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"Merciful dog crap."
"You rang, your horse-ship?" The man at the desk next to Sonny Shoenburgen's aide asked.
"I'm supposed to reclassify about four hundred and seven fucking things in the Whirlwind. Like I have the time and all." The Whirlwind was a data warehouse for the combined -- nudge, nudge, wink, wink -- intelligence community. "Dead-and-buried Sixties shit."
"SAUCOG," he said, giving it the onomatopoetic acronym by which the Special Advisory Unit was known around Langley, Fort Meade, Foggy Bottom, and assorted heirs and assigns.
"Downgrading or upgrading?"
"That's what's funny. I'm supposed to run down all this stuff on one of their assets, this fun guy who was a mass murderer they had doing wet work in Nam, Cambo, and Laos -- now get this -- I'm not supposed to NR the stuff. It all gets an 'Officially Deleted.' Is that brilliant?"
"That wouldn't red flag it much if somebody hit that a few times in a search. Jesus." They laughed.
"Do you wonder whose side they're fucking on sometimes? I mean really. What the hell are they thinking?" The other man held up his hands in the "I give up" position, shaking his head.
"Oh, yeah," the aide said, "Colonel Shoenburgen plays with some weird folks. This guy ... I remember him from the newspapers. Remember 'Chaingang' Bunkowski?"
"Not so's you'd notice."
"He was one of the first ones they used in the program-whatdyacallit? The experimental thing trying to make assassins?"
"That was the other one. I forget. Anyway, this guy was a Bundy -- only he'd wasted like literally hundreds ofpeople, so they said."
"Oh! Wait a second. This was the one that cut their hearts out and ate 'em -- after he killed the people?"
"Right. The very same. We're talking major nuts. Total psycho killer. They got him off death row somewhere-Leavenworth or something. I dunno," the aide said. "They thought they had the perfect killing robot. So they set him down in these neat places like northern I Corps -- with military cover, right?"
"He goes across the fence -- okay? Long-range recon. He's like about seven feet tall and weighs a thousand pounds or something -- just huge! Stone killer, okay? The idea being they'll turn him loose and let him waste gooks and do his own thing. The ultimate point man."
"Did it work?"
"I guess it must have," the aide said, looking at the printout. "DMZ. Quang Tri. Did a thing with SAUCOG in the Rung Sat. III Corps. He was all over the damn place. Problem is -- he somehow got cut loose. Disappeared. Ends up back in the world and was greasing folks right and left."
"He's leaving his nice fat blood trails all over the Midwest all of a sudden. Mutilated corpses. The hearts were missing."
"Yeah. Some detective finally got him. They found him in Chicago, down in a fucking sewer."
"So that's all ancient history. How come you gotta reclassify all the SAUCOG stuff? Nobody's ever gonna get that bilge downgraded. Not in this lifetime." The aide shrugged in response.
"Some cop poking around. Colonel says clean the fucker. It never existed." He fed a code through his desktop keyboard and accessed ultra-top secret storage.
"I just work here."
Copyright © 1994 by Rex Miller