Copyright 2021 — R. G. Broxson
(4,620 words – approx. reading time: about 18 minutes based on 265 WPM)
“…One side effect, however, includes the distinct possibility that it may become airborne and mutate into a flesh-eating virus.” The scientists droned on as the cadre of senior military officers nodded, uncommitted, but not yet ready to dismiss or exploit any potential promise.
They moved as a platoon to the next item on DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) buffet of exotic devices, weapons, gadgets, boondoggles, and baubles. “This baby, here,” the lab-coated scientist said, canting a pistol sideways like a Spike Lee gang banger, “shoots a frozen projectile that melts away after encountering its target causing bullet-like damage while leaving no traceable evidence.”
“What’s the range?” a colonel inquired.
The scientist placed the space-age pistol back on the counter and replied, “I’m afraid that any more than five feet, it becomes a squirt gun.”
“Humph,” the officers snorted like horses.
“What about this, this over here?” General David Bonesteel had splintered from the group and was standing in front of a cage marked ‘Prime Mates.’
The scientist smiled and joined the General at the barred enclosure. “I see you stumbled upon some of our nerdy humor… Prime Mates…,” he pronounced the words slowly and distinctly, like talking to a third-grader, barely stifling a laugh at his monkey pun.
“I don’t get it,” Bonesteel snapped. “All I see are two dead monkeys.”
The smile vanished from the scientist. “Perhaps I should explain,” he continued. “This drug,” he picked up a vial of green liquid, “is still undergoing extensive testing; not quite ready to publish any conclusive results. What we do know about this elixir is that it elevates a mammal’s sex drive to dangerous, even sometimes deadly heights. He motioned to the primates. “Romeo and Juliet here took one dose of Number 9; that’s what we call it because it enhances the urge and the act by a factor of nine; and they screwed each other to death.”
General Bonesteel peered deeper into the cage. “By Napoleon’s nuts! I think they are smiling!”
“Yes, yes they are,” the scientist replied. “But its practicality and purpose are still being examined. There is another problem with this love potion,” he chuckled. “The drug and its symptoms are easily transmitted to new hosts by the big three: saliva, sweat, and semen.” He paused here for clarity, then continued. “Come along, I want to show you all the next generation of drones. We call this one The Hummer; it hovers just like a Ruby Throated hummingbird…”
The flock of officers shuffled along while General Bonesteel lagged behind near the primates’ cage and two unsecured vials of liquid marked Number 9. He was thinking about his last doomed dalliance with his wife—the blue pill was no longer working.
I took my troubles down to Madame Ruth
You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth
She’s got a pad down on 34th and Vine
Sellin’ little bottles of Love Potion Number Nine
The banquet was stately and posh. A silk banner was arced across the auditorium declaring ‘Mission Accomplished!’ Politicians toasted politicians; officers saluted officers. General Bonesteel clapped a young lieutenant sitting beside him on the shoulder and slurred, “I was your age when the towers toppled. We packed our rucks and chutes and jumped into Afghanistan the next day. Here we are 20 years later and nothing has changed. That shithole is still a shithole. I say we leave it to the turds in turbans.”
The young officer, Lieutenant Uriah, was about to acquiesce to the General’s insight when the woman at his side spoke up. She was an exotic beauty, olive skin and dark draped hair. Her eyes were emerald-green and almond-shaped. Her cheekbones were high and her mouth was perfect… until she opened it.
“The American troops were the only protection my people had against the Taliban, and you are leaving them to Mohammad’s mobs, waiting to rape and decapitate every last one…”
“What my wife is trying to say, General Bonesteel,” Lieutenant Uriah interrupted, “is that the war in the Middle East will never really be over for everyone even after we are gone.”
Prior to the festivities, Mrs. Bonesteel had reminded the General that it was the third Saturday of the month and a full moon, then she had winked. General Bonesteel had remembered the vial in his coat pocket, Number 9, and he had merely sipped at its contents remembering the dead monkeys. He would not fail in this mission…twice. A good sneeze was as close as the General had come to an orgasm in months.
