FLAGS IN THE SAND (SHORT-STORY)

flags in sand

By:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

PART I

He arrived on the 4th of July, “a hell of a way to spend the independence day of the greatest country in the world”, that’s what the Defense Secretary of the United States, Franklin Benjamin said to himself while visiting a site in the United Arab Republic (U.A.R), where a horrific bombing by Americans and their European and Middle Eastern allies took place.

The incident occurred the day before, on July the 3rd, and killed thousands of humanitarian workers from the United Nations and various N.G.O groups from a plethora of Western nations, who were helping hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees, who were fleeing the bloodshed caused by a war between the U.A.R and the Islamic Utopia (IU), terrorist organization, which was covertly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) to sabotage Arab nations that did not want to play ball with the U.S. and their allies on political and economic issues, especially when it came to oil.

PART II

As he made his way through the bombed out wreckage, that left the charred remains of humanitarian workers, building and automobile parts scattred every which way. The Defense secretary received a text from his personal assisstant from the White House, that read:

“URGENT! CALL THE PRESIDENT, HE’S FURIOUS AND IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO BLAME”.

Franklin immediately took out his encryped-government issued Jet-back Galaxy phone and with his right hand slightly trembling out of nervousness, the Defense Secretary located the name Eric Powers from his contacts and with a deep breath, he pushed the button on his phone’s touchscreen to call the president of the United States of America.

Eric Powers, the 2nd-term president of the United States, was a man many political insiders described as being as rough and tough as a ghetto Detroit pitbull, more conniving than the 16th century Italian political theorist and diplomat Niccolo Machivelli, the writer of the political treatise, “The Prince”. On top of that already wonderful dating profile, it was a common joke that Eric Powers was really a descendant of the green ogre, Shrek, because many people considered him to be so damn ugly.

But, what he lacked in looks he made up with power, the ultimate aphrodisiac, which is probably why is other nickname by some of his female staffers was “the mack who looks like Shrek”.

When Franklin’s phone dialed the president’s number, he knew he could be dialing the number of the United States’ president for the very last time, on his government issued phone, as the Secretary of Defense. Franklin knew the president as being “two-faced” and that he could and most likely would throw him under the bus for this international disaster if he felt he needed to.

“Franklin, you there?”

Franklin replied: “yes, I am Mr.President”.

“How can we make this incident disappear?”, president Powers demanded in a very commanding and intimidating tone to his Secretary of Defense.

Franklin responded: “well, Mr.President…thousands of humanitarin workers from several western nations were killed by us and our allies from Europe and some from the region. We just can’t sweep this under the rug, so to speak, like the time you got drunk at the holiday party at the White House and sexually harassed and assaulted some of your female staffers when your powerful aphrodisiac so to speak failed to put those women under your spell”.

Franklin took a very long and deep breath and then he told the president:

bombing

“hundreds of millions if not over a billion people have seen the aftermath of what happened on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Tik Tok and various news websites and blogs, etc. We can’t couldn’t pay off that many people to keep silent, like we did with your female staffers you abused, even if we had all the money in the world”.

President Powers responded in an extremely salty tone:

“you better hope we can resolve this in a way that benefits MY ADMINISTRATION, after all the intel we used to justify the bombing was intel we got from your personal staff”.

As Franklin stood in the scorching Middle Eastern desert sun, his monkey suit soaked in sweat , surrounded by the unrecognizable human remains that were not completely blown away by the airstrikes or eaten by the now fat desert vultures, who were now so full they were unable to fly away, instead they had to slowly walk away.

Out of nowhere, Franklin suddenly got hit with the intense emotion some psychologists refer to as “fight or flight”, when he did something most politicians would be too afraid to do to the president, and that’s call president Powers out on his lies.

“Listen Mr.President”, Franklin yelled…

“This is your fault, neither I nor anyone of my staff told you to bomb anyone. We told you that we had Intel from a usually good source that there could be some terrorists working at the place as a cover, no one said it was a terrorist camp”.

With a furious anger, Franklin said:

“If you even think about throwing me under the bus for your fuck up, I’ll make sure you get ran over with me. Both of our careers will be over, both of our legacies will be destroyed “.

Not only was Franklin shocked that he spoke to the president of the most powerful country in the world that way, but so were some of his staff and other U.S. government and military officials who were around him. When Franklin pushed end call on his phone, everyone around him suddenly and loudly started cheering. No one ever had seen or heard the president, who made generals tremble, be spoken to in such a manner. It was a long time coming, many people, especially the ones around him believed.

PART III

About an hour later, While Franklin was still investigating the bombing scene with top military officials, he received a callback from the president, this time very humble. In a low almost childlike voice, that almost couldn’t be heard on the phone, half way around the world with staffers around talking.

President Powers said:

“hey, Franklin, it’s me Eric…I believe we got off on the wrong foot, were on the same team, so why don’t we use this tragic incident as justification for war, since we know terrorists were in the area”.

Franklin responded:

“Yes, so what’s your point, it’s the Middle East, there are terrorists everywhere “.

With a sadistic and joyful sound in his voice, what he said next would of made Niccolo Machiavelli envious, president Powers said:

“I realize that. Which means that there are terrorists material everywhere, right? So, lets have the C.I.A plant some terrorist material and weapons at the bomb site, maybe some weapons of mass destruction that we stored in some of our military bases in the area”.

With somewhat of of a sigh of relief, Franklin replied :

” you know this is illegal and we could go to prison for a long time if we do this”.

President Powers responded:

“When was the last time, any U.S. officials this high up ever spent a day in prison. It won’t happen, and to make sure this will be classified and sealed for the next one hundred years. So talk to our generals and some of our C.I.A staff in the area, and find a way to get Al-Qaeda material at the humanitarian site, that’s on the U.A.R sovereign soil”.

Franklin interrupted:

“But, U.A.R president Kamal Al Ahmed hates Al-Qaeda, they want to overthrow his dictatorship government and have a new Islamic caliphate.

President Powers, replied:

“I know, just claim they came to some type of agreement to fight the Islamic Utopia (I.U) terrorist organization, which was a rival of Al-Qaeda and Currently at war with the U.A.R, hell you always wanted it that way. Lets not pretend like you don’t have some warhawk in you”.

A stunned, yet relieved Franklin with a huge and gushing smile on his face, told the president:

“I think we can do that”.

IV

A few weeks later, while back in Washington D.C., Secretary of Defense Franklin Benjamin with a cup of coffee in his hand and a new pep in his step, walked pass a newsstand and purchased a New York Times newspaper. He pulled the paper close to his face and read the front page, which read:

“After bombing alleged terrorist base in the U.A.R, White House investigation finds enough evidence to justify full-scale invasion of the oil rich country. It was all made possible, thanks to the hard work of Secretary Benjamin, who was honored and awarded with several medals by the United States president, and who many now believe could be the next Republican nominee for president”.

With a sinister smirk on his face, secretary Benjamin took one last sip of his coffee and said to himself:

“Sometimes you have to turn lemons into lemonade, lemon chicken and lemon meringue pie, because I’ll be damned if I or my family is not going to eat because of someone’s fuck up”.