Captain Patrick Henry was alive.
Something warm and wet was rubbing against his face rhythmically. In a half-conscious haze Captain Henry smiled and mumbled, recalling a 19 year old Puerto Rican girl named Valencia running her dagger-shaped tongue along the many scars on his face. He kissed her, their tongues swirling around each other in a passionate dance, her fiery Hispanic lips burning against his. With barely any effort he lifted her into his muscular arms and she laughed, trailing a sweat-slick sheet that was wrapped around her like cellophane.
"I'm not done with you yet." She seemed to weigh nothing in his arms but she struggled half-heartedly to wriggle away.
A tree branch just higher than the cab of the pickup truck smashed into the side of Captain Henry's head that was caked with dried blood. The blow slewed him sideways and he dropped Valencia from his hands. She yelped and hit the bed of the truck, scurrying away with clacking nails to join the fifteen other Chihuahuas panting and yipping in the back of the pickup.
Reality pressed in on Captain Henry stiflingly. All at once the motel, the sweaty teenage hooker, and the three days of R&R were replaced with a filthy pickup truck bed full of Chihuahuas and a pounding headache. He steadied himself on the cab of the pickup with one hand and felt his head with the other.
The last thing he clearly remembered was tossing aside his M-60 as he rounded a corner inside the Al-Qaeda training camp. The metal corridors were thick with drug cartel assassins and PCP addicted Al-Qaeda operatives and Captain Henry had gone through three belts of ammunition in the process of battling his way inside. Then he made a rookie mistake. He rounded the corner before he had his .357 magnum fully drawn from its holster and turned to face one of the snaky-looking terrorists in a silver jumpsuit. The Arab madman had the drop on him. Captain Henry whipped the revolver up to fire but the terrorist was ready, the pistol it held making a high-pitched zipping sound and launching out a stream of projectiles.
After that moment things became a blur of pain and blood for Captain Henry. He knew the murderous scumbag had hit him in the head with some sort of shrapnel gun because he could feel dozens of scabby craters on his forehead and scalp. He must have returned fire and distinctly remembered the comforting roar and buck of the high-caliber pistol. Since he had no other significant injuries that must have been the last of the terrorists, so he could safely assume mission accomplished. He never failed in his job of protecting America's freedoms.
Captain Henry peered in through the dirty glass of the truck's back window and saw three children staring wide-eyed back at him. If he craned his head he could see that the driver was a light-skinned Hispanic man wearing a straw cowboy hat. Captain Henry was going to tap on the glass to get his attention but a sudden bout of dizziness swayed him and he slumped down into the yipping mass of Chihuahuas.
His head throbbed and blackness closed in on his vision. A tan dog jumped onto his lap and began scratching frantically at his chest, its big black eyes looking soulfully into his and its long pink tongue lolling out of its mouth. Slowly and with great effort Captain Henry lifted his hand and let it fall onto the dog's back to pet it. It yelped with surprise and ran back into the whirling ball of fur and barking mouths in the far corner of the truck's bed.
"Must concentrate," Captain Henry grunted. "Must maintain control."
He focused on the indistinct faces of his team members, trying to remember what had happened to them and to him. The ones who had gone into the camp with him had been killed, he felt certain of that. He had a startling memory of a bright pink cartel assassin covered with tentacles dropping down from the ceiling and snapping Pfc. Michaels' neck. There was another flash of the doggedly tough Corporal Hendricks being impaled on a makeshift spear wielded by an Al Qaeda operative wearing a bear suit and a Pope's hat. That sure was weird.
Then something else happened. On the way out, something really strange. What was it?
Captain Henry pounded his palm against his temple in an effort to exorcise the demons within.
Yes! Helicopters! Women in black suits with guns. He thought they were Delta Force, but then he saw them kill Hwong with a bullet between the eyes. There was only one possible answer to something like that happening.
Somehow, for some unknown reason, the Commies had reformed their Special Forces units and sent them to kill the Gamma Strikers. This was big news, beyond the scope of what Captain Henry was used to dealing with. He could take out a thousand Commies with his bare hands if he wasn't dizzy, but the Commies were supposedly on America's team now. Why would they be trying to invade Guatemala?
With determination Captain Henry pushed back the walls closing in on his mind and fought away the dizziness. He had to warn President Clark. If there was a Commie plot the President had to know.
Captain Henry rapped his knuckles on the back window of the truck's cab, getting the attention of the driver. Without slowing down the man reached back and slid the window open.
"Si?" He asked.
"Telephono Pronto," Captain Henry rasped. "I needo to get to the…get…hablas Telephono?"
"No, no, medicina," the man replied, tapping his cowboy hat roughly where Captain Henry was injured. "El doctor tiene un teléfono."
"Doctor Telephone, huh? Buddy you're crazy." Captain Henry shook his head, then regretted it as a jolt of pain shot from his face to his neck.
He felt like throwing up.
"Okay, well, Doctor Telephone it is I guess." He said into the rushing wind as he slid back down into the truck's bed.
"Usted sobrevivirá." The man called after him.
"No," replied Captain Henry as his vision began to fade again. "Captain Patrick Henry, USA."
Then he could fight it back no more and lost concisousness.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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