General Bonesteel’s attention that night, however, was not on his frumpy frau, but on the woman sitting next to Lt Uriah. His senses sharpened, his blood pressure red-lined, the hydraulics in his lap began to tilt the dining table ever so slightly. A rim-filled glass of wine started to bleed onto the white table cloth. Silverware clanged against a plate; the General’s face was brick red, his skin radiated. Then as calmly as a priest he asked the woman, “And just what province are you referring to?”
Mrs. Uriah leaned across her husband’s chest adorned with a short single row of ‘boy scout’ medals and addressed General Bonesteel. “I am from the Shiza province in East Krappistan. I am a refugee and have claimed asylum here in your great country. My family remains and I fear that they will soon perish when the United States retreats… excuse my broken English…strategically withdraws, from my province.”
The conversation with the woman went on late into the night. After the ball, under a full moon, General Bonesteel mounted Mrs. Bonesteel and nearly dislocated her hip–mission accomplished! Even as he screamed his warrior cry into her face, his mind was deep inside the unattainable Mrs. Sheba Uriah.
“Lt Uriah, reporting as ordered!” the young officer snapped a crisp salute and waited for the second half from General Bonesteel. The General acknowledged by touching his own forehead as if gesturing to a hangover.
“At ease, Lieutenant… Take a seat. I’m about to make you an offer that you can’t refuse.” The General smiled beneath a salt and pepper mustache. The Lieutenant gulped.
The General laid out a plan, one that he had partially sketched out on a drink-ringed cocktail napkin the previous night. “You will lead Task Force Roto-Rooter into Krappistan tomorrow night. You will wipe out the Taliban HQ and pop smoke out of there before anyone realizes you were in-country. This is a Top Secret mission, Lieutenant.” The General paused, “If captured, you and your men will deny all connections to the U.S. government.”
“Sir,” Lt Uriah interrupted, “is there satellite telemetry? Humint? Interpreters? Liaisons? An extraction plan?” He struggled to speak in a calm voice.
“We are working on all that, Lieutenant. I suggest you get your team together and brief them. Wheels up in 18 hours.”
Salutes were exchanged; the Lieutenant did an about-face, his head was spinning, and left the room. The General leaned back in his chair, clipped the tip off a good cigar, and put his feet up on his desk. He practiced puffing smoke rings, poking the wet end of his cigar through each ethereal circle.
“Ready… Aim… Fire!” Synchronized shots punctured the mid-morning fog at Arlington National Cemetery. All the mourners winced with each volley from the Honor Guard. All but one dark woman, dressed in a traditional black burka, only her eyes were uncovered, and they were doll-like.
“Mrs. Uriah,” the General whispered solemnly after the ceremony. “Your husband was a brave soldier. He and his troops crushed the Taliban cell. I’m very sorry for your loss.” She only nodded.
“Perhaps I can escort you home. I’m sure you will need assistance with all the green tape the Army milicrats require in cases like these.” His attempt to be charming was rusty. But when she held up her bent wrist the General took her hand like a trophy, barely noticing the tiny, dull diamond on her ring finger. He led her to an awaiting limousine.
Before the ink was dry on their divorce decree, the General made reservations in Las Vegas – Sin City. He and Sheba were married in a short ceremony witnessed by the King of Rock and Roll himself. After the embrace, the General took a sip of something green from a vile. That night, after they had consummated their autumn-spring nuptial, Sheba turned to her new husband, her legs still parted.
“Was it worth it? 24 men? Including my husband?”
Panting, the General slowly surveyed her from head to toe, “For you, I would march a battalion of men into the jaws of hell.”
Back in DC, Collin came home from college to meet his new stepmother and to borrow more money from his old man, the General. Upon arrival, he went straight to the refrigerator. Sheba heard the commotion and entered the kitchen. She opened her mouth to speak but froze. She watched from behind as the man, bent deep into the fridge, swayed his hips to an unheard song. The General must be working out, Sheba thought. His faded jeans were loose in the legs but tightened around the bulging curve of his thighs. Sheba felt a sudden urge to run up behind him and slap his ass. So she did.
