The beach boys had just started playing on my iPod when I got the call. They were my “get your game on” band. I dunno why, although I really should. I suppose it was their feel good nature and laid back groove I liked. They had good harmony too. Anyway, I was expecting the call, but it interrupted “Kokomo,” and I was irritated for a second.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Boss, the GPS shows all the local patrol cars moving away. It’s now or never.”
“Thanks, Robert. We’re moving in.” Without another word, the flip phone was shut. I hated cell phones. Sure they were convienient for large scale coups, but only if they were getting service and the battery wasn’t dead.
I turned my attention to the team. There was five of us total on the Alpha team. Bravo was surrounding the White House, and Sigma was the sharpshooter backup. I looked over my comrades and wondered how many of us would survive this. Hopefully, all of us, but the only certain way to keep us all out of danger was to just cancel the whole operation.
Peevey, Jones, Mark and Thomas were my Alpha team. Three guys and a girl. Four guys if you counted me. Jones was the girl, but she didn’t seem to mind the boyish nickname. Peevey hated his nickname, but it had stuck with him since college, when we met. Mark and Thomas were their actual names, and they didn’t seem to care whether or not they had a nickname at all.
“You guys ready?” I asked them. There were nervous nods all around. I got on the radio.
“Sigma, have you aquired your targets?” There was a short pause.
“Correct Boss. There are four guards up top. We should be able to handle it.”
“Great. Remember the frequency changes on the radio and be sure to contact us if you see anything on the outside. Don’t forget, I don’t want a single fatality during this whole operation, so no lethal shots.”
“Sure thing Boss. I won’t aim at their annoying little faces.” I then addressed the Bravo team.
“Bravo, are you stationed?”
“Yes sir. They haven’t noticed us as far as we can tell. It’ll be no problem.”
“That’s fine. Alpha team will be engaging shortly, so I want the Northwest gate completely quiet.
“No problem boss.”
“Oh, and don’t forget the radio frequency changes. Every two minutes got it?”
“No problem. We’ll pull this off without a hitch.”
“Glad to hear it. Alpha out.” I breathed a deep cool night’s air into my lungs and held it for just a second. I rubbed my sleep-deprived eyes and I stretched my legs. The rest of the team did the same.
“It’s now or never. Anyone want out? Cause, now’s your chance.” I didn’t look at them. Tears began to well up in my eyes and I didn’t want them to see their leader being emotional at this time. Still, I knew none of them would leave, and possibly all of them would die tonight.
“Boss, we’ll follow you to hell if it will make a difference.” Mark was sweet to say that then. I pulled my hand across my eyes and turned to them, red in the face, as were they.
“We’ve been through alot,” said Jones. “We can do this. No failure.”
“I agree. Let’s do our best, and then do better.” Peevey was stone faced, and stared at the ground.
Thomas didn’t say anything. Instead he gave me a thumbs up.
“With that,” gesturing to Thomas, “we’re off to rock this joint.” And I turned and headed to the North west gate of the White House grounds.
It was a nice clear night. I’d prefer a cloudy dark night, with fog and everything, but you can’t always get what you want I guess. The protesters of the most recent rally had disbanded for the night. There were a few people, but most of them were too high or drunk or whatever to really care about what was about to happen.
We all looked pretty casual. We were in jeans and T-shirts for the most part. Peevey had a backpack on, carrying the flashbangs and whatnot. We actually all had little “utility belts,” so to speak, too. They weren’t too noticeable cause they weren’t too big. They just had some basic first aid stuff. I kept a few throwing knives on my belt as well. The goal was to be like casual passersby, with a more kick-ass attitude. And kick-ass was what we did.
The plan was simple, in theory. We go in and get to the President, with no casualties. At the Northwest gate there were five guards on duty at all times. Three of them were outside the gate, and two would be in or around the guard outpost just inside the gate.
