Published March 2004
Oscar bin Laden: Archives and discussion at http://www.greatsociety.org/forums/index.php?topic=1241.0
I was working my way through a bottle of vodka with all the wallflower queers over by the kitchen entrance. Someone was passing a cigar laced with “spirit” around, and I didn’t have the interest to inquire after ingredients, but the endless stream of caterers had taken on a heavenly glow. Keith, one of the queers, was sizing up the pencilnecks in the party proper, and his buddy David was shooting him down each time. They finally agreed on one in particular and, I must confess, their desired piece of toddy was a fine specimen of manhood. I was about to lean over and tell them never to trust a good time when the boiling wall of caterers belched forth a face I had not seen since the New Year.
The newcomer smiled, nodded to the queer on my left, then to the queer on my right, then to me.
“Who’s this fellow?” Roger asked. Roger had been trying to grab my crotch all night and, if he would lay off the booze and hand the bottle over to me, I might’ve just let him. At that moment, though, my head was elsewhere.
I replied, “That’s Texas Billionaire Oscar bin Laden.”
Oscar put his hands up defensively, “Please, Nacho! I’m incognito!”
“Because I’ve done a bad thing.”
Three boys in blue burst into the room. They pointed and shouted, then drove their way through the crowd and the servers to get to Oscar.
“I must say, Nacho,” Oscar said, “I would appreciate a few of your old tricks.”
I clicked my tongue and, with a sideways glance towards Keith, I said, “Plan Beta-Nine, boys!”
The wallflower queers mumbled darkly.
Two of the cops had made it to us, the third jabbering into his radio. Before any of them could get very far along, though, Keith launched at one and Roger at the other. I grabbed a serving fork from the empty tray on an abandoned table beside David and he grabbed the last remaining lobster. We threw our weapons together, and the radio cop’s indecision as to which item to avoid sent him sprawling to the ground.
“Kitchens,” I barked, grabbing Oscar’s arm. We entered the catering flow, standing out in a field of white and black, and wove our way through the labyrinth, coming out the other end in the service lot, where I had parked. The Acura stood out black and lonely in the rain-swept parking lot, the wind bringing a taste of winter back into the air.
“You get this parking lot all to yourself?” Oscar asked.
“Always park at the terminus of your escape route.” I advised, leading him down through trash and mud, across the broken and scarred asphalt and letting him into my car. Away from the rain, but not from danger, we didn’t speak as I reversed out of the lot and hit the road.
The club mix of Deepest Blue’s <i>Give It Away</i> seemed like a wise move as I punched up the CD and drove Oscar through the rainy night. The rearview mirror quivered and Oscar began bopping his head as I took us onto the Beltway and began a mad run for the Maryland suburbs.
“I made a decision.” Oscar told me, shouting over the music.
“You’re going back to Texas?”
He shook his head, “No. I’m going to end the American Dream.”
“Too late, motherfucker.”
“Is this really Deepest Blue?”
“Is this a new stereo?”
“New head unit.”
“Yeah, yeah. How are you going to end the dream?”
“You’re driving in it?”
“You’re going to end the American Dream with my Acura?”
“No! The rain.”
I craned my head and looked through the windshield at the night sky, the wipers on high, the headlights devoured by the night. A deluge hit us as an 18-wheeler blasted past us on death speed and I looked over at Oscar, only to see his dash-lit grin coming right at me.
* * *
A week of rain. That was the deal as I sat in morning rush hour, waiting for my fellow commuters to either freak out or get out of my way. The morning was grey and vicious, the rain coming down with an angry feeling. An SUV drove past me on the wrong side of the road, a family of five leaning out of every available window and door screaming. The guy ahead of me had beached his car on the curb and was about to be rammed by someone trying to exit the St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church on Kemp Mill Road. The Catholics were always fuckers, but a week of driving rain had turned them into Napoleon’s infantry. I considered backing up, but a white panel van had come up on my bumper and the driver was leaning relentlessly on his horn. I was about 12.8 seconds away from shooting every living creature around me, and in a way that would make those Columbine killers jealous, but I was weaponless unless you counted my grandmother’s salad as lethal.
