Sunday, December 19, 2004

ATTACK OF THE MUTANT ZEBRA

Good ol’ Army! Just as I was worrying about coming down with a terminal case of writer’s block, the Army bureaucracy stepped in to save me. As my regular readers know, I’m big on minding my own business. So there I was in the mess hall, minding my own business in a military sort of way, when some derelict with more stripes than a mutant zebra slithers up and hisses, “Chief, you have a magazine in your pistol.”

The guy is obviously fishing for compliments, so I praised him for his astute powers of observation and try to go back to enjoying my swill. No such luck. The Zebra brays something about being the supreme plenipotentiary Command Sergeant Major of some organization or other, and informs me that base policy requires all weapons to be cleared before entering, and I’d better get with the program.

OK, this ain’t my first rodeo, and I don’t make the beginner’s mistake of pointing out that he is obviously going to lose this argument. If nothing else, I have bullets in my gun and he doesn’t. But never mind that. I’ll try casting pearls before swine, or in this case, zebras. I’ll beat him with his own stick. Between bites of some long-deceased mammal, I point out to him that Army Regulation 195-2 specifically authorizes CID agents to lurk about in an armed status, and that generally, AR’s outrank local municipal decrees by RLO’s (Real Live Officers, as compared to the higher life form of Warrant Officers) who are looking for an excuse to get their name on a memo.

The Zebra blinks, but he’s tough and recovers quickly. “Chief, I don’t care who you are or what you do, you gotta comply with our silly, I mean, relevant, regulations just like everyone else. We can’t have soldiers eating dinner with loaded guns. Why, just the other day we got a nice letter from Sarah Brady and Handgun Control, Inc., that what we’re doing is right.” I can’t help but notice that his bright red face goes nicely with all those black stripes. And I sure can’t help but notice that he is now screaming and spraying DNA samples in what used to be a perfectly non-poisonous meal.

The trick to dealing with enraged zebras is to show no fear, maintain eye contact…and smack ‘em soundly between the running lights with a large, heavy object. Regrettably, bludgeoning him with my plastic force would only infuriate him more, so I once again try the voice of sweet reason. “Sergeant Zebra, when you were back at the zoo at Fort Hood, CID agents ate at the mess hall on a regular basis while armed. We’re still agents, and we’re still in the Army. What’s the difference?”

I can’t make this stuff up. Here’s what he said: “I’ll tell you the difference, Chief. That was back in the States, and now we’re in a war zone. We can’t allow soldiers to go around armed in a war zone.”

Oh, this zebra was good. Now it was my turn to blink, temporarily stunned by an absolutely masterful delivery of unbridled stupidity. With shaking hands, I reached to open a shirt pocket, and pull out my ace: FRAGO 658, dated 6 Sep 04, reluctantly concurring that it was OK for cops to carry loaded weapons. But not soldiers. Fortunately, under the terms of FRAGO 658, I qualified as a cop.

SGT Zebra turned his head and covered his face like a vampire seeing the dawn, then stamped his feet and stalked away. Probably looking for some private fresh off a combat patrol who didn’t have clean boots to pick on. Zebras. You gotta love ‘em.

This news just in: heard from a MI (Military Intelligence) type that some of the haji RPG gunners believe that Americans have a “force field” around their vehicles to deflect incoming projectiles. Fortunately for the hajis, their scientists have managed to come up with a way to defeat our force fields – you just wrap a garbage bag over the head of the RPG round, seal it up good and tight with duct tape, and this blocks out the secret emissions that deflect the round.

It also produces the greatly-to-be desired effect of screwing up the arming mechanism on the RPG’s so they don’t detonate. Which is probably even more proof to the frustrated RPG gunner that the evil American force field is especially strong. Maybe he’s supposed to wrap TWO garbage bags around the warhead?

While this may come as a shock to some of my friends, I’ve been attending Sunday services somewhat regularly here. (Well, 3 times in 3 months. It was enough to rate a phone call from Ripley’s Believe it or Not.) The choir is good, even if they do sing songs I’ve never heard in a church before. I don’t know. I may keep it up when I get home, but I’m sure going to miss seeing machine guns stacked by the pews. Somehow, it just won’t seem like Sunday without them.

Hope SGT ZEBRA doesn’t find out about this!

P.S. In an unusual burst of energy, I published two pages today, so you might want to check the previous page,
METEOROLOGY & GLOBALIZATION

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