by Pat Merrit

Warning: This is about what I wish to hell would happen if some of our boys, um, accidentally went to Afghanistan. It is meant to be humorous. It is not meant to make fun of the hunger going on in Afghanistan either. While it doesn’t refer directly to what happened on September 11 (because THAT will never, ever, ever be humorous), if the subject is still making you burst into tears at odd moments, then don’t read it. (hmm – actually – I still find myself crying, but writing this helped me feel better).

Dedication: Eleanor Tremayne for all her interesting information on the opium trade

Beta masterfully performed by DC Priestess - who insists she didn't actually help write the story. This fact is highly debatable.

Posted 10/09/01

CIA Surveillance Afghanistan Debrief

The following tape recording is taken from Denver ATF office from one of their junior staff who has a great many excellent suggestions on surveillance security. We thought we were listening to them, but apparently he found a way to reverse signals and actually tape our conversations. He’s given us a complete manual on how to use this new technique. The CIA personnel in the first part of the tape are unidentified for security reasons.

Begin Transcription:

“Sir – I think you should see this surveillance tape. It might shed some light on the recent influx of refugees from Afghanistan and the fire fight activity that took out the training camp.”

“This is from the Denver ATF – what the hell would they have to do with it? My God, we don’t have traitors in the ATF!!!!?????”

[polite cough] “Sir, not at all. Apparently some ATF agents were investigating some arms movement at an airport and ended up knocked out and in Pakistan with a very hot shipment of Russian AK47’s. They took custody of the shipment and then went into Afghanistan.”

“Great day in the morning,” [spluttering noises] “Were they taken hostage that's all we need is hostages!!! We’re still trying to get those two relief workers free. Goddam idiots – don’t they realize what a sensitive situation we have going?”

“Sir, Sir, its okay – they weren’t taken hostage and they did us a world of good, sir. They took a large refugee group over the border successfully and they’re responsible for us getting a lot of grain supplies to the refugees – they busted into the Taliban’s private stock that they had liberated from Unicef.”

“What the hell?” [More spluttering noises]

“Sir,” [heavy sigh] “Just watch the tape.”

Clicking noises followed by a VCR tape starting up.

[Sound of chair being moved] “Sir, this is the ATF Team Leader, Chris Larabee. I guess you could call this a debriefing, Sir.” [Chuckling noises]

Chris Larabee: We need to discuss your last mission in a little more detail then what ya put in your reports.”

Vin Tanner: “Um, what kind of detail would ya like, Cowboy.”

Larabee: “For instance, why did Ezra come back dressed as a Afghan woman?”

[Nervous shifting sounds][Prolonged silence]

Larabee: “When you look at me with those shit-eating grins, the hair on the back of my neck rises. [Extended pause] I also want to know why the CIA is asking to question you concerning this mission.”

Tanner: “Ya shouldn’t have told em you speak and write Arabic, Ez.”

Ezra Standish: “Shut up, Mr. Tanner.”

Larabee: “And since when does the incineration of seized weapons involve blowing up a terrorist training camp?”

Tanner: “The girls needed practice and food so we kilt two birds with one stone.”

Buck Wilmington: “Girls?”

Ezra Standish: “Shut up, Mr. Tanner. [Polite throat clearing] Not that we are confessing in any way to anything at all, Sir. . .”

Tanner: “We got lost, Sir.”

Larabee: “Over the Pakistan Afghanistan border? Goddammit men, there are only two freaking roads from Pakistan to Afghanistan!”

Tanner: “We got lost on one of em, Sir.”

Wilmington: “What I want to know is why the hell you didn’t invite us?”

J.D. Dunne: “Yeah!”

Tanner: “We didn’t think you boys was that stupid, um, Sir.”

Standish: “Shut up, Mr. Tanner. Don’t look at me like that, Josiah. We were stuck there. Well, Mr. Larabee, again without making any confessions; off the record: we had the guns, they needed the guns and they were trying to escape the Taliban. The training camp was just dumb luck.”

Tanner: “They was starving, Cowboy. Twern’t decent not to do somethin. The girls did such a good job with them guns, Russian AK47's in just pristine condition. Just like a turkey shoot without the gobble. And we didn't know about the C4 –honest.”

Wilmington: “Girls?”

Standish: “And the tanks…. Well, they was just a fortuitous circumstance.”

