by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.

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By Rick Johnson
c. 1971

The flight stood at attention, in line formation, the Sergeant calling out roll.
"Adams, Allen, Atkinson," he called out, not even looking up. There was no need to do so.

They all looked alike, four ranks of men, standing alike, looking alike, acting alike.
"Miles, Norris, Norton," he said to the sea of green before him. They were all the same.

Sometimes, he wished something would happen to make these people individuals instead of a jar of pickles.
"O'Brien, Pesare, Pierce," he cried for the fifteenth time that month.

Nichols started to weave. At first he thought that it was because he had locked his knees. He then faded from existence.
"Roberts, Rodriguez, Ruiz," he yelled out, not even looking at the clipboard in his hands. It was always the same.

Milton glanced to his right, saw the empty space and followed his training. He took two steps to the right.
"Shaw, Turner, Tilko," he spoke. He always thought Tilko would do something different, but it never happened.

Williams noticed the new space before him and stepped forward to fill it.
"Williams, Xavier, Zane," he finished, closing his roll list and giving the proper commands to dismiss the flight.

"Just once," he thought as he walked away. "I wish something different would happen."


by Rick Johnson

He read the message over for the third time but it still refused to make any sense. Sighing, he pulled his M-264 Foreign Visa Requirements handbook and looked through until he found the proper heading. This was definately not going to be easy.

After an hour of fruitless calling, being put on hold, disconnect-ed and being shunted from one petty official to another, he finally gave up on the Embassy and decided to call one of the smaller consulates. "What can you expect from a people who have a hundred different names for cheese and still refuse to clean their toilets... he thought with some irritation.
This time it was much easier. New York was too busy to talk but the Main office was between parties and he was put through directly to the proper office.

"Yes, is this the visa department of the Main consulate of the French Embassy? It is? Great! My name is Sergeant Williams and I'm with the transportation office of MAC."

“MAC? We are the transport section of the United States Air Force. We're the ones who fly people and equipment around. Well, the reason that I'm calling is because the government.”

"The Unites States Government, is becoming concerned about the -loans that we made to your country over the past 45 years."

"No, I'm not a collection agency, just a clerk in transportation. But the reason that I'm calling is to make arraingements for about 30,000 people to invade your country.”

"Yes, 30,000. Oh, right, I'm sorry, yes I said invasion. We expect a six month war followed by a six to twelve month occupation..."

"Yes, war as in rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air, that sort of thing. Ok, I notice that you have..."

“Please sir, if you keep interrupting, we’ll never finish. I notice that you have a number of different types of visas but none seem to cover this situation."

"Look, it’s not my idea. If you people didn't have so much trouble with the Basques, you wouldn't have any visas and we wouldn't be going around in circles like this.”

“Oh, 'I'm sorry, OK, the situation is like this. We want our money to ease the deficit and as France doesn't appear to be wil-ling to make any payments on her loans, we are simply going to forclose on your country. So I was given the job of geting passports and visas for the invasion. I'm hoping to get some Diplomatic Passports so our troops won't be bothered with customs, local laws and such-but right now I'm concerned with these 'visas.”

It appeared that the man at the consulate was going to yell for quite some time so Sergeant Williams set the-phone down, adjusted his alarm watch for five minutes and picked up the magazine that he had been reading earlier. When the alarm sounded, he returned to the phone and waited for a chance to interrupt.

"Uh, sir' Sir! CAN I interrupt for a moment? I'm certain that you are a busy man so can we get on with this please?”

“I see that you have a number of different types of visas from one time to multiple entry types. Most of our troops will be in France for some time so we will need extended visas for them. The pilots will be entering and exiting your country regularly but unless you have greatly improved your SAM's, I really don't expect them to touch French soil."

"Well, they are mostly bomber and fighter crews. They'll fly in, drop their payload and leave so why land?”

"So, do you have a long term visa that will cover tourism, business and random acts of violence?"

“No sir, this is not a joke. I have better things to do than sit here and try to understand your accent."

"Come now, I think that $15 per visa is a bit much, especially since we are bringing our own transportation. How about a group rate? After all, we are talking about 30,000 people."

"Is that in dollars or Franc's? We do expect the economy to collapse once we bomb the treasury building. But we will try to avoid the banks as we will need to confiscate the money in the vaults. And yes, before you ask, the museums will be the first things captured but we don't want to damage the art inside. We plan to auction them off."

"Of course we plan to take the Eiffle Tower. It'll look great next to the Washington Memorial back home."

“Aren't you being a bit over reactive? Really, it's just a pile of steel, you can't even paint it in one try. Lets see now, my list says art, monuments, banks, if necessary, auction off the vineyards to the Germans..."

... ... ... ... ...

"Really sir, all we are trying to do is to get back some of our money. And when we do, we'll leave and you can go about the business of rebuilding. Think of it this way, it'll be an excel-lent method of population control and a boon to the construction industry.”

"Now back to business, we are willing to pay $5 per visa and no more."

“OK, $10, but we reserve the right to take it all back during the war. Also, can you have them for us by Tuesday? I'm told that we are already doing the recall and mobilization and will attack after a brief set up in England to talk to them about their War Loans."

To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.

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