Authors: Walter Knight
“Need a job?” asked O
’Neil. “I can get you in the Teamsters Union, no problem. There’s a real shortage of long-haul drivers.”
’t have a driver’s license,” answered Jesus, sipping on a cup of java.
“I know people at the DMV,” bragged O
’Neil. “Getting your license is a done deal.”
’t have a Social Security card either.”
’s an amnesty for undocumented drivers. I’ll vouch for you.”
You’re a true friend.”
“You owe me,” advised O
’Neil. “Just remember that fact.”
“But I have no money.”
“Not a problem. Someday I’ll need a favor, or maybe even a miracle,” explained O’Neil, glancing up. “You put in a word for me with the Big Guy. Okay? You got my back, I got yours. Are you good with that? Are we homies?”
“Get me a driver
’s license, and I’ll make sure God knows all about your good deeds,” promised Jesus. “We are homies, bro, and you will get what’s coming to you.”
Maybe we can go to the track sometime. How are you at picking the horses?”
“Not so good.”
“Really? Or, we can catch a ball game. You can tell me if there are angels in the outfield.”
’ll remember you in my prayers, and keep you informed on all angel sightings.”
I knew I could count on you, Jesus, old pal, old friend of mine Remember, I got your back, you got mine.”
On September 11, 2020, the barbarians were at the gates of the American Embassy in Cairo. As crowds chanted,
‘Death to America,’ Egyptian security conveniently faded away. Tense marines stood guard at the thick walls, ready to defend sovereign American territory. Time traveler and CIA operative Manny Lopez supervised the early morning changing of the guard. He casually walked between the ranks, inspecting the young troops with their commander, Lieutenant Ray Wakeman. Lopez stopped at the color guard, finding a small smudge on the neatly folded flag.
“You will fly this flag,” ordered Lopez, handing Sergeant Gomez a still packaged new American flag, exchanging the old flag. “Under no circumstances will you lower this flag. The mob may rip it down, but it won
’t be lowered by us.”
“No one will tear down the Stars and Stripes,” promised Lieutenant Wakeman. “Not on my watch.”
“No matter if it happens,” insisted Lopez, “as long as we don’t do it. Understand?”
“No,” answered Lieutenant Wakeman. “Who the fuck are you?”
Lopez’ temper flashed momentarily, then he calmed and smiled. “There will be a battle later today. Be prepared. Don’t worry about Old Glory. She’s a battle flag and can take a hit.” Lopez abruptly walked away.
* * * * *
“What was that about?” asked Sergeant Gomez, giving Lopez’s back a hard stare. “Does he think his shit don’t stink, or what?”
“Spooks,” explained Lieutenant Wakeman. “They appear out of nowhere and leave just as fast, expecting us to clean up their mess. That one is psycho to boot. I can see it in his eyes.”
“She’s a battle flag,” mocked Sergeant Gomez as he raised the new flag up the pole. “What does that fool know about battle? Nothing, that’s what.”
“Just be careful, and keep your head down, in case that fool knows something we don
* * * * *
As the sun set, an RPG was fired over the wall into the embassy compound, followed by another, and machine gun fire. As if on cue, the crowd surged forward with ladders and hooks.
“Fall back,” ordered Lopez, “to the inner compound.”
“We cannot let them breech the wall,” argued Lieutenant Wakeman, pushing back a ladder. “We’ll be overrun.”
“I gave you an order!”
“Fuck off and die.”
Lopez grabbed Wakeman by the collar. “If you ever want to see the green and rain of Seattle again, you will fall back. Don
’t worry, it will be okay. I traveled a long way to fight with you today, to make history.”
“You spooks think you know it all,” relented Lieutenant Wakeman, turning to his marines. “You heard him! Fall back! Do it now!”
The first wave of the mob topped the wall as marines regrouped at the inner compound. Lieutenant Wakeman swore an oath to never retreat again. Arabs danced on the walls, cheering and firing weapons into the air, chanting, ‘Our God is greater!’ A dozen militants pushed on the flag pole, bringing down the hated symbol of America. Lieutenant Wakeman bristled, but Lopez put a steady hand on his shoulder. “Wait.”
’s leader, Hous Bin Pharteen, doused the flag with gasoline, igniting it with a cigarette. Instantly the flag spewed a gray-yellow smoke, choking all those around it. Pharteen fell to his knees, a victim of nerve agent woven into the fabric. He died in spasm on the ground from the silent but deadly vapors. Others fell dead in a circle about their commander. Pharteen had been destined to lead the Muslim Brotherhood, but now was reduced to a mere skid mark on the footnote of history. Panicked at his loss, the mob scurried over the wall to the rocks they crawled out from under.
!” shouted Lopez, firing at stragglers. “Be warned! That was a gift from America and the civilized world, the first of many, and a glimpse at your sorry future! Hoorah!”
* * * * *
After visiting the pyramids, Lopez decided to stay in Egypt for a while, driving his army desert patrol vehicle deep into the Libyan Sahara. Even in winter, most found the heat of the desert stifling. But to Lopez the warmth was refreshing, a dry heat reminding him of West Texas.
An oasis lay ahead, with crystal blue waters rising from deep below the desert sands.
Lopez bathed luxuriously in springs that warmed by night and cooled by day. It was an ideal place to build a casino, he contemplated, thinking of retirement investments. In the meantime, he had one more mission in the Land of the Pharaohs.
* * * * *
Alexander the Great recently promoted himself Pharaoh of Egypt. On top of all his other great achievements, Alexander should be happy. But no, he wanted to be a god. He wanted to be declared the Son of Zeus.
