Your Next Assignment
1.0 - I've managed to get you penciled in with Dr. Ram, a potent therapist and notorious fixer. You'll be receiving Extraction Technique Therapy, at no small cost to the State. Call to confirm and verify credentials. Proper attire and outfitting expected. Sub D/L 4/25, 4:59pm.
1.1 - RE: recent transmissions
All messages regarding Ram and his snake oil are to be disregarded with extreme prejudice - this is evidently some Syrian scam that has Ted Turner hotter than a Florida motel room on election night.
Hardcastle has the codex, obtained from some shady harbormaster called Reg Arnotte. Quebecois, no doubt, so employ vigilance.
Actual assignment TBD. I recommend hitting the road, I cannot account for your safety with the Francophiles now involved.
2.0 - Re: status
Well, wouldn't you know... Zhivy got nabbed by two Puerto Ricans in Tampa. He was stuck hanging at an all night bar when there wasn't any night left, mumbling about the profitability of propane in the opium markets. Well, those two little vote-less creeps pounced on him like he was carrying luggage for Lyndon LaRouche. Our contacts last spotted him in Rainbow Key, boarding a vessel called "The Gentle Rubbing." His data, of course, has been deleted.
What this means to you is obvious: The surface is one of two things, neither of which is an illusion. The deep cover act works for agency boys with beards and politicians with wives who like to moonlight as hamster magicians at the local crack dispensaries - but a man like you, whose sole claim to whisky tonight is to listen to papa celebrate 50 años since his first real sun tan, well, let's just say: be sure to check up in the morning. Paps had a hard enough time with the Cubists, and they've outsourced to contractors whose idea of a Union involves nothing but the finest striped shirts and German steel.
I know you'll understand. I've put a deposit on you, and this one is Biblical. The file on you is blistering plenty of fingers, and I can only reset the fuse so many times.
Set the parameter.
2.1 - Here it is: Arnotte, as it turns out, is Swiss. From what we've gathered, he's got a literal taste for the ponies, developed from an upbringing that included a Belgian whore of a mother who thought family dinner was best achieved by taking advantage of the "deep discounts" to be found on Sunday mornings behind the local race track.
We gleaned this information off of the two Puerto Ricans who grabbed Zhivy. Evidently they threw him on an Amtrak headed no stop to Thunder Bay, care of one R. Arnotte, Esq.
There's a jet idling on the runway as we speak, packed with a clean ton of pure pony taint. Get this to Arnotte immediately. Your job will be to loosen him up and get him to admit he arranged the whole goddamned thing. We figure it'll take about a week for Cheney to wheel himself out to Wyoming and figure out that his four favorite studs are missing.
(Side note: purely for the purposes of research, we've decided to use our Puerto Rican volunteers to add weight to our ongoing Cannibal Strain Complex files, with Mr. Arnotte about to sample some very special sauce. DO NOT eat the pony meat, Tharp.)
We've got a man - McCallister - waiting out on the harbor to swoop in and make the arrangements regarding Zhivy, once this dirty bastard Arnotte realizes that the deep Swiss are 80 years removed from making friends that serious Americans can't outbid with the spare money in our dasherboards.
Stay away from McCallister once you're through. As they say in The Congo - if this was business for delicate men, we'd still be in Zaire.
3.0 - I'm beginning to think Dick Clark has been in on it since the get go. Ever since we agreed with Dick that our living rooms and pizza shops were appropriate forums for the long hairs, I've had an assortment of Brits and Californians take several varying, marijuana induced highways to deliver me their musical ruminations on the plain fact that we all know it don't come easy.
I need to put you into touch with McCallister prior to your horse roast with the Banker, so here are the facts: McCallister was a bit of a "reclamation project" of ours. We dug him out of a basement in Quantico, where he had been sent after it was discovered that his idea of internet porn was sending emails to the Major Airliners, asking to speak with "whoever was in charge of the preflight undercarriage inspections" and "to be put in touch with someone who could calculate the drag effect of externally mounted blasting caps." Well, these aren't the kinds of greeting cards that people like to see coming off of Agency servers - so he was sent to come up with his own numbers down with the dust mites and the pirates.