Tanner: “Yeah, what he said. They was left over from the Russians and not being used for nothing but shade.”

Standish: “And its not like we could call. The whole damn country doesn't have one single cell phone, or bathing facilities or any alcohol of any type!”

Tanner: [Snorting noise] “Hell, one match would set off the body odors eventually. We just helped it along some. Course, they did offer to trade a hell of a lot of raw opium for Ezra.”

Standish: “Mr. Tanner!”

Wilmington: “What for?”

Dunne: “What for?”

Tanner: “Them green eyes was a great selling point. Course they couldn’t see nuthin else what with him wearing that damn haz mat suit.”

Standish: “It was the type of clothing the Taliban forces women to wear in Afghanistan, Mr. Tanner. And please refrain from providing unnecessary and superfluous details.”

Tanner: “Huh?”

Standish: “Shut up.” [Noise as if someone were shifting or squirming in chair a bit]

Standish: "At least I didn't have a fan club of enthusiastic harem women following me around.”

Wilmington: “Harem!!!”

Dunne: “I don’t get it. What were you selling?”

Tanner: “Hell, Ez, you wuz my harem. I had to tell everyone you was my number one wife.”

Standish: “Expletive deleted.”

Larabee: “So is this why the Taliban is offering a reward for a tall blue-eyed assassin infidel and his green-eyed sorceress?”

Standish: “Expletive deleted. And I had to tell them you were attacked by an American CIA agent and had your vocal cords removed so I wouldn't inflict your damned poor Texas accent on them.”

Tanner: “Hey, I thought I was picking up on the lingo pretty good, Ez. I know I was gettin real good at ridin them camels. Just like a horse...well a drunk horse....except for the spit.”

Standish: “And the noise...and the smell. And leave us not forget the unfortunate tendency to bite.”

Tanner: “And helping all those Afghans across the border into the refugee camps was just icing on the cake. And the girls liked my accent, Ez.”

Standish: “That’s not what they liked, Vin.”

Tanner: “OH?”

Wilmington: “OH?”

Dunne: “I still don’t understand why anyone would want to buy Ezra.”

Wilmington: “Shut up, J.D. They thought he was a woman. Tell me about this harem again?”

[Brief smacking noises]

Tanner: “Yeah. We managed to save some of the food and medical supplies from the training camp. They feed those guys up real good. We took it over the border with the Afghans. They liked Ezra’s cooking, too.”

Larabee: “Which just shows how desperate they really are.”

Standish: “That was uncalled for, Sir.

Tanner: “Hell. I had three offers for him after they found out he wasn't a woman.”

Standish: “I didn't know that!”

Tanner: “Well, Ez, I wasn't gonna tell ya. I didn't think they wuz your type. And I wasn’t telling you nothing, not with that gun in your hand, leastways.”

Standish: “You should have heard what the women were saying about your posterior, Mistah Tanner.”

Tanner: “If I was a mind to set up as a camel breeder, I would have had a real nice start to my herd, what with all the camels they was offering for old Ez here.”

Standish: [startled noise] “Where the hell did those come from?”

Tanner: “I took along that miniature digital camera that J.D. was using. This here lady on top of the old soviet tank waving the AK47 - that is Ez. You should a heard him yelling at the camels in Arabic.”

Standish: “Well, I was supposed to be a woman. And speaking English would have gotten us both shot. And someone had to get the tank in position.”

Tanner: “I picked up some of the lingo and I’m sure one of the men said, ‘the woman has beautiful eyes, but she sounds like a pig having its balls cut.’ Hey – give me back those pictures.”

[Noise of a scuffle]

Wilmington: “Hell, them poor girls look like their all wearing asbestos suit.”

Standish: “Uncomfortable things.”

Josiah Sanchez: “Were the women afraid of you, Ezra? Once they figured you were a man.” Standish: “They were remarkably brave kind hearted people. They were ready to share their last loaves of bread with us.”

Larabee: “I take it this is where you got the idea of liberating Unicef food supplies?”

Tanner: “They wuz hungry, Chris!”

Larabee: “And shaving the beards off the guards, which is a blood insult. What the hell was that about?”

Tanner: “They insulted my woman.”

Standish: “VIN!!!”

Tanner: “Sorry, Ez. Oh, and that reminds me. Where'd ya learn to shot a LAWS, Ez?”

