Authors: Walter Knight
* * * * *
“Where did they go?” I asked, replaying the video. “How am I going to explain losing Jesus H. Christ?”
“Brownsville, Texas,” answered Major Lopez.
“They traveled to the Battle of Brownsville.”
“Brownsville as a destination was unintended. The CIA scheduled sending a surveillance drone to Brownsville for historical research. The site was already locked in.”
I hope they all die in the battle.”
“Even Jesus?” asked Major Lopez, crossing himself.
“We can’t in good conscience just leave them. The Legion has to attempt a rescue. We leave no man behind.”
“General Daly won
’t authorize time travel by the Legion, especially to Old Earth. It’s the law.”
“But if the galaxy finds out you lost the real Jesus, it will be all of our asses,” warned Major Lopez reasonably.
“It sets a bad precedent. Do you want that?”
“The galaxy will not find out.
I’ll personally see to that. Tonelli and Williams will hang, and Christ ... shit! What would you have me do to Christ that hasn’t already been done before?”
“Jesus enlisted into the Legion for the duration, and he will stay for the duration.
I say we put him on company punishment. KP duty for a month should deter further misconduct.”
’s all he gets?”
’t want to upset God, do you?”
“No more than usual.”
“Then KP duty will have to do.”
* * * * *
Williams, Tonelli, and Christ materialized in Downtown Brownsville within sight of the International Bridge. Still in Legion uniform, they stood out in a crowd. A Border Patrol officer at the checkpoint challenged them. “Who the hell are you?”
“Texas National Guard,” answered Corporal Tonelli sheepishly after checking his GPS.
“Texas!” shouted Sergeant Williams, shoving Tonelli.
“We’re supposed to be in Nashville!”
“Not so loud, stupid.
The Cotton Bowl is in Texas.”
“Why are you here?” asked the Border Patrol officer.
“Show me identification.”
“Your position is going to be attacked,” warned Tonelli, still checking his communications pad.
“The Battle of Brownsville is about to begin.”
As if on cue, the Cartel tank rumbled into view across the bridge, spraying traffic and the Border Patrol building with machine gun fire.
Infantry followed close behind. The same scenario played out on three other bridges across the Rio Grande. America was under attack.
“Holy sit!” exclaimed the Border Patrol officer, crouching for cover.
“Where’s the rest of the Guard?”
“It takes a while for mobilization during the week,” explained Tonelli.
“I suggest you retreat. It will take a miracle to stop that tank.”
“Now would be a good time for miracles,” said Jesus, looking to Heaven above.
“Do something, Dad!”
The tank fired its cannon, clearing a truck wreckage off the bridge.
Border Patrol officers and a few city police returned fire, but their pistols just pinged rounds off the armor. A mortar round slammed into the street behind the Border Patrol offices.
“Dad!” repeated Jesus.
“Smite those Philistines!
Dark stormy rain clouds formed to the east.
A mountain of water washed down the Rio Grande, the wave easily cresting the bridges and sweeping the attacking Cartel soldiers and their tank to sea. All four Brownsville bridges were destroyed by the freak flash flood, as were Cartel staging areas along the riverbank. The sky darkened more as a plague of grasshoppers descended on City Hall and the GM factory, killing and eating the remaining terrorists. It was truly a modern miracle. Even the Mexican
returned. They found Roberto Mora and hung him from a bridge foundation.
“Thanks, Dad!” shouted Jesus skyward.
“You’re the greatest!”
Deep in the rain forest of Western Washington State, Internal Revenue Service Agent Lester Palmer surveyed the home of a suspected tax evader. Ascertaining the suspect to be alone, he knocked on the front door for a field interview. A vicious black lab snoozed on the porch, snarled once, then went back to sleep.
“Are you world
-famous science-fiction author Walter Knight?” he asked, flashing a wallet badge. “I am Special Agent Palmer of the IRS, here to do a field audit.”
I’m IRS. I have questions about your income tax filings. May I come inside?”
“How are book sales?” asked Palmer, brushing past Knight to the living room. “You write science fiction, do you?”
“You deducted several thousand dollars for a vacation to Disneyland, claiming research for a new book. How is that?”
“My book was about Disney building a theme park on another planet,” explained Knight nervously as he kicked the dog for not biting trespassers.
“Bad dog, no biscuit.”
“Then you deducted a jaunt to Las Vegas?”
“My science fiction has gambling themes.”
“And the Chicken Ranch Brothel in Pahrump, Nevada?”
“I’m thorough. I didn’t do anything. The girls give out free tee-shirts. I collect tee-shirts and showed up for the freebies.”
, see here. My accountant assures me all my deductions for research will stand up in tax court.”
“You also deducted trips to Roswell and Area-51?”
“Yep. Both are UFO hotbeds.”
“Ha, there is no Area-51!” accused Palmer.
“Gotcha! That deduction is denied.”
“So you say, but I know otherwise.