We procured his services through an arrangement that hinged upon our agreement to sublet his brain, and the first rate decoding abilities it contained, to various keyboard types from time to time. Well, we've got one from the top of the pile here, and it needs to get to McCallister's vessel in hard form by sunrise tomorrow. It will be waiting for you, along with a Canuck called Desjardins, at the Outpost club on Oliver Road. Your driver has the specs. We've informed McCallister that you'll be approaching on a dinghy wearing the shirt currently being worn by Desjardins. We can only assume McCallister will recognize a forgery - he's as sharp as the cheddary breath you'll be inhaling in Ontario.
Once you've delivered the box, scuttle the dinghy and use McCallister's Sea-Doo to return to the wharf where Arnotte will no doubt be pulling his pork watching the results from the Saratoga nightlies come in.
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A call came in for you this afternoon from a female who was speaking cigarette - the kind the Turks roll to pad their airspace. Prepare to explain that to me at some point in the near future. I don't think this lady was interested in what you could do for her printer problems.
3.1 - Well, I'm having to assume one of two things here. A) The Canadians have dismantled their entire telecommunications system, or B) You've flown to Guam to pick out bath fixtures with G. Gordon Liddy.
I wouldn't have had to wonder about any of this, nor would I have been interrupted from viewing the spectacular view of raw carnage that was a juvenile goshawk feasting upon a noisy grackle directly below my office window, had your Superior Handlers not called upon me to go over your current situation.
I'm assuming you've met these two fellows, but let me remind you that they're presumably the only two men in America under the age of 75 who, when asked to simply name a few horror movies, would undoubtedly land on “The Golem” before too long. These are the men that grow from boys whose mothers fed them Castor oil for the blisters on their toes, products from the flea market foreign shoes they wore, mismatched and thrice-fold too small.
These gentlemen came to me to verify the activity on your passport - or, more importantly - the lack thereof. Now, you know that I can recite from the pages of Dante's Inferno, but even my voluminous sense of humor couldn't help but to get me into hot water when I realized that these bastards still have you pegged as flying commercial.
What options are you leaving me here? I had to listen to one of the brutes dry his mouth by going on for 20 minutes about how the Scots are all displaced Soviets, and that you were probably halfway to some Crimean resort ghetto as part of your Ukrainian Repatriation project. The best I could do was to let him know that after our extensive studies on the various Cossack militias south of Kiev, you had abandoned any hope of a renewed Russo-Ukrainian Federation long ago. I was quickly reminded of your affinity for awful booze and deplorable fashion, and was advised to rethink my position.
Who am I to doubt that sort of wisdom, Tharp? These are the men who convinced my wife that her memory of life was a lie, and that she had been sent from the future to derail my overthrow of the D.P.K. via the methods of marriage and general naggery. The woman thinks I'm the crazy one now, my friend, all thanks to these two Connecticut orangutans who now have all eight of their oversized opposables grasping at the straws that your shenanigans leave behind.
Look, I'm 5 coffees into a 2 coffee day, and these boys are playing hardball. I'm not one to back down, but I need to know how to properly calibrate this one. The world is not pinning its hopes on any of this, but if I'm to relieve these dogs of their ranks, I need to make sure it doesn't get pinned on some poorly dressed boy scout with no courtesy.
The main priority remains Arnotte. But this one must be logged properly. No more bipolar Pfc. bullshit. I hate to get official, but this is a serious job for serious men. On that note, I'm going to have McCallister contact a bookkeeper up there for action on tonight's Bruins game. He may be referring to Operation: Permanent Liberty. The handle is "Moranis" and the buy-in is $750. Let him know how you want to play it, you stopped listening to me long ago.
Diseased, Deceased and Desist
3.2 - Tharp, what the hell is going on in Thunder Bay? We dug a little bit on the Armenian gypsy lady who called for you, and it's Arnotte's wife. Not that I think he'll mind seeing as he washed up in Ohio this morning, fingers removed, teeth filed, and name branded on his forehead...
So now we have a devil woman, saying she got the office number from the card you "dropped" at her house. Well, I'm sending flowers. Make arrangements, man, should you feel another urge.
