You know, son, I was having a little think to myself, in-between smacking the ex-President of Russia around, in his own safehouse no less. And between punches to the face and appeals to reason, and the occasional trip out to the kitchen to have some more of that fine vodka I got at the museum, yesterday, I realized that it's almost hard to believe that it's been just a little under a !@#$ year since Colonel Khadaffy bit the !@#$ing dirt.
I mean, it's not like the people of Libya have really had a !@#$ing chance to enjoy their freedom, now has it? The Colonel gets his sorry !@#$ planted in late October, after one last, really !@#$ stupid attempt to save his regime, and then it isn't more than half a year later that the !@#$ing Imago take over.
So now, instead of rebuilding their !@#$ing lives, and putting their !@#$ country back together, again, they're having their lives and their nation rebuilt for them, and not exactly by the nicest !@#$ing people around, either.
Of course, if you didn't know any better, and believed everything you saw on the !@#$ing internet, you might think they got lucky, there. And that's because if there's anything that history tells us, and like I've told you at least once before, revolutions are a bloody, nasty !@#$ing business. Everyone who thinks they're oppressed wants one, and then when they get it, they get as !@#$ oppressive as the regime they just !@#$ing toppled.
Now, to be honest, we did see a little of that early on. Any stupid people who were pro-Khadaffy didn't really want to stick their !@#$ necks out and open their mouths after their beloved leader stopped !@#$ing breathing, or they'd have been following him pretty !@#$ quickly. No one likes a !@#$ing spoilsport, you know.
But then, they didn't really have to !@#$ing say anything, either. Most of their friends and neighbors knew who the loyalists were, and you can bet your !@#$ they were kicking in their doors !@#$ quick, not long thereafter. Wanted to have a little word with the people who'd been informing on them, all along, or else just making it harder for them to grumble.
And a few people who weren't loyalists probably got the same !@#$ treatment, because someone wanted revenge, or had a !@#$ score to settle, or just wanted dibs on their car. Which is !@#$ing sick and wrong, but is going to happen whenever people who are nasty as !@#$ and venal to the core see an opening and decide to !@#$ it for all it's worth.
And then the people who got !@#$ed will want to !@#$ the people who !@#$ed them. And then the people who got !@#$ed in return will want to !@#$ them right back. And the longer the !@#$ing Revolution's been overdue, the longer the cycles of revenge will be, and the bigger the ultimate bodycount.
So yeah, you might think the people of Libya escaped the whole !@#$ bloody cycle of revolution, provided you didn't know just what evil !@#$ers the Imago actually are. But every revolution's got its winners and losers, son.
And like anyone else, they're usually just standing around, minding their own business, when the world they knew just drops out from under them like the trapdoor under a hanged man.
I've had some cause to think about those folks, in the last couple of days. Mostly thanks to Randolph Scott, you know, my little reporter pal?
Well, since I saved his !@#$, right before everything went right down the !@#$ing toilet, he's been coming quite into his own. Finally learned to use a !@#$ing gun, for one thing, and he and our kids are actually going out and making some news for a change, rather than just reporting it.
I'm pretty !@#$ proud of him, actually, but I'm not telling him. And neither are you, son.
(Not if you know what's !@#$ing good for you, anyway.)
So one of the things that Randolph's been doing is running something of an atrocity archive. Essentially, he's making sure that the stories of ordinary folks who got ground the !@#$ up in the revolution's bloody gears aren't forgotten, or paved over by the brave !@#$ new world the Imago say they're trying to build.
And the other night, when I finally got a reason to report in, I mentally downloaded what he's got going so far. I read a few on the way from Thailand over to St. Petersburg, and I have to tell you, son, they sobered my !@#$ up better than tjbang sticks.
I mean, I like to think I'm a hard man, but when it comes right down to it...
Oh, you want a few? Well, I don't have Randolph's way with words, but I guess can tell a story. That and it gives me an excuse to hang out here and pull on this extra tasty vodka
while my friend Vladimir tries to figure out his next move.