I was in front of our little gang, and the rest followed, talking loudly and obnoxiously. Thomas pretended to be drunk, as was planned. He was a theater buff in high school, so naturally he got the job of pretending to be something he wasn’t. He fell and started mumbling and stuff in front of the guards, so I turned back to see if he was okay, all pretending, and he got up and said he was okay. After we talked about him being okay for a second, Mark, Jones and Peevey positioned themselves casually. Thomas seemed to lose his balance and he stumbled straight toward one guard, then without warning, threw him to the ground, pulled his gun out of his holster and tossed it to me. Jones did the same to the other guard, but threw the gun to Mark. Peevey was ready with zip ties for both of them, and in only a few seconds, both guards were bound and gagged. I launched myself at the last guy, stomping his foot and choking him until he passed out a few seconds later. I grabbed a key off of him but we scaled the iron bar gate to minimize the noise.
The two guards inside hadn’t noticed anything because both of them were watching television inside the guard station. I casually walked up to the door with Peevey and extricated both men out to the pavement. They didn’t put up much of a fight, and before we knew it, all five guards were tied and gagged.
So far things were going great. The guards inside the White House didn’t seem disturbed, but I kept my eyes on the roof just in case a sniper got to us before Sigma team dealt with them.
“We’re in the yard.” I announced over the radio, then I turned to the rest of the team.
“Ready to run guys?” I laughed inspite of myself, and took off for the north doors of the mansion, keeping to the trees’ shadows the entire way. I wondered how everyone else was doing, but didn’t stop to ask. I was sure everything was going as planned.
I, and my network of insiders, basically worked this plan to a science. Peevey was the intelligence man with lots of connections and lots of computer hacking abilities. We had another friend, Robert, who worked for the D.C. police department. Just recently they had implanted GPS into every patrol car in the area, and he was the person in charge of coordinating vehicular strategy in the event of a car chase, or fleeing suspect. It was a great system for catching the guys that escaped a single patrol’s view, but they were still getting used to it. Robert managed to direct everyone away from the Pensylvania Avenue area for long enough for us to get in. I’m unsure of the specifics, but that’s what he was on the team for. He’ll probably lose his job for this, but he knew that. Of course, they wouldn’t associate him with the attack, but they would fire him just to keep their pride after news gets out.
We got to the front doors without any trouble. I heard a dog bark somewhere around the corner, but I have no idea if it was a threat at any point, I just remember hearing it.
I changed my radio frequency, then proceeded to signal for Peevey to be ready with the flashbangs. I was leary of using these. They’d alert our prescence to the whole city block as well, but then I noticed two shrubs in pots on both sides of the doors, so I got a little idea.
We burst in through the front door. Peevey and Thomas carrying the shrubs. Jones followed Peevey and Mark followed Thomas while I walked calmly in between. We figured there were four guards on constant duty in the main hall, plus two others that patrolled the area constantly. When we entered, five were in the room, so the two shrubs split up and rushed two guards. I saw the fifth guy in the middle and whipped out a knife, throwing it straight into his leg all while running at him. After hitting him with the knife, I knocked him to the ground and punched him in the chin, knocking him out cold. While that happened, Peevey and Mark threw the shrubs to the middle of the room, effectively criss crossing them, also blocking the view of two of the rear guards long enough for Jones and Mark to rush in, disarm, and pacify them. Peevey and Thomas took care of the others, but Peevey had trouble with his guard. The dude was pretty big, and pretty buff. Peevey got him to the ground pretty quickly, but the guy wouldn’t let go of his gun, so Peevey punched the back of his hand, breaking a few bones, causing the guard to cry out. Peevey put an end to that by kneeling on his neck.
The second patrolling guard came into the room just in time to hear the guard cry out. He pulled his gun real fast and aimed at my head, but Thomas tackled him from the side. Nevertheless, the gun went off, alerting the whole place.
“Kay, we’re running it now!” I reached for the radio. “Bravo! Get in here quick, they’re onto us!”
