I managed to get a taxi to take me to LAX around six thirty the next morning. I arrived at the airport with nothing but the folio containing my passport and plane ticket. As I worked my way through security, no one questioned my phony passport; even though I was flying one way – internationally, with no luggage, and connecting through JFK – I wasn’t subjected to any additional security screening. It was almost like the guards were in on the act.
I didn’t even stand in line at the gate; I was flying first class. There was a first time for everything, but then again, this would be the last time, too.
I flew from LAX to JFK and from JFK to Madrid. In Madrid, there was a man waiting for me as I stepped off the gate; he handed me another ticket, and I immediately boarded a plane to Beirut. Once we landed, I was whisked off to a twin turboprop plane on a private runway. From there, we headed south for several hours and when we landed, a tall, olive-skinned man led me to a rickety, 1960’s era Volkswagen bus, which led us down a windy road – to another private airport.
If I thought I had any idea where we were before, I certainly didn’t now. I vaguely thought we might’ve been in Sudan, but that was just a whim.
The bus stopped in front of a tiny Cessna on a dirt landing strip on top of a mountain. The plane appeared to be waiting on me; when I stepped on board, an African teenager slammed the door shut behind me and the propellers woke up with a roar. A stern looking, grey-haired, bearded man gestured towards the middle of the plane, to the only empty seat. I took it, and then looked beside me to see a somewhat familiar face.
“Glad to see you made the right decision.”
“Julie?” I frowned, keeping my gaze locked on the front of the airplane.
She nodded, then put her finger to her lips and clammed up.
Most of the people on the plane were remarkably similar; they looked like your typical street criminals. Lots of tattoos, some aggressive piercings, and shaved heads seemed to be the fashion trend on board. They all appeared to be in my age range, and most of them sat with the epitome of a blank look on their face. There was only one female – a short, strawberry-haired teenager whose hands were shaking. She wore an indignant expression and a Marine Corps-style desert camouflage battle dress uniform. She had no name plate, but it fit her well nonetheless.
The plane began its descent in the middle of a jungle, with nary a sign of civilization in any direction. Finally, a small clearing opened up underneath of us, and the plane hit the ground with all the grace of a fucking piano crashing down a flight of stairs. The rough landing, though, didn’t seem to faze most of the passengers. Julie was completely deadpan, and really, only the other female onboard seemed to even bat an eyelash. As people began to stand up and exit the plane, though, the gray-haired man boomed, “Sit down!”
Some of them sat down, others stared blankly towards the front of the plane. I hadn’t stood up yet and I didn’t necessarily feel like being a smartass for once, so I remained seated. Greybeard’s eyes narrowed, and the stragglers sat down reluctantly. When the propellers stopped spinning, the aircraft began to feel like a broiler.
“We will call your name, assign you a number, and take you to your quarters. Hold the fuck on. You’re in no hurry.”
As we sat there, a group of men dressed in standard Marine Corps battle dress uniforms gathered outside of the plane. When they appeared to be ready, the plane door swung open and Greybeard started barking out names.
A young kid with a skull tattoo on the back of his shaven head stepped forward, and Greybeard pointed him towards one of the men outside of the plane. They shook hands, and then proceeded into the jungle.
The girl stood up and with utter hatred in her eyes, she shouted “Where the hell are we going? Care to explain this little game?”
Almost immediately, Greybeard gestured outside of the plane to two men that looked like guards. Carrying submachine guns on a strap around their neck, the two men rushed into the plane and with a lightning-quick strike, smashed the butt-end of their firearms into her abdomen.
She crumbled to the ground, as expected.
and four-ninety, thank you for your time. Ms. White, don’t fucking speak unless
you’re spoken to, you got that? Now, get the fuck off of my plane, or I’m sure I
can get them to start digging.”
Reluctantly, Evalina stood up and started walking gingerly towards the entrance of the plane. As she passed me, I caught her eye and gave her a quick, reassuring smile; she ignored me, and with her hands behind her back, she followed orders and stepped down the stairs and into the jungle.
Everyone was off the plane but Julie and I when Greybeard stepped out of the plane and left us alone. “Joseph, I’m Julie. I’ll be your handler. If you don’t mind stepping out, we’ll be on our way.”
“So what am I getting myself into? Where are we?” I asked, probably just like everyone else she’s handled.
Well, I take that back. Judging by the caliber of their recruits, I can imagine that most of them aren’t exactly cults of personality. Most of them probably don’t care; hell, most of them probably didn’t even need a pitch. They just needed a ticket.
“I can’t tell you where we are, but I can give you the gist of it. Joseph –”
“That’s not my name.” I interrupted.
She stopped dead in her tracks and looked me in the eyes; we were standing in the middle of the jungle, and while I couldn’t hear any other groups on their egress from the airplane, there was a quiet roar of insects and birds filling the air around us. “It is now. I suggest you start accepting that.” She “This life isn’t going to be easy for you, but you chose it . You’re going to be bred to be a leader, but even as a leader, you’re going to have to do some things that I’m sure you’ve never considered doing in your life. You’re not going to know why we tell you to do it, but let me be flat out honest with you: if you don’t want to follow orders, if you don’t buy into what we’re saying, you’re the epitome of expendable.”
She sat down on the stump of a tree that had fallen nearby and gestured for me to sit as well. “Joseph, don’t be fooled by the look of this place; you didn’t sign up to fight for your country. It’s quite the contrary, actually; we don’t give a shit about the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, or any of the other jokes of a government in this world. We’re in this game to protect our interests.”
“Who are ‘we’?”
“It’s better for you to not know that,” she replied curtly.
“I beg to differ.”