Alexander marched his army eleven hundred miles west to visit the Oracle of Ammon at Siwa.
The great Perseus and Hercules had sought the counsel of the oracle. Alexander too had questions; the oracle had answers.
The army camped just outside of Siwa while Alexander and his bodyguards pressed on.
Something was terribly wrong. Approaching the main gates, Alexander was confronted with the impaled heads of eight priests lining the road.
Bedouin bandits? They will pay for such sacrilege!
Lopez bound over a sand dune
, driving his army dune buggy at full throttle, coming to an abrupt halt on a small rise. He gave Alexander the one-fingered salute. Bodyguards formed up a phalanx and charged head-on at Lopez, who summarily cut them down with a burst of his 50-cal machine gun. Vultures already circled, hoping to gorge themselves again in Lopez’s wake. Alexander defiantly strode up to Lopez, then prostrated himself at his front tire.
“You are the mighty all-knowing, all-powerful Oracle of Ammon?”
“There’s a new Oracle in town,” scoffed Lopez, exiting his vehicle. “Bigger and better than before. Rise, lowly worm. So, you want to conquer the world?”
“How did you know?” asked Alexander, awed at the new
’s kind of obvious. Everywhere you travel, you bring an army and conquer. It’s what you do.”
“True,” conceded Alexander.
“It’s good to be king.”
“I can help, if you
’re willing to listen.”
“I traveled long and far, through the searing desert heat, to seek your counsel,” replied Alexander.
“Will I conquer the world?”
“Of course you will,” advised Lopez, grabbing a bag of grenades.
He threw a grenade out into the dunes, watching it explode. “With these babies, you will go far. Next stop is India, right? Grenades kick ass against war elephants. Those dot-heads won’t have a chance.”
“Thank you, oh Great and Mighty Oracle,” praised Alexander, marveling at the kick-ass grenades.
He pulled the pin on another.
“Put that back!” snapped Lopez, reinserting the pin.
“Use these sparingly. Once you’re out, there will be no resupply. Do you have more questions?”
“Have all the murderers of my
father Phillip been caught? Do more still plot my demise?”
“Beware of Persians bearing gifts,” cautioned Lopez.
“I fact, I recommend you kill all the sons of Persia. That whole country will be nothing but a royal pain in the ass in the distant future.”
“I will castrate them all,” promised Alexander, taken aback by the
oracle’s blood-thirsty attitude.
“I have another gift,” added Lopez, removing a hypo from his first aid kit and sticking Alexander in the arm.
“This powerful medicine will cure you of malaria, liver disease, by-polar rages, and dripping dick. You’ll have the health of a god.”
“You can cure my dripping dick?
You truly are an all-powerful and wise oracle.”
“Consider it done,” answered Lopez magnanimously, tossing Alexander several boxes of condoms.
“But try using these for a change, when visiting the East.”
“I usually use sheep intestines,” advised
Alexander testily. “But I’ll try these Trojans out.”
“You do that.
Now go forth and conquer the world, and name a town or two after yourself. Any more questions?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
Walmart refused to pay Jesus money owed for commercials because of alleged fraud.
Public opinion no longer believed Jesus was Jesus, the Son of God. Driving lessons weren’t going well, either. Stick shifts were giving Jesus hell. It was time to seek more options, and an automatic transmission.
Complicating matters, Jesus had a toothache that throbbed to the bone.
Years of dental hygiene neglect caused cavities, gingivitis, and mouth rot. Jesus’ breath could stop a charging bull. Ceausescu already split up with him over his oral hygiene issues.
Dejected, Jesus slumped as he watched people walk by, oblivious to his plight.
Everyone was connected to the database. What happened to just talking to people? When Jesus tried to interrupt their database communications, he was met with alarm and hostility. More than once the sheriff was called, putting a definite crimp in Jesus’ community organizing.
What to do?
Jesus tried to stay optimistic. Opportunity always knocked. Always before, if Jesus wasn’t home when opportunity knocked, opportunity waited. Finally, as Jesus walked by a bank, opportunity knocked loudly. Jesus had just been scanned.
“Hey you!” called out a metallic voice.
“Why the long face? Are you having financial difficulties during these dire economic times? Want a fresh start? Need a root canal procedure?”
Curious, Jesus read the faceplate on the ATM:
‘United States Galactic Federation Foreign Legion Recruitment Center.’
What the hell? It talks?
“I am forsaken and broke,” answered Jesus. “Can you help?”
“Most definitely,” promised the ATM.
“Need a loan? I am the last ATM you will ever need. Place your thumb on my pad.”
A small glass pad slid invitingly out of the ATM.
Jesus obediently placed his thumb on the pad. A small pin pricked this thumb, splattering a droplet of blood across the glass.
You are identified from a recent Legion arrest record as Jesus H. Christ. You beat the rap after filing a Writ of Habeas Corpus for lack of admissible evidence. You appear to be quite the player. I see a future for you in the Legion, if you can shed your criminal tendencies.”
“I was framed.
I am not a criminal of any sort.”
’m sure. Your files have been sealed, Mr. Christ. How convenient for you. Please swipe your ID card on my pad.”
“I have no ID.”
“Not even an off-planet driver’s license under an alias? No wonder you failed so miserably as a criminal.”
“I lost my ID in the
’s what they all say. Fine. Everyone knows you can’t get past Mars without proper ID. Are you a fugitive from Old Earth? Legion enlistment allows you to escape your past, but lack of transparency during the application process is frowned upon.”