There was a long pause while I dashed out the main entrance. I turned to the right and headed for the west wing with everyone else, then finally, a reply.
“Alpha, we’ve run into a snag! The snipers on the roof weren’t all taken care of and they shot Jesse!” Damn, I thought.
“Sigma! What happened?” Another pause, but while I waited another guard stepped out of a doorway in the hallway we were running through. Without thinking, I grabbed the pistol that I obtained from the guard earlier, and shot him in the shoulder. As we ran over and past him, Jones grabbed his weapon and fell right back into the run. Then the Sigma leader came on the radio.
“Boss! They knew we were staking out!” It sounded like he was running, and he seemed out of breath.
“What?!” I yelled, and stopped in my tracks.
“As soon as we took the first shot they were on us. Of the four of us, I think I’m the only one left…” His voice broke.
Things were definitely not going the way I hoped. I started to wonder why we, the Alpha team, hadn’t been picked off by snipers if they knew we were coming, but as soon as I started to wonder, Peevey grabbed my shoulder and threw me to the floor, where we both rolled behind a wall for cover. Two guards were shooting at us from the door that we believed to be the Roosevelt bedroom. Apparently, the new bastard president liked to sleep in every room he could, but we had overheard that he liked the Roosevelt room the best, just around the corner of the oval office.
I nodded at Peevey, who immediately understood. He tossed a flashbang down the hall, and the moment it went off, we ran down the hall. Neither guard had seen it coming, and they were looking everywhere and nowhere, stunned and temporarily blinded. We took them both down and opened the presidents bedroom door, tossing another flashbang in. Just as it went off, we rushed into the room. Secret Service men filed through the hallways, but they were too late. We had what we wanted. The President of the Bastardized States of America
After the smoke cleared, and his vision returned, the President found himself on the floor at the foot of his bed, tied at the wrists. His wife was being held up in front of the door by another woman. Four other strange men surrounded him. The secret service were nowhere to be seen, and the situation appeared quiet, hardly a sound could be heard.
“Jean…” he mumbled to his wife.
“Roger, I’m okay,” she replied, as if she were near tears.
There was an awkward silence in the room for a moment, but then someone from the hallway shouted, “Mr. President! Are you okay?”
The President didn’t know what to say. Negotiating with terrorists was tricky business, so he decided to play their game for a moment.
“What should I say Mr. Terrorist?”
“Whatever you like, Mr. President. We’re just here to talk for a bit.” A smooth voice said. The President guessed he was in charge, but he didn’t seem like a very logical choice for leader. He was shorter than the girl in their group by what appeared to be a few inches, and he had an unkempt beard. His first reaction to the beard was that he was of middle eastern background, but upon closer inspection, he could tell this guy was full-blooded American. He wore a casual T-shirt and some regular blue jeans, but he had a thick nylon belt on with a few pouches. Actually, he thought, everyone was dressed this way, but one of them had a backpack. He seemed familiar, but it didn’t matter anyway.
The President told the guard outside that he was okay. The guard then asked what the situation was, and the President told him to just wait around for a bit.
“So, what do you want to talk about Mr. Terrorist.”
The man laughed, or snickered, rather, and then said, “It’s funny that you call me a terrorist. In the last few years I’ve heard of more people being terrified of you than of me. Which is in fact why I am here. Why we are here.”
“What do you want? Money and power? Like everyone else I assume.”
“Nope, I’m not big on the money and power thing. I’m no terrorist. I’m also not big on killing either. Haven’t killed anyone today. Well, I haven’t killed anyone. Your guards have killed a number of my friends…” He lowered his head and closed his eyes for a moment. Then began a slow pace around the room. “No, what I want, is a happy country with happy people and happy times. A utopia so-to-speak.”
“Anyone with half a brain knows that’s not possible.”
“And anyone who has taken a single day of Philosophy 101 would know that you can’t know that until you’ve experienced it for yourself.”
There was a pause. The President found that last point to be completely obscure and unrelated to the topic, but he went on with the game.
