Unit Taffy 3/ Detroit: December 25, 2014, 0540 Hrs
"Jack's having a bad morning looks like, eh LT?"
This scene opens with a 1954 baby blue Jaguar XK 120 motoring down a highway.
Inside the car, which has a piece of clear plastic over the roof bows, which are normally used to hold the 'drop head' convertible top, q very properly mustached British officer with a thermos bottle full of coffee for company is driving along through the dark, which is pretty damn 'deserted road at 4 or 5 am' and inside the car is a cardboard box on the passenger side and a suitcase is on the outside of the car on the luggage rack over the trunk. The flapping plastic make shift top duct taped to the windshield and it's a cold miserable ride. The officer is dressed in a Class A uniform, but is wearing a dark brown 'baclava' type knitted cap, and is rather sad faced in the car's interior, motoring along in the dark. The sun comes up and at long last his journey will be over. There is a stop at a gas station where he takes down the make shift roof and, with a bit of gasoline on a rage, removes the residue of the duct tap from the windscreen and folds the top bows and stores them. He removes the balaclava headgear and takes his hat out of the trunk, along with his 'swagger stick' and continues along. He enters a small town and realizes he missed his turn, pulls off the road he is on and while driving down this 'not the main drag but near it' side business street, he comes to an American Half Track that is parked in this furniture store.
A flash back of a guy in the back of the track pretty well loaded and who'd crawled off to take a nap under some tarps is fed into the story line here. He's smiling peacefully and sleeps on as a couple of drunks climbing into the machine and firing it up. The loud mechanical sounds of this beast moving doesn't faze Sleeping Beauty there in the back of vehicle and all we see is this guy in a SF Giants baseball jacket fade out as the machine leaves the tank barn in the night.
Next moment, there is a crash of breaking store window and a head quickly appearing out from under the canvas tarps in the back of the machine and then more crashing and back down under the tarps and a lot more debris falls down upon the guy hiding under the tarps.
A shot from inside of this furniture store and here comes this half track being driven into the store. It's an old fashion sort of show room and on the 'mezzanine' is a red couch. The track hits the wooden support column and the entire balcony tilts forward and dumps this couch into the track's back compartment, where it is pointing up at about a forty degree angle. The falling debris stops and a door is opened and someone runs out of the vehicle and escapes while the guy in the back of the track is sitting up as if to throw the covers back on the bed he'd been sleeping in, but ... this is not his bedroom, and as far as 'recognizing what the hell just happened' goes, well, bit of a rude awakening seems to fit, doesn't it? 'Where the fuck am I? is replaced by 'oh fuck!' as the sound of footsteps hurrying away from the scene of the crime over the debris crunching glass and wood underfoot stops: Okay, I'm awake, this is real, and now what? So he stands up and a chunk of tin falls down off the track and 'now what?'
This Brit out in the Jag, whom we've already seen as a very proper British officer sees this and says, 'Oh BOTHER!' and parks the Jag across from the store and stares at the situation. All righty then! he mutters under his breath and gets out, picks up his hat and puts it on his head, picks up his swagger stick and goes into the store. "Hello?" A pause. "Hello?" He walks down the side of the track and opens the door on the drivers side and there is a rather large (and asleep) gentleman seated there behind the steering wheel. The guy in the back of the track moves and the officer calls up, "You there, I need your help getting this vehicle out of here. Climb down off of there and inside and help me get the driver out from the controls." Okay, guy might be hurt, right? So the guy in back clambers down and into the front and helps this little Pommie officer move the guy behind the wheel over. Officer hands up his officer's hat and swagger stick and climbs up inside. "Well, if that's all you needed me for..." and the guy gives the passenger a writhing look and says, "Sit there, I'm going to need some help in a moment." And without further ado, backs the thing up and swings it around and part of the monster machine dings the Jag. "Oh, bother!" he says with sincere feeling in his voice. He tell the soldier wearing the Giant's jacket to sit still, he has to get something from his car. And that is an order, soldier, so don't try and bolt, eh old chap? Sure LT. Anything you say.