The intruder shouted something then banged his head on the produce rack, spilling a quart of milk onto the floor. Sheba was shocked and embarrassed. They both laughed and introduced themselves. Collin, aside from his youth and long flowing hair, was the spitting image of his father, the General. For no spoken reason, they kept the details of their first encounter a secret from the General—Top Secret; the first of many to come.
The General became busy at the Pentagon with so-called green tape, the sticky kind that comes along with failed missions, destroyed equipment, and dead soldiers. Sheba stayed home; she became restless. “I want to go home to Krappistan to see my family,” she demanded. The General shook his head. “Mother is ill,” she parried.
“You know you can’t go there unescorted,” the General replied. “That would be too dangerous.”
The General, hoping to keep his new bride happy, searched for a plan. Collin walked in eating a banana. “You!” The General shouted. “Your degree is in Mid-Eastern culture; you could escort Sheba.” The plan was perfect. Sheba’s plan.
Sheba and Collin arrived in Kabul on a military MAC flight. Two buses and a donkey later they were at Sheba’s home in East Krappistan. The homecoming was wonderful; her ‘sick’ mother prepared a goat for their prodigal daughter. Everyone welcomed Sheba with open arms except her brother, Annul. He would not speak to her, only glared at his sister from behind a Qur’an.
Each night, Sheba tempted fate, tiptoeing down the dirt floor hallway to Collin’s room. She simply could not control her desires. Collin returned her affections, having no problem cuckolding his father, justifying his betrayal by recalling how the General had dismissed his mother so cavalierly.
On their last night in Krappistan, Sheba rode Collin like a cowgirl on a slow-motion mechanical bull ride. She wanted it to last forever realizing it would become more difficult to arrange secret trysts upon returning to the General.
Lights blinded Sheba just as she was climaxing; she thought she was seeing stars. Then she heard shrill voices and felt rough hands all over her body. Sheba and Collin were dragged by their hair outside the house into the courtyard. They were immediately surrounded by a ring of bright lights shining on the kneeling, naked couple. Sheba put her palms together in supplication and pleaded with the voices behind the lights. Collin picked up only a few words from the heated conversation… Whore… please… dishonor… forgive… death!
A stone hit Sheba hard in the face, splattering blood on to Collin. She screamed. More stones followed. Thuds, thumps, and crunching noises punctuated each scream. They grew weaker, then stopped abruptly after a huge rock, heaved with two hands, crushed her skull. Collin recognized the man standing over Sheba, it was Annul, her brother. Then Collin passed out.
Collin awoke with sun in his eyes. It must have been a horrible dream, he thought. Then Annul spoke. “You are the son of the General. Our sources say it is the same general that ordered the raid on our province.”
“Sheba?” Collin croaked.
Annul’s face twisted into disgust. “The whore was left to the jackals. They will fill their bellies with her putrid flesh.” He spat on the floor.
“You, my infidel friend, have another purpose. But first you must become…” he considered the next word, “indoctrinated, into our fold.”
Time passed, but it had no rhythm, no cycle. Day was night; night was day. Collin could distinguish from neither. Only the beatings were certain. Every hour on the hour. Sleep was impossible. They slapped him when his eyes closed; they threw cold water in his face when he nodded. Through the ringing in his ears and the spitting of his blood he was bombarded with the recitation of the Qur’an, a verse in Arabic, Collin recognized the repeated verse: O Prophet, strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination.
Then there was a cool wet towel on his forehead, food stuffed into his mouth with dirty fingers. Dates, Collin thought. Nothing had ever tasted so good. It was followed by cold water funneled down his desert-dry throat.
“He swallows!” a man laughed.
“You are a handsome surfer-boy,” Annul said. “I can see now what my sister saw in you.” He continued to wipe the dried blood from Collin’s face and nose, gently, as though it were an accident and not an ‘indoctrination’.