“So, you’re a philosopher, then? The man to solve all of our problems with a simple mindset that you hope to spread to the American people?0”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I can’t solve all of the problems. I can’t be everywhere at once after all. But I do hope to start a change that will spread around the country, improving lives every day. You see, I’m pretty tired of “American ideals.” I haven’t even lived very long, but I’ve become pretty observant at what is important to most people.”
“And what is that important thing?” the President asked snidely.
“Simple. It’s pleasure. Simple pleasures, guilty pleasures, physical pleasures, any kind of pleasure you can imagine. That’s really what everyone thinks about, and granted, it’s not that bad of a thing to work for. But, I think you should work for it.” He emphasized ‘should,’ “People aren’t very willing to work for pleasure anymore. They’re unwilling to enjoy what they’ve worked for because they’re so caught up in the negative feelings of work. Work seems to have become the opposite of pleasure. Money has become the pathway to pleasure. I’m sure you know better than most people what it’s like to not work for anything.”
“I worked for everything I ever recieved.”
“HA! Don’t make me laugh. You haven’t broken a sweat in your life. Have you ever even sweated? Or is precious air conditioning just an expected commodity to you?”
“You don’t know the first thing about what you’re talking about do you?”
“On the contrary, I do. You were born rich. Both parents were rich heirs to more riches, and you just happened to take those riches and run. Writing checks isn’t work Mr. President. Neither is extortion, bribery, and blackmail.”
“What are you implying?”
“Exactly what I said. Three senators who were previously opposed to your actions suddenly changed their views and later went missing.”
“I don’t know anything about that.”
“Thanks to you, Britain is now no longer considered an ally of the U.S.”
“They were making dema–”
“Taxes have been cut for the rich, and increased for the poor…”
“Everyone recieved a tax cut this last season.”
“And you increased national spending by 150 percent in the last two years.”
“Those were necessary expenditures.”
“Yes, I forgot, putting money into a revived nuclear arms program that violates every nuclear treaty for the past sixty or more years is completely necessary.” The leader rolled his eyes.
“Nuclear weapons have been in secret development long before I took office.”
“Exactly.” He paused. “You’re getting to my point.”
“What, that every President should be harrassed for developing a defence force for the country?”
“Now, you’re way off again, but I don’t want to wait for you to guess the right answer. I’m gonna tell you.” The man stretched his arms upward, and let them fall limply to his sides. The more the President looked at him, the more he felt that this man was no leader. He just didn’t look it. He was a smart talker, but who cares what you talk like if you don’t look right, he thought.
“The idea is simple Mr. President. I’m the only one with the capacity and knowledge right now that can adequately run the country. You and the last three Presidents I’ve lived with were completely inept at their jobs, in my opinion at least. I’m sure some rich fat cat in the oil business loved them, but me, and 75 percent of the country is really pissed off. The country is in extreme debt, the world hates us, and you haven’t done jack shit to fix it except get a new monument built to ‘try and improve government-citizen relations.’
“No matter how many bonds you sell, no matter how many serious foreign policy discussions you have, and no matter how many dazzling smiles you give the world, you can’t fix it. That is to say, YOU can’t fix it. You had your chance and blew it. The Presidents before you started a chain reaction that would put you at the point in time where your decisions would change the face of America. You could have fixed or ruined everything about us. In a way, I feel sorry for the circumstance that you were unexpectedly put in, but now, it’s up to me to fix it all.”
“There is only one problem, Mr. Terrorist.”
“And what’s that, Mr. Terrorist?”
“I’m still the President, and you are just a lowly revolutionary who thinks he has the right to overthrow my rule.”
“Actually, I DO have the right to overthrow a corrupt government. Read The Declaration of Independence sometime. Anyway, you are going to resign on live national television in a few minutes, and I’m going to start fixing the country. That is rather illegal, I’ll admit, but, after giving my speech to the American public, they’ll be rioting outside those gates I just busted through, and you’ll be out of luck. So, if you will, I’d like you to tell Mr. Secret Service out there to back off and set up a broadcast.”
