Chapter 2—Holly Al-Gutentag and P.I.S.S.E.D.
Valentine’s Day, 2004.
Drowned Iraqi ‘Was Forced into River by Five US Soldiers’—by the lndependent/UK.
Five American soldiers have been accused of driving a 19-year-old Iraqi civilian to his death in the Tigris river in one of the main centers of resistance to the occupation. Zeidun Fadhil and his cousin Marwan Fadhil were allegedly taken to a remote spot on the shore and ordered into the river at gunpoint. When they refused, the soldiers were said to haveforced them into the river. Zeidun, who could not swim, drowned in the strong current. His cousin survived to tell the story.
Greedy, imperialist pigs! Holly Ackbar Féin KKK Ira Túpac Al-Gutentag, an equal rights anarchist and lightly armed pacifist lesbian from Switzerland, preferred chai. The air at the curbside cafe where she sat was as crisp and clean as the Swiss Francs she used as tender. She tossed the paper on the table and tapped her foot impatiently.
Tweety—her friend, accomplice and partner—tried to mollify her before she got all worked up again. “Don’t worry, dear, he’ll show up.”
“Ah look, here comes your chai. Now you can relax. Why don’t you take out your pencils and sketch? It’s been so long since you—”
Holly thanked the frau for her chai in English. Everyone Holly was involved with agreed to the charter of her organization and only spoke English. People Involved in Stressful Situations Every Day (PISSED) was its name, and they were terrorists. That is, they were going to be terrorists, if Holly’s plan went to specs. “I’ve got other things on my mind, Tweety. Perhaps later.”
Tweety rolled his eyes.
“Don’t say it.” She knew that’s what she always said, but it seemed like she always had a lot on her mind. There was the organization, of course, that was meant to, quite simply, promote anarchy. She got the idea while attending Cal Berkeley, picked up some contacts and fundamentals there, and with the use of random, public computer stations all over Switzerland was able to establish a budding group of anarchist enthusiasts around the globe.
The premise was simple. Isolated anarchists with no power or resources banded together under Holly’s leadership and offered their expertise in whatever field they were familiar with, which would then be used against the countries of the world to generate fear enough to break down amoral society into smaller bands of peaceful farmers. Organic, peaceful farmers. She believed terrorism was the quickest way to effect anarchy, and wanted to help it along. Holly meant to be, in fact, the Grand Central Station to all terrorist factions—which is why she changed her name to reflect a sort of ‘rainbow coalition’ of equality among maniacs.
The beauty of her ideas over theirs was that they didn’t involve murder, but instead favored extreme acts of defamation and desecration. The artist within her secretly apologized to Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of what was to be her first great act of anonymous infamy in the interest of anarchy—her piss mark upon the stodgy imperialist puppeteers and harbingers of humiliation. The world insulted Holly Ackbar Féin KKK Ira Túpac Al-Gutentag, and she wasn’t a dog to roll over and play dead.
Tweety eyed her slyly. “Have you decided who you will award this soon-to-be fait accompli yet?”
There was another decidedly brilliant thing about PISSED—her members came free of charge and offered their specialty happily. For the most part, they felt honored to be associated with People Involved in Stressful Situations Every Day. In return for the efforts of her organization, the highest bidding terrorist group would be given credit for the nefarious deed-to-be-done. Apart from a helicopter rental, there were few, relatively minor expenses. The rest would be pure profit. “I’m still open for bids. Mumat Olly Oxen’s on the top of the leader board at the moment with an offer of half a mil.”
Tweety whistled. “Whew, that’ll cover expenses!”
“It’s not enough. The press will be world-wide.”
Everyone had a code name, except Holly. Tweety was her first contact in cyberspace, so everyone else was given a cartoon nickname. Code name Mr. Jetson was ten minutes late, a very un-Swiss-like posture to take in light of the circumstances. She checked her giant Seiko underwater watch and sighed.
Tweety patted her on the leg, which was good for a busted finger if any other male tried it, and whispered to her from behind his herbal tea. “Don’t worry, honey. You said it yourself, ‘everything legal to point of impact,’ remember? No suspicions that way.”
Holly sighed impatiently. “Thank you, Herr Tweety. It’s just, sometimes I—”
“I know honey, the pressures. It’s lonely on top, I should know.” Tweety was once a chairman of the board of a high-profile fashion company for animals. There wasn’t a block in Beverly Hills that didn’t have a Pekinese sporting a closet full of his creations. “When I threw Prancer-boy out… That, that… roving wildebeast! I wanted to die.” Tweety’s eyes went dark with the thought of Harold, his former lover, who had deceived him.
That’s when he met the virtual Holly Al-Gutentag, in an online blackjack room. The following day, Tweety left America and went underground in Zurich. The fact that he was gay and Holly was lesbian was a sublime, anarchistic rub in the faces of all fanatical zealots who would eventually pay PISSED to advertise their slant on life. However, pragmatically speaking, Tweety was a marketing genius with many contacts and a lot of strings he could pull. He was always surprised to see who wanted a male blowjob in Hollywood, and had the pictures to fondly remember them by. These people would do anything for Tweety; all he had to do was ask—then show them the photos.