From that point, the beatings grew less frequent; the visits from Annul lasted longer. They talked about politics, religion, and philosophy around a small fire. The lines between captive and captor faded like memories and Collin soon began to look forward to Annul’s nightly visits. Eventually, Collin could think of nothing else. He had never had these feelings toward another man, but here they were, and he sensed Annul felt the same.
As the two sipped hot tea around the fire, Annul placed a huge log into the flames. It grew and the heat caused them to strip to the waist. Collin picked up a spiced date and put it to Annul’s lips. He opened his mouth and Collin slid the fruit and his fingers inside.
After the passion waned, Annul nudged Collin. “We have a plan, and we need your help.”
“Anything,” Collin sighed. “Anything.”
Annul unsheathed a large knife, its edge gleamed in the afterglow of the fire. He held the steel up to Collins neck, then went to work.
General Bonesteel greeted his son at a remote strip at Dulles International airport. The CIA had traded two Guantanamo prisoners for the fortunate son. After the short debrief, Collin was released to his father.
“Nice haircut,” the General remarked. Collin rubbed a palm over his burned and bristled scalp. “My barber gives high and tights just like that,” the General joked, trying to lighten the mood. More seriously, he added, “You can bet your ass, we have Tomahawk missiles searching street addresses right now; we’ll blast those bastards back to Allah before you finish your happy meal.” He shook the white bag adorned with golden arches.
The General flashed his badge at the sentry point. The MP saluted sharply then raised the barrier. The General chattered on; Collin remained silent. They pulled into the drive and walked into the Brownstone base house. “I don’t suppose Sheba said anything about me… you know, before they stoned her…?” The General removed his hat and sunglasses as he spoke.
The front door closed and Collin stepped up behind his father; he placed his right palm across his face and hooked a finger into an eye socket, his left against the base of the General’s neck. As taught by the Taliban combat instructor, Collin pulled and twisted decisively. There was a quick snap followed by a grinding sound as the General collapsed like a string-snipped puppet. Collin picked up the General’s hat and sunglasses. He tried them on as he ate his happy meal.
“I’m going to take a few days off to be with my son. He needs me right now, you understand. He’s vulnerable. Don’t worry I’ll be there for Monday’s ceremony. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Collin cleared his throat and hung up the phone. The impression was good, spot-on; they didn’t suspect a thing. The General, folded up behind some boxes in the basement, might have referred to him as a chip off the old block.
Collin then called the number the Taliban had beaten into him. He used an untraceable burner phone. A challenge and password were exchanged and a meeting was set. Collin didn’t even have to leave the base. The operative worked as a contractor at the Exchange as a hairdresser—his father’s personal barber. She arrived at the General’s home carrying a case of essentials.
“We’ve got to put some salt in that mustache you’re growing.” The woman compared Collin with a recent photo of the General. “Your height and weight are good but your posture needs work. Pretend you have a rod stuck up your ass.” Collin smiled and straightened his back. Her name was Delila. As she flitted about him, dabbing makeup and etching crow-feet wrinkles, her huge breasts, her ‘tips’ she called them, were eye-level with Collin. Delila’s deep cleavage was a chasm that Collin wanted to explore, to invade.
“You know I won’t survive this suicide mission,” Collin whispered into her breasts. “Could you give a thirsty man a drink from your vessels?” Delila could not refuse Collin’s desire or his sacrifice. He carried the woman to the General’s bed; the acts of betrayal, torture, and murder all forgotten, consumed now by the fires of lust.
Monday morning they awoke to the General’s phone bleating like a horny goat. Collin sat up in the bed and answered in his father’s voice. “Yes, dammit! I’ll be there. Don’t get your twat in a knot.” That was one of his father’s favorites.
“One more time?” Collin’s look was unmistakable.
“No,” Delila said. “We’ve got to get you ready. This is it; this is for Allah.”
