[After 468 days in a row roaming from one backwater motel room to another, ex-assassin Goupil has not reappeared on the Federal radar. But while he has not been captured, outside of that in no sense is he free. Bottomless boredom and depressed isolation have eroded his mind, robbing him of his will to live. Still, he faintly fights, giving up his vodka to prevent further breeches of security like the night he stumbled outside naked.]
Keyboard Courage 1: A quality or characteristic displayed by a person through the written word that this person would not ordinarily possess. 2: The confrontational attitude exhibited by someone via an anonymous entry to an internet web-page or posting. 3: An attitude demonstrated by someone when they realize that actions taken by them or words written by them across a computer connection will have little, if any, personal repercussions. 4: A false bravery possessed by an individual who does not possess the true quality in person.
How many parks, zoos or museums can one visit before they bleed into one long, meandering journey to nowhere? Goupil had gotten to the point he saw no reason even to leave his room/cage except for necessities. Having verified the Feds were after him he knew the low profile he must keep. His limited options cycled through his mind day and night searching for a possible way out.
"There's got to be a way..."
But slowly, he slipped deeper into despair, swallowing him up, emptying his eyes, until ultimately: surrender. Goupil's final bullet would be for himself. He wondered if he'd even make it that long. He'd heard of men who so lost their will to live they simply turned to the wall and died. Living in the lost world of an assassin made him so clever he once believed. "God, what was I thinking?" Decades more of wandering through rented rooms as his soul rotted. Why bother?
Paralysis of inertia took control. If he was in bed he stayed in bed. If out of bed, he stayed out of bed. Days long bouts of insomnia, days long bouts of uneven sleep. A beaten man, dark circles formed under his eyes, his mouth hanging open. Conversation disinterested him to the point he could barely get the words out to communicate. Over and over in his head: "What's the point? What's the point?" Goupil faded in silent response.
And that's how he found himself on old Highway 80 (once used by Bonnie and Clyde) in a Mesquite, Texas Motel 8. A used gun would be easy to purchase in Texas, time to end it all. He literally stood in the corner of the room hoping he'd drop and die, while the TV murmured its usual nonsense in the background to distract his mind from going mad. "What happens when you commit mental suicide?" A vegetable for life, crushed by his sins. He must be the last sinner left in the world.
Former Senator Jeffrey Skilling stood with the President today, lauding the tenth anniversary of our Noble Foreign War. "We didn't want to fight this war, we are reluctant warriors but determined warriors! - " Skilling? Skilling... "- We may not have started this war but we will finish this war! God bless America!" Rusty gears inched into motion for Goupil. "Former Senator Skilling currently heads Hellonearthen, the world's largest defense contractor. Some have questioned his revolving from warhawk Senator to CEO of a corporation receiving billions from government contracts but the President derided such critics who would question Mr. Skilling's patriotism...
Goupil had not forgotten the name Skilling, his assassination target contracted by the Russian mob. God damn those Russians! In order to buy time to escape what surely would have been a death sentence had he carried out the contract, Goupil stole incriminating papers the mob was holding to blackmail the Senator into buying Russian surplus arms of which the mob had purchased in huge ammo dumps across the country. The Russians had been played by the their CIA contacts who were trying to opt out and they wanted revenge in the worst way.
False flag operations had been done before. The operation in the Gulf Of Tonkin in Vietnam the most blatant in recent history, claiming attacks that never happened in order to justify a politically based war. After the 9/11 attack was allowed to happen, a furious supply of arms was funneled to Afghan, Taliban and Al Qaeda rebels - all courtesy of the CIA. The Russians were confused - but laughing - at the CIA funding of the munitions but the mob was never one to turn away tens of millions of dollars in profits.
Suspicious, they kept tangible proof of each transaction and delivery even though such evidence could be used against them later in world court to hunt them down for illegal shipments. (Eventually, notorious arms merchant Viktor Bout was made scapegoat for supplying both sides). According to the CIA, Bin Laden was the last person the American government wanted captured. What they needed was a formidable enemy to justify a massive Middle East presence to take over the oil supplies that all too soon were forecasted to be needed by an oil thirsty populace.
