December 24, 1984 a Café, somewhere near Habay La Neuve Belgium
The Botendaddy awoke from a strange dream. It was a form of the classic anxiety dream. He was driving near Junction City Kansas. He was at a stoplight. A blonde, attractive woman with a child was waiting to cross the street. There was a cop standing next to her. She complained about the nose of the car being in the crosswalk, pointing to the Botendaddy’s vehicle. The cop, on urging from the woman, wrote the Botendaddy a ticket, despite him being in uniform. WTF? What kind of cop writes a US Army officer a ticket, when he’s in uniform?
Axiom 6: Never Name your Super-Secret Team, All Team Names Sound Stupid.
The rest of ‘Strike Team Bravo‘, probably the worst name ever for a quasi-elite US Military Intel combat strike force, were still asleep in the little hotel down the street from the cafe. The Botendaddy got dressed and tiptoed down the stairs. It was a bad sign that the leader was the first one awake. An entire team of passive people waiting for orders. I walked out the door and down the street. It was bitter cold, with swirling light snow. No-one was out. There were no cars of any kind on the road. Modest decorations were everywhere.Everyone was preparing for Walloonian Christmas.
I opened the door carefully and I walked silently into the café. I was the first customer in the café. I had ordered a special Belgian Mocha with extrème dark chocolate. The proprietor, a short, portly, non-interactive Belgian man served my Mocha, then he disappeared into the back. I assume that US Army personnel had frequented the place, because he showed no interest in my appearance at his place of business.
I took a cursive look around. The café was warm, with a complex, haphazard ancient wooden interior reminiscent of a Bruegel scene. It smelled like waffles.
I was in uniform of course. I was playing with my little green Army wrist compass, which I promptly dropped on the floor. I hated when things fell. When I went to pick up the compass, I recited an old childhood rhyme.:
Things on the floor lay where they want to…
Things on the floor stay where they want to…
As I child, I believed that some objects ‘desired to fall‘, in the words of Aristotle and I hated picking things up that seemed to want to fall.
When I stood up to fetch my compass, a man was sitting at my table. He had slipped in quietly, like the horrible poem:
–Carl Sandburg “The Fog”
The man at my table had a perfectly coiffed goatee. He was about 25, but he looked sophisticated. He seemed a bit nervous, tempered by melancholy. He brought over a Jezva’aa and a Finja’an of Turkish Coffee.
He began to speak in near-perfect English but with an Arabian accent.
“So Lef-tenant Botendaddy…”
“How did you know my name.” I asked.
“It’s on you frekking uniform, you sexy American.”
“You live in this town?”
“I live in Germany. I am Fala-shteen-ian. (With rising inflection on the shteen). “From Ram’all’ah.”
I knew he lied, he was from Tulkaram.
“Good for you.”
“You know, American, Is-ra-el is the sexual ass-hole and the Arab is the sexual Coq!”
“I suppose from your perspective, Abdul-Rahim.”
He leapt to his feet.
“How did you know my name, muscular American!”
“It’s on your name-tag from whatever grocery store you work at, you frekkin’ idiot.”
He sat down and crossed his legs. He looked up from a sip of his Qahiwa.
“Repeat after me! You must recite the song! Yon Botendaddy! Israel is the ass-hole, the Ar-ab is the Coq! Isra-el the ass-hole the Ar-ab are the Coq!”
“You are the worst terrorist I’ve ever met, Abdul, can’t you be more low key? I mean you are so obvious. Are you trying to screw up your own operation?”
“You, you sexy American! There’s nobody in here! I can say, like… whatever! You are the worst special strike team, combat American Army leader I have ever met!… Who goes and gets a mocha at 5:30AM? By the way, did I tell you my cousin Mahmoud runs a Baba Ganouge joint in Passaic? Very good gyro I hear. I always wanted to go there.” He said stroking his beard.
“So, you always wanted to go there. What are you trying to say, Abdul?”
“I say you scratch my filthy ballsack, I scratch yours, O’ Botendaddy!
“You good the expression wrong, it’s ‘scratch my back’ but you have the right idea.” I sipped the delicious mocha.
