by Thomas Twining © 2002

Colonel Bob Murcheson took the well-chewed stub of a cigar out of his mouth. "Each one of the monkeys in the squad," he began, "has been trained to achieve their objective within five minutes of their drop times." He held up the standard special-forces watch. "Each platoon leader has a watch like this one. In the event they donít reach their objectives on time," he continued, "they are instructed to deliver their payloads where-ever they are at zero-hour. He stuffed the soggy half-cigar back between his teeth and scowled. "Any questions?" Murcheson looked at the faces around the big table.

General Hagwood shook his head and looked at the floor. "Kamakazi monkeys squads surgically stuffed with mini-nukes?" His eyes fixed on the Murchesonís cigar. "Youíre kidding, right?"

Murcheson laughed. "No sir. I wouldnít kid you. Itís some shit ainít it? Super Goddamn-Double-Secret for ten years. Itíll sure surprise the hell out of those Chinese bastards. Theyíre used to that jungle already and those damn monkeys are thick as flies. Theyíll never notice until almost six-thousand nuclear monkeys have saturated their perimeter And then..." His eyes lit up and his hands jerked involuntarily. "Bang!" He said loudly. "The monkeys blast the commies. Itís a fucking innovation, a break-through, thatís what it is." He clenched his fists.

Larry Hagwood put his shaking hands to his damp forehead. "Have you actually authorized this mission Colonel?"

Murcheson nodded. "Yes sir. By the time we detected the Chinese force there was no time for us to get enough conventional force in there to stop them. It was this or lose Brazil, period." He grinned as he looked at his watch. "Five minutes now." He pointed to a densely green strip of the interactive map on the wall. "All in that one jungle on the border. If it all goes right that strip should light up like Broadway in about four minutes." Murcheson turned back to the table. "Itís a goddamned blow for freedom is what it is! This kind of tactic is why we win wars, nobody but an American can think like this!"

"God help us if the press gets hold of your language Murcheson." Hagwood stood up slowly. "You know that I have to arrest you donít you?"

Murcheson stiffened. "Yes sir. I do."

"Do you really understand why I have to arrest you?"

"Yes sir. Unauthorized use and deployment of unconventional weapons." He hesitated. "But if this works it will change the course of the war." Murcheson shook his head. "When I heard about the bang-monkey program I couldnít resist. Itís decisive and unbelievable, the ultimate tactic."

Hagwood frowned. "And what do you think the Chinese government will do in response to an entire theater-force being vaporized by tactical nuclear?"

Murcheson grinned. "You actually think theyíd have the balls to launch a full-out nuclear first strike because an illegal aggression is stopped in itís tracks by monkeys? The embarrassment would be a disaster. Nah, theyíll back down and sweep it under the rug. " He put his hands in his pockets. "I say we show them how Americans get the job done. Once and for goddamn all."

Hagwood sagged as he drew his side-arm. "You are a psychotic Murcheson." He leveled the gun at the colonels mid-section. "You canít rewrite national policy, put us at risk of nuclear war! Who the hell elected you king?"

"Are you going to shoot me?"

"Not unless I have to. Is that what you want?"

"No, not yet. Not until they go off." He pointed at the big satellite monitor on the wall. "Look, the attack is timed to this pass."

Hagwood looked at the monitor as the screen filled with lush jungle which promptly glared a blinding white. Behind his stunned retinas he pictured the devastation in the wake of the attack. A million soldiers dead, a third of their equipment destroyed or irradiated beyond repair, and hundreds of square miles of jungle permanently destroyed.

Murcheson whooped. "Kill me now Hagwood! I took those bastards in the boldest strike since Hannibal."

General Larry Hagwood had never imagined what it would feel like to actually believe that a full-scale first strike was on itís way. He knew now, and squeezed the trigger; twice. Murcheson fell, surprised and in pain. He bled to death on the floor.

The strike Hagwood feared never materialized. Just as Murcheson had said the Chinese government swept the entire issue under the diplomatic rug and went home to lick itís wounds. No American forces had even been put a risk and a million Chinese forces were dead. The whole idea staggered Hagwoodís mind.

He turned himself in immediately of course, for the shooting of Murcheson but the government pensioned Hagwood off generously and swore him to eternal secrecy. A win-win for all concerned, he thought bitterly.

He drew his side-arm at his retirement ceremony and put the last round heíd ever load through the bridge of his nose. It wasnít a very nice party after that...

x x x

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