"Woody told the story of Bob Simmons from Denver, Colorado.
Bob arrived in town for the funeral of a grandmother with whom he never enjoyed much of a connection. While in town through the weekend, Bob woke up Sunday and went to Church just as he had done every Sunday morning since the summer of his 6th year. By the time of his grandmother’s death, Bob barely knew anything more about the Bible or Jesus than he did at six but he certainly attended services and he certainly liked to be entertained and it didn’t take much to entertain the somewhat dense slug of a guy who was Bob Simmons from Denver, Colorado, so naturally Bob frequented the local mega churches in the Denver area, all of them found on the same web site on which he found Calvary Fellowship this particular Sunday morning. Bob traipsed through Calvary Fellowship to an aisle seat, his personal preference, and within minutes, three men approached him, wearing flimsy plastic card necklaces with the gaudy Guardian logo flapping against their chests as they walked. The loud music forced the Guardians to lean into his ear. They asked to search his bag.
My bag? Your pouch. My pouch? Your fanny pack, sir. Oh, that? You want to search it? Yes, sir. He removed the belt and handed it to the nearest of them who unzipped it. Any weapons or needles I need to know about before I put my hand in here? Nope. Nothing dangerous or suspicious was found but two of the Guardians still felt he posed some sort of threat although no one is quite sure what that threat could’ve been especially after the initial search. Minutes after the first invasion of Bob Simmons’ fanny pack, the two most adamant of the Guardians returned to his pew and asked to search his bag. Again. Bob Simmons felt slighted. No, he said, you’ve had your fun. Now leave me alone.
Neither of the young Guardians had factored that he wouldn’t consent to a second search. Neither of them had been trained properly in how to handle this situation and they’re superiors reminded them of this fact daily. They radioed a senior member of the Guardians specifically trained by the police force deal with volatile suspects. He was the last of the off-duty cops employed by Calvary Fellowship and according to Woody, he certainly wasn’t the smartest. The cop arrived so bloated with the intention, he never asked why they felt the need to search Bob Simmons’ bag a second time.
The cop split the pair by walking through them to Bob, still seated, texting his mother back in Denver about the course of events up to that moment. The cop gave them a look as he thumbed impatiently at Bob and the two nodded their heads in unison as if parts of the same machine. He leaned down into Bob Simmons’ ear, Sir, we’d like permission to search your bag. Bob, without pulling his eyes from his phone, without the slightest decrease in the speed of his fingers, refused the request. Sir, if you don’t allow us to search your bag we’re going to have to ask you to leave. Bob stopped tapping the screen on his phone and stared into the back of the pew with the cop still inches from his ear.
Well, I have just as much right to be here as any of these other people; I haven’t done anything wrong and you already searched my pack. The cop told Bob Simmons he understood that but if he would simply consent to the search, they wouldn’t ask any more of him. But I don’t have anything; you know it because you searched my pack already and it feels like I’m being persecuted. The cop explained that in actuality, the two men standing behind him had searched his pack and if Bob would submit to his search, everything would be fine and no drastic measures would be taken. Bob turned to the cop, his posture reclining away from the man’s mouth, Drastic measures?
Drastic, sir. We’ll have to ask you to leave the premises.
You’re not searching my pack and I’m not leaving the premises.
The cop stood straight, glanced at his pair of underlings, made a survey of his circumstances, realized that a pool of eyes had seeped into the area from the surrounding seating, then back to Bob’s defiantly stupid face, then under the sudden pressure of appearing less than capable, the cop gave the signal and the three of them put their hands on Bob Simmons from Denver, Colorado. All six feet ten inches of him. An audible, radial gasp rippled through the nearest fifty feet of pews but the struggle didn’t achieve any ferocity until the escort reached a halfway point between Bob’s seat and the big quadruple doors at the rear of the sanctuary when Bob overcame his shock and truly began to resist with temerity. One of the young Guardians tumbled across a stretch of old ladies. Bob squirreled his way from under the clutches of the second and spun wildly, smacking the cop across the eye with his phone, sending the officer backward to the high traffic carpet. Instinctively, the cop drew his weapon, a fully charged police issue X26 TASER, and fired it at the now staggering Bob Simmons. One of the wire tethered electrodes landed firmly in Bob’s thigh.
The other pierced the cop’s leather shoe, negating the effects of the device.
By now the two younger Guardians had recovered and tackled the teary-eyed Bob Simmons, shortly joined by the cop wielding the fiery X26 TASER which becomes a glorified stun gun once the air cartridge is deployed. Electrodes crackled in the sterile air of the sanctuary then suddenly overshadowed by the girlish screams of Bob Simmons from Denver, Colorado. The fully loaded sanctuary became witness to a gladiatorial display. The beasts had been unhinged from their chains to destroy him. Two more suited Guardians rounded the pews and dog piled the violent soup of screams and flashing arcs of spectacular voltage, joined shortly by yet another set of Guardians hidden among the crowd.
During the ensuing legal bout, the court discovered that the main victims of the off-duty cop’s TASER had been Bob Simmons’ testicles and Bob’s scrotum ballooned to three times its normal size and had acquired a blue-black color that took nearly 4 weeks to fade. Calvary Fellowship’s legal team scapegoated the cop and he resigned. An undisclosed settlement quieted the whole affair roughly a month after the fact but Woody suspected it had to be in excess of $200,000.
Speaking of money, Woody, what goes on behind those doors? is it like a casino? they count the money back there in some big room? They do, just like a casino; they have all those machines. How many people are involved in that job? ‘Bout ten at the most. Just staff or do the Guardians do any of the counting? No, just staff.
Pun intended here, Hatchet said, but I take it these guys are a tad overzealous. Oh yeah, they have a hair trigger, man; these guys are all vets, fresh outta the desert. All of them? As far as I know and it’s apparently gotten worse since the off-duty cops are out of the picture.
Hatchet knew all about the new vets from the local bars. Vets who used phrases like embrace-the-suck, battle-rattle, fobbit, and death-blossom and he felt a certain pity for them. As much as they loved their tanks and their missiles and their rifles and their combat knives and the United States of A-Fuckin-Merica, he couldn’t help but wish they had the collective intelligence and the social strength to put down the tools and walk away or turn them on their real oppressors. Either way, thought Hatchet, in the face of history, I guess a military revolt wouldn’t be as entertaining as the duping and heisting that’s really going on. He knew these Guardians now. He knew how to exploit their weakness. Calvary Fellowship had taken the concept of awareness beyond the boundary of safety. They had become too reactionary.
River of Blood, a novel about anarchism, atheism, racism, violence, family, and corruption.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.