Sunday Archive XII: Infidel One (Oscar bin Laden outtakes)
The last Oscar Bin Laden article ended with a cliffhanger. I wrote a very rough draft for the next story in March of 2006, which is below. It’s actually the third part of a “trilogy of articles” launched with Today – Silver Spring!. The second part was never written.
Somewhere along Route 66…
The Arizona sun was no true friend. We had cleared the property of a modern day gold mine – barbed wire and security camera and signs warning that no stopping was allowed for any reason. Desolate and unpatrolled, there was still a strong sense that any delay would bring jeeps and helicopters down on us. Route 66 weaved and turned in the heat, a weird and lonely road picking its way through the property until it finally broke free to hug the mountainside and rise up high to …… , a cramped tourist town with horses in the street and a strange, demented 21st century interpretation of the 1880’s. The gold mine had begun in this boomtown, now a corporation had surrounded it with metal and an oppressive sense of possession.
The boomtown still boomed, though. Outlet shops, sno-cones and rides for the kiddies. Hail, hail the American West, the American tourist. Drive, they said. See the USA in your Chevrolet. 66 was a ghost road, the dying embers of old America, yet still it burned.
I was with Infidel One, the sentient SUV created by Texas billionaire Oscar bin Laden for the purpose of “harm and pain,” to quote the Iranians. But, by my race and social position, Infidel One obeyed me on an instinctual level.Resting in the wilderness on the way down from ……., a painted desert of lonely stone and alluring hills, I stared into the sun waiting for snakes or worse to visit my dark soul. Pain and release is what I had become used to, but the gentle wind of this grand place had other plans. It lifted me, eased me, brought me closer to the lifeblood that pumps along the backroads of this rushing, insane country.
Humming softly, air conditioning bleeding through the open door, sitting as if ready to leap, Infidel One was several feet away, along the rocky shoulder of crumbling 66.
Through the wrist communicator, it brought me back to my present life.
“Nacho. I’m detecting two vehicles behind us, approaching fast.”
“I believe they belong to Oscar bin Laden.”
I sat up, my spine electrified, then stood and peered along the shimmering road to the distant glints. Oscar had found us.
“Now might be a good time to get moving.” Infidel One sounded vexed, emitted a mock, electronic sigh.
So it begins. Oscar had come in search of his ultimate weapon. Start running now and my life would be spent running, with Infidel One constantly reading headlines from the Middle East, the ultimate irritating road trip companion. Even if I just dropped off the grid, what would I do with the SUV? Garage it? It was intolerant of such things, craving the road and the wind in its grill.“We can make a stand here.” I suggested.
“Start off strong.”
“That is against my programming, Nacho.”
“To fight for your freedom? Look, what kind of armaments do you have?”
“Shall I arm my primary weapons, Nacho?”
“Yes, goddamn you, yes!”
“Okay, Nacho, my primary weapons are armed.” Infidel One spoke slowly, softly, that child molester voice of his grating along my nerves.
I gritted my teeth and turned towards the black sheen of its side window, “What are your primary weapons?”
“I drive into the enemy and explode, Nacho.”
“Would you please disarm your primary weapons?”
Infidel One was silent for a moment, then replied in its inflectionless voice, “But, Nacho, is not the glory of Allah – “
I kicked its tire, “Stop it!”
“Don’t be sorry, just stop.”
I stared into the distance for a moment, the cars still distant but clearly gaining. “Okay, run it is.”