"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Damnit ....

While having a conversation with Ron, a fellow “24” addict the other morning, the topic of how this hugely popular - albeit completely unbelievable drama - will eventually end arose. And as our discussion continued, we agreed the program’s demise would have to coincide with that of its main character, CTU Agent Jack Bauer. We also agreed in the “real” world, Jack would have died many times over the course of the past 6 seasons.

After all, how many automatic weapon fire fights, incidents of extreme physical torture and nuclear bomb detonations can one man take?

In addition, the mental stress brought on by constantly losing those close to you at the hands of crazed terrorists or simply feeling you have no other option but to shoot them yourself, is enough to make even the strongest among us gladly leap from the highest building.

So in the course of our musings on this topic, we speculated on the irony of how a mundane exit for Agent Bauer might play out and at Ron’s suggestion, this post was formed.

Tink …Tink …Tink

The following takes place between 6 pm and 7 pm.

Emerging from the bunker like compound which is CTU Los Angeles, Federal Agent Jack Bauer squinted his eyes and stepped into the fading light of dusk. Turning left and walking briskly, he quickly covered the six blocks from CTU to Su Lee’s Cleaners where he picked up his 7 pairs of jeans, 12 identical long sleeve, V-neck, drab colored pullover shirts and 4 basic black flak jackets.

Examining his clothes, he said, “Damnit, couldn’t you get these blood stains out Mr. Lee?”

“No. Too many stain. You very messy man!”

“I understand.”

Exiting the building, Jack was momentarily startled by the tinkling of the tiny bell suspended from the door. It was a small bell, meant only to alert Mr. Lee or one of his employees of a customer’s presence; nothing more. But for reasons unexplained, that sound hit Jack like a Soviet era RPG.

Maybe it was from his 2 year stint in a Chinese prison or perhaps it stemmed from some bizarre memory of his long ago relationship with Nina, the cold blooded, double crossing seductress. Or it could be the sound reminded him of Curtis’ head slamming against the passenger window of the Suburban when Jack was left with no choice but to shoot him in the jugular vein - instead of a non-lethal part of the body - in order to save the life of a murderous terrorist.

He didn’t know why this seemingly innocuous sound affected him in such a fashion. He never knew why it happened nor could he pin point any particular sound which might impact him in this way. It could be a car backfiring, a balloon popping, the sound of a well known radio jingle or the buzzing noise a dryer makes once it’s done and your clothes are warm and Downy soft.

Today it was the tinkling of a tiny bell.

Instinctively he drew his weapon, dropped to one knee and shot Mr. Lee’s long time customer, Eugene Robertson.

Quickly kicking Eugene’s laundry away, he yelled “Clear” and holstered his weapon.

“Damnit Mr. Bauer!” cried Mr. Lee. “That 3rd customer this month. You bad for business. Go way!”

“I’m sorry. I understand.”

Back at his apartment, Jack put away his clothes and then removed his shirt. Liberally applying an unscented, aloe vera enhanced lotion from Bath & Body Works to the plethora of scarred wounds covering his torso, he sat in his barcalounger and flipped on the TV, intent on relaxing a bit before, ironically, heading out to grab a bite at this Chinese place he’d heard about.

Some new guy at CTU, whose name he couldn’t recall was talking about it recently and Jack remembered him mentioning chow mein just before Morris belched loudly causing him to draw his weapon and take the new guy out.

An Everybody Loves Raymond episode was just starting. It was a re-run. They were all re-runs leaving Jack bitter as to why such a clearly superior sitcom had ended. It was the episode where Ray flashes back to his high school days when Robert had a big afro and Ray’s hair was as big as his nose.

Jack loved this episode. It always made him almost smile.

Suddenly his cell phone rang.

Looking with disdain at the unwanted interruption, he flipped open the phone and said, “Damnit …… This is Jack.”

“Jack, its Chloe.”

“What is it Chloe? Everybody Loves Raymond is on. It’s the episode where he’s remembering high school.”

“I love that episode Jack but we’ve got a problem.”

“What is it Chloe? Is Morris drunk again?”

“Yes but that’s not the problem. Jack it’s the Norwegian extremists. They’re up to something. We’ve got one of their men in holding.”

