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Joe the Bomber
Joe Ferry and Matt Rhodes were busy talking in their car. The two are good buddies and recently got tickets to the UK, where they would see the sights, taste the (bad) food, and take way too many photos with a Nikon. Their green SUV was approaching the looming airport in front of them. RAX airport, right there in all its glory and traffic.
They were coming up to their parking lot for their two week stay. The man let them in with a distant sigh, and soon enough the men were walking to their shuttle. The man was fat and played the radio softly in the background.
Finally, the two friends arrived at the airport, ready to wait the long lines required to put their luggage onboard.
Matt looked at Joe with a slight grimace.
“Yeesh, long lines as usual. Hell, I should just buy a private jet,” Matt said.
“Yeah, yeah. But we’re gonna see Stonehenge, and besides, we got each other for company,” Joe said.
“There you are again with your optimism. Will ya look at that line over there? Stretched out and packed to the brim.”
The line was packed with people reading, talking, humming, and staring blankly into space. Ah, airports.
Joe responded, “Hey man, it is what it is. So, you good? I mean, got everything and all?”
“Yeah. Let’s just get over this.”
After a week or so passed, the duo finally reached the front of the line. A kind-faced lady called them over to go through the ritual.
“Hello,” they both responded.
Without a word they began the process of giving the lady their luggage for their plane, when Joe turned to Matt. It was completely unnecessary for him to say this, but he decided Matt needed fair warning.
“Hey Matt,” Joe said, “I need to, you know, drop a big one. A big bomb, you know.”
“Joe! Man dude, in the middle of this place? Not the right time and place. You need to do that somewhere else. I may be your buddy, but I’ll be damned if I let you do that near me.”
“Hey man, silent but deadly or loud? This one’ll be loud, though it’ll cause quite a commotion.”
“Alright man, enough with the—“
“—what was that you said? The two of you, yes you two. Did…did you say that,” said the kind-faced lady quickly and with paranoia in her eyes.
Matt didn’t flinch. “Hey lady, what’s it to you? Yeah, mind your own business.”
“Why, why I never! Alright, your luggage is done. Get going now, you brats,” she responded venomously.
Matt flashed a dirty look at her. “C’mon Joe, let’s go.”
Joe looked at the two of them staring at each other and said yes. Matt turned abruptly in the right direction and didn’t look back. Joe followed him.
The stretch in front of them was so long. I mean, man. The ceiling was high enough to throw a tennis ball up at and never hit. And in this long expanse of blobs of people was an officer, dressed up in tight and prim clothing.
The officer, Jake Brady he went by, saw a woman coming up to him. She looked worried and slightly hateful. She glanced over at Joe and Matt.
“Officer, I’d like to report something very important,” she said.
“What can I take care of for you?” he replied.
“A terrorist. I heard two men talking about a bomb. They said it’d cause a lot of commotion. I tried to talk to them, but one of them blew me off! I’m, telling you, terrorists. I should know—I watch CNN and 24.”
“CNN and 24! Where are they? Can you describe them?”
“Colored, tall, and look like friends,” she said.
“Really! Alright, I’ll get them. Where were they going?”
“Ma’am, you’ve done a service for this country. Jack Bauer would be proud.”
The woman gave a patriotic smile, as she liked to call it.
“Matt, you could’ve been nice about it,” Joe said.
“Yeah, but why bother? Who the hell is she, right?”
The two were walking together, side by side, in the same stride and rolling their two pieces of luggage towards the escalator they needed to take. Suddenly, a bunch of men appeared out of a door near the escalator. They were dressed in SWAT suits and with helmets on. They rushed Joe and Matt, tackling them to the ground and isolating their luggage. The team handcuffed them and a man came out and took their luggage.
“This way boys!” said the man with a mischievous smile.
The team of four escorted them through the door, two guarding each. The man followed behind them. They were being led down a long hallway with stark white tiles on the floor and fluorescent lights. The hallway led to an open area.
“That was a nice try men. You tried to destroy America, and now she’ll kick your freedom-hating buts.”