[Long silence]

Standish: “Well, perhaps ‘learned’ is too strong a term. I hadn't actually. I just thought that it seemed fairly simple, just point and shoot. I do wish someone had mentioned the flame exhaust.” [slight cough] “It seemed the expedient thing to do, what with that helicopter targeting us.”

Larabee: “So that’s why they put the bounty on Ezra?”

Tanner: “No – he taught the girls to read. And he gave em makeup!”

Wilmington: “You devil!”

Sanchez: “You devil!”

Standish: “They particularly liked the French perfume.”

Tanner: [Low voice] “The men could have used some of that perfume, too.” [Louder voice] “They would have like the chocolates that I brought with me, but they didn't carry well in the heat. Camels liked them, though, even if they did puke em up later.”

Nathan Jackson: “Did either of you guys get hurt?”

Tanner: “Ez got bit in the ass by the camel.”

Standish: “VIN!”

Tanner: “Well, you did!!!”

Jackson: “Thought so. You been wigglin in your chair all morning, Ez.”

Tanner: I think it was upset about the chocolate.”

Jackson: “Let me take a look.”

Standish: “Oh no you don't!”

Jackson: “Quit fussing.”

Standish: Much higher voice, “Vin got shot!”

Tanner: “Did not!”

Standish: “He bled like a pig.”

Tanner: “Just a damn flesh wound.”

Jackson: “You know those places are crawling with germs. Did you damn fools clean the wounds?”

Tanner: “We used Ez's whiskey. He's still bitching about it.”

Standish: “It wasn’t whiskey. It was SCOTCH. Twelve year old scotch.”

Tanner: “He screamed like a girl when I put it on his camel bite. Them Taliban guys thought I was playing rough with him. They approved.”


Jackson, Sanchez, Wilmington, Larabee and Dunne: “Bastards.”

Standish: “Well, when I treated your damn gunshot wound they thought ‘I’ was making you scream.”

Tanner: “I got offered 10 camels for ya after that.”

[Wild outbreak of laughter]

Standish: “Really?” [sniffing noise] “Not near enough.”

Tanner: “Hey, around there 10 camels is a fortune. They was real pretty camels, Chris. I was tempted.”

[Sound of man hitting his head on a desktop.] Standish: “Well he traded me for only three of the miserable creatures. I think I’m offended

Tanner: “We needed to get that tank in position.”

Larabee and Wilmington: “WHAT!”

Tanner: “Calm down Chris, I brought him back. The camels was easier to deal with.”

[Snickering – probably Tanner]

Tanner: “He had one devil of a time keeping ahead of that new master of his. Old man wanted to handle the goods right off.”

Standish: “Filthy pervert.”

Wilmington: “How the hell did you get out of that one.”

Josiah: Didn't he try to punish you, Ezra?”

Standish: “I decked him before he could try that and told the guards he had succumbed to bliss.”

Tanner: “Yeah, I gave him the camels back.”

Standish: “After he chased us down and tried to shoot Vin.”

Dunne: “You guys have all the fun.”

Standish: “Shut up, JD. [exclamation of pain] OUCH, Nathan, give a man some privacy.”

Sanchez: “Allow me to lend a hand, brother.”

[Sounds of a scuffle. Apparent sounds of Tanner chuckling under his breath]

Jackson: “I just know you're infected. [sounds of clothing rustling - possibly pants being pulled down] [gasp of horror] OMYGOD, I’ve never seen that shade of green in a wound before.”

Larabee: “Is that orange pus?”

Jackson: “Hospital, now.”

Larabee: “You too, Tanner.”

Tanner: “WHAT FOR?”

Jackson: “You got wounded, you idiot.”

Tanner: “Nah, its nothin. Jist a bitty scratch. Ain't even got any pus now and those red streaks aren’t that long.”

Larabee: “I’m coming with you, Nathan.”

Jackson: “Thanks Chris. They’re slippery when they’re wounded.”

Dunne: “Hey Chris, what’s that on your wall?”

Larabee: “What do ya mean, J.D.?”

[Scratching noise of chair being drug closer to recorder]

Dunne: “Hey – it’s a bug. High tech too. And a camera. Wow!”

Standish: “Good Lawd! My nether regions are on TAPE?”

Dunne: “Hey – I bet I could rig this up to reverse the action.”

Larabee: “Looks like you’ve been debriefed, Ez.”

Dunne: “All I need to do is…..”

End Transmission