This is neither here nor there. What I NEED you to know is this: 1. As your Handlers and I were basking in the afterglow of your surprise review, who should amble out of the bathroom but one of the Puerto Ricans, previously believed to have been minced and prepared for the consumption of one Reginald Arnotte in Thunder Bay? Exactly. This is serious. Your Handlers, thankfully, no se habla, so I was able to direct our volunteer to the Office of Undead Affairs. This still leaves the question: who made up the second half of the double order of human sauce we prepared the ponies with? Please retrieve the meat from Arnotte's vessel - we've determined that the authorities in Ohio are not sophisticated enough to assist any sort of gastrointestinal reverse DNA engineering. This could get ugly quickly.
2. McCallister has returned from The Lakes with a nasty bump on his head and a Mohawk hairdo. The one thing missing is his memory. The man can't even speak. He's currently diapered and sedated in the medical ward.
3. Your Superior Handlers have sent someone to call you in. This last piece is the most important. I'm to report any contact with you to the D.O.J., but those fruits wouldn't know me from Adam. My advice is to contact me right away. I need the details. Do not forget the meat.
Naked Brunch of the Dead
3.3 - You've left me with no choice. I've had to go along with the Brutes and join the hunt. You're a wanted man, as crooked and deranged as that thought may seem. They're coming to cast you into the pit of scum, and I've run out of washcloths for the care packages.
The situation in Ohio has turned savage. Arnotte has come alive and was last seen dragging his wrists out the front door of the medical examiner's office. That was 6 hours ago. Since then, reports of unannounced Tea Party rallies have sprung up everywhere from Toledo to Columbus - and we know what that means. The chem suits are deployed, and the garden shears are at the ready. The Undead roam Ohio, and they'll be in D.C. before sunrise.
The preachers and the politicians they purchase were correct, the end times have found us.
If you're still in Thunder Bay, and the Golem Twins do not capture you first, I would recommend heading north. I will be bunkering down here, waiting for the zombie hordes with cold beer and warm lead.
I'd been instructed to detonate your handset, but these ghastly beings on hand are attracted to light and sound, and I couldn't bear the thought of you trying to fight off these flesh fiends with the two nubs that vacantly replaced your duplicitous, furious thumbs. I'm just too soft, and was probably never cut out for this business in the first place.
None of this matters now. It will all be over soon, and we'll all feel the pain of the ponies from which this plague was cast. I can only assume our little Puerto Rican stunt double is the culprit.
And whoever he was, I can't say for sure that I ever saw the two of you in the same room together.
First Encounters of the Last Kind
3.4 - Well, the cell phone towers and satellites are belching out their last gasps of information, and the returns coming in are pure bad news. The Swiss Plague has hopped from Ohio clear across the country, and we've got reports of people volunteering to these creatures in places like Nevada, Arizona and various other undereducated regions of this land.
These zombie hordes are like nothing we even imagined in the lab - I'm telling you, this is a potent strain here. We're finished. I know this first hand: A troop of the bastards was spotted roaming the streets a few blocks from here, so we suited up and went down for some extermination work. I can't say it was a smooth operation.
The plague was spreading rapidly when I arrived; the baristas, bike mechanics and various other lightweights had already been overcome. I quickly recruited the lanky Indian boy who sells me my daily dose of tobacco, handing him the sighted Remington. I asked him if he'd ever fired one before, and he confidently listed his goddamned video game credentials with the certain delivery of someone who thinks it's the same damn thing. Maybe it is, who am I to argue?
We holed up behind the counter and started laying down fire, and as the first shots found their targets, the damn creatures started arguing with us. We became subject to rabid lectures on how "we were doing it all wrong" and "it was meaningless to fight" them. The buggers can talk, Tharp - pure, clean, living voices straight out of Central Casting's Evening News Unit. I knew at that point we were doomed. Then it got ugly.
Whereas our prototypes had to directly infect their victims, these bastards are spewing some sort of acid breath that appears to be an airborne virulent. The Indian boy got too close, and I had to put him down myself after having to briefly listen to his attempted explanation that my resistance was a sign of true weakness. Where the first thought through my head was how I would most likely need to find other ways to procure tobacco moving forward, I thought the boy was right, but I was quickly jolted - and simultaneously saved - by the rolling thunder that was a vigilante band of motorcycle boys coming down the Interstate.