There would be no confusing issues between the sexes in this partnership. By now, Tweety and Holly were better than partners. They actually loved each other. Holly was the artist with the impossible dreams Tweety gave up, and Tweety the harmless and very sharp male comrade Holly could at once count and lean on. When Jean Lola Bridgeada gave up the PISSED Mission to become a nun, Holly had needed someone to steady her.
Then there was that other, rather compromised situation Tweety had found her in, which caused them to share a special bond. That was when Holly learned never to make love to herself while wearing headphones. It was the start of a distinctly peculiar flavor to their otherwise platonic gay and lesbian partnership, the ramifications of which neither tried to figure out.
They both sighed.
“Where the fuck is he?” Holly wondered out loud.
“I don’t know, honey, but how about him?” Tweety nodded toward a young man in very tight pants walking past. Holly laughed—an abrupt, childlike giggle. Tweety smiled and sipped his tea.
“It’s good to hear you laugh again. Uh-oh. Red carnation at two o’clock…”
“It’s about fucking time!” Holly made her move to intercept Mr. Jetson and brought him to the table, where she introduced him to Tweety.
“I am very pleased to greet you,” Mr. Jetson said. They shook hands and everyone sat down.
Holly glared at the Indian man in the navy suit jacket with the red carnation sitting opposite her. “I trust your flight from Bombay was satisfactory?”
“Oh, I love Swiss International Air Lines! How very nice of you to ask. Don’t tell anyone I said this,” he leaned in closer and shielded his mouth, “but their eggs taste very much like tin foil.”
Holly and Tweety exchanged surreptitious glances. “I’m sorry,” Holly told Mr. Jetson, tapping her watch. “But you are eighteen minutes late and—”
“She’s Swiss,” Tweety explained. “Like a cuckoo clock.”
Mr. Jetson’s eyes widened. “I should tell you, it is very hard to find a red carnation in this city! I am appalling! Very bad… Now, if you had said to wear a tiger lily, or tulip—”
Holly interrupted before Mr. Jetson could digress further into horticulture, “Mr. Jetson, do you have the plans?”
Tweety stared at him. “I like the tulip idea… Tiger lillies are so passé. Napalm?”
Mr. Jetson was confused. “What? Napalm?”
“Sorry, my french accent is… how do they say, ‘Vous devriez poursuivre votre tailleur en justice.’”
Holly almost laughed out loud at Tweety’s suggestion that Mr. Jetson should sue his tailor, but covered her mouth and coughed instead. “The plans, please, if you will.” She held out her hand.
Mr. Jetson dug into his jacket pocket, “Oh yes, I very much have them right here…” He handed Holly a tiny USB drive.
She inspected the small device, then pulled a small laptop out of her large purse and flipped it open. “If you don’t mind, I’ll see if it’s all there and—”
Mr. Jetson erupted into a staccato of guffaws, sounding very much like a braying donkey, but more abrasive. Tweety looked horrified at the man. “You will have very many questions to look at that! Hee-haw, hee-haw!”
“I meant to see that it’s not corrupt in any way, that it’s readable. You understand, Mr. Jetson?”
“Oh yes, oh yes, very much so… I see. Yes. Please!—in fact. And, call me George.” He winked at Holly, oblivious to her obvious disinterest in the man as anything other than an engineer.
She plugged in the drive and downloaded. “May I offer you some chai, Mr. Jetson, while we wait?”
“Oh no, I very much hate that shit! Can I get a Kingfisher here?”
“This seems to be in order. I see you’ve included a clean-up list. That’s very thoughtful.”
George smiled and nodded, clasping his hands together like a schoolboy without the beanie.
“You’re certain this will work?” she asked him.
Mr. Jetson looked hurt. “It will very much work, Miss Holly. Oh yes… There’s no doubt about it. I got the original specifications on her structure and very detailed photographs. I have records, Miss Holly, of manufacturers and coppersmiths.” He leaned in closer. “If you put those charges in the exact locations I specified, it’ll blow that torch into the water and leave the middle finger undamaged. You must very much trust me on this.”
Holly nodded at him. “Thank you very… uh, much, for contributing to the cause. You’ve been a valuable anarchist.”
“No-no-no, you musn’t. It is you I should be very much thanking. Your idea is brilliant! It hits me in my third chakra, I think, like an arrow from Arjuna himself.”
“It says, Fuck you, world! Take your tired and hungry elsewhere! Hee-haw! Hee-haw!” Mr. Jetson thrust his middle finger in the air. “I can’t wait to see their faces when the precious symbol of liberty—an anarchist’s dream!—is flipping off the world on CNN! Hee-haw! Heehaw! Hee-haw!”
Holly looked to Tweety, who was already leaving to pay the check.