After Collin’s face, hair, and mustache were touched up, Delila took a large roll of green tape from her kit. “Stand up,” she ordered. “Raise your arms.” Delila started at Collin’s naval with the sticky tape and began winding it around his stomach and torso. “I got this from a dweeb named Herb at DARPA. He just wanted me to spank him.” When she had almost wrapped his body up like a green mummy, she pulled a det-cord fuse and blasting cap from the piano tray.
“Get dressed. I will thread this cord down your sleeve and you will be able to detonate the C-4 tape by pulling the fuse actuator. It won’t take down a tower, but it might just take down your greatest symbol of strength and democracy. This is our one and only chance, Collin. Even with our inside sources, we can never be sure when and where to find the President. Today, however, Memorial Day, he has an appointment at Arlington National Cemetery. He will be there; exactly when he must be there, to place the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And you, General Bonesteel, you’ll be there too. And you know what you have to do.”
During Collin’s captivity by the Taliban, he had been forced to study videos of current and past presidents performing their solemn duty of laying the wreath upon the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In more current administrations, he had even watched his own father form the elite military file in honor of the fallen. Collin memorized every command, every step, every handshake. Especially the formal handclasp the POTUS always offers to his top brass at the end of the ceremony.
“Preeee–sent Arms!” the Sergeant of the Guard ordered. The President saluted; the Vice-President placed her hand over her heart. Those few present for the ceremony stood at attention. From a perfectly selected acoustic distance, a mournful bugler played Taps, lamenting the loss of American lives.
The wreath, its circle symbolizing eternity, was handed to the President like an underwater running back, who in turn, placed it on a sturdy stand in front of the marble monument. He turned back, removed his Covid mask, and spoke directly to the single camera, discreetly placed off to one side.
Wearing his father’s ‘scrambled eggs’ hat and dark sunglasses, Collin was sweating like a whore in a stoning circle in the mid-day heat, praying for a breeze. His powdered makeup was melting. While all eyes were attentive to the President, Collin felt the irritating edges of the blasting cap taped to his chest. He soothed the site with his palm and noticed another bulge in his father’s Dress Blues coat pocket. He discovered a glass vial with a hint of green liquid. Parched, Collin drank it as the President droned on about sacrifice.
The President wrapped up his tele-prompted speech and began glad-handing the dignitaries and senior officers. Collin was third in the procession. He tugged tentatively at the det-cord actuator inside his gold-braided cuff.
The Vice-President also stepped down from the platform to shake hands. The breeze Collin prayed for arrived on cue and lifted her skirt for a split second. As she pressed the fabric back down around her thighs, Collin watched—Collin wanted. He imagined what it would be like to fuck the Vice-President of the United States—right here, right now, bent over the sacred tomb of the Unknowns. His thoughts carried him away like the lilting strains of Taps.
“…God Bless America!” the President called to the small crowd as he was helped into his awaiting limousine, referred to by his agents as The Beast.
Collin snapped out of his reverie. Secret Service Agent Ricco Youngblood stood inches away. His eyes traversed north and south, from Collin’s ID pass hanging on a lanyard up to his face. Back and forth. And then down to Collin’s trousers.
“Do you have a boner?” Youngblood asked, as though he’d seen it all.
Collin was rigid. He looked directly at the agent, then back to the departing primary target, and he deflated.
“Excuse me, gentlemen. Might a lady make this a threesome?” She used her Mae West voice, “I’d be honored if you’d… have me.” The curl of her lip and tone of her voice indicated the Vice-President was joking, coquettish, aware of ‘the General’s’ pee-pee tee-pee, or perhaps just trying to fit in with the guys. But Collin recalled the Taliban definition of honor and took this as a sign—a weird, crazy sign.
Collin’s animal urges took over. He seized the Vice-President by her coiffed hair and bent her backward. He ripped open her sensible jacket and blouse revealing a black contoured bra. She seemed shocked but not entirely outraged by the assault.
The secondary team of Secret Service agents, however, took maximum umbrage. They drew down on the General even as he kissed and fondled the Second-in-Command.
“Un-tongue the Vice-President or die!” Secret Service Agent Youngblood punctuated his demand by centering his Glock 22 to Collin’s forehead. Collin responded by hiking up the Vice-President’s skirt and forcing his hips between her thighs.