She cracked a bit of a sideways smile and then stood back up and started walking. The conversation ended there. We pushed through the jungle for another quarter mile before I started to see a trail in the trampled underbrush. Up ahead was a small, deserted compound of six buildings, none of which could have been much bigger than a small hangar. When we reached the door of the closest building, Julie stopped in front of me and turned around.
“Joseph?” She smiled sweetly, her blue eyes staring straight into mine.
“What’s going on?” I was suddenly alarmed. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere, for some reason, I felt like my life was in danger.
“I hand-picked you,” Julie was squirming with glee, for some reason. She started walking seductively towards me, her hands in her pockets, and then grabbed me around the waist. “I really look forward to seeing you out there, and I can’t wait to start with your training.”
With that enticing smile and knockout body of hers, I almost didn’t notice the taser she was carrying in her left hand. At least she gave me kiss before she shocked the living shit out of me until I couldn’t feel my heart beating anymore.
Sensory Deprivation Plus Electrocution
Few hours later, woke up. Pitch black, eyes stapled open. Couldn’t see anything. Head hurt. Screams were impossible to ignore in the background. Strapped down to a table, staring straight up. I think. Blood moistening my cheeks.
Heard voices over the screams.
Julie, perhaps. Couldn’t tell. Didn’t care.
“Look, Joseph, this is just the beginning. If you’re who we think you are, you won’t leave here dead.”
Screaming voices got a little louder. Heard some crashes just outside of my building. Then came the buzzing.
Sensory deprivation tactics. Heard about them before, never experienced it. Buzzing became ear piercing. Finally saw something. A spark. A live wire. Dropped off the ceiling in the building. Then came the water. After that, I don’t remember much.
You Are God’s Child
Woke up. Still couldn’t move. Still ear piercing screams. Still dark.
And then, it all stopped. The room went completely silent; the screams ceased, and the buzzing subsided. I could still hear a din of noise in my eardrums, but it was bearable. That is, until my head itself started screaming.
The headache was probably to be expected. I can’t say how long I had been in the dark, but it was long enough that I was squirming on the metal plank to which I was strapped. Then, suddenly, the room lit up all around me.
“You are God’s child.”
I saw images flashing across the screen in front of me, far too quickly for me to comprehend or process. Then, the water started pouring down from the ceiling.
Kept pouring until it puddled. Kept puddling until it rose. Kept rising until I could feel it. Kept feeling it until I had to hold my breath. Kept holding my breath until I was totally submerged. Kept holding it until my lungs felt like collapsing. Kept holding it until my head started to float. Kept holding it until I had to breathe.
Sucked in a mouthful of water. Then, I don’t remember what happened.
“You are God’s child.”
I came to in an infirmary. It was tough to breathe; my lungs felt like I had been smoking for fifty years – in reality, I had only been smoking for five. I heard that same voice – that childlike female voice – repeating the same damn phrase over and over again.
“You are God’s child.”
I was strapped down, just like before. My eyes were still stapled open. I could feel crusted blood in the corners of my mouth, and my tongue tasted absolutely horrible. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Julie; she was smiling. I couldn’t hear everything she said – at this point, my ears would not stop ringing – but I caught a few words.
“You are God’s child,” the little girl repeated.
Julie walked towards me with a warm smile on her face.
I tried to talk, but nothing came out.
“We had to cut your vocal cords, Joseph. We still need you alive. You’re passing with flying colors. We couldn’t let you drown.” She was carrying a small box in her right hand. “I hate to do this to you, Joseph. I really do. But you’re passing with flying colors, Joseph. You really are. I can’t wait to see you in action, Joseph. You’re going to be my shining star. I hand-picked you. Don’t let me down.”
“You are God’s child.”
Scorpions. A snake or two. She put them on my chest, shut off the lights. The screams returned. May or may not have been mine. Hard to tell. A few sharp stings, then pain. Then black.
I am God’s child.
Mommy, It Sorta Smells Like E mo!
Every once in a while, something comes back that should’ve just stayed dead.
Whatever fucking style Amy Winehouse sings in.
Luckily, we, the participants of When Worlds Collide, have an example of just that phenomenon!
It’s like clockwork. This fad keeps coming back around every two or three years.
Here’s how it works:
first, Nayshawn Orange walks into a room. Then, some faggot IMs MISSLE and says
“dude, he’s talking shit about you.” Then, in his supercape and ever-present
world heavyweight title that no one remembers giving him, MISSLE shows up on the
scene to whine about some faggoty FWF crap that no one remembers.
I’m fucking convinced that the only reason MISSLE is still relevant is because no one can remember when he was good! We can’t say for sure that he wasn’t this fucking beast, so it’s like, his opponents say “oh shi its missle” and they convince themselves to give up and build the legend of the man who can. If they have the misfortune of trying to stand up to him, though, ooh boy... don’t go there… he’ll fucking question mark you to death.
For the love of Christ, you irrelevant faggot, what’s with the question marks? ONE PER SENTENCE IS SUFFICIENT. WE DON’T NEED SEVEN.
While you sit there and emote about some bullshit trainer you had back in the days where this shit was pure, I’m sitting here wondering if this is what it’s like to watch old episodes of Full House once you crack the quarter century mark. You sit there and think “What the hell was I smoking? This fucking sucks!”
If I have to watch your nancy-pants, mincing bitch ass tell your wife ONE MORE FUCKING TIME that you’re A BIT NERVOUS ABOUT COMEBACK NUMBER SIX HUNDRED FOURY FOUR AND A QUARTER, I’m going to stab myself in the trachea and jump out of a traffic chopper.
By the way, your daughter is probably a corky. Every time she shows up in your promos, I always wonder when the fuck she’s going to stop talking with a lisp and grow some tits.
For Christ’s sake, give it the fuck up. You weren’t really even any good when you were good. It’s time to let go.
And, last but not least…
Hey, Marcus T.
Reppin’ the TWF.