HE was a hacker with the Syrian Electronic Army. SHE was a pro-Russian radical from Donetsk. Together, they were going to teach America a lesson—by taking out the FedEx-Kinkos at 135th and Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas.

Their target had been skillfully selected to throw intelligence services off the trail. They plotted carefully for entire minutes on their scheme to obtain automatic weapons by attending the gun show at the Overland Park trade center (where, for two days a month, your second amendment rights are unencumbered by background checks or common sense). Their timing was painstakingly planned, after studiously poring through Travelocity for the best airfare from Kiev to Kansas City. The plan was foolproof.

But they hadn’t counted on me. I was at the Overland Park FedEx-Kinkos, checking out paper stocks for a print job related to The Strange Fan Kit. My light infantry instincts, coiled like a spring that had been unused for almost 20 years—because they had been unused for almost 20 years—struck like a 20-year-old viper. The Syrian caught a ream of 32-pound laser paper in the face. He went down, clutching his nose as he squeezed off a random volley of 7.62 (R) rounds.

The Russian shouted something about oligarchs (my Russian is, frankly, a bit rusty) and vaulted the self-serve copier brandishing an AKM that looked suspiciously like it had been recently supplied by the Russian army (despite the fact that it had been purchased at the Overland Park Gun Show Trader event). I ducked behind the Supply Center™, whipping a barrage of unfolded flat-rate boxes, in a variety of convenient sizes, boomerang-like toward my assailant. The paper cuts were too much for her, and down she went.

I got to my feet, ready to inform the FBI and Kinko’s management. But I had underestimated the Syrian’s commitment to the cause of sectarian totalitarianism—and I paid for my hubris with a bullet to first molar (upper right side).

You’ve seen the rest on cable TV, of course, assuming you’re one of the 36% of Americans who actually follow the news. The plot was foiled, America learned no lessons, and the only casualty was my tooth.

At least, that’s what I told Monte when I took time off from work to get a crown put on a broken tooth. I hope he’s not one of the 36%.

Writers live and die by the feedback they get from their readers, so I’d love your comments—there’s a little link just down below to the right. Also:

  • Receive an email notification of every update to this site by subscribing (see the link to the right)
  • Follow me on Twitter at @charlesmryan, where I post lots of game, writing, and geek news and can often be dragged into conversation
  • Follow my writing diary on Facebook at Charles M Ryan, where I post frequent short bits on the writing process and state of my current projects
  • Encircle me (is that right?) on Google+, where, like most people, I have no idea what I’m doing