“Maybe, but you’re an idiot. I’d rather be crazy than completely useless on an intelligent level. Now get that camera crew.”
The President grudgingly obliged after I prodded his temple with my pistol a few times. We waited for about half an hour before we got word that it was all set up, and we set out of the room. The President and his wife acted as body shields on either side of the team. Peevey held the President, and Jones continued to hold the First Lady. I felt sorry for her. I’d make sure she wasn’t hurt, and so would the secret service, so I guess it wasn’t all that bad. It only took a moment to get around the corner to the Oval Office where the camera would be set up. The secret service was ordered to stay outside, but one camera man was allowed. Mark searched him, and he was clean, so we continued with the plan. Occasionally the President would mumble some stuff about how I was an idiot or how this plan would never work. I just ignored him for the most part. I almost hoped that I would hate him less after we met, but I realized how unpleasant he was in real life, and began to hate him all over again.
Everyone was tired. I hadn’t slept in… maybe… 36 hours, if I remember right. There was a lot of planning and practicing all the way up until the coup itself. Then I just couldn’t sleep when I should have. Because of my weary mind, I can’t really remember what I said in my speech. I remember my key points, but the specific words escape me.
I started with something like an apology to the wives and family of the guards. Then, I reassured them that no one was dead, except for the members of my team, and my friends. I told them about my frustrations, and my fears. I told them that I couldn’t wait around for the world to change, because I had waited long enough. No one else had risen to the challenge, so I figured, why not me? I told them about the numerous failures that past Presidents had, and the mistakes the current President had made that only created more problems. I told them about the things I was going to fix. I pretty much ended with my philosophies on pleasure and work. I named off a hundred or so people that I had done this for, including my family, co-workers, and close friends. I ended the speech a little teary eyed, but I never lost my nerve. I never let my voice get tight or crack, but I felt I displayed enough emotion to convince some people that I was doing the right thing.
After I was done, I turned to the President, who seemed emotionally defeated. His face was blank, and his eyes were empty. He resigned from the presidency after telling the people to listen to me, cause I was going to work. I felt honored in a strange way that I couldn’t explain. He turned away from the camera and went to his wife, and they held an embrace for a few moments. I turned back to the camera and said I’d be back in contact shortly. Then we cut transmission. and I turned to my friends.
“We did it, guys.” I looked at them and they turned their tired faces up to me. Everyone was smiling, and for the first time I felt that I was going to succeed. I had never succeeded at anything before, and now things were looking up. I was euphoric.
Until I noticed Peevey. He wasn’t looking happy at all. In fact he looked stern and angry. He put his backpack down on the floor, and pulled out a gun, and aimed it at my chest. A moment of silence ensued.
“Peevey, what are you doing?” I asked, bewildered.
“Shut up. I’m tired of listening to you.”
“What are you talking a–”
“I SAID SHUT UP!!!” He shook the pistol as he yelled at me. I put my hands up to show I wasn’t a threat.
“Peevey, it’s been a long day, we should get some rest.” Jones took a step toward him, arms out front in a comforting manner, but Peevey slapped her away. She wouldn’t dare fight him. He was one of the best fighters in the group, and he knew it, so no one approached him.
There was a brief awkward silence, and the camera man coughed. I had a feeling he was going to film this, but I couldn’t tell for sure.
“Let’s talk about this, Peevey…”
“Stop calling me that! I hate that nickname. I’ve always hated it, and you would never stop using it.”
“Is that what this is all about? A NICKNAME?!” I wondered aloud.
“No, that was just the start. The start of all the abominations you commited against me. You abused our relationship from the start, way back in college. I’ve waited a long time to get back at you, and now I finally can.”
“How did I hurt you? Tell me what I did so I can fix it, Peevey.”