Now, I've been present at several charity Christmas breakfasts, but I can honestly tell you that the living eyes of wanton children do not possess the ability to light up as brightly as those of these undead hooligans upon the sight of these tattooed, bearded, bazooka-bikers. I made my dash as the zombies made their move, and left to the sound of a brief, silent argument.
I'm back at the office now, holed up on the ground floor, and I hear approaching Harleys. I am not confident that the riders would count themselves among the living, so I'm not taking any chances. If this message gets to you before the Big Boom is lowered, my advice is to approach from the south. We can regroup here and dispose of the stockpiles.
Jogging on Full
4.0 - This is even more serious than I thought. There’s some sort of rip-current working its way through the atmosphere. Something heavy and invisible that can transform anything it touches. These are the mad times of the mad men, the kind of scenes that get left out of the history books and get buried in reports written by fat bastards to be silently read by dumb fools and target practice types, all so that they can sound like hot shots at the next family reunion when it comes time to put grandma to bed and hit the heavy stuff. It’s got me anxious.
The grid’s come back to life and gone haywire with electric news, reports of hordes in Pakistan, hordes in New York, and more ghouls on the subways. We’ve evidently seen the first wave through, and the good people are crawling out from under their mortgages to find what’s left of this great land. They’re all heading back to Main Street to deal with the Looters: the kind of small town scum that used to be reserved for late night television on Savannah Public Access. Well, with the ammunition spent since the damn flu hit, I’m pretty sure these buggers are going to prove to be more than they ought to be worth, if only by their own estimates. We’ve got to be sure to check the flanks. I can guarantee you they’ve managed to work their way into cahoots with the ghouls – they’re on the same level.
I’ve got to work my way through this thing – maintain. This is the sort of event that you study on the fly, while being sure to liberally weave your evolutionary novelties into the fabric of your enemy’s skull. This zombie menace may have slinked back to the backwater high-rises and suburban chicken farms for now, but we’re on the trail. R&D is back on-line, and I’ve ordered all prototypes to be produced at full scale. We’re going to have rhinos with hound dog noses and explosive fucking horns stalking the streets of our cities, Tharp, and I’m going to be driving those monstrosities into the dirt. This is Biblical. We’ve conceded too much, absolutely, but I’ve been keeping stock. My bearings are true. We are on their terms now. It’s time to give this awoken Zombie Giant a nasty little case of Alien Hand Syndrome.
Don’t Call it a Money Shot
4.1 – There can be no doubt: this will be a long haul. There will be no Shock and Awe in the Battle For Our Grey Matter. This is certain. I have calculated the odds. We’re looking well down the road.
I have a Tunisian on the payroll now; this man is an expert with children. We’re going to bypass the entire swollen system like a freeway plowing clear though a Georgia swamp. As we speak, our man is dialing these little bastards up, getting them ripped on caffeine and strobe lights. The weaker ones drop like flies, but the savages who start laughing uncontrollably: those are the ones we need. Our plan is to insert these warrior children into Mexico and under the employ of El Commanchero. This is the man who has single-handedly brought more labor into this country than anyone since Old Joe Kennedy. I think the rest spells itself out, so I won’t bore you with the details. I know it’s an ugly maneuver, but this is an ugly war. This is a war of sacrifice.
As far as your orders: We’ve determined that, apart from our sinister Wunderkind Operation, we’ll need another dazzle job that throws these ape herders into fits of pure epileptic terror. We need a flash bang of pornography, hip-hop and Salinger. That’s all I can release to someone on your pay scale. Report back with hypothesis, plan of action and estimates as soon as possible.
Remember: we are on their turf now. We must maintain cover. These bastards have seized the public squares and office parks. Do not trip these boys up, they’re the kind of pure mean that you encounter outside the arena after an urban monster truck show. This is the carnal stupidity that nature employs to say “do not touch”, the sinister feebleness that gave the Catholics the keys to the locker room, and the D.A.s the death penalty. There is no known antidote, but we are working on the magic bullet. This will have to be a team effort. Our resistance begins now.