With murder in my heart, my cellphone rang as I had my hand on the door, ready to shove it open and take the salad back to the van behind me.
“Meet me outside the Wheaton Metro,” Oscar whispered into my ear.
“I’ll motherfucking do that as soon as I’m motherfucking finished ripping off everyone’s head with my motherfucking bare hands and sucking out their eyeballs and fucking their skulls and motherfucking – “
“I can see you’re on the road. Sorry. I hate it when drivers talk on the phone. I’ll wait for you. Allah says you shouldn’t skullfuck your fellow commuters.”
“I’m going to skullfuck Allah in a minute.”
“I’ll wait for you.” And he rang off.
Oscar was at the gaping black maw that led into the Wheaton Station, so I parked, fed the meter too many quarters, and we walked together through the turnstiles. The rain was flooding the skirts of the station entrance, rolling into the drain and gurgling behind us. In the tunnels, it seemed no better. A thin line of water ran in the groove down the center of the track and a cloying dampness stuck to everything. The Downtown train was coming from deeper tunnels but, still, it sprayed the platform with water as it ground to a stop. Oscar and I took the drunk seat at the very end of the last car and, for a few minutes, sat in silence as the train filled up at Forest Glen and, breaking onto above ground track, at Silver Spring. The window looked like it was made of liquid and my fellow commuters dripped water onto the car’s sopping carpet. A Middle Eastern man sighted Oscar and drifted uneasily nearby, though his relation with the Texas Billionaire was beyond me. A girl standing with her face pressed against the window of the rear emergency door, eyes mesmerized by the rushing tracks, had a remix of Sara Brightman’s <i>Free</i> pounding out of her headphones. With the verve missing from the song, it wasn’t as exhilarating. I had a brief daydream where I dragged some real sound equipment into the train car and turned it into a Mentos commercial, set to a proper sound and vision Sara Brightman remix freakout.
“I hate Brightman.” Oscar said, and I wondered if he could see into my mind.
“So what’s going on?”
Oscar glanced sideways at me, a crooked grin showing through his beard. “The rain.”
“Ah.” We were silent for a few moments and I stared at the Brightman girl. Hooverphonic, now, but I couldn’t identify the song. “She’s maxed out the volume,” I said, “That’s bad for the ears.”
“Fuck her ears!” Oscar shouted, then he cleared his throat and shifted nervously.
“Are you feeling poorly, OBL?”
“This town is a disease.” He said at last. “I’ve given up my presidential campaign and I’ve decided to head back to Texas, but not before I wash Washington clean.”
I snorted a laugh, “Wash Washington.”
“Ali and the boys seeded the clouds. This rain won’t let up anytime soon. When it does, and when these clouds clear, the American dream will be dead.” He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Another week of rain and I’ll have brought DC to her knees. You commuters will destroy each other, the rest will commit suicide. The buildings will fall and Daft Punk will never remix U2 again.”
“Daft Punk is German.”
“Then they’re fucking next.”
The Middle Eastern man I had noticed earlier drifted towards us and stuttered, “I couldn’t help but… Overhear. The rain, I mean. I think you’re a brave and powerful man, sir.”
OBL stared up at him, “There’s a fine line between camaraderie and eavesdropping. Where I come from, the only eavesdroppers are queers, Mexicans and drunk Indians.”
OBL’s fan seemed confused.
“You ever been to Paradise, Texas, son?”
“Oil, son. The future of the world.”
The man backed away and Oscar grabbed my shoulder, shaking me violently. “One wish, Nacho. I’ll grant it.”
“Let’s go kill my ex-webmaster.” I said without hesitation.
Oscar opened up his Matrix-style flip phone and spoke into it, “Ali, meet us at Columbia Heights.”
* * *
I told Ali and Oscar all about the problems with my recently fired webmaster in The Raven, the smoky bar open for business and serving whiskey and Bud Light to the regulars at 9am. A decision was made: Before Operation Wash Washington had come to a close, we would murder and dispose of my former webmaster, a slacking cunt known as Jack McConnell. He lived nearby, a house he had bought for a song and cleaned up into a million dollar property. I’d once thrown up Tequila on his dog in his backyard.