(!@#$ing idiot still thinks he can talk his way out of this one. Poor him.)
So let's talk about poor George Smith for a while. That's a good !@#$ place to start. It'll get us on the ground floor, anyway.
George is what you might call the God of traveling salesmen. His company's one of the few big electronic parts suppliers that's survived the budget cuts of the last couple decades, and he's been with them for ten years.
He lives in Chicago, or at least that's where he calls home, and where his wife and kids reside most of the year. But if you called home, any old night, chances would be good that he was out of town, somewhere. Maybe selling electrical connectors in California, or resistors and capacitors in Maine.
And if that sounds funny? Well, son, like I said, he's the God of traveling salesmen. If his company needs something closed, or the local reps aren't getting the numbers, they put his !@#$ on a plane and he's out there, making the deal.
So it isn't unusual that, at a certain time on Thursday, March 15th, George is driving his car from the northern suburbs of Chi-town down to O'Hare, ready to catch a flight and go show the local boys why he makes the big bucks. He's got his e-book reader full of the latest magazines, just had a great cup of coffee from the fancy maker he and his wife bought themselves as an anniversary gift, and is looking forward to a couple hours in the air in first class.
And he's driving and smiling, and thinking "this is !@#$ing awesome," and turning off the tollway onto the road that takes you into the airport, and wondering who the !@#$ the idiot is in front of him who really wants to vote for the President a second time...
And that's the last thing he ever sees again with his own eyes, son. A !@#$ing election bumper sticker for a man he really doesn't want in the White House.
The particle beam strikes the main tower at O'Hare, first. A few other ones go off, here and there, but that's the only one he sees. The glare blinds him instantly, and he thinks maybe a nuke went off, and it was the end of the world, because he can hear the booms and screaming and feel the heat.
Yeah, he !@#$ing panics, son. But at least he survives the !@#$ impact when his car runs off the road and into the concrete wall. And then the only reason he stays alive is because the guy who'd been in front of him, and had been lucky enough to be changing his !@#$ hippie Democrat idiot CDs when the flash hit, sees that George is in trouble, and gets him out before his car gets plowed into by even more blind drivers.
So George Smith's one of the lucky unlucky ones of that day, thanks to someone he'd have been !@#$ing sneering at come election night. He actually gets into a !@#$ing hospital, instead of one of the makeshift morgues.
The doctors look in on him, between all the other !@#$ and human wreckage they have to deal with that day. And they determine that, yes, his eyes are gone, and they aren't !@#$ing coming back. But at least he's !@#$ing alive, right?
(And yes, son, at least he has really !@#$ good medical insurance.)
So they get him back with his wife, and yeah, it sucks, and maybe his job's over, now. But at least she's !@#$ing alive too, right? They have money saved up. They have health insurance and life insurance. And even if all else fails, and everything goes down the !@#$ing toilet, they still have each other.
Of course, a while later, it turns out that the Imago are actually repairing anyone who was blinded in the !@#$ attacks. They say they can give you a new pair of eyes for free! Who could !@#$ing say no? That and, as the god of electronics salesmen, he's really !@#$ing curious to see how they work from a users' perspective.
So of course he's first in the !@#$ing line to get himself some new peepers. They wheel the Imago-wagon right up to the nearest hospital, guide their patients in one by one, put them under with soft music in the background, and BOOM, he can see again. All over in ten minutes.
How's life with prosthetic eyes? Not perfect, really. It's kind of like when you look into the sights for an old digital camera, and what you see on the screen and what's really going on is disconnected and slow. You can't really drive with them, reading causes headaches, and watching TV is a !@#$ing pain.
(They do, however, have a plug-in adapter in one temple so you can get electronic impulses right into your !@#$ing brain, so you can watch tv, read off your e-book, and all that stuff. It's just weird is all. And kind of creepy.)
