Johnny America


The As­sas­i­na­tion of Timaz Bendoll


I got a shit­ty feel­ing about this place.

What?, I said. Pour me a Coke, would you.

You were talk­ing to your­self, said the Turk.

It was hot for damn sure. But where was I? In a field? Pussy. I was in­side of an in­dus­tri­al smoke­stack. It was World Ward II. Or, as a good man once said, Mañana I did­n’t wan­na die. I kept for­get­ting I was sit­ting in a bar with the Turk, a fat man who spoke poor Eng­lish ex­cept for dirty jokes. I kept him com­pa­ny be­cause I did­n’t have to pay at­ten­tion to him and he kept talk­ing, ram­bling, half Eng­lish, half Gyp­sy. I was think­ing about ditch­ing the bas­tard when I hear him say with a cig­ar in his mouth,

The pas­tor said tit­ties? Yes, the man replied, tits amen. Ha ha what you think, friend.

Good, Turk. Turk Turk Turk. Tuck a tuck a tuck. Where’s you learn the word titties?

A Span­ish nurse.

The wait­er set a glass of Coke on the ta­ble in front of me and I took a long drink from it, felling it trick­le down my throat and in­to my bel­ly. It was a small re­lief from the ab­surd­ly cru­el African heat. Wip­ing the sweat from my face, I though about a Span­ish nurse. Aqui. Aqui. Si, aqui. It’s okay, I took care of Ra­mon. Zzzzzip. Bend her over the kitchen ta­ble, white skirt up around her waist, spread, quick­ly be­fore Ra­mon re­turns, tell her about the ware and what it does to a man. About how the ca­jones swell up so large they might ex­plode and no one wants the Cap­tain’s nuts to ex­plode, least of all me, and whis­per in her ear, soft­ly, al­most breath­less­ly, mi kueri­da, you are a pa­tri­ot with a heart of gold and a sil­ver-lined cunt, and they will pierce your nip­ples with the medal of hon­or. Your dark nip­ples, your breasts tanned like co­conuts, a smooth, del­i­cate back with long hair wisp­ing down around your shoulders.

Oh I will take you for my wife, back to Amer­i­ca. We will be wed and af­ter that we will screw like crazed hye­nas, red, raw, every morn­ing when we wake up, be­fore break­fast, af­ter break­fast, ten min­utes lat­er, in the pool, skip lunch, dur­ing the news, in front of the win­dows so the mail­man can see, pre-sun­down, at sun­down, post-sun­down, once more and then we col­lapse from ut­ter ex­haus­tion and to the whole thing to­mor­row. I will call out your name more that and they neigh­bors will hear it all and be afraid.

The Turk slapped me on the back and said some­thing about a meet­ing, paid the bill and left. I was then sit­ting alone at the ta­ble look­ing out the win­dow at the Arabs car­ry­ing bas­kets on their shoul­ders, yelling at camels and some­times nudg­ing them so they would go. I fin­ished my Coke and left some coins on the ta­ble and walked out­side the door in­to the sun. The on­ly thing I could think of to take my mind off the heat was to dri­ve around in the Jeep as fast as pos­si­ble, let­ting my body air dry in the wind. I walked around the bar to the back where the Jeep was parked, put on my hel­met, lurched it in­to gear and took off.

There was a stretch of desert, a long, flat run­way of sand with enor­mous dunes sur­round­ing it, just south of the vil­lage, where some of the oth­ers went to cool off the same way I did. Some of the boys would go there to blow off some steam by jam­ming the Jeeps full throt­tle with teeth clenched down one of the dunes on­to the plant at around 80 or so for a good mile and a quar­ter, whoop­ing and scream­ing, then put her in neu­tral and let it coast all the way to halfway up the op­po­site dune. The Jeep would slow and grav­i­ty would pull her back down where they would come to an easy stop some­where in the mid­dle of the sandy ex­panse. It was cus­tom­ary to smoke your cig­a­rette at this time, as this was about the clos­est thing any of the boys got to ass around there.

I was to re­port to Lieu­tenant Colonel Sad­dle­back at 1300 hours to re­ceive or­ders. It was 12:45 so I had fif­teen min­utes to kill. It would­n’t mat­ter much, though. The on­ly or­ders giv­en around here were No Or­ders From Com­mand. The bat­tal­ion had been sta­tioned on the out­skirts of Wad­dan, a rem­nant of some an­cient car­a­van out­post, where rag snakes got rich off us thirsty boys. We would go in­to town to drink and fuck, but the few whores that were here took off at the prospect of five hun­dred sex-crazed, drink-heavy mad jack­al GIs trained in sev­en­teen dif­fer­ent ways to beat the shit out of every­thing that puts up a fight. So we drink, we shuf­fle equip­ment around and pre­pare for the fic­tion­al re­al war, we try to keep cool. Keep cool and buy me a drink and this Jeep can go faster.

I came to rest in the sand and sat help­less­ly in the sun, pour­ing sweat, sandy, I smoked a cig­a­rette and leaned back in the dri­ver’s seat. No clouds. No ra­dio. Just the sound of the en­gine idling, the wind brush­ing my ears, the to­bac­co smol­der­ing as I in­haled. It was a feel­ing I’ve on­ly had at a few times in my life, the feel­ing that there is noth­ing else inn the world but what you can see and feel. Many of the boys had re­lat­ed to me ex­pe­ri­ence like that, here in the desert, away from every­thing fa­mil­iar, in a weird, quiv­er­ing half life.