“STOP CALLING ME PEEVEY!” He yelled again. Then he took a deep breath. “You can’t turn back time, man. You can’t right the wrongs. You can’t fix the times I took the fall for something you did, you can’t fix the tests you cheated on with my help, you can’t fix that you stole the love of my life. I can never have back the time she and I lost, and now she’s DEAD because of you!” He cocked the pistol and held it steady.
“It was an accident Pee…” I searched for his real name. “Daniel, it was an accident. I couldn’t help her, and it hurts me just as much as you. I loved her too. You have to understand that accidents happen, and accept that she’s not coming back.”
“She wouldn’t have died if you hadn’t convinced her that she was so special five years ago.”
“If I hadn’t convinced her to break away from her old life then you would never have fallen in love.”
“I KNOW THAT! I’d rather have never met her. Now I can’t get her out of my head!” There was a long silence. I glanced at Jones, who seemed extraordinarily pained. She had cared for him all the time that he was crying over Mary’s death. She had grown to love him in a sense, and now she seemed broken.
Peevey started to shake. He started to sob, but caught himself, and forced a harsh look on his face as her grew gravely serious.
“But it’s okay. I’m going to get my revenge.”
“What are you going to do? Kill me?”
“Sure am, Boss.” He put a sarcastic emphasis on the last word. “I’m going to kill you right now, and the President is going to take credit, making him a national protector of democracy, and giving me the satisfaction of putting a bullet into your heart, and I tell you this, because I know that the mental pain you are begninning to feel will destroy you more torturously than a thousand bullets.”
He was in fact, correct. I was betrayed, by who I considered to be my best friend. I couldn’t put it together. I was too tired. I was too emotional.
“You were working with the President.”
“Sure was. He knew that the public wasn’t too happy with him, and needed something to boost morale. He jumped at the idea of killing a terrorist organization single-handedly.”
“Gimmicks…” I said in disgust.
“Yeah, but those gimmicks pay off beautifully. Now I can fly off to Cancun where I’ll meet someone new to love.” Jones looked even more hurt, if that was possible.
“That explains why it was so easy to get in.” I said.
“All rigged to my specifications. Also, that broadcast you supposedly just sent out never was even recorded. That camera man doesn’t know the first thing about filmography. You’re pretty shit out of luck.” He paused, and then yawned. “So, I’m getting tired. I think I’ll sleep in the Lincoln bedroom tonight. That okay with you Mr. President?” The President actually seemed less concerned with Peevey and I than he was with whatever was on his mind. He mumbled some confirmation to Peevey.
“Sweet. Well, see you later, buddy.” And just as he pulled the trigger, Mark leapt from the shadows and threw himself on Peevey. The gun went off, and I felt the bullet rip through my stomach. In a flash, Peevey had Mark on the ground, and he stomped his throat, collapsing his airway. He would die soon, I thought. Then Peevey whirled around at an approaching Thomas, and fired the gun in his face. I never saw what happened to Jones. I hit the floor just after watching Thomas fall, twitching to the ground. I closed my eyes and the last thing I remember before blacking out was feeling a swift kick to my stomach, tearing the wound open. The second kick was so painful that I blacked out.
I dreamt of Mary then. She was great. So, great in fact, I think I started crying in my sleep. I guess it was sleep. I don’t remember, maybe I was dead. I don’t know, it’s too hard to explain. I felt pain all over. My head hurt, my face hurt, my heart hurt, and my stomach hurt. I was thinking so hard, and I remembered Thomas, then I remembered Mary again, and last, I remembered being shot.
Realizing I was shot seemed to trigger something, and I felt like I was lightheaded, and then I felt like I was falling, flailing through the air. Before I knew it, my eyes were open, but unfocused. There was the figure of someone ahead of me, and I felt cool sheets. After a bit of disoriented thought, I realized I was alive, in a bed, in pain. My thoughts turned to Peevey. I thought, I’m going to kick his ass. Then I went back to sleep, feeling relieved.