“OK, so I make little mistake. You say to-may-toe, I say to-maah-toe.”
“Look Abdul, here’s the deal. Go about your operation, just give me enough scoop to intercept Helmut and Klaus, then meet me at Ramstein gate at 08:00 on December 31st and I’ll have you eating that Gyro in Passaic.”
He smiled broadly.
“Shukurun, wazira’an my sexy American friend!”
He leaned forward and whispered. “The attack will be on Friday the 28th in the middle of the shopping crowd near the brewery in Diekirch, Luxembourg. Rue de Brabant at Rue Hury at Extrême Noon.”
“That’s high noon.”
“High noon, you freaking Eurabian idiot.”
“Extrême noon, you sexy American-soldier person.”
“Girls are icky.” He whispered under his breath.
I pulled out my little Army notebook and I wrote a Vigenère-cipher super-secret message in invisible ink.
The old man who ran the joint was nowhere to be found. He must have caught a snooze in back. Abdul-Rahim and I sipped our respective coffees in silence, watching each other uneasily over our cups. Was the old man murdered by Abdul-Rahim? I wondered.
After Abdul left to go to the bathroom, I looked out the window. I noticed that Abdul was driving a push-button transmission 1960’s Renault. I jotted down the license plate with a Caesar cipher. With Abdul still missing, I got up and I walked into the back room. I looked around the corner. The old man was seated in a corner with a Portuguese hooker in his lap. Fortunately, they didn’t see me.
The horror of what I witnessed was far worse than anything I had seen in El Salvador. The hideous, fat, smelly, greasy, flabby, Belgian old-man flesh, the corpulent, plump, little, coffee-colored, 40-something Portuguese hooker, the horrific moans, the stench of the slimy bodies slapping together.
That was enough for me. I didn’t see Abdul, but his shitty car was still there. I walked through the icy cold, my black, poorly polished boots crunching in the crystalline snow. I thought back to staying alone in the old condemned wooden barracks at the Gap.
Diekirch. What if Adbul was lying? But my orders said otherwise. Abdul was a confirmed double-agent. What if he was a triple-agent? What if the attack wasn’t at Diekirch and really at Düsseldorf? Was the Major right about wanting my third-rate team to screw up the operation?
Was I supposed to be confused? Was I supposed to be distracted from Düsseldorf and go to Diekirch so I would miss the real terror attack?
My orders were clear: Go to Düsseldorf. What would a real officer do? A real operative? They always knew what to do.
Why did I never know the ‘A’ answer? The answer was obvious. The attack in Düsseldorf was to be at the nightclub Schwülermann on Saturday. Diekirch was en-route. It was a three hour drive. I could be at both.
I tiptoed into the old hotel. I got into my PT’s, donned (yes donned) my hat gloves and neck warmer (gay) and I went for a brisk 6:00AM run. I made it about a quarter mile when I was joined by the Palestinian!
“Murhaban, ya saiddiq Abdul-Rahim” I said.
“How do you speak the good Arabbiyah, ya Botendaddy?”
“I spent some time working with Arabian students back in the day. I t’allam’tu a little Arabiyyah. How are you a good runner?”
“I went to Ja’amiyyah, the University in El Maghreb, the Morrocco. Do you really think you can get me to Amrikiyyah?”
“It’s part of the deal. Help me get those commie douche-bags.”
“What do you want, O’ ustaath Botendaddy?”
“I want a combat patch.”
“What the hell is that?”
“It’s a piece of cloth on your right shoulder, it means you’ve been in combat.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“They promised me that I’d get the first combat assignment in the next shooting war if I pull this off.”
“OK Amrikiyyah, you lick my tasty, sweaty, hairy balls and I lick yours.”
“I don’t think you hit that expression right, Palestine.”
Palestine handed me a little notebook. It was German translated to Arabic, then back to English then Caesar ciphered, then Vigenère ciphered, then translation ciphered in two column block. I had it broken and translated within five minutes later that morning.
We ran three miles in the snow. Everyone was asleep in the hotel room when I got back. I showered, roused the team and then we headed for Düsseldorf.