Over the dune came the sound of an­oth­er Jeep. Then it ap­peared out over the crest of the dune, kick­ing up sand in a long, lin­ger­ing trail, head­ed straight to­ward me. I watched it com­ing, try­ing to make out the two peo­ple on board. It was Pri­vate San­si­bel and Lieu­tenant Colonel Sad­dle­back. Bas­tards. The war, or non-war, I could deal with that. But mad­men like these were be­yond my rea­son. They were caged dogs. The break­down of the war ma­chine was to them a per­son­al af­front, and, left in com­mand, Sad­dle­back was a men­ace, sadis­tic and bru­tal. They pulled up be­side me and as I got out of the Jeep to salute, Sad­dle­back hand­ed me a sealed en­ve­lope. He fixed his eyes on mine and I start­ed to say some­thing but he in­ter­rupt­ed and snarled,

Just see that it gets done. Be­lieve me I’d do it my­self if I could. Out on the street in front of every one of these rag bas­tard Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers if God would al­low it, Sad­dle­back said, grind­ing his right, de­formed fist in­to his left palm. But I have oth­er things to at­tend to and you seem to know the man and his habits, a fact we are keep­ing at the very fore­front of our minds. You will be watched close­ly. Is that clear, soldier?

Yes sir.

Very good.

Sad­dle­back gave San­si­bel the sig­nal to go, and I heard him say wist­ful­ly as they drove off how he would love to be there to pick the fat man’s bones clean and vic­to­ry dance something.

I took a seat in my Jeep and waved the sand out of my face. Tear­ing open the en­ve­lope, I ner­vous­ly took out the pa­per and un­fold­ed it. I was ex­cit­ed — this was a chance to get some ac­tion, some­thing to do, some way to help the cause. It was a let­ter of or­ders in­struct­ing me to car­ry out the as­sas­si­na­tion of a re­cent­ly dis­cov­ered spy.

Ob­jec­tive: As­sas­si­na­tion of Sus­pect­ed Ax­is Spy

Name: Timaz Bendoll

Lives in Wad­dan, the apart­ment above the ba­nana mer­chant in the South­west cor­ner of town. Was ob­served pos­si­bly ex­chang­ing clas­si­fied troop lo­ca­tions for cash with known Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor. Ter­mi­na­tion is in the best in­ter­est of Al­lied forces. Pic­ture enclosed.

I checked the en­ve­lope for the pic­ture and rec­og­nized the man as the Turk.

A week lat­er and I was po­si­tioned on the roof of the build­ing op­po­site the bare where I knew the Turk would be that night. Be­fore I left the en­camp­ment, Sad­dle­back had said that Ben­doll may or may not have been alert­ed to the as­sas­si­na­tion plot. We could take no risks as he might try to es­cape to Ax­is safe­ty. In my head I kept won­der­ing if the Turk was a spy. I was not con­vinced of it. He was a good man as far as I’d ever been con­cerned. Crude per­haps, nev­er a good lis­ten­er, but he al­ways had mon­ey and of­ten bought me drinks. But any ac­tion was good ac­tion and in those mad African months and I had re­solved to do it.

I had seen him en­ter the bar a cou­ple hours ear­li­er. It was on­ly a mat­ter of time be­fore he would come out, and then there would be a quick win­dow of op­por­tu­ni­ty to kill the man. He al­ways had a chauf­feur in a white car come to pick him up, and this was my sig­nal to be ready. I lied on my stom­ach check­ing the sights and aim­ing the ri­fle to­ward the door. I lit a cig­a­rette and waited.

Af­ter a few min­utes, the white car pulled up to the door of the bar and a man got out and went in. I read­ied my­self, putting my fin­ger on the trig­ger, train­ing my eye on the bar door, think­ing about killing the man. The door opened. The chauf­feur and Ben­doll walked out. I set the crosshairs on his face, won­der­ing if this was the ac­tion I had been look­ing for, and in my head I thought all I ever want­ed to have was the strain of com­bat, to be in a sit­u­a­tion where every­thing mat­tered, where and ex­plo­sion would go off some­where in the dis­tance and a fel­low sol­dier would run over to me and say in a hushed, tense voice, Stand­by, Cap­tain. It’ll on­ly be a lit­tle while longer. Mar­quez! Here you go, drink this. The oth­ers will soon here soon. We just need to fig­ure out how long we have till all hell breaks loose. It’s an eerie fuck­ing feel­ing, I know, but our cal­cu­la­tions are show­ing some promis­ing signs. We just need to work hard­er and stay awake longer. There’s no turn­ing back and we can’t lose this one and fight again to­mor­row. It’s our on­ly chance, so look mean and kill as many of them as you can.

Filed under Fiction on November 8th, 2003

Care to Share?

Consider posting a note of comment on this item:


Previous Post


Next Post


Join our Irregular Mailing List

For very occasional ramblings, word about new print ephemera, and of course exciting investment opportunities.