That whole Groom Lake Complex is top secret, hidden under the desert.”
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Tea Party?”
“Never heard of it. I don’t even like tea.”
“Oh, come now, Mr. Knight.
Credit card records show you purchase Snapple products all the time. Lying to a federal agent is obstruction of justice, a Class C Felony.”
“I swear I only bought Apple Juice and Fruit Punch!”
“Mind if I look around your kitchen?”
’d rather you didn’t.”
“Thank you,” said Palmer, entering the kitchen
“What a mess!”
“My girlfriend Barb doesn
’t do dishes. If you find any tea bags, they’re hers. She’s the rabid Republican.”
“What did you mean when you wrote about the President
’s ‘famously large ears’ in one of your recent books?” asked Palmer, checking his notes.
’ve read my books?”
I don’t read pulp fiction trash. Are you a Republican?”
’t recall slandering the President’s handsome ears, or you don’t recall being a Republican?” pressed Palmer. “Are you racist?”
No! I believe in live and let live.”
“But you hate Italians, a reoccurring theme in all your so-called science fiction books.”
“Nonsense! Some of my best friends are Italians. Hell, three of my ex-wives are Italians.”
“Your income tax returns claim all your ex
’s live in Texas.”
“What about the Mafia?” asked Palmer
, Knight mused, and quickly answered, “There’s no such thing as the Mafia!”
“Can you prove that?
Who is Adam Traidman?”
“I think he
’s a football player.”
“Did you ever bet on any game Traidman played in?”
“And Ron Bogani?”
“If he’s Italian, I don’t know him.”
“Ah ha!” accused Palmer.
“I knew it!”
“I ask the questions here,” admonished Agent Palmer, “not you! Do you gamble much at local Indian casinos?”
“Don’t you mean a lot?”
“I mean some.”
“Yet, in spite of all your gambling, you have never reported your winnings to the IRS? Not ever. Why is that?”
“Mr. Knight, I see a long prison sentence in your future for obstruction of justice and income tax evasion. You will be saying hello to Bubba real soon.”
“Why me?” asked Knight, panicking.
“What did I ever do to you?”
“Do you know James Boedeker?” asked Palmer, producing a mug shot.
“Never heard of him.”
“How about his brother Bruce?
He’s rumored to be a Republican honcho.”
“That might be true,” confessed Knight, cracking under pressure.
“I heard Bruce hides money under his mattress from his wife and the IRS.”
know the Boedekers?”
’re my online imaginary friends.”
“Who is Hargundu?”
“Never heard of him.”
“The IRS has no record of Mr. Hargundu ever filing an income tax return,” commented Palmer skeptically.
“But we know all you tax cheaters travel in clusters.”
“Too! What writing project are you working on now?”
America’s Galactic Foreign Legion – Book 20: Time Machine
. It’s about going back in time and changing historic events.”
“Changing events, like elections?
Shall I add election fraud to your growing list of charges? You don’t like the current administration much, do you?”
It’s a free country.”
“What a schmuck.
I suggest you forget about time machines and other such rubbish, or else.”
“We at the IRS will be watching you, Mr. Knight. We watch all you radical types.”
“All I want to do is write science fiction and get rich.
It’s the American dream.”
You already wrote a vampire and a zombie book. Wire taps indicate you’re branching out into porn.”
“You know about that?”
“The IRS sees and knows all. I’ll be watching your every move.”
“One last thing,” announced Agent Palmer, donning blue surgical gloves. “Drop your pants and spread you cheeks.”
“I didn’t stutter. I have a warrant to search you and your domicile for tax evasion stuff.”
’t be ridiculous. There’s no stuff up my ass.”
’s what they all say. I bet I find undeclared casino tokens.”
“This is just wrong in so many ways,” cried Knight, unbuckling.
“How did you know?”
“Psych!” shouted Palmer, laughing.
“I was just kidding, boy. You’re funny. You were really going to drop your droopy drawers.”
* * * * *
After Agent Palmer left, Knight slumped on his couch, depressed and drained of energy.
General Lopez, listening from a side room, put his hand on Knight’s shoulder. “You did good, Walt,” advised Lopez. “You didn’t tell the IRS anything.”
’t know anything!”
Now what? I don’t want to go to prison and say hello to Bubba.”
“How would you like to see the future, travel across the galaxy to distant planets?” asked Lopez, dangling the carrot.
“Just think of all that fun, travel, and adventure, and no IRS. You might even get laid by aliens.”
“You can make that happen?”
“Trust me, my friend. That IRS agent will never bother you gain. You can be the pimpresario of science fiction.”
“I can really get laid by aliens?
Little green ones? Hot alien midgets with no lips?”
“Jesus, you really are a perv.
Sure. Consider it a done deal. You can write as much science fiction and porn as you want, as long as America always prevails, Republicans always win, and the Seattle Seahawks go the Super Bowl. Are you good with that?”