But George can see again. He can walk around and look at things. He can know what he's wearing when he gets dressed. He can watch the sun rise and set, and see the moon, and watch the clouds blow across the sky.
He can see the look on his wife's face when she says she loves him.
That and, a week after he gets his eyes back, his job calls up and wants to know if he'd like his position back, too. Things will have to be a little different, but they're willing to pay him for time lost, and maybe get him some more perks to make up for things.
And of course he says !@#$ yes because he's sick of sitting around the house and pretending he's got a purpose, when he should be out there making deals and shaking hands. And while his old bosses seem a little stand-offish, George just puts it down to how !@#$ing weird his new eyes look, and goes back to work to prove that he's just as good a salesman now as he was before.
So he's got his wife, his life, his job, and his eyes. All things are as they were, minus his old, fried peepers. Things are now well again.
And all would have been well, too, except that George Smith has a brother named Fred, and if George is the god of the traveling salesmen, then Fred is the god of !@#$ing conspiracy nuts.
Now, as you might have guessed, George is conservative. So while he isn't sure he buys the whole thing about been going on in Washington, he's smart enough to know that if any President was going to !@#$ things up that badly, it'd probably be a !@#$ing Democrat. But Fred, he's got all kinds of other ideas.
And, unlike George and his wife, Fred does not watch TV on the internet, and as a result he has not had his brainmeats scrambled into submission by the constant "relax" commands the Imago are sending out over the screens. So he can still think, and he can still question, and he can still ask those questions because no one's !@#$ing turned that part of his brain off.
Of course, you can imagine the time around the !@#$ dinner table gets a little heated and strained, what with George thinking the Imago eat problems and !@#$ gold. But Fred's convinced there's something !@#$ stinky in the kingdom of Denmark, and keeps promising to find proof.
This goes on for a few weeks, and then Fred just up and !@#$ing disappears.
At first, George things Fred's being a !@#$ing !@#$, again, and expect he'll call when he's feeling more social and less frazzled. But the !@#$ call never comes, and George's calls to Fred go unanswered. And when, after a week of not hearing a !@#$ thing, Fred finally has his wife drive them up to Fred's place in Wisconsin, out in the !@#$ing boonies, he finds that the doors are locked, the house is empty, and the car is still in the garage.
His neighbors haven't seen Fred in about a week. They have no !@#$ idea where he could be. But they confirm that the old boy's been a little fired up, lately. Something about how the Imago aren't to be trusted.
And who would !@#$ing think something like that?
So George calls the cops, puts out a missing persons report, and does everything you'd expect someone who's !@#$ing worried about their sibling to do. And he goes back to work because there's really nothing else he can do, and does his usual !@#$ magic with sales. His bosses are happy, people are happy, all good.
But while he's out and about, he realizes that some of his clients are of the same mind about certain things that Fred was. I guess a lot of electronics folks tend to be !@#$ paranoid conservatives, too? And they drink and they smoke and they talk about certain interesting irregularities they've run into, especially on the internet, what with speeds being weird and emails sounding off and the like.
Now George, he drinks and smokes and listens politely, and all the while he's thinking "Aw, !@#$, not more paranoid bull!@#$." But he's a professional, and part of being a professional salesman is that you don't !@#$ing argue with your clients, but pretend to agree with them even if they're !@#$ing Nazi scumbags.
So he smiles, and nods, and laughs at the appropriate moments. And the deals get made and everything's !@#$ing cool and everyone's !@#$ing happy. Tra-la-la.
But then, after a while, his !@#$ clients go missing, too. He gets told by his bosses that he's going to be meeting new contact people for some of the companies he helped handle, and that some of the smaller companies just !@#$ing went under all of a sudden.
They were fine, and then they weren't fine, and then they weren't. At all.
Now, by this point, George is realizing that something is !@#$ing weird. The cops are being really strange about his brother's disappearance, and telling him it's not his concern, and to just back off and let them do their !@#$ job. And when he looks into the vanishing of the people he was making deals with, he's essentially told to back off, again, only this time by his own company.
