Don’t Take Me Alive

A short story by The Old Grey Owl

“Take a look at this. This here is what we’re dealing with”

He clicked the mouse and a window burst into life on the screen in front of them. It was a young man, about twenty-five years old, his pasty white face ghostly beneath his pale whiskers and bright red MAGA baseball cap. The background was grainy and poorly lit by an overhead bulb with a dirty yellow shade. It looked like every cheap motel room from New York to LA.

Becker snorted. “Jeez, look at this guy, he’s like a ghost. He ain’t been out in the sun for a while, that’s for sure. These kids need to get offa their computers and get outside and throw some ball.”

“Ssh, listen up. He’s startin’…”

Becker bristled at the rebuke, but mentally filed it away for later. The MAGA cap on the screen loomed large as the young man lent forward to adjust his settings. Satisfied, he leant back and began.

“I ain’t a great one for writing stuff down. I can do it, but why would ya? But this needs to be recorded. I’ll post a link on Parler when it’s done, so everyone knows the truth of what happened. I was gonna just leave it here on the side, but then I figured that the Feds and damn CNN would just pretend like it wasn’t even there. Before you know it, they’ll have told their lies and everyone’ll think I was just another psycho. You know, one of those guys that plans sumpin, and racks up a load of guns and ammo and then sashays into school live on Facebook and blows away all the damn teachers he can find, with a few of the black kids thrown in. That’s not who I am. Even goddamn Fox don’t tell the truth now, but trust me, the truth is spreading and nothing can stop us. Soon enough, everyone’ll know and then the crap really will start to fly. Anyways, I can’t be bothered to write it all up. Those days are long gone.

When I was a kid, I believed every goddamned thing my daddy said to me. I guess it’s the same with the news. One day, you realise that all that stuff you’ve just gone along with is just a pack of lies. It’s like waking up after an operation or sumpin, on your eyes, you know. And when they take the bandages off, it’s like you can really see things the way they are for the first time. It kinda all falls into place. First, I was amazed, I couldn’t believe it, y’know? Then I was angry. And then, in the end, I was kinda thirsty. I wanted to make up for lost time and find out as much of the truth as I could.

Oh boy. You wouldn’t believe the things I found out. 9/11? A complete hoax. The damn CIA did that, baby. You can see the smoke if you watch the video right, down the sides of the towers. Those school shootings and all those bleedin’-heart parents asking for everyone to hand their guns in? Communists and Washington wanting to strip us of our guns. Our guns, man. This is America, these are our rights, the right to bear arms, you know? Freedom, yeah? Those parents? Well, it’s been proved that they were actors. I seen the video. And all the stuff about landing on the moon? Come on. There’s been stuff about that sucker on the internet for years, like Kennedy’s assassination, and yet they still try and get away with it. I love the internet man, I really do. The Fake News guys thought they had it all stitched up but social media. Twitter, facebook, the web, they can’t keep it all secret anymore man. It’s over. And they’re scared. Oh yeah, real scared.

I guess you don’t need me to tell you about COVID. That mother is the biggest load of crap of ‘em all, ‘cos like they are literally using it so that they can inject everyone with a so-called vaccine. How dumb can folks get? What’s in it? How can anyone possibly know? It’s gonna be some kind of a chip, man, that they can use to control everyone and everything. No way am I falling for that shit, man. But everybody else does. You see ‘em in the street and at the Mall, wearing their pussy little masks, staying indoors, creepin’ around to grab their groceries. That ain’t what made America great man. And everyone just literally rolls over and swallows this shit.

My Daddy believed all of this shit too. I’m real angry about that, about what all of these lies made me do. I didn’t want to, but shit happens. I guess they’ve probably found him by now. I’m real sorry about it, but he just wouldn’t stop. He’s an accountant see. Or he was. Well, not really an accountant, that was what he called himself to make him seem like some kind of big shot, when really, he was just some sucker like the rest of us, working his butt off for nothing. He was nothin’ more than a book-keeper. He kinda did the books and some of the chicken shit payments and bills and stuff at the old Quarry back home in Oregon. Kimberley, Oregon. See, I knew there was dynamite there, for the business, and I knew it would be easy enough to drive in there when it was dark, with my daddy’s keys and just kinda help myself.

I woulda gotten away with it as well, but I left my damn laptop up and he saw all the messages, man. I’d been plannin’ it for a long while. Eventually the other guys went along with it. I guess they just had to make sure that I was for real, and not some goddamn nutjob, y’know. Anyways, they and everybody else will soon see I’m serious. Hell, yeah. You’ll all know who the other guys were soon enough too, but I’ll be the one everyone is talking about.

