Human to Animal Flash Fiction

By Wm Lindmier

We asked you to come up with a piece riddled with keywords used by the Department of Homeland Security to track U.S. citizens via social media and called it “Human to Animal.” Here's one of our favorites, written by Wm Lindmier!

“Hello! My name is Jim” was plastered in blue and white sticker on my chest. "Jim" looked as though I had scrawled it in sharpie or crayon using my entire fist. Fortunately, my name isn’t Jim and everyone else in the room was wearing the same absurd name placard scrawled by the moron at reception. I told him my name was Tim, he wrote Jim, and I didn’t argue. I don’t want these assholes to know who I am anyhow.

As I said, I’m not Jim. I’m an adviser for a national security think tank with responsibilities to multiple nations concerning their security. All these other idiots eating little appetizers and telling stories about human-to-human outbreaks of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Somalia over free cocktails are in Miami for a Doctors without Borders convention and the free cocktails. I’m here to listen, and to learn, and to think the worst possible thoughts any human being could ever think. That’s my job; I’m a highly paid pessimist.

You see, when you’re at home and something terrible happens in the news and someone says, “I’m sure the government has a plan for just this kind of situation...” I’m the person responsible for thinking of the situation, not the plan. I look at a gathering like this and see a bunch of doctors trained by the CDC and recognized by the WHO as low threat NGO volunteers who get to fly in and out of countries like Thailand for every pandemic infection known to man, and I see a group of left-wing radicals sympathizing everyday with Tamil Tiger terrorists who have plans for recruitment of a trained biological weapons expert who might aid in a plot to target Asian and Western population centers for an "accidental" biological event involving exposure to as yet incurable air borne bacteria. I just come up with these situations. The folks over in Homeland Security and the NATO Security Council or Port Authority can do whatever they want with the information.

There are a couple of us in the Doom Tank, as we like to call ourselves. Most of us were selected because we had certain backgrounds or professions. There are a few Military Intelligence Analysts who focus on weapons proliferation in Yemen or current terror attack Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTP's) from the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (also TTP's). Then there are former DEA agents who can tell you which narcotics drug cartel is in Sonora or Nogales based solely upon the gang executions and shootouts. We have one gal who worked agro terror for the National Biosurveillance Integration Center and I’ll tell you what, I don’t know a man alive who can sit down in a Mexican restaurant with her for an hour and not walk out with symptoms of food poisoning from listeria, salmonella and the plague after her tales of exposure to the illegal pork smuggled across the Tijuana border. My favorite two doomers are Steve, the weatherman, and Patricia, the Cyber Command retiree. They are both geeks and really hate their jobs, but both realize that the only cool thing about the weather and computers are the really bad things that can happen. Partly cloudy and 75 doesn’t pull headlines like a hurricane or earthquake. And the only person we all hate more than the IT department are the hackers and spammers whose malware and Trojan viruses have made social media and porn sites off-limits on our government issued laptops.

Steve and Patricia are hilarious and really have a talent for grisly details. Which is probably why we get along so well, because I’m not really an expert in any field, I just bring the over-active imagination and a penchant for horror to the table. Steve will be running through the list of his typical badness, tsunamis, floods, avalanches, forest fires, and one of the intel geeks finishes a paper on FARC cocaine from Columbia, and Patricia mentions the latest worm cyber attack from China, when out of the blue it hits me. These thoughts just materialize in my head, the worst things anyone could imagine. When I was a kid, I used to hate the sight of scissors because I couldn’t even think about them without seeing myself walking very carefully holding the handle with the point down when I suddenly trip and despite my best efforts wind up slipping and the handles fly open as the shears slice my hands while I try to catch them and when I fall the points impale my abdomen and lower lungs. I actually had these thoughts, vivid thoughts, debilitating in their clarity and sudden likeliness.

I make money for having these thoughts, only now I look at more than scissors. I see dirty bombs in the hands of home grown Islamists funded by Al Qaeda.

God forbid that I am allowed more than ten minutes with the ticker feeds from FOX and CNN at the same time. The PLF has IED's for the PLO on the D-Low. The MDA is in standoff with the NRA over M1As en route to the IRA. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the vultures giving aid to the ETA despite their use of VBIED's from the AQAP. You get the point.

I have a series of pocketbooks with over 2600 disasters each distinguishable, feasible, and variously probable.

My colleagues each have a similar system of organizing cyber terrorism and environmental terrorism and eco terrorism and drug war terrorism and extreme weather terrorism and the terror that is Keanu Reeves. Look at all our scary shit. Now look at the two shits I don’t give. Go fuck your national preparedness and disaster management, because for every douche nozzle like me out there thinking up ways to destroy the world, there are six billion others trying to figure out how to earn a living and still enjoy a soccer match on the weekend with their beautiful children.

Crawl inside your state of emergency if you like. My name is Jim, and I’m living like there is no tomorrow.

Wm Lindmier found beauty in a Jalrez valley apple orchard pierced by high caliber machine gun fire. Art, Philosophy, War. Now he’s a family man shooting for early retirement with no time for contradictions.