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Fall 2005

A Rose by Any Other Name

Rodger D Jennings

Sic, at times

"President Shrub! President Shrub! Did you or did you not have sexual relations with Emmy Lou Lossky at Abu Ghraib prison?"

"It depends on how you define sexual. I don't see nothing 'sentially sexual in a few old army pals getting together for a few skits of Dante's Inferno ."

Cletus T. Shrubbery flashed an electorally winning smile to the camera.

"I mean, what better way for us to convert the infidels than with the rich Western repository of art, we got readily available. Think 'bout it, y'all-two thousand years all available with one click of the mouse. We coulda just stood there preaching fire and brimstone all livelong day, but, hell boys, they don't speak English. I'll tell y'all about the night I think you're talking 'bout and they wadn't a thing we enjoyed doing going on.

--------------------------------

"We had just caught us a fresh batch of them Iraqi insurgents and they was hot. We was worried about them as people. I could tell that once you got past the rough and tough jihad "murder the Westerner" exterior, we was dealing with genuine people-good people that had been lied to for years. All they was looking for was some slice of that big apple pie so plentiful in the states. But having served so long in Saddam's Third Reich of evil, it was gonna be tough for 'em to start living a normal God-fearing life.

"On that night, me and Emmy was just broken up inside wondering how we was going to set these boys straight. How was we gonna get these boys to repent of their evil, sin-stained pasts? We was concerned with their E-ternal souls. We brainstormed for hours, but the answers we came up with reminded me of a catfish flopping around a dry creek bed about August. Then all of the sudden, I had it. All those bad ideas just faded away and I could hear St. Peter pealing his trumpet. I just stood there epiphinatin' till I couldn't stand it no more.

"I got it, Emmy."

"Whatchu got, Cletus?"

" I got it Emmy-how we are gonna put the fear of the Lord into these boys. I have got it."

"Sock it to me, T. I'm all ears.

"If Muhammad can't go to the altar, we will take the altar to Muhammed."

"I love it when you's all highbrow."

"I'm sayin' what could put the fear of Hellfire into these boys better than the actual flame. You know, like that one old-timey writer wrote his Inferno to scare the be-Jeezus into the Pope. We could do that for these fellas."

"I'm lovin' it. I am lovin' it. But, I don't know that I ever actually read that book."

"Hell, I only read the cliff notes. That ain't the point. We're gonna have to spruce it up a little to make it more modern anyhow. What I'm sayin' is that we gonna have to show them the great evils that they is playing with. We'll just use Dante as a thingamajigger, y'know, a model.

"How's that, Chief?"

."Well, what's the most evil, sinful thing you can think of on this earth?"

"Saddam Hussein."

"We got him, but I don't think that they're gonna see the problems with him that our open American minds make so clear. I was thinking more along the lines of, say, one of these de-praved chain and whip joints we got back in the states."

"A feed store?"

"Naw, one of them perverted sex shops. We already got more modern glimpses of what kinds of tortures may lie in wait on that distant blood-stained shore."

"You wanna dress these boys up in spike leather? I'm game, but I really can't see how its gonna do no good."

"I was actually thinking about dressing you up as some sort of demoness straight out of the pits of Hell. We could getchu a studded collar and a ten-foot whip. I'll get VP Burton and his boys down at HowieEarnin' to try and scope out some of those buildings he's demolishing for supplies or torture devices. If push comes to shove, I can get Frederick's of Hollywood on the phone in no time flat. After all, the buck stops here.

Now, I know you love your khakis, but how 'bout a new uniform, corporal?"

"Any way my country need me to serve it."

"Aye-aye, soldier. I'm thinking about a studded leather bra, hip-high boots with matching gloves and a collar."

"It is my pleasure to serve, sir"

2800 later...