But how the !@#$ do they know?
So one night, after taking a long weekend at his employers' insistence, he gets an idea. He hooks up some of his testing gear together, sticks a lead into the port of his eye that you normally put a TV plug into, and see what all's going on in there.
And while what he's got in his eyesockets are pretty !@#$ advanced, and more than a little beyond what he's used to dealing with, it's not to hard for him to realize that some of the circuits he's got in there are eerily similar to signal transmitters.
At which point, George Smith !@#$ing realizes that the eyes he's had in his head for the last few months have been acting as surveillance devices for the Imago. Every sight and sound has been recorded and sent off to them. And that's probably why his brother and his mouthy clients have just up and vanished.
And no sooner does he realize that than he gets a phone call. It's from his wife's employer, and they tell him that one of the Imago that lurks around Chi-town just showed up and teleported his wife away. Apparently, she was involved in terrorist activities or something...?
Randolph found George in the hospital of a homeless shelter, down in the city. He'd ripped his eyes out and left them on the table, tossed out everything that could be used to identify him, and wandered out in the hopes of being splattered by traffic. Some kind soul found him, instead, and brought him there, and that's how his story's known to us.
"You tell them the truth," George demanded: "I heard the truth and didn't want to believe it. I had eyes and I was blind to the truth. But now I can see everything, and all it cost me was my life. Don't let this happen to others."
And the next time Randolph went back to check on him, the shelter was deserted. The Imago had been by, looking for terrorists.
Apparently they'd found them.
And that's the sad life of George Smith for you. He didn't have it all, but he was happy and going places, and then the world just got pulled out from under him.
And I could tell you about the man who was Army special forces, and was then retrained to do something so banal and beneath him that he snapped. They say he went berserk, and was brain-fried by an Imago for supposedly holding his own wife hostage, but the truth's a little stranger.
They just needed an example, is all. Another reason why we shouldn't have handguns. Gosh, how nice of them to point that out.
And I could also tell you about the guy who had his chain of gas stations go under because all cars run on water, now, and no one's going to pull over and spend three bucks for a gallon you could get right out of the tap.
He's working at a !@#$ing fast food joint, now. Broke as !@#$ and miserable as !@#$. Maybe they'll use him as an example, too, someday. Or maybe he's not really important enough to !@#$ with. Just another guy who lost out when the economy was remade around him.
!@#$, son, I could tell you about America's favorite conservative radio host, who was essentially neutered and turned into a mouthpiece for Green and Yellow, herself. And when he finally broke down on the air and told the whole story, and told everyone that the Imago had been using him as a !@#$ing sock puppet, he found out that they'd been running a fake show right beside him the entire time, and just let him keep going to see when he'd crack. And now that he had...
Never liked that fat bag of !@#$, especially after he called me SPYFAG "by accident," that one time. But what they did to him, son.
What they did to him...
I could tell you about those people, and a !@#$ of a lot more. But the truth is that the story of poor George Smith just keeps coming back to me.
He didn't do anything wrong, and wound up killing a whole !@#$ of a lot of people just because they "fixed" him.
And meanwhile, in the other room, Vladimir's insisting that he's the victim, here.
Speaking of which, I'm going to go show him what being a victim means, for a little while. And then, hopefully, I'll be able to get a little more cooperation out of the !@#$er. Maybe enough to be able to get him to realize my aim, as the song says.
Because I've got a world to save, and I've got a plan, but that plan just !@#$ing sucks. And the only person I can really get to help me find a better plan is in that room, wondering how many of his teeth he's going to get to keep today.
So if you'll excuse me? Cause this is really going to get !@#$ing messy, son.
Thanks. Here, have some vodka while you wait. It's good stuff, and you're free to enjoy it, which is more than I can say for far too many people, tonight.
Far, far too !@#$ many.
(SPYGOD is listening to Siamese Twins (The Cure) and having some more Rusky Standart Platinum )