My Daddy lit off down to the quarry as soon as he saw those damn messages. He came flyin’ in, runnin’ his mouth. At first, I tried to reason with him, man. I tried to explain what it was about, tried to open his eyes, y’know, but some folks just don’t wanna see. We’d had these arguments over and over again, and he wouldn’t listen. Just kept talkin’ about democracy, and the Law and all. He’s a goddamn Republican and everything, but those old school guys are the worst, y’know? They’re as big a part of the problem as the damn Antifa Socialist Democrats. And he was gonna ring the Feds. On me, his own son. Not that he ever thought I counted for much, yeah, I knew that alright. A big disappointment, that was me. But, first and foremost, I’m a patriot. So, I guess, I had to do it. And I did.

I drove East that night. That was part of the plan, see. And now, after what we did to The Capitol, everyone knows we’re serious. And they all think that, because of that, the National Guard and all have been warned and that they’ll be ready for us this time, with the heavy-duty body armour and assault rifles and shit. But the thing is, see, they knew about it last time, and half of those guys are bigger patriots than me. When the shit hits the fan, half of those guys will just turn around and point their rifles the other way. It’s gonna be awesome, man. So now it’s time for the big one. Biden is gonna get the inauguration he did not plan for, ‘cos it’s time for another Revolution, man. It’s 1776 all over again. And if it don’t work, its civil war, part 2. The Empire strikes back, man….”

At that point in the video, the speech was interrupted by a hammering on the door and shouting. The red MAGA cap twisted this way and that, but before he could react, the door splintered open and heavily armed riot police burst into the room, guns held high in front of them. In seconds, they wrestled the young man to the ground, sending his baseball cap flying. There was a lot of shouting and the picture span around wildly and then died as the laptop was sent flying in the scuffle. Then the screen went black.

Fagen shook his head and whistled softly.

“This guy is one fruitcake. I guess we had intel on him. Surveillance and shit. Just as well, seein’ as how he was gonna press the button. Where is he now?”

Becker lit a cigarette.

“Interrogation. The whole nine yards.”

“Hey, Walter, I ain’t sure you can smoke in here.”

Becker raised an eyebrow.

“Jeez, dude. Next you’ll be asking me to wear a mask and keep my distance.”

Fagen shrugged. “Yeah. Sorry, bro.”

There was an awkward silence and Fagen felt he had to make up some lost ground.

“So, he’s getting’ the treatment, huh? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was bein’ waterboarded right about now, man. Just like we did with the towel heads in the good old days.”

Becker smiled through the smoke rising from his Marlborough.

“Nah. He ain’t nobody. We knew all about him. They might make it look as if he’s the main guy, but that’s just to keep everyone quiet. He’s another Lee Harvey Oswald, man.”

Fagen looked nervously around him before coming to a decision.

“Say, Walter.”

“Huh?”

“What do you think about what he said about The National Guard and all? I mean. It was kinda weird that they had no one there defendin’ The Capitol. I was expecting a show of strength, man. Shock and awe, y’know. Like the goddamn BLM marches, with the Antifas.”

Becker though for moment and took another deep draw on his cigarette. “Come on, Don, the guy was a nutjob, you saw the video. There ain’t no conspiracy goin’ on here. Just big-time losers.”

Fagen smiled. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

He glanced at his watch.

“Hey, we’d better get going. It’s fifteen after.”

Becker shook his head.

“You go on down there, man. I just got to finish this report. I’ll see you there later.”

When the door closed behind Fagen, he turned back to the laptop and checked his watch again. He switched on the TV set above the desk and found CNN with its usual busy cacophony of text boxes, live film and scrolling updates. Then he turned to his lap top, stubbed out the cigarette and began to hammer away at the key board, his eyes flicking occasionally up to the television. After a couple of minutes there was a ping to signal an incoming alert. The cell phone lay on the desk, still sleeping. He reached into the laptop case, and fiddling with zips, extracted a second cell. He punched in a number, waited for a second or two, and then spoke.

“You watchin’ this?…… All Good………The next phase is about to start.”

He was in a hurry now. He fumbled with the laptop, closed it down and packed it away, along with the hidden cell. Taking a quick last look around the room, he gathered up his phone and keys, hoisted the laptop over his shoulder and left.

The door clicked softly closed and the windowless room gathered dusky gloom in its corners. The television, volume low, cast a blue, flickering pall over the empty desk as the presenter’s voice continued, talking to no-one.

“News is just reaching us of a serious incident at the White House. We hearing reports that the outgoing President, Donald Trump, is barricaded inside The Oval Office and that shots have been fired. Large numbers of unidentified masked intruders, all heavily armed have been seen inside the building. In a separate development, we are receiving reports of gunfire at the inauguration of President elect Joe Biden. Let’s go first, to our correspondent….”

In the growing darkness of the far corners, untouched by the pale blue flicker of the TV, monsters began to stir.