So here’s what my day was like: my tendonitis has complicated into radiculopathy. Today was a cycle of hospitals, waiting, and pain. My revenge? I inflict on all of you a silly, stupid post I wrote years ago. Don’t blame me (or my lack of planning ahead), blame my body. But I think you’ll like this piece. Years back, I promised to do a radio play about the invasion of Australia for some friends. Four months after the promise, this was all I had. So consider this work a tribute to the wonderful minds of Sean Burnham, Craig Martin, and Some Other Guy I Forgot. It’s the invasion of Australia and the hell that awaits the men and women in our armed forces; it’s a pretty good metaphor for how I feel right now; It’s…
DOUBLE-FISTED COBRA STRIKE: ABRIDGED
The year is 2030: The President of France accidently spills coffee on the Israeli Prime Minister. Having just watched the film Wag the Dog, he concludes that the best way to distract the public from his embarrassing actions is to invade Australia. France receives little support from the international community until France’s Intelligence Agency discovers untapped oil reserves in the Land Down Under. The US immediately enacts a draft.
Meet our hero, Johnny Jack Madden. He teaches engineering at the University of Nebraska, keeps a tight hand on his wallet, and is not sure what the big deal with Queen is. He promises his wife that he’ll return from the war in good health. But this is Australia, and no one is returning in good health…
Inside his transport plane, on the morning of the invasion, Johnny Jack chews some gum while sharing football stories with his platoon. As they approach, a faint ‘thump’ is heard on the top of their grey ship- then again- then again. It sounds like something jumping across the jet’s roof. The men laugh it off when their pilot speaks of the ‘passing kangaroo attack’ with a warble in his throat. But the true horror is just beginning. For years, the cassowaries have dreamed of flight, and now they have their dream fulfilled… in Apache Attack Helicopters!
With an ear-shattering BANG, the back of the plane rips open, and Johnny Jack clutches to his seat as half of his squad ragdolls into the waiting pouches of commando kangaroos. He can feel his ears pop as his plane flames into the ocean, smacking the water before shattering the Great Barrier Reef with its dented metal nose. When the H2O from the windows bludgeons our hero on both sides, his last breath consists of mostly water and parrotfish droppings, which he spits from his salty mouth. As Johnny Jack ascends, exhaling while his head wobbles, he sees the rest of his men fighting the carnage of the underwater battle. A lionfish and a stinging stonefish tag-team his best friend Vanessa until she’s nothing more than a cemetery of purple welts, floating with a purple tongue. Five solid men begin a dead float to the surface under the invisible, toxic arms of a lordly Box Jellyfish. Johnny Jack himself butts into a Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus, who begins a toxic wrestle with him until he stabs the beast’s head through its gaping mouth. Knowing he may only have minutes to live, he surfaces, snatching a world of air that may be his last.
At the beach, the Marines are creating a Slip-N-Slide with their blood. A Saltwater Crocodile munches on a sentry gun as several grime-smeared men retreat at a high pitch; to Johnny Jack’s left, a man draped in European Honey Bees opens his mouth for a blood-stopping scream, then has his voice silenced as the bees zoom down the man’s jagged throat. The few warriors brave enough to jump over the poisonous Oleander plants could not survive Australia’s most dangerous weapon yet: the Emu Suicide Bombers.
With the venom in his blood choking his heart, Johnny Jack commandeers a naval warship, and convinces its curmudgeonly captain to ram the USS Dwayne Johnson into the warzone, crushing the exploding emu bombs when the tittering ship finally falls to its side on the rocky beach. Knowing that the Australian King is nearby, our hero inspires the remnants of the legion to follow him into the jungle. All seems calm until a large sergeant notices a koala in the trees. “Chill out guys, koalas are nice…” he whines, but this is no ordinary koala… this is its vindictive relative: the drop bear! When the sergeant reaches his hand out to him, this grinning predator drops from the tree onto the soldier, wrapping around his ribcage until it snaps like a bag of pretzels. It then began gnawing off its dead eyes; the fallen warrior’s friends try to shoot it off, until Johnny Jack screams “THERE ARE LIKE FIFTY OF THESE GUYS!”
The rain of terror begins in the wet jungle of jeepers! With the drop bears flying down and snapping necks all around the naval crew, many of the men don’t notice the giant centipedes crawling into their battle wounds until they crawl out of the soldiers’ ears. Sydney Funnel-Webs, spiders with toxic fangs, entrap the soldiers in a hexagon web between trees, finishing their task as Johnny Jack stands alone, hazily beating down the centipedes with the lower jaw of a dead crocodile. The cuddly and carnivorous creatures closed in on the lead’s last stand.
With a cry that shot his throat and reached the heavens, he shrieks, “The King of Australia’s too chicken to face me!”
The dropped bears halted as a rumbling uproots all the trees. Then, a king cobra with each scale the size of a golden elephant breaks out into the clearing, eying our sweating hero. “YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE,” it hisses in a voice that knocks back the incoming helicopters with its vibrations.
“You mess with America, you mess with America!” he screams, keeping his head held up by a shaking arm. “I helped design the nuclear football, and I knew this day would come!” From his pocket, our hero pulls out his own red button, and clicks it at the giant cobra! “Die, cobra-commie!”
“NO! MY ONE WEAKNESS! AMERICAN ENGNEERING!” The King of Australia bares its glacier fangs and rears for an attack, but two whizzing bombs strike the back of its head. Through the blinding white and the deafening explosion, Johnny Jack remembers the last kiss of his wife. His last view on this mortal world is of the jetpack kangaroos, absorbing the blast of nuclear energy… and yawning.
Moral of the Story: You DO NOT with Australia!