“Wait, what?” said Matt.
“You hear me. A fellow patriot informed me of your actions. Don’t play games with me. Here we have your two bombs. You are not gonna fool anybody.”
“What are you talking about? Open the damn things up, no bombs,” said Matt.
“Why bother? I’m confidant in our abilities and you best be also. I’ll just hand them off to the appropriate authorities after I’m done dealing with you two. I’m prioritizing, you know,” replied the man.
“But, but, we didn’t do anything wrong! He was just joking with me. He had to fa—”
“Stop it! I’ve had enough. Let’s take them to the interrogation room.”
The man led them into the open room. There was a bunch of monitors with security camera feeds on them. A fat man sat in the chair watching it all.
“Hello boss. Got us another one, huh?” said the fat man.
“Yeah, another hater. I got him, don’t worry.”
The interrogation room was quite spare. The floor was concrete. A fold-out chair, colored white lay on one side of a fold-out table. Two chairs lay on the other side. There was fluorescent lighting again.
“Here we are fellas. Or should I say terrorists. Take a seat please,” the man said.
Joe just began to notice the man as more than an annoying dirty man. He wore a pinstripe suit, the kind a stereotypical gangster wears, with a nice collared shirt. He wore black, slick pants. The only thing missing was a fedora and pasta. He was slim and very trim looking.
“Now tell me,” said the slim man, “where are the terrorists in RAX?”
“What?!” said Joe
“You heard me. We’ve been searching for a while now. We just know they have some hidden HQ in this very place. After all, it is the place we’d least expect. We’ve been searching for years and still haven’t found that place. Nobody has fessed up yet on where it is. But you two,” he leaned in closer with a devious smile, “I’m sure you two know where it is.”
“No—I don’t even know what you’re on about now,” said Joe.
“Yeah, what the hell is this HQ?” said Matt.
“As I said, your HQ in this place. Now, I need to know this. If you tell me, this little guy will be yours,” the slim man said.
He held up a small flag lapel pin that gleamed in the fluorescent light.
“And, if you’re right I’ll let you two walk right out of here. We’ll destroy your organization, so you’ll have nothing to go back to. I’ll give both of you a second flag pin, or patriot pin I like to call it. That should set you two on the straight and narrow. So, we have a deal?”
Joe and Matt exchanged glances. They silently agreed they had to do something.
Joe looked at the man. “Sure.”
“Great! I knew you’d see it our way.” The man smiled yet again.
Joe coughed a bit to try and buy time. “Well, umm…the HQ, it moves.”
“My God! I should’ve known. That’d explain so much! Do go on,” the man said. He slipped two flag pins towards them, one for each one of them.
“Well, the thing is that the HQ is actually in this area you have in here.”
“Yeah. It’s over at the offices. It is a secret. They work for us secretly, the um, people over there.”
“Wow. You guys are brilliant. Do you mean the Safety offices?” he asked.
“Why yes I do,” said Joe.
“Well done, boys. You made the right decision. I want you both to stay put. Thank God we didn’t need to waste money on torture this time.”
An eternity passed.
The door swung open and there was the man again.
“Thank you boys! Those men deny everything, but a few hours in the cell with Jimmy should get them talking. Boys, I think you deserve this.”
He took out his second pair of flags and gave one to each of them.
“I’m confident we’ll find the answers. Now you two boys enjoy a safe flight!”
The two men, already bewildered and freaked out, silently nodded. The man directed them through the room and out the door back to the main area. He handed them their luggage.
“The bombs have been removed, so keep the luggage.”
Right as they were about to leave, the man quickly said, “If anyone gives you trouble, just flash your two pins and say my name, Harold.”
The duo nodded and left out the door.
Joe and Matt looked at each other and didn’t say a word for a minute.
Matt broke the silence with a profound, “What the hell was that?”
“I don’t know man. Let’s just get to the UK,” said Joe.
"Yeah man, no more fart jokes," Matt said.
As they were going up the escalator, Joe examined the lapel pin. He turned it around in his hand and saw, proudly inscribed on it “Made in China.”