“Too close, Ricco!” another Secret Service Agent shouted. “Danger close!”
“Transitioning!” Ricco Youngblood replied. Fluidly, he holstered his sidearm and unsnapped a TASER from his concealed utility belt.
I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink
I didn’t know if it was day or night
I started kissin’ everything in sight
But when I kissed a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
He broke my little bottle of Love Potion Number Nine
Love Potion Number Nine
Love Potion Number Nine
Collin thrusted harder. He knew he only had seconds left in this mortal realm, even as he fumbled inside his coat sleeve to activate the explosives. With his non-fondling hand, he retrieved the small actuator between finger and thumb and…electricity bolted through Collin’s body. He stiffened as if pole-axed and then came copiously like an auto-ejaculated bull.
In this state of orgasmic delirium and nerve-burning pain, Collin pressed the actuator. Nothing happened. No Boom! No bright lights. No virgins. Then he smelled rubber burning. The electric shock from the TASER had shorted out the det-cord connection to the C-4 tape. There would be no explosion today, but there would be a martyr. Collin, in the guise of General David Bonesteel, began to slow-roast as he was dragged off the Vice-President by Secret Service Agents.
Collin cried out to Allah first—no reply, then to Jesus—nothing, then he just cried out primal profanities fit for the unimpressed dead at Arlington National Cemetery. The Secret Service Agents quickly piled the Vice-President into a black sedan, but not before she kicked the roasting, writhing man in the balls with her sensible shoes.
The pyre peaked quickly and then subsided; Collin was lean like his father, a chip off the old block. His tortured prayers and the pleas finally ceased. Collin Bonesteel smoldered like a Memorial Day barbecue just paces away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This entire debacle was caught on film by the lone cameraman sent by NPR to document the perfunctory Covid Memorial Day Ceremony.
Secret Service Agent Youngblood glanced over to his secondary: “Ice Spielberg!”
Three quick shots were barely heard in the silent cemetery. The cameraman collapsed. His equipment was quickly confiscated, boxed up, and taken to the warehouse the government stores everything that Indiana Jones’ discovered.
“Good work,” Youngblood said to his team. “How did you take out the camera guy without the usual blood and brains?”
Secret Agent Snardly produced a tiny pistol from his jacket. “It’s the new Ice Gun, Captain. Like getting shot with a Popsicle. Three darts to the heart, in any flavor, and then they melt away. No muss, no fuss, no handcuffs.”
“There is something, however, that Bonesteel dropped before you torched him. We found a vial of green liquid,” Agent Snardly added.
Agent Youngblood examined the vial with the emerald residue. “Get the DARPA lab rats on this and let me know something ASAP.”
A lab-coated scientist at DARPA held the vial up to the fluorescent lights. His eyes widened. He hurried down the hall and into a room full of ongoing experiments and James Bond-type toys. He stopped at a cage labeled ‘Prime Mates’ (not so funny anymore, he thought). He picked up a replica of the vial off the counter. He compared the two, then sighed.
“What’s up, Herb?” a colleague asked from behind.
“Oh, Jim, you startled me.” Then Herb relaxed. “For a minute there I thought we might have a serious breach on our hands, but here, look at this.” Herb held up the near-empty bottle for Jim to read.
“Number 9 (p),” Jim read aloud. “What’s the little P stands for, Herb?”
“Well, Jim,” the scientist explained, “with every experiment you need two things, a control drug and a placebo. This stolen vial only contained green dye and sugar water. Good thing nobody got into the real Number 9—it could have been disastrous.”
Here are the links to the other two stories:
The Hunt for Lust <<link
Writer: Perry Broxson
Word count: 3,671 words – approx. reading time: about 14 minutes based on 265 WPM
Writer: E. J. D’Alise
Word count: 4,210 words – approx. reading time: about 16 minutes based on 265 WPM
If you’ve read all the stories and care to cast a vote, here’s the link to the Poll:
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