Safe House: Düsseldorf Wednesday Evening 2000 Hours December the 26th.
The little hotel was cozy. It was a four-story walk up. Our room was directly across from Klaus and Helmut’s lair. We had the curtain closed and we kept the lights dimmed. We had been there a day and a half already, just planning the raid.
We sat around the circular table in Army planning mode, with maps, GTA’s and Städtler Lumoplast™ pens. We tried to use the Army planning system BTMS. It was hopelessly complicated. No-one ever understood BTMS. It almost ruined 200 years of the American Army it was so complex.
“Look, let’s just swag this shit. None of you ever planned anything properly in your entire careers right?” I said, slamming the BTMS manual down on the table.
Jones nodded. Holmes looked at Delacroix. They both nodded in agreement.
Rochibauld stood up. “Planning is for the weak! Hitler planned and Stalingrad was lost! Napoleon planned and Waterloo was lost! Wilson planned and Germany was raped! Wilson is a demonic, racist evil!” He pounded his fist on the table. He sat down exhausted.
“What a fucking idiot.” Delacroix whispered to me.
We were drinking Kahlua™ and cream. It was the only drink we could mix.
“OK, the hell with it. I know where their safe house is. Let’s get in uniform. The local police are with us, they are already waiting in the lobby coat closet for my signal. We go, kick in their door, beat the shit out of Klaus and Helmut, seize the explosives and weapons give the weapons to the cops and then beat those two krauts again and head for Diekirch. Is everybody in?”
We shook hands, downed the Kaluha, and we ‘geared up’. We walked quietly down the stairs with our weapons. We grabbed the heavily armored cops from the lobby closet.
We went directly across the snowy street. The wild winds and the snow obscured us and kept people off the street, so we were unobserved.
We slowly climbed the stairs to the apartment.
We heard the music ‘Christmas Dream‘® (sung by Perry Como, written by Andrew Lloyd Weber) playing in the apartment.
I kicked the door in (macho) and we caught Klaus and Helmüt with weapons, maps and bomb parts right out on the cluttered filthy table. Klaus reached for a Galil™ but Jones knocked him down with one punch. Delacroix kicked Helmut in the testes, and he fell scrunched-up in super-slow motion.
“I think you were expecting us in the Moin-Moin, Meinem Geehteres Herren?” I said.
We proceeded to violently beat the living shit out of the smarmy douche-bags Klaus and Helmut and then completely smash everything in the apartment.
I went into a back room alone. I found a bag filled with about 25 pounds of Kruggerands and it stuffed it into my A.L.I.C.E. pack. I also grabbed two Galils and ammo. I still have the Kruggerands to this day. Or do I?
The police ransacked the apartment for clues. As they were led away, Klaus looked up and said “Botendaddy. I was afraid they would send you. You are a long was from Asunción, my sexy old American nemesis. Thanks for the beating, it was so… erotic. We will meet again!”
“Not likely Klaus. Not likely…” I retorted.
We cleared our hotel and went back to the vehicles.
I modified our plans and I told the team that we were headed for the war museum in Echternacht. The curator would let us hide there.
I was proud of Strike Team Bravo. We had stopped the C-Team attack in Düsseldorf, now we would be ready now to stop the A-Team attack in Diekirch.
Palestine had given me the real inside scoop: the Grand-Duke would be shopping there. Plus, the attack was planned for the 27th and not the 28th. They wanted us to be a day late and a dollar short. The A-Team was counting on no-one to be there in time. Why? They weren’t going to send an A-Team. But Strike Team Bravo would be there and we would be ready.
I figured out that the whole Düsseldorf plan was a setup. But we had outsmarted them. One of our own people was dirty, a Soviet double agent. I figured it was either Dawson or the Major. One of the other people involved wanted to spark an all-out thermonuclear war. Maybe the ‘Suit’? Palestine hadn’t given either of them up to me, but he hinted as much. When the time was right, I would expose the Soviet agent, and as for the ‘Suit’, kick his sorry ass.
To be Continued