Goupil clicked alert."Those papers must be the evidence of the shipments. Of course! It fits..." The Russians, expecting to supply munitions for years, had invested heavily into stockpiling as much they could buy in Russia's vast cold war surplus. But then Senator Skilling killed it on his "diplomatic sojourn", clearly stating to the Russians that if any information of the CIA funding ever came to light, the full weight of the American government would be used against them. They had no choice but to turn over their copies of invoices and - most damning of all - authorization letters the mob demanded before agreeing to participate.
Problem was, Goupil had stolen those papers. He didn't know why the mob needed them but he knew he could threaten them with their exposure. Goupil always kept an ace up his sleeve. His theft caused the Russians to hesitate to act and during that window he escaped to New York depositing the unopened brief case (a broken one would look suspicious and he had no time to switch) into a private security box. "But surely that box was blown a long time ago and the papers taken, or..." Goupil's eyes focused into narrow slits like they had not in years. At last, focus and direction!
Two weeks later, Goupil's heart had yet to recover from his discovery. The safety deposit box had not been watched, must less emptied! Now he sat on the most explosive information of the 21st century. No citizen wishes to believe ill will of his government. Not even Goupil believed a government would supply an enemy means and method to kill its own soldiers. His world was bleak and corrupt and he long treasured the idea an uncorrupted world existed outside his. But that spell had been broken and the delusional devastation wreaked in the name of "national security" lay exposed before his very wide eyes.
"No wonder they want me dead. They must be going out of their minds!" Goupil gave up his assassin's gun only to hold the smoking gun - of the American President. "As authorized by the President of the United States..." No good soldier was willing to fall on his sword for this escapade, however, as senior officials made it obvious they had the authority to do what they did not as rogue operatives but as fully sanctioned agents of the commander-in-chief. Sitting on this Mount Vesuvius of a powder keg pumped life back into Goupil - but no answers.
The internet was the answer. Any other avenue would require meeting someone or giving up the papers or some other form of human contact Goupil could not risk. Goupil knew now they would stop at nothing to kill him, and would apply pressure on anyone whom he contacted. "Enough people have died because of me. Only I will take the risk." But he needed a public forum, a place to display his factual dynamite before all the world. After much searching he thought he found the ideal spot. "What is this Open Salon, 'Where You Make The Headlines'? Exactly what I need!"
Headlines and hero worship rushed through Goupil’s excited, nervous fingers, barely able to contain himself with the thought of making history and perhaps even changing the course of a country! His name would go down in text books - and to think he’d been on the verge of suicide, of missing out on this chance of redemption he'd never dreamed even possible. "Thank you, God! Thank you, thank you! My blind faith on surviving has been rewarded." Never in his life had Goupil felt so alive, felt a greater sense of gratitude or as hopeful as he did when he clicked the blue button marked "Publish".
With the speed of blazing electrons, Goupil's posting quickly came to light on Big Brother's eye in the sky.
"Posted it? Posted it where?" queried an angry grey suit.
"Open Salon -"
"Open Salon? That mental ward! We can squelch it there. Who's monitoring that site?"
"No one, sir. Everyone lost interest after Mrs. Michaels left."
"Point taken. But all it takes is for one idiot reporter with an ax to grind to get a hold of this and run with it - even if the sourcing is of the highest dubious nature possible. I'll kick it upstairs to see what they say. I assume you've already started a forensic trace?"
"OK, but this time keep the Fumbling Bureau of Investigation out of it."
In great detail Goupil explained his entire ordeal complete with scanned documents and - in his mind - the smoking gun.
"While an initial surge will not be questioned by a frightened and angry public, in order to maintain a long term presence we must arm the enemy to the point of appearing to be a formidable strategic force. This also gives the added benefit of creating a continuing outrage as our casualties mount, allowing a full scale operation unhindered by politic or press. Once a foothold is secured under the guise of rebuilding infrastructure we will be in position to control Middle East oil fields regardless of regional fluctuations.
"This, in our opinion, is more than enough justification of national security interests in the deliberate sacrifice of American soldiers' lives. All munitions will be funneled through disposable Russian arms merchants, which we can also use as a pretext for further military intrusions if need be."
Chief of Staff to the President Of the United States of America
Goupil's expectations of headlines on the nightly network news, however, did not quite come to bear the fruit he'd hoped.
LeftWingNut: This has got to be the fakest posting in the history of the internet! This is the greatest President in fifty years and I'm quoting myself as an unassailable source on that. Drop dead and die, you slimy fuck!
Goupil: I only present the facts! Why do you not accept them? I am not responsible for their consequences!
