March 1, 2019 – Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Say what you will about George W. Bush, but the man inherited a world of shit when it came to the war on terror. American politicians had buried their collective heads up their asses for years, ignoring the threat or, when necessary, occasionally swatting at an international ne’er-do-well here or there, when they could be bothered to expend the resources necessary to fight them.
9/11 changed the game and in the aftermath of that fateful day, the Bush Administration began packing terrorists into a prison situated on a military base on land leased from the Cuban government like sardines. For years, reports of torture and abuse circulated throughout the mass media, so much so that President Barack Obama often publicly pledged to his liberal base that he would close the facility down, though in private, was often heard to say to his advisors, “Look, here’s the deal. There’s no way we can move those murderous asshats to the continental United States. Just like I told Michelle when she tried me to make me trade my cigarettes for celery sticks, ‘It’s not going to happen.’” Yes, it’s totally true that POTUS 44 said that, so there’s no reason to look it up.
Nineteen long, long, absurdly long years after the war on terror began, six highly trained soldiers led a prisoner down a dark, dank, musty hallway. The man in custody was tall with a muscular, athletic build. A black hood had been placed over his head and the chains binding his legs and feet jingled and jangled as he walked.
“Goddamn it, Maddox,” Capt. Marcus Kent said as he kept a tight grip on his M-16. “I cannot believe that my tax dollars are paying for your dental work when little inner-city kids are starving to death every day.”
The contingent reached a thick, steel door. Capt. Kent punched in a code and the door buzzed. The team entered as the heavy door slammed shut behind them.
“If I had my way, I’d stick a rocket up your ass and shoot you to Mars,” the captain said. “But I suppose as long as there are crooked ambulance chasers running around, ready to sue Uncle Sam on your behalf, we’ll have to keep you fed and clothed and in good health.”
Captain Kent, his men, and their prisoner entered a hallway lined by cells, each one housing the worst of the worst behind thick sheets of plexiglass. There was Sheikh Amad al Bari, the comically cross-eyed cleric who was responsible for bombing over one hundred Jewish delicatessens, depriving the world not only of many good, decent members of God’s chosen people but also, of so, so much kreplach and kugel and don’t even get this omnipotent narrator started on the knish. Do you know how hard it is to find a good knish? Aw, what do you know?
“I am not representative of the Islamic people at large!” the cross-eyed sheikh cried as the makeshift parade passed by. “I just want you to know that in case you were mislead by my actions to mistakenly believe the foolish notion that all devotees of the Koran are violent terrorists who want nothing more to blow up the world so that it may be bent to their will.”
Kent drew a baton from his belt and rapped the plexiglass shield covering al Bari’s cell. “Pipe down in there, maggot!”
“Be woke, dick cheese!” al Bari said. “Know that there are many kind, caring, peaceful Muslims who I also want to blow to smithereens for their sins against Allah, oh whom I am but a humble servant!”
The contingent moved on. They passed by the cell of the Sheik Hammad al Hajar, dubbed “The Cauliflower Ear Cleric” for his deformed ears. This vile perverter of Islam, who had been locked away for blowing up over fifty-nine Hasidic owned and operated jewelry stores, which is a shame, because the only thing the tribe does better than make good knish is cut a good diamond. Yes, the omnipotent narrator is also aware that these fine folks have made many fine contributions to the arts, sciences, politics, and other key areas, so spare him your feigned social media outrage.
“Al Bari, you fart face!” al Hajar shouted. “You dare call yourself a servant of Allah? How dare you when you know my interpretation of the Koran is way, way better than your shitty interpretation of the Koran! I am Allah’s servant, not you!”
The cross-eyed sheik’s replied carried through the holes in his plexiglass cell shield. “Bite my ding dong, you insignificant burglar of turds! My interpretation of Islam is the only good interpretation of Islam and all of you lesser Mulims should just blow yourselves right the fuck up before I do it for you!”
“At least we agree that there are many, many good, honest, and just Muslims who are productive members of society who should not be mistreated by anyone…except of course, by us, when we run them over with trucks and machine gun their remains for daring to live peaceful lives!” al Hajar said.
Al Bari was quiet for a moment, as if he were quiet for a moment. “Do you think this point of agreement is a foundation upon which we can build trust in one another?”
Now Al Hajar was quiet for a moment, then he spoke up. “Not at all! Your interpretation of the Koran is bullshit and I will piss on your grave for it!”
“How do you figure my interpretation is bullshit, you lowly flea on a dog’s testicle?” al Bari asked.
