained with a shrug.

General Bravado began marching . . . off to battle. His first and, two days later, his last. On the plus side, President Jenna Bush called an armistice when her grandmother introduced her to the wonders of stretchy pants.
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