I got a call from a former president the other night.  I think he’d been drinking a little bit and he was in a reflective mood.  He wanted to reminisce about a mission he’d sent me on X amount of years ago.  Well, ex-government hitmen like myself who are protected through the Former Assassin Protection and Relocation Program can’t afford to antagonize old employers, so I put down my book and chatted with him for awhile. 

     It was regarding a mission to Colombia (not Columbia—that’s a city in Missouri) and it had to do with the drug trade.  There were a number of people there who could be of great benefit to the US if they no longer existed, and the president asked me to, um, arrange the cessation of their existence.  Back then my Spanish wasn’t anywhere near as good as my Arabic, Russian, or French, so I needed an assistant to do some translating (you’re probably thinking she looked like a cross between Catherine Zeta Jones and Penelope Cruz, which means you probably watch too many spy movies).

     We went in the guise of two political science graduate students, and stayed in a quaint little inn on a river (hey Cristian, are you reading this?  Does that sound familiar?  Yep, it’s me—your favorite guest!  I really am sorry about the car, man).  Somehow our cover was blown—I suspect a double agent in Panama known as The Rodent had something to do with that, but we may never know since he ran into a large piece of D-Con two years later.  Anyway, we had to shoot our way out of a rather sticky situation.  It turned out that Catherine Zeta Cruz shoots pretty well for an interpreter, lucky for me. 

     With no more cover my mission was pretty messed up.  It left me with two hours to talk two drug kingpins into early retirement.  There was no time for pinpoint, surgical precision; this was a job for—Demolition Man!  Explosives don’t really do much for me (I used to have this colleague who just LIVED for bombs), but I had to do something big fast, so explosives it was.  It’s really just a matter of putting them in the right place at the right time; do that and you’re all set.  I can’t say too much about it because some angry Colombian officials protested most strenuously to our embassy and they had to play dumb (I’d hate to have a job where, when things go wrong, the most you can do is “protest most strenuously”).  Fortunately the aforementioned president was very good at playing dumb and we got away with it (you’re dying to find out which one, aren’t you!  Sorry, can’t say). 

     Me and the translator were just able to make it to the makeshift airfield where a former Navy pilot (from the Viet Nam era) swooped down and picked us up.  He was a little crazy and I had to talk him out of strafing some cars that were coming after us (I can be pretty persuasive with a gun in one hand and a 7” Navy SEAL blade in the other), but he finally saw the wisdom in my suggestion.  Fortunately the little guy who jumped out of one of the cars with a shoulder-fired rocket launcher was a pretty rotten aim.  If there’s one thing that freaks me out, it’s being in a plane that gets hit by something that explodes.  I know, I’m a wuss. 

     We made it home and the president declared the whole mission a “messy success” (I’m pretty sure those were his words).  I even got a medal, but I’m not allowed to display or wear it.  It’s in the safe deposit box, with the other ones.          

 

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