The spiffy little limey officer gets out, strolls over to his now damaged Jaguar, which is obviously not going to be going anywhere very soon, seeing as a track has just run over it's left front fender, gets out his briefcase and pulls the cardboard box aside and hauls out an AWOL type overnight bag. He walks back to the open door on the track and tosses his brief case up behind the seat and then tells the soldier, "When I hand this up to you, please be very careful with it. I don't want any more accidents here this morning." "Family heirlooms, eh sir?" He says as he takes the case from the officer. "No, not quite. Just a bit chilly detonators, which are less stable at lower temperature and I'm afraid the heater wasn't really up for this climate you have here." Oh ... huh? "Unstable explosives, so do be careful old chap!"
This is still early enough in the morning that the flashing red lights on the police car is lighting up the storefront. A police officer comes up to the scene and the Brit coolly opens the armored glass window. "Hey, buddy, get your ass down from there, you're under arrest!"
"Officer, I assure you that I was not driving this machine when it encountered yon window. However, as I am a serving officer of Her Majesty's armed forces, I shall return it to it's rightful owners, whom I sure ought to be very pleased to have it back, as I'm sure it has great sentimental value to them. My motor has the keys in it, and I would appreciate you safeguarding my belongings and I'll have the American Army contact you about reparations for damage claims, which I'm sure they'll be happy to pay. Here is my card and thank you for your offer of assistance, but we'll be off now. Good day sir." And he puts the thing in gear and moves it forward.
The cop bangs on the door and he stops. "Yes?"
"You can't just leave the scene of an accident buddy! This is America!"
"Oh? I am a serving officer attached to the United States Army for temporary duty and this is a United States Army war machine, so I feel it is my duty to promptly returned due to the automatic weaponry aboard. Good day." And he puts the thing in gear and just drives it backwards into the police car. Oops!
"My apologies, officer. Just add it to the bill, please." Then he cooly puts it in gear and drives off. He stops at the stop sign at the corner, puts his turn signal on, checks traffic and turns the corner and drives away, the screeching of the steel treads and the heavy diesel engine noises fade as the machine turns and disappears around the end of the row of shops.
"Well, thanks for the extraction, LT, but if you'll just drop me off here at the corner, I can catch a bus back to the base."
"It's Major, not 'LT', boy-o, but since you are not really in what I think of as a uniform, I'm not going to try and rectify your lack of familiarity with British officers rank insignias. I should imagine, that you might per chance be some type of non commissioned officer in your military establishment?"
"Uh, yessir, I'm a Sargent."
"I see." Pause. "Might I inquire how you happened to wind up inside that establishment while it was closed? Or what this machine was doing illegally parked inside the store?" A slightly raised eyebrow as he gives the EM a measuring glance.
"I wish I could tell you that, sir, but the truth is, I ain't got a fucking clue."
Another curious glance over at the EM as they motor along in this clanking conveyance. Drivers at traffic lights look at them incredulously, but the British officer is totally at ease and nods politely back at drivers staring at them with dropped jaws. "I see."
The other guy mutters something under his breath. "Sorry, I didn't hear that. Could you please speak up a bit, old chap, it's a bit noisy in here."
By now, the ramifications of what is going on have sunk in to the guy in the Giants jacket. "Oh, sorry, Major. It's just that I have twelve years in and was planning on reenlisting next month and this little fuck up here is probably not going to turn out for my ... how would you put it? I guess you could say 'my Army career opportunities' might have to suddenly be reevaluated in light of this new intelligence having to be factored into the situation, shall we say?"
"Ah, yes, quite." The Englishman glances over to the American. "Well, then I guess the first thing that we'll need to do is to insert you back inside the military compound. I don't expect you had to show your pass at the gate when you drove off in this machine?"