We set off through the storm, Oscar at the lead and Ali behind me, and walked down past the former glory of Washington, now a Spanish gangland fighting against gentrification. With my webmaster’s death I could relax, finally reaching a social conclusion in my life.
“This is a liberating moment of vigilantism,” I said as the three of us stood outside of Jack McConnell’s house.
“Oh, yes. I get jerked around by these web fucks all the time. With Jack’s blood washing through these asphalt rivers, I’ll have washed my own Washington. I can get back to my writing. My screenplay.”
“Vampire Niggers in Honkey Town?” Oscar asked in that way which told me he hated my screenplay. No matter, though.
“Overdone,” I replied, “Everyone’s doing vampires. I’m working on Werewolf Niggers Versus Crackerville now.”
“And now we stand,” Oscar said with a sweeping gesture, seemingly oblivious of the rain, “In the heart of Crackerville,”
“On the front walk of Honkey Town.”
Oscar nodded, “Your personal Jihad is one of – “ Then he froze, staring over my shoulder as if the rapture had just occurred. “Oh,” he said.
“What?” I had learned, in my youth, to never follow another person’s gaze, because it always ended up on the maggot-ridden face of a hungry zombie not more than four feet away from me.
“Trouble.” OBL said.
Ali started shooting and, finally, that caused me to turn around. I found myself looking at the maggot-ridden face of a hungry zombie not more than four feet away from me. Though that description is more metaphorical than anything else. In this case, the zombie was a group of mounted police officers filling the road and bearing down on us with murderous intent. Oscar broke into a loping run, vaulting shrub, handrail, wheelbarrow, flowerbed, fence, bicycle, trashcan and sapling into the backyard of one of the houses. Ali ran for the nearby park and, with a muttered curse, I closed my eyes and waited for death.
Jack McConnell caught up with me first, racing out of his front door and tackling me as the cops passed overhead and around like phantasms. At first, I thought Jack had saved me, but he delivered a vile and dirty blow to my groin and I rolled away in a world of pain.
“That’s for low balling me!” Jack screamed. I felt his foot in my side with a hollow, painless sort of dream-sense. “I’ll never work for a writer again! You’re all incapable of making decisions!” With each word, he kicked, punched or spat at me. I curled into a ball and let the blows come. “No, I want another color! No, turn my name graphic into a link back to the homepage! No, I don’t like the design, start again!” He was ranting.
“Am I to be punished?” He asked, walking away from me. “Am I? I don’t have a creative mind. I can’t think your way. And what do you do with your ability? All that creation wasted! Wasted on the likes of your ranting little webpage, thrown away on useless articles, on –“
I looked up. Jack was kneeling, staring with a profound look of realization and peace at the bloody point of a spear that had burst from his chest. The street around me had erupted into madness. Former commuters and residents were running wild, screaming. Women were being carried away, children were crying and, further down the road, a melee between the residents and the mounted cops had broken out. A man in a three piece suit and a blue painted face stood over the gurgling Jack McConnell. He struggled with the spear, trying to pull it out of Jack, staring at me with rain-soaked hatred in his eyes. Jack looked at me, pleading, and I pushed myself up, wrapping my hands around my belly.
“Die, you fucker.” I whispered to Jack. His face fell, his head tilted, and the forgiving light in his last moments stripped me bare. Then the madman was upon me and I rolled with him into the muddy gutter.
“It’s going to end!” I screamed, “The rain is going to stop!” I saw a man crouched behind a tree, “Ali!” I called out, “Get this lunatic off me!”
Ali’s solution, though typical, was nearly enough to unhinge me. The madman was chewed apart by a spray of bullets from Ali’s military-issue machine gun. It seemed to me that my assailant simply disintegrated in my arms and, for a moment, I lay in rain, mud and rushing water and waited to become aware of bullets in my own body, then Ali dragged me to my feet and put an arm around me.
“Oscar’s really done it now,” I said through a blood-soaked grimace.
Ali just shrugged and grinned sheepishly.