“Damnit …… Chloe, I need you to reposition all satellites and open all communication channels … now! Do you understand?”

“Jack, I’m moving as fast as I can.”

“Just do it Chloe! I’ll be there soon.”

At the next commercial break, Jack made a mental note to call in and vote for Jordin Sparks on American Idol the next night before turning on his TIVO and heading out the door.

Arriving at CTU, he was immediately briefed by Bill, Chloe, Mike and Nadia. Morris was passed out in his chair and had wet himself.

Bill led Jack to the interrogation room and upon entering, he found himself face to face with one of Norway’s most feared terrorists, Sven Larson – known throughout the terrorist world as “The Smelt.”

Immediately Jack drew his weapon and shot The Smelt in the right knee cap.

“Tell me what I need to know! Where are the nukes?”

Rushing into the room, Bill pulled Jack into the hallway.

“Jack that was last season. We believe Larson is leading a cell whose mission is to undermine the fragile ecosystem of the North Atlantic thereby causing undue economic hardship on us and our allies.”

“Damnit …… what has he told us so far?”

“Only that the North Atlantic will never be the same, Odin willing … and …”

“And what?”

“Well he said … ah … “

“Damnit Bill …… Tell me what I need to know!”

“Jack, he said he’s voting for Blake!”

“Damnit …… Have them bring me the interrogation kit.”

Jack stepped back into the interrogation room and discovered Larson had bled to death while he and Bill chatted.

“Damnit …”

Back outside on the street, Jacked walked. He was lost in his thoughts which raced helter skelter through his mind like a blurry slide show presentation of someone’s boring vacation to a rock quarry.

Up ahead, a light flashed – Don’t Walk … Don’t Walk … Don’t Walk …Walk!

Suddenly an unfamiliar sense of indecision descended upon him.

“What about the North Atlantic?”
“What had the Smelt meant by his cryptic message?”
“Do I walk or not?”

“Damnit,” he thought.

Just then he stepped off the curb and gazed upward. Hanging overhead, suspended from a corner pole by a rusty chain, was a large clock. The time was 6:55 pm. At the same moment, he heard the screeching of tires from behind and the unmistakable buzz of a large swarm of angry bees approaching from his right.

Turning towards the buzzing sound, he stepped forward and was immediately struck from behind by an out of control Buick Roadmaster driven by an elderly gentleman from Pasadena who was due for a driver’s license renewal test, which he would likely fail, in just two days. As Jack flew through the air, the buzzing sound intensified as no fewer than 1000 bees began stinging him about the head and chest.

(Jack’s file would later reveal he was severely allergic to bee stings and in fact, always carried an eppie kit. Had this been known in the beginning, Jack Bauer would never have become a CTU agent as severe allergies to bee stings, heavy pollen and polyester automatically disqualifies one from any federal occupation which involves torturing or being tortured.)

His impromptu flight ended abruptly as he slammed into the corner pole bearing the aforementioned clock. The force of the initial impact, transferred from the Buick to Jack to the pole, caused the weakest link in the rusted chain holding the suspended clock to fail thereby allowing the large mechanical device to obey the laws of physics and fall straight down until making solid contact with Jack’s skull.

The ensuing thud caused the now more than dazed Bauer to stagger to his feet and stumble forward until the pavement beneath him ceased to exist. Replacing the pavement was an open manhole. It was however a clearly marked open manhole therefore the city’s potential liability was minimal but it was also a special manhole in that it was one of only a handful throughout the greater Los Angeles area which dropped an impressive 153 feet to the cement sewer conduit which lay below.

Given the distance of the fall, Jack had a moment to consider his situation. His instincts told him he sustained multiple fractures and internal organ damage as a result of his encounter with the Buick. The ever increasing swelling of his face, hands and feet as well as the rapid closing of his airway confirmed his need for an ever present eppie kit. He had a splitting headache – literally. And he sensed an abrupt end to his unexpected freefall.

As he processed this information, one last thought came to mind just before impact.

“Damnit …”

Tink …Tink …Tink

2 comments:

Bill Lawfield said...

Honorable death.

hinerashworth said...

I think that pretty much sums it up...yeah, yeah (in my best whisper voice).

Raspy's one and only.