"I wasn't driving! Honest sir! I had swapped duty assignments yesterday so this buddy of mine could do the wife and family bit, you know? After I got relieved, we had a little card game going and with a bottle or two, I just climbed up into the track and bedded down, as I was way too drunk to drive and the MP's are hell on wheels about drunks driving around loaded on base. Really 'bad career move' if you know what I mean? Next thing I know, things are falling down all over the place and sometime later, when things quieted down a bit, I came out to see what was going on and that's about when we first meet. Now here I am cruising up to the Main Gate out of uniform and without any idea of what I'm going to tell the Colonel, when, how shall I put it? Oh yes, he inquires of me what the circumstances under which we meet were and I'm dashed if I know exactly how to explain said circumstances when I haven't an actual fucking clue myself!" He's mocking the British officer, but he's deadly serious about what he is saying at the same time, and a bit forceful with his presentation of information: In other words, he's 'up shit creek' and knows just how far, too, and his morning is not looking good at all, at all.
The American gives him a level stare back. "And would you care to give me some 'career guidance' in this matter, Major? If it's not too much of a bother, sir."
"Ah, I see, a bit of a fork in the road you're facing, is it?"
"Oh, you could say that, I suppose, Sir!" The officer glances over, but the glance isn't 'ready to ream the guy a new one' but more just a glance of appraisal.
"All right, you need a bit of career advice then, is it, old chap?"
"Yessir, you might say that."
"Very well. I'd suggest you lose the civilian apparel before we arrive at the gate. I do believe that my proper little stick up his fundament UK popinjay act might distract attention. I shall endeavor to provide you with enough cover that they should not be too upset with you. After all, I did order you into this vehicle, you might recollect, and you are justifiably here under orders. Right now you are helping me escort a prisoner back to base, as well as steadying my belongings from being jostled about in this rather rough riding vehicle. At the next light, hand me over the valise, please, and I'll stash your jacket inside it. Perhaps you might enlighten me as to what an 'SF Giant' does, as I assume it must be some kind of a sport enthusiasts apparel, perhaps you are an aficionado of the organization?"
"You don't know who the Giants are?"
"I'm afraid you have the advantage on me there, sir, so pray do enlighten me!"
"Wow, I thought everyone knew who the Giants are."
"Some kind of Colonial sport, perhaps? If so, pray tell, which type of 'ball' do they play with? That one your tall people pat down the lacquered wood floor, or the oblong spheroid, perhaps? Or the one you swat with that stick with that square four bags on the ground business where the players have to go around the square by foot before they are awarded a point?"
Uh... "They're the San Francisco California baseball team, sir, they were recently World Champions, and you might have heard of the city, perhaps?"
"Yes, quite: That rice dish advertisement."
"That last bit... 'Rice, a roni! That San Francisco treat!' Understand it made the city quite famous."
By now, the Sergeant just flat out knows he's having his mind fucked with. Rice-a-fucking-roni? "Well sir, I hate to burst your bubble, but I happen to be from the area just to the north of there and oddly enough I myself have never enjoyed the dish myself, nor do I know anyone who uses the stuff on a regular basis either. So I'm afraid it's fame isn't quite justified as far as being solely due to the geniuses of Madison Ave." They pull up to a light and the American puts the bag down and pulls off his jacket and is in his on base work uniform. Sleeping beauty had been passed from the American's shoulder over to the British officer so he could remove his jacket, and he picks up the valise on the floor of the truck and goes to open it. It's locked, and he notices this is not a 'simple bag' but has HRH diplomatic pouch punched into the leather of the bag and a very serious dual key system is required to open the bag: He looks over to the officer, who holds out his hand. Traffic is honking by now, but he ignores it and sits the bag down on his lap. He does something to the bottom of the bag and the entire top is lifted off, revealing a very small open topped box seated on some kind of padded square cushion.
"Your jacket, please?"
