I took one last drag on the cigarette, flipping it about 10 feet, end over end, into the empty wasteland, away from everyone. I called it my 'Christian Ponder Special', chuckled silently to myself because I don't care who you are that was funny right there, and then started to collect my thoughts. I sighed, the wind wafting the stink of New Orleans into my nostrils, damn near stinging my eyes. We had made it here, undetected, and our plan was set in motion. And this time it was going to be different, different than the first time.
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. It was supposed to be a spectacular battle, with the destruction of the Cassel Air Force to be final, and complete. But after early success in the First Battle of TCF Bank, we realized our enemy had dug in, and we would be in for a long fight, much like the trench fighting in World War I. We knew that could be a long, protracted battle, one we couldn't afford to fight. We didn't have the people, the money, or quite frankly, the will.
We needed a plan--a quick surgical strike that eliminated the Old Guard as an effective fighting force and allow the Bridgewater Underground unimpeded access to the throne. But we knew that even though the Cassel Air Force was vulnerable, they were resilient, and would not be dislodged easily. So, battle plan in place we assembled our forces, converged on the Superdome in New Orleans, and waited. Waited for the radio call that would set what would turn out to be the final battle in motion.
For hours, it seemed, we waited. A lot of things go through a man's mind while he waits, contemplating his possible mortality. He checks his weapon and inventories his gear, just to make sure. It keeps the mind from asking the questions one doesn't want to contemplate--how will my kids remember me? Will I be able to do my duty at the moment of truth? Hey, did I turn my grill off? Shit, I don't think I did. Man, a new propane tank is gonna run me like 20 bucks when I get home, if I haven't completely ruined the burners. Man that SUUUUUCKS because replacing a burner on a propane grill is a ROYAL pain in the ass. Suddenly, the radio crackled to life:
"ALL UNITS, ALL UNITS, EXECUTE OPERATION JOE KAPP. I SAY AGAIN, EXECUTE OPERATION JOE KAPP. I WISH YOU ALL GOOD LUCK, AND GODSPEED"
In your mind, you know the order to 'go' is coming, but still, it hits you like a 2 X 4 upside the head, and it takes a second for the mind to process what you just heard. Deep breath, keep it together, let's do this, no weakness. As we pushed off, time stood still. Everything went in slow motion, much like Matt Asiata carrying the football. God, I was scared, but had never been so alive. This is it, man. Victory or death, there was no turning back.
Seriously, I really think I left my grill on. Sonofabitch.
We hit hard and fast. The Cassel forces were thrown off their game early, and seemed to waver. We saw an opening and pressed our advantage, but the Cassel Air Force, which was almost wiped out last week, struck, stabilizing the situation. We fell back a bit, but consolidated our position, and hit them hard on both flanks.
All we needed to do was make them uncomfortable, and make them re-position to what they thought would be higher ground. We knew they couldn't rely on their air attack for an extended period of time, so we kept the heat on them. We knew if we did that, we could flush them out, and then win this war once and for all.
And then it happened.
They saw an opening that we created to get them to move, and they tried to improve their position and consolidate their lines in the end zone. But to do that they were forced to maneuver on open ground, with no infantry support. An Army with no infantry isn't an Army, it's a group of people all wearing the same clothes, just waiting to be conquered.
Like coeds at spring break, am I right? We had them. We knew it, and as soon as we sprung our trap, the horrified looks on their faces told us they knew it, too.
And just like that, it was over before it began, really. The Old Guard's defenses were down, destroyed, and before we could say Tarvaris Jackson, they were in a full retreat. As we stormed the palace into the throne room, it all seemed so surreal. For as long as we had been fighting, for as long as we had struggled, our moment was here.
We had won. A ragtag bunch of skinny kneed glove wearers had defeated the Old Guard. We were euphoric, but it was time to consolidate power.
Those first few hours were chaotic, but we secured the radio and TV stations, and our agents laying in wait on the Internet sprung into action. By late afternoon, it was all over, the revolution was in full swing, and the Old Guard was in full retreat.
It's late now, the battle won. I'm smoking a victory cigar on a balcony in a building I've been told will be the National Office Of Passing Touchdowns, sipping some exquisite bourbon and contemplating the future. During the war, things were a lot more simple--find an objective, formulate a battle plan, and close in on and destroy the enemy.
In the background there's a raucous party going on, and I'm pretty sure it will last until dawn. People are dancing in the street, and it's a sight to behold. Well, except for ol' boy over there in the gutter heaving his guts up. I told that guy two hours ago Grain Belt was the devil; maybe he'll believe me in the morning.
There's a lot of roads still to navigate; winning the revolution is just the beginning. Peace is going to be hard. The road is going to be bumpy at times, but I think this movement has a good handle on things. We've got a good head on our shoulders, we don't rattle easy, and our decision making process is good. We're not going to be perfect, but we're going to be good.
Now we have to govern, and we will.
We're the Teddy Bridgewater Underground, we're no longer underground, are we? We are here to stay.
The future is now.