The Spy Who Wasn’t


Let’s see what’s cookin’ in Oppenheimer’s bitchin’ kitchen. Let’s see what cookin’ in Oppenhiemer’s bitchin’ kitchen. It might be seafood. He was talking ‘bout fission. Watcha drinkin’, Lincoln? Is that a barium frappe or some other radioactive crap? I think I’ll have a Manhattan… Project. Whatcha thinkin’, Lincoln? Find these thoughts confining? Remember! Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.

Eddy Ruxpin thinks he is a secret agent man; an ersatz Aldrich Ames selling secrets to Japan. But he is more like a real life Walter Mitty and the way this whole thing ends is a real pity.

JD Anaconda is a puzzling gent. He isn’t proud to be a Grenada vet. But he’s a hawk not a dove. When he hits the bottle, he dreams of ‘Nam and glorious guerilla battles. An electronic warrior, he used his head. Planned to get out and go back to school. But he met a Mystic gal instead. Wedding bells would soon toll. Now he writes word games for the New London Day. His cryptography training is starting to pay.

Why do some people deceive themselves? Is it good or is it bad or is it something else? Is reality not good enough that we have to bluff ourselves?

Ruxpin is a squid on a submarine. Decompresses by smoking Stroh’s and drinking pot. The drills they have at sea are frighteningly grim. They never know down there if the Cold War’s getting hot. They go through a launch sequence right to the end never knowing if the balloon went up or if it was just a drill. Locked down in a nuclear powered prison at the bottom of the sea. For Ruxpin it’s no thrill.

Drinking Boone’s Farm and watching Platoon, envelopes Anaconda within an ethanol cocoon. That isn’t Memorex in the VCR; those are memories. Oh yeah, those scenes are his. JD wasn’t infantry; he was a rear echelon guy. That’s not good for his mystique, he’d cry. Yet, he never fired a shot in anger. Truth was that he was a chairborne Ranger.

Why do some people disease themselves by pretending to be someone who they’re not? Reality bites; it may not be up to snuff. But it’s all we got.

Ruxpin screens the Falcon and The Snowman. Dreams that he was played by Timothy Hutton. Dead drops and disguises. Code Names, chalk marks on the street. Invisible ink revealed by applying heat. He writes a phony manual on acquiring a sonar fix on pages and pages of phony code. But it’s all smoke and dagger tricks. One day they inspect his bunk in the barracks. His CPO sees his handiwork. He starts to explode.

They call NCIS for an investigation. NCIS takes Ruxpin in for interrogation. Someone calls for JD, who isn’t in the navy. But he has the skills to decode. 48 hours in a soundproof basement cell two tins of Skoal were enough tell. Ruxpin’s notes are nothing to decipher, that’s Anaconda tells the navy lifer overseeing the case. Ruxpin breaks down; admits it was a hoax. His twisted mind plays sick jokes. He’s dishonorably discharged and sent home to upstate New York; somewhere near Rome.

Why do some people deceive themselves? Is it good or is it bad or is it something else? Is reality not good enough that we have to bluff ourselves?

Thus endeth the story except for a sad coda. Ruxpin wasn’t Ruxpin since I don’t know, nineteen eighty-four. He ends things by drinking Prestone and soda. The spy who wasn’t was no more.

Daydreams are all fine and good as long as you don’t cross over that invisible line, Anaconda would flash back to events that didn’t really happen, but he could always stop that 100 MPH tape. Ruxpin didn’t have that control and it put him in a deep hole. Try to hold on to reality or you might end up in a tragedy.

Why do some people disease themselves by pretending to be someone who they’re not? Reality bites; it may not be up to snuff. But it’s all we got.

Dicky Nixon thought he was Lincoln…

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