The by now dumbfounded EM looks on as the officer carefully considers what's in the box and takes out a pistol, which he hands to the EM, several spare magazines and then ponders the other contents of the box for a moment. "Would you perhaps be familiar with the handling of high explosives, Sargent?"
The guy in the passenger seat gives him a "I'm 'somewhat familiar' with them, sir, you might say, I suppose." Giving hi right back 'English officer cool' in a somewhat English accent.
"Oh? Really?" The EM gives a half head turn 'understated' nod back. "And just how familiar are you with them?" The officer inquires.
"Very." The officer gives a 'come come' gesture with his fingers. "I'm an instructor at the Special Warfare Center. Perhaps you mightn't heard of us? Green Berets, perhaps ring a bell? You know, just like the girl scouts wear?"
The officer gives a momentarily 'thoughtful' look; as if he's trying to remember... "Oh yes! Of course! How could I have every let that fine organization simply slip my mind! Oh yes, of course I've heard of them!" The American grins; ah ha! Not heard of the Giants, eh? "Such splendid biscuits!"
"Biscuits, sir?" The Brit ponders for a moment, realizing that the chap hadn't understood him.
"Your fame has proceeded you, and I'm sorry to have not placed your organization, and regard them very highly, highly indeed!" The now clearly confused soldier nods, after all, who hasn't heard of the Green Berets, right? "It seems we have had a slight misunderstanding here, our two languages are very similar, and sometimes words don't have the exact same meaning in our two cultures you see?" Another nod, as the Understandings and misunderstandings between British and American troops has lead to many a 'sea story' about the other Army's traditions and cultures has been told in many a bar and many an officer's mess over the years. "In your language, what we refer to as a 'biscuit' your culture refers to as a 'cookie' and I've always admired the ginger snaps, myself. Jolly good work, old chaps! I had no idea that adults engaged in this trade, especially males, as I understood it was limited by gender, but I can see where that would be politically incorrect in your nation these days. So how long have you been making cookies, Sargent?" The dropped jaw look ... did this son of a bitch just call a real Green Beret a... (choke!) ... a fucking girl scout!? "Very well, I shall assume you actually do have some competence somewhere, so I'll take the chance and entrust you with these detonators. Please do not drop them and if you could put them next to your body so that they might warm a bit? They've been riding all night in a car with no roof and it's been below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so they need a bit of warming up. Jaguar heaters aren't quite up to coping very well with your beastly climate conditions here in America, so slip those into your shirt like a good chappie, please. I should hate to get my uniform splattered before reporting in, but I suppose if there should be a slight accident here, I shouldn't be too concerned as to the condition of my uniform, as I should imagine the sympathetic detonation of the rest of my little bag of goodies here should reduce both me, my uniform and you to the status of blast debris, and I should no longer be concerned as to what impression I might make on anyone, or anything, anymore. Are we clarifying the situation a bit better perhaps, Sargent? Your jacket, please." The dumbfounded American hands over his Giants jacket to the Brit who very carefully presses it down into the box, put the top back over it, then slips the 'diplomatic pouch' over the whole deal and it click clicks as the locks engage. "Now do be careful, okay?" Nod back. The officer nods, then engages the track. "Oh bother!" He remarks, somewhat irked.
"I missed the damn proceed signal while we were chatting."
"The lights turned red again, old chap! Please do try to pay attention to your surroundings, eh, old chap? Comes in handy in our line of business, don't you know?" Arched brow glance. "I'm afraid I have the advantage on you, you see: I've operated with people from your organization before when they pop across the pond every now and then to learn how this sort of thing is done. After all, you might say your organization is based upon ours, after all."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" A moment, "Sir?"