"We was all set up and ready to go. Emmy was all decked out like the sultriest succubus we could imagine. The word death was inscribed across her forehead in regal purple Gaelic lettering. Lechery and spite were blazoned across her cheeks in crimson. We had dyed her hair a bright blue that seemed to seemed to light up the room. Burton had found us a dandy of a whip that was twelve foot long and looked to do a fearful job for us once we extricated a few of the larger pieces of glass from the tip. I tell y'all, I had to get my preacher to hold me a special absolution service once I got back stateside: I felt so sinful just standing next to her."

"You sure this is gonna work, Chief?"

"It can't fail, Emmy. I just want tell you before you start that America is proud of you, Emmy. I'm proud of you, Emmy. After this whole thing is over and their souls is as clean as the fresh driven sludge, whose idea was this, Emmy?"

"Oh, I don't know if I feel right taking full credit away from yourself, Mr. President. After all, I ain't never even read no Dante."

"You're wearing the boots. You'll take the credit. Now that's an order.'

"You're too good to me, sir. Wish me luck."

Emmy got her unit to escort her in with the prisoners while I slid behind the one-way mirror we had set up. Emmy must of caught them at one of their religious times 'cuz they was all huddled up prayin' to Mecca or Musharruf or something. You should have seen the look on that first infidel's face when Emmy snapped that whip across his bare back.

She barked at the translator, "Tell them that I'm one of the head demons up from Hades and I promised not to bother the Yankees if they let me have these Muslims."

The translator started muttering off that gibberish, and I couldn't hold back a smile from how well this was starting out. We would have us a room full of choirboys before you could say Ramadan. Suddenly, there was a crack as Emmy pulled another to attention.

"Tell them that their litterbox of country has gotten my infernal boots all dusty and I'll need them licked clean."

The translator spoke but no one moved. In a few sharp lashes, all of the insurgents were dutifully lapping at her boots.

"Tell them I want that stiletto heel to shine," she said pulling up on her toes. An eager tongue darted underneath to gloss the sole when suddenly she gasped and rocked back on her heels cleaving his tongue.

"There is a huge brown smudge on the tip of my instep, get it off," she shrieked at a volume that would have made any banshee proud. Six penitent tongues began working furiously until she lifted back onto her toes freeing the bloody pulp that once was a tongue.

"I picked up a copy of the Karma Sutra and have some lovely little sailor suits that I want you to try on for me, but we are going to be a little rushed for time so we'll have to pick that up on the other side."

Emmy pulled out a wickedly sinewed dagger and edged over to the first victim. She scratched an upside down Star of David into his tanned chest and then began slowly grinding the knife into his chest beside his left nipple. The door flung with great fanfare and Rummy, himself, strode into the room. Cletus just loved it when a plan flowed together so perfectly.

"I am the man you should have talked with before setting any type of barter for our POW's. No one had the authority to set up any type of trade without my express conset. Jesus Christ, America will never allow its prisoners traded off or sent to rendition or any other Hell without my express consent."

My God did Rummy look so majestic out there pretending to argue for these worthless Muslims lives. Emmy had begun hissing and spitting as Rummy mentioned Christ. The poor translator now was merely a low warble.

"We have known knowns that we must hold these men in accordance with the Geneva Convention. We have unknown knowns of whether our soldiers can even spell Geneva. We have unknown unknowns which we never want to know that are whether bartering with dark forces will lower our death count. Never will I let you take them.

Repeat after me boys it's your only chance, "I rebuke you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I rebuke you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

Slowly the insurgents began chanting after Rummy. I was elated they were taking baby steps. Before you know it we would have us some born-again Muslims. Everything was working out so well, I felt this glorious peace fall over me. I couldn't be more elated than when the door swang open and Geraldo Rivera swept into the room. How could this be, I personally had ensured that his freedom of speech had been revoked

Oh well, I knew the media would get wind of this one day. I decided to sashay out to Air Force One. Two's company. . .

We had accomplished what we had set out to do. It might have gotten a little bad press but I could feel the peace way down to the tip of my boots. Of course, it was run in the morning papers (though I had gotten Geraldo's freedom of speech revoked, he did still have some friends). It was all over the headlines of the Inquirer because Inquisitive minds want to know.