LeftWingNut: Not responsible? It's YOU posting it on here, not anybody else, you slimy fuck!
Goupil: But I did not issue these shameful orders. Do you wish to be kept willfully ignorant?
LeftWingNut: You idiot! Don't you know anything about politics? If the President doesn't get re-elected then the bad guys will be in control. Be proud of yourself, you slimy fuck!
SuperCynic: Thank you for exposing this war crime. All of 9/11 was staged as a coup d'état on the American government as an excuse to seize power and institute martial law.
Goupil: Please, just stick to the facts here.
SuperCynic: Oh, so you just want to hide your head in the sand like everyone else, is that right, you slimy fuck?
LegendInOwnMind: You must think we are real idiots here at Open Salon, Goupil asshole! We will not be streamrolled into accepting your facts no matter how much I agree with them. I am the OS Defender! You're going down, you slimy fuck!"
Goupil: What is it with you people? What battles rage in your head no one else can see? I simply lay the facts before for you to decide. I present nothing that is not observably true to me. What more can I do?
LegendInOwnMind: "I present nothing that is not observably true to me." We don't need your preachy, self-righteous shit here on our beautiful, beloved Open Salon. Now you've done it, you slimy fuck! I'm going to post a blog titled: "Goupil: Preachy, self-righteous bastard tells you what to think!"
Goupil: But that is a blog reflecting your own behavior. Why is it everyone is talking about everything but the point of my post? Is this not treason I show you here?
IntellectualFartSniffer: Actually, it's not treason. There's a clear legal justification for arming the enemy in the interests of the greater good. Soldiers' lives are expendable in the first place. The few we sacrifice now will save lives later. The whole purpose of war is to save lives, you slimy fuck.
Goupil: Is this all you people care about? Name calling and posturing? Is there not a greater good to be had?
FuckMuppet: I think you're wonderful, Goupil! You've done a great service to your country and history will thank you. And I'm not just saying that because I think all the people calling you a slimy fuck are really the true slimy fucks!
Goupil: Don't compliment because you have some sort of vendetta here! Can no one speak from conviction?
LegendInOwnMind: There you go again, acting like you're the only one with conviction when it's really me! And FuckMuppet, you can kiss my ass you slimy fuck!
FuckMuppet: I'm rubber and you're glue!
LegendInOwnMind: OK, now my anger is TOTALLY justified! I've been waiting for this moment! I hate, hate, hate you bastards!
Goupil: I feel like I'm caught in some world anger tour. Let me know when you want to discuss facts.
FuckMuppet: Facts only get in the way of their anger, Goupil. I will defend you! Our side will win!
LegendInOwnMind: I'm too tough to be driven away by Fuckmuppet drivel! You thought you'd get in the last word but I did, you slimy fuck!
FuckMuppet: Don't bitch about me wanting to get in the last word when you just did it!
LegendInOwnMind: But I SHOULD get in the last word because I am right!
Two days later, Grey Suit laughed reading the transcript. "These morons are doing our job for us! Are they still carping at one another?"
"More than ever. I even created my own grey head account to help stir things up. I was actually accused of being someone's alter!"
"Will these people ever get over themselves? Unbelievable. I think we're safe on this one."
"What did the White House say? They satisfied?"
"Haven't heard back yet. But you know how bloodthirsty President Kill List is."
Life was no calmer in the Oval Office. "Please, Mr. President. We let this die and starve the beast and we can actually use this memo in our favor. We can show to what extremes the other side will go to discredit us with phony evidence."
"I don't want to hear that. The American public creates an image of me in their mind and that image is all that matters for the welfare of this country. "Arming the enemy." That's a concept even moronic voters can grasp! How the hell are we to argue feeding arms to an enemy who kills our children!?"
"They public is as dumb as a box of rocks. You are a father figure, someone they must see as an almighty and all-knowing hero who cannot be doubted. That's how people sleep at night. Someone shows them a document contrary to that and they will call it fake long as the day is true. That's what they think is in their national interest. Bottom line is, it will not be believed."
"But I believe it. I know it's true. And I will not go down in history for aiding and abetting the enemy. We have to make corrupt decisions if we want to keep our oil going! What would they say then if we ever got cut off? I want that bastard found, shot and dead in twenty fours and every trace of him wiped off the face of the earth."
"Yes, sir - you and half the internet."