"Oh yes, quite so: You chappies aren't too up on the history of irregular warfare, as you?" Shake of head. "Oh well. Seems that there was this chap who operated behind enemy lines in North Africa during the last global unpleasantness, running around out there in the desert, blowing things up and shooting up the random German units it encountered. It was called the Long Range Desert Group by the high command, but it was more informally known as Popski's Private Army within the organization. Jolly good show, and all that, but we British officers have been commanding native troops for a lot longer than your country has been around, I dare say, and we've become quite good at all that creeping around in the dark cloak and dagger business over the years. Perhaps you might not have heard of our organization, as it rather does sound like something it is not: Does the name Special Air Services ring a bell with you? The SAS, as it's more informally known by?"
"Uh, yeah, come to think of it, I might have heard your unit's name mentioned around the Rod and Gun Club once or twice, Major."
The Brit opens his mouth, but merely nods his head, obviously quite pleased that the American knew which group he was referring to. Also the fact that he had impressed the 'girl scout' with the fact that he was every damn bit as tough as the snake eater and simply chose not to bandy the fact about that he'd been 'up at the sharp end' a time or three and so, well, should be quite obvious that a 'little thing' like a half track parked inside a furniture show room wasn't that big of a deal, right? Just a 'spot of bother' and not really worth mentioning, eh, old chap?
How the Major deals with this situation basically saves Jack's butt and he owes him one for smuggling him back onto the base, no questions asked. After all, what's more important driving up to the gate, a half track or a soldier out of uniform, but still in a recognizable uniform of the United States Army's own Special Forces, a somewhat unconventional military force to begin with?
Jack the Cat owes the little Limey big time and they both know it. The droll, hound dog faced Limey has what it takes in spades and the two instantly recognize that that in their first meeting. The SAS Major of Royal Marines and her Majesties Special Air Services and the American Army Sargent slide through this 'could be career wrecking' moment that sets up the beginning of the situation comedy 'Jack's Place', where the underhanded deal is to be expected and the low man on the totem pole Politically, what is about to be done stinks of high heaven, but simply because their cover story is so air tight the men are confident that as long as they don't do something really stupid, this quiet little operation that just reeks of CIA cover story stands pretty much as sure fire way of way of reassuring the men doing the blasting that there simply is no way in hell they are going to be getting into trouble, as long as they just follow the scripts that they are being handed that involve this 'no way in hell is any of this stuff ever going to really be aired idiotic idea someone had for experimental TV artsy fartsy 'every actor is their own script coach' and delivering a dead pan delivery to astonishing sights is simply the mark of professionalism that simply is expected of every single member of Unit Taffy 3, in operations in and around the immediate vicinity of planet Earth and the United States of America, and which certainly is not our own reality we are seeing betrayed, simply another Universe's vision of our own. Since we live in a Quantum Universe, selection of the particular one you belong to requires some dexterity of thought in order to understand how this odd coincidence that took play on January 1, 2015 at three PM in the afternoon effected what went on in the bar two and a half hours or so later on that evening when the men of Taffy 3 high explosive convoy stumble in for a little heart to heart talk about exactly what their own careers would likely wind up being worth if the details of how a United States Army helicopter valued at about eleven million dollars wound up sustaining significant blast damage to the airframe both pre and post crash of the vehicle due to high explosives being used frivolously in blatant disregard of safe handling of high explosives and unauthorized expenditure of same, which caused the instant departure from controlled flight of said aircraft and the major structural damage to both rotary air foils and the airframe of the vehicle itself, due to detonation of unauthorized high explosives to one side of the machine as it flared out prior to landing while in hover mode of the machine's flight envelope. After departure from controlled flight, the machine destructed and crew (1) escaped significant physical bodily harm due to the quick actions of blah blah blah.
Let us just say that both Jack the Cat and Jumping Jack Flash have a certain interest in staying as far away from Fort Bragg as possible: 'Good Career Move' about covers it.
Neither has any inkling at all that in a few weeks, they will running the mostly highly classified operation in the entire history of irregular warfare.
MISSING SCENES: INTERIOR COLONELS OFFICE MOTOR POOL
NEXT SHOW: December 31, 2014 1600 hrs to approximately 0430 hrs January 1, 2014