I have an announcement. God has taken a massive, honey-flavored dump in my skull. I am pushing these thoughts past gooshy, sickly sweet brain turds and am barely able to function in what could be considered an adult manner.
This happens every time I drink Barenjager. Every. !@#$. Time.
You see, you're only supposed to sip it, son. Not gulp it. And if you gulp it then you're supposed to pass around the bottle. And if you don't pass around the bottle then you're supposed to drink about three gallons of water before you even think about going to bed.
So what do I do? I drink three bottles of it in one go, maybe have two sips of water (I hope that was water) and forget to take a tjbang stick before I crash out. There may have even been a few lines of amyl nitrate and a six pack of something questionable and cheap in there, too, but after bottle 1.5 everything became a honey-colored blur of lights, noise, and fun things to do with ladyboys and emergency gravity generators.
This, son, is why I'm sprawled out on the floor of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G. and unable to move. METALMAID has already run over my feet twice and BeeBee has sniffed my face, licked my nose, spat in disgust, and walked away to leave me in my sorry state of self-made mental ruin. Furry !@#$ didn't even purr.
Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to this kind of cloying punishment? Mostly because that stuff is so !@#$ good that you don't even notice how !@#$ up you are until the point of no return was ten treacherous miles back.
(Which is how a lot of things in life work, come to think of it.)
I first got a taste for this stuff in Eastern Europe, back during the early cold war days. Chugging it reminds me of freezing, dark days in sooty, decaying cities whose only colorful spots were the endless parade of propaganda posters. Even the blood you spilled in the back alleys and deserted buildings looked dull and muted, as though the regime had sucked all the life out of it.
And there was a lot of blood spilled back them. Tons of it. Used to be you couldn't turn a corner, make a phone call, or even go out for a peroigi without someone winding up face-down in a snowy field, somewhere, because of it.
One wrong word and boom, sometimes literally.
That was back in the early SQUASH days, when all we really had to worry about was the Soviets, ABWEHR, and what the strategic talents leftover from the War were going to do now. We didn't have too long to wait, as Korea showed us. But for a time it was fun to pretend we were all just secret policemen, trying to take at least one inch for every one the other side snuck past us.
SQUASH was a hybrid creation of Uncle Joe's, taking a few aspects of their anti-spy (really anti-traitor) organization, SMERSH, and melding it with his need to keep a few strides ahead of us Capitalists in the exploitation of strategic talents.
What did SQUASH mean? Well, it wasn't actually spelled that way, son, and I forget what the original Russian phrase was. But whatever came out the other end sounded a lot like "squash," so we just used that name for simplicity's sake.
(Plus, when Stalin found out what a squash actually was, he supposedly had someone shot out of pure pique. You gotta love it when that happens.)
But however goofy their name was, SQUASH was no joke. They had come of age fighting the Wehrmacht in what seemed a losing battle, and had lived, fought, and died to retake Mother Russia from the Fatherland, foot by bloody foot.
The tin-teethed, bloody-minded warriors who couldn't just slip back into what would become the KGB were rounded up and put to work policing their own supers, and drafting their unique talents to the cause of the world revolution. They also went out of their way to deny all information to the enemy, except for what they wanted us to know.
And you did not !@#$ with them lightly.
I remember one time, in Minsk, when I was supposed to meet up with one of their people who was actually one of our people, sort of. The truth was that he had so many allegiances sewn up inside his vest it was a wonder he could even !@#$ breathe. I have to hand it to him for pulling off that act for so long, given the trouble most people having with being merely double agents, but we knew that sooner or later he was going to get popped.
So it was no surprise that, when I saw him, he was already dead.
I was walking towards the Railway Station Square on a misty day, pretending to be minding my own business, and looking for a man on a park bench with reddish brown shoes. I thought I saw him, and then a crowd got between me and him, and there was this weird noise that sounded like a horse stomping a watermelon.
I knew what had happened before I saw it. But I had to keep moving like nothing had happened, even when I saw what had. To do otherwise would have given away the whole game, and while I could have fought my way out of town with both hands behind my back and the mother of all matrioshka dolls shoved up my !@#$, I was under orders to lay low.
As for my contact, well, do you know what a punishment weapon is, son?
No it is not the name of an East Coast punk rock group, though someone really should have come up with one by that name. It's got a nice ring to it. I can imagine them really blowing up the stage, if you'll excuse the phrase.
A punishment weapon is a small, easily concealable means of !@#$ annihilating someone that leaves no question that that someone made someone else really !@#$ mad. There were a lot of them, but they tended to involve innocuous objects and shotgun shells. Like those bang sticks divers use to kill sharks, only hidden in an umbrella or a suitcase.
Well, judging from what little was left of the front of his skull, my contact had been punished just before I could get to him. A crowd was already gathering, the police were stomping over, and any number of the people walking away from the scene with umbrellas could have been the one who did it.
And even if I did figure out who popped him, what was he really going to be able to tell me? Dirty little commie !@#$ rat probably got his orders slipped to him in his tea that morning, and wouldn't have had any idea who he was really killing, or why. Just that it had to be done, and he was the one to do it.
So I called the op a wash, got onto a train, and got the !@#$ out of town before my need to kick someone's !@#$ overwhelmed my need to follow orders. Just another !@#$ day at the office.
Years later, after the Berlin Wall fell and a whole lot of documents were now available for us to peruse, we learned that my contact the octo-agent was actually one of their people, all along. And not only did they know I was in town, and going to meet him, but they set up the drop in the first place. He thought he was going to give me something important, but it was actually just useless "secrets" we already knew, or thought we did.
They killed their own man in front of me just to show us they meant !@#$ business.
That was when a lot of us, my now-immortal self included, were !@#$ glad that, due to some accidents of history, SQUASH was just an empty echo of its former self. For all the kooky spy-vs-spy nonsense they got up to, there was a measure of Soviet steel behind riding behind it that could justify !@#$ anything, so long as, at the end of the day, the inch they took from us was just a hair longer than the one we took from them.
I could tell you other stories about that time, too. But right now I think I'm going to lie here and see if I can mentally will some tjbang sticks into my !@#$ mouth from across the room.
(SPYGOD is listening to Goroda (Virus) and not drinking a !@#$ thing)