“Because, penis face,” al Hajar said. “On page 509 of the Koran, you believe sentence 111 ends with a period when everyone knows it ends with a semi-colon, thus joining with the next sentence!”
“Two sentences becoming one?” al Bari asked. “Fuck that noise! The prophet would never want any man, woman or child on this planet to believe such filth and if you ever say it again, I’ll cut out your tongue and wipe my ass with it!”
“Traitorous dog!” al Hajar shouted. “Learn the power of semi-colons and learn it well for if you deny their existence in our most glorious and beloved book, the holiest of all texts, then I will pull your scrotum over your face and hold it there until you suffocate.”
As this impromptu grammar fight ensued between two men who were, by all means, not representative of the entire Islamic faith in any way, Capt. Kent’s group moved down the hall, past the cell of the international criminal Esteban Sanchez, who was wanted on serious charges in forty-eight separate countries, including his home nation of Spain. Unfortunately for those countries, America had pinched this notorious villain first.
The scraggily haired baddie extended his pointer finger, then ran it across his throat in a threatening gesture against the soldiers.
“Don’t even start with me, Sanchez!” Captain Kent said.
“I will cut your throat!” Sanchez said. “I will cut out your heart! I will cut off your cajones! I will cut every part of your body, just as I cut off over one million mattress tags! Muah ha…muah ha….muah ha ha! I will cut off every tag off of every mattress in the entire world and the mattress inspectors will be powerless to stop me! Powerless, I say!”
“You make me sick,” Captain Kent said.
Once the team reached the last cell on the left, they stopped. One soldier opened the cell up. Kent and the rest of his team raised their weapons and pointed them at the prisoner.
“Listen up, Maddox,” Capt. Kent said. “We’re now going to release you into your cell. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that multiple M-16s are pointed directly at your head, so if you so much as think about sneezing at me or one of my men, you’ll be dropped before the boogers exit your nose. Got it?”
The prisoner’s voice was eerily calm, unexpectedly soothing and decisively British. While he was surrounded by uncouth psychopaths who could barely string a sentence together, his diction was perfect and precise, reflecting his many years of scholarly student.
“Of course,” came the muffled voice of Maddox out from underneath the bag. “I wouldn’t dream of injuring you or any of your colleagues. In fact, I must say that cavity filling you so vocally begrudged me earlier has become quite painful, so I doubt very much I’d be able to use my teeth to rip off your ears or bite out your esophagus or…”
“Save it,” Captain Kent said as he entered the room. The warrior pulled the hood off of the prisoner’s head to reveal a strikingly handsome man with model quality features. His long blonde hair flowed down his back and his blue eyes stared over the top of the plastic bite mask that covered his mouth.
Captain Kent had seen it all during his many tours of duty, but getting in close proximity to Pierce Maddox was the part of his job he despised the most. The captain turned to a subordinate and nodded. The subordinate pulled a sidearm and rested the end of the barrel up against the back of Maddox’s head.
“You don’t want to bite me today, freak,” Capt. Kent said. “It’d be very hazardous for your health.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” Maddox said through the bite mask. “Fear not, my good man, for I assure you I’m not feeling quite peckish at all and personally, I’ve never had a fondness for dark meat.”
Kent snickered. He placed his hands on the sides of the mask and ever so slowly, pulled it off. “That the best you got?”
Maddox’s face was free now, and just inches away from the captain’s. Kent was well aware of his charge’s proclivities and stepped back. His subordinate kept the sidearm trained on the back of Maddox’s head, just as the soldiers kept their aim at the prisoner’s front.
“Well,” Maddox said. “I’m feeling a little loopy due to that fun little novacaine shot I was given but do give it time and I’m sure all add a few more gems to my repertoire.”
Another soldier went to work on unfastening the shackles around Maddox’s hands and feet. As soon as the prisoner was free, the soldiers did not hesitate to exit the cell and shut the door. Once the cell door was securely locked, the soldiers lowered their weapons.
“You sure do love to hear yourself talk, don’t you?” Captain Kent asked.
Maddox playfully moved his head back in forth, gesturing as if to say, “More or less.” “It’s not so much that I enjoy hearing myself speak. It’s that I do so enjoy hearing intelligent thoughts being expressed and well…”
The prisoner looked across the cell to see the international war criminal turned terrorist Sergei Kuznetsof. The bald, bearded, crazy-eyed loon was on his knees, screaming at the ceiling of his cell. “The voices! The voices make me do terrible things!”
Maddox finished his thought. “I’m seem to be the only inmate in this institution with an intelligent thought in his head left.”