Leslie Redbarn looked at his watch as a charge spat out a bit of flame in the hall behind him, the ground shaking a little. He sighed, rolling his eyes back to the group behind him and remembering his orders.
His commanding officer had been leaning back in his chair, idly flipping through daytime television programs while relaying his orders. “Commander Redbarn, there are some kidnapped kids or something. They are someplace far away, blah blah blah, it’s all on the video tape the terrorists sent. Well, probably. I didn’t watch all of it. He just kept going on and on about president’s children this and torture that. Those videos are all the same. You know how it is. Just go get them back or whatever.”
He would have been on the first plane here, but it was leaving super early and he was kinda tired, so he caught one later in the afternoon, and here he was.
“Commander Redbarn! They’ve wired the hallway up with proximity charges! My little brother just walked into one!”
Redbarn tapped the back of his head against the wall, rolling his eyes again. “There’s like a hundred of you guys anyway. You can afford to lose a few brothers.”
One daughter fired her two pistols down the hall, keeping the terrorists at bay. “There were five of us.”
“Whatever. Getting, like, two of you out should be pretty good. Besides, the other kid was fat and had a kind of annoying voice. He would have gotten beaten to death at school anyway.”
“What kind of school did you go to?” The boy in the ball cap was scowling at him.
“No Fat Kids With Annoying Voices High. I went to junior high at Shut Up Moron Kid Wearing A Ball Cap Memorial, if you want to know that too.”
The kid started saying things about how he loved his brother, but Redbarn just stopped listening, looking into the hall. There was a single guard sitting on a chair, asleep, snoring despite all of the gunfire. The screen door leading out of the hideout was swinging open beside him, leading out onto a sunny beach with a giant sign for his embassy. Beside that sign was another, larger one for a wet t-shirt contest, girls in bikinis waving at him nearby. The president and his commanding officer were with them, both in Hawaiian shirts and laughing.
The president cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted. “Redbarn! Get a couple of my kids back so we can catch the contest in time! I’ll give you a medal for heroics and everything. It will totally rule.”
Redbarn sighed. “I guess so. Can’t you just mail it to me or something?”
One of the children fell, her body riddled with bullets. The remaining siblings cradled her as she breathed her last. They rose as one, firing their weapons as fast as they could into the crowd of soldiers filling the hall behind them. Men dropped by the dozens as the kids lost all notion of self defense, only needing to have revenge.
The president rubbed his temple. “I don’t know, Redbarn. I’d have to get a box for it, then drive to the stupid post office and wait in line for like, forever. Just walk over here and get it. You have to bring a couple of the kids out here anyway.”
“How many of them did you want back, anyway?”
The president shrugged. “I don’t know. How many were there to begin with?”
“I don’t know. Ten or twenty.”
One of the children turned back, tears streaking her face. “There were five of us! Five! You didn’t even lock the front door! The terrorists came in and took us while you were watching a movie! They walked right in front of you!”
The president tapped his jaw. “Oh yeah, that movie. I shut that off and went to bed like five minutes later, too. Sorry. Anyway, Redbarn, bring one or two and we should be good.”
Redbarn reluctantly grabbed the smallest one, leaving the others for dead. He claimed his medal, receiving the most medals for bravery ever given out at a wet t-shirt contest. Truly, he is an icon of our times.