July 2004 Archives

u is for orange alert





Al-Qaeda Headquarters,
Somewhere within the Axis of Evil

AHMED: Please, assemble yourselves, my terrorist brethren. We have important plans to discuss. Project U is finally nearing completion.

(murmurs of excitement)

FAYED: But . . . I have heard that Project U was impossible, only a beautiful dream for the cause, and an unholy nightmare for the godless Americans.

KHALID: The technology is too costly! The hydraulics alone cost millions!

AHMED: This is no dream, fellow haters of freedom. Recently, a brilliant Pakistani plumber defected across the border to Afghanistan and provided us with the final piece in the puzzle. In a mere matter of weeks, the powerful "U-bomb" will be at our command. Today, we turn our attention to selecting a target.

AZIZ: I am intrigued. How does this weapon work?

AHMED: The U-Bomb's great tactical value comes in its power, combined with its concealability. It attaches to nearly any type of urinal, exploiting the building's plumbing system to spread the blast and create maximum structural damage. And much spraying of urine. Best of all, it can be easily triggered via catheter.

KHALID: This urinal bomb sounds remarkable! But where to deploy it?

AHMED: We need an urban, downtown center. A place where the explosion can cripple transportation, government and commerce all at once. (Pause) We're just deciding between the Embarcadero and Powell Street BART stations.

ALL: Hooray!


Montgomery BART Station,
San Francisco
(A Compromise)

FAROUK: We are thirty minutes behind schedule, Mustafa.

MUSTAFA: I apologize, but I could not have anticipated the delay at MacArthur. Who would guess that "Millbrae" indicated San Francisco? There was no need for us to go up and down the stairs there, and I am sorry.

FAROUK: Put it behind you, Mustafa. We are here, and now is time to move. Take up your observation post, and I will proceed to the target point.

MUSTAFA: Yes, Farouk.

(FAROUK notices sign)

FAROUK: "Due to heightened station security, all public restrooms are closed". Mustafa! What do we do now?

MUSTAFA: What if you told the station agent that you really, really had to go?

(FAROUK tries to get station agent's attention, fails. Pretends to be impatient and agitated. Actually becomes impatient and agitated. Still, no progress.)

FAROUK: It is of no use. These Americans are so clever, anticipating our every move! First, the plan to smuggle poisoned breast milk onto airplanes - stopped by airport security details! Then our U-bomb, rendered all but useless today!

MUSTAFA: Farouk, we must not dwell on our failures! Perhaps we could see if the Lake Merritt station has an unguarded urinal . . .

FAROUK: Oh, what's the use, Mustafa? Even if we could figure whether we needed a train to "Fremont" or the unholy city-state of "Dublin-Pleasanton", there's no way we can succeed! Ridge would be two steps ahead of us, as always! He sees all and knows all! Just last week, he announced our plot to disrupt the presidential election - before we had made the plot in the first place! This is no mere man. Ridge is a demon of freedom!

MUSTAFA: (whispered) Or an angel.

FAROUK: Mustafa, I do not know what to do. We can't even afford to go back to El Cerrito Del Norte station - who would have thought we'd need return fare?

MUSTAFA: Wait, Farouk. This bathroom is within the exit gates.


MUSTAFA: So, we never went through the gate. If we return to our original station, we will owe only an "excursion fare" of $4.

FAROUK: You lying jackal!

MUSTAFA: I speak the truth!

FAROUK: Amazing! Perhaps . . . perhaps American freedom is not so bad after all. Come, Mustafa. Perhaps we can sell this U-bomb on Ebay.

(CURTAIN. REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling" plays over the curtain call)

you're on their turf


On a Saturday morning not too long ago, I dragged myself off Molly's friend's couch and staggered into a beautiful Isla Vista morning. My hungover sisters and cousin and I piled into the minivan, and we went in search of a Breakfast of Rejuvenation. Settling on the Cajun Kitchen, we sought to nurse our damaged and famished bodies to recovery via breakfast burritos.

The breakfast couldn't come soon enough. Five minutes after we ordered, Molly suggested going to Subway and buying a bag of chips, to tide her over until the food arrived. I looked at tiny Molly in amazement. "We just ordered breakfast," I said.

"Sun Chips, Sean. Just Sun Chips." she explained.

"You're not getting out of this booth to go get chips."

When the food finally arrived, our table became silent as we gave ourselves over to the breakfast. In the silence, we could hear the girl at the adjoining booth, discussing marine biology.

"Sure, seals look cute at the zoo. But those seals are trained. You go into the seal's habitat, it's different. You better watch out, you're on their turf now. A seal will fuck you up."

I didn't fully realize the meaning of those words until Sunday afternoon as I lay in the back of the minivan as we drove up 101. Vague memories of the night we'd had flashed through my alcohol-poisoned mind. There was a girl carrying a snake, an ill-advised bottle of rum, a boy named Flounder, an even iller-advised bottle of Jagermeister, and an important lesson in "chiefing"*. I groaned and reached for my water bottle. In the daytime, the kids of Isla Vista had looked so cute. But at night, well, I was on their turf. And you don't have to be a marine biologist to figure out what the result was.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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