The Philosophers of Death (Part 2)

(Originally posted April 21, 2008)

Continued from last week’s segment. Based on actual events.


In our joint prison cell on the basement level, John McCain greeted me with a weak smile while I continued to stare. He appeared drastically less healthy than I had seen him on television. He seemed barely to be hanging on to life. “They told me you might be coming soon,” he said. “I can see you are surprised to see me.” I simply stared. “You have probably followed ‘my’ presidential campaign in the States. Obviously, that candidate is not really me.” I was speechless. “In truth,” he said, “I never actually returned home from the Vietnam War. The Philosophers of Peace realized I would be useful for their goals. They held on to me, and eventually they brought me here to their headquarters.”

I finally managed to ask, “Then who is that man in America pretending to be you?”

“Well, he’s more machine than man, actually,” said McCain, “kind of an advanced robot. He is superior to me in so many ways. You can readily observe my own poor health, but the android version of me continues thriving in his advanced age. And unlike all living beings, he does not exhale the greenhouse pollutant, carbon dioxide. His batteries power themselves with oxidation-reduction reactions instead of combustion.” My mind was boggled. It suddenly made sense why the Republican nominee would support destructive environmental policies. He was not human at all.

“Overall, I do not really mind being held here,” continued McCain. “I can serve the Philosophers far better in this capacity. Sometimes they let me walk around in the courtyard, or even help them make decisions.” He sighed, and continued, “Only minor decisions, of course. The Philosophers are far smarter than the wild masses. They don’t need much help.” The old fool’s ramblings were beginning to annoy me.

“I have learned new things while imprisoned here,” he continued. “For example, I understand now that humans are a wild, brutish race. They destroy the natural order. The Earth would be better off without any humans at all…or at least with a reduced human population.”

Because I always assumed that humans were a significant part of the natural order, his last comments raised my eyebrows. McCain smiled weakly. “Reduced voluntarily,” he said. “The Philosophers guide the laws of the various nations. Their laws promote divorce and infidelity, manipulating the birthrate. The main task right now, however, is to implement a global warming tax to impede human growth.” The old fool’s mindless prattling was slowly infuriating me.

“By your silence,” McCain said, “I can see that you approve of the plans. I suspect you will enjoy staying here, as I do. It really is a nice place.” He laughed half-heartedly. “We even have a television and internet access…” My anger continued boiling as the old man just would not shut up. When I simply could not take any more of his nonsense, I finally lost control and slugged him in the stomach. He instantly crumpled over. Apparently he did not do crunches each day like me.

The room went quiet for two minutes as McCain lay on the floor, weakly moaning. Finally, he began to get up. “You see, Drew,” he mumbled, “your anger is a human weakness. These wild feelings should always be contained for the happiness of the group. Humans have to rise above their natural instincts…” His timid words enraged me again, and I shoved him back down onto the floor. At that point, he started to become angry himself. “Alright, you little son of a bitch,” he yelled, “now you’re really asking for it.”

He got up and charged at me. At that moment, I finally felt bad about pummeling an old man, and I resisted only weakly. We wrestled for about ten minutes. After he struck a good number of blows against me, he finally backed off and began to relax. Then a genuine smile came to his face as he realized that the pain, danger, and overall imperfection of the situation actually excited him.

We sat down on the fluffy couch in silence for a long time.  Eventually, I asked him why the Philosophers kept us alive. He responded, “They don’t like overt violence. It scares them.” Then he paused, finally asking, “But how alive are we, really?” The sensibility of his question actually surprised me.

Minutes later, Chuck Norris, Steven, and a Chinese executive approached the cell. They were visible through a bulletproof window, standing next to two guards. The guards were armed with Uzis. I glared at Norris when he spoke.

“Yes, I can see why we need to keep Drew here,” Chuck said to his new friends. “Both of these prisoners might pose a danger to our organization if we let them run loose. Safety should always come first.”

At this point, I noticed that McCain was glancing down at his own frail body. He looked at the reality of his old, shriveled, and imperfect hands. He smiled. I could not tell exactly what was running through the man’s mind, but suddenly he looked up and began glaring fiercely at Steven through the window. McCain’s eyes burned with fury at our captor.

Apparently, this offensive expression startled Steven and the Chinese man. They nodded to one of the guards, who opened the cell door to walk inside and deal with us. I grew worried.

Suddenly, Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked one guard in the face, snapping his neck. He grabbed the man’s Uzi before it fell to the ground, and with smooth, quick motion, Chuck gunned down the second guard before he could react. At the first sign of violence, Steven darted down the hall. He slipped into a nearby stairway before Chuck could stop him. Norris then turned around to face the remaining Chinese executive. The pathetic man was quivering on the floor.


I was watching the whole scene in shock, covering both ears. McCain, however, ran toward the open door during the commotion, screaming wildly. He grabbed the weapon from the closest dead guard. As Norris just stared at the remaining executive, trying to figure out what to do, John McCain took the initiative – he fired fifteen shots into the quivering man.

“Nice job, Drew,” said Chuck. “You found the real John McCain. Now let’s get out of here.”

We raced up the stairs and onto the ground floor. Enemy gunfire from down the corridor soon forced us back into the stairway. “There’s no way out that direction,” Chuck shouted, “We have to get to the roof. Let’s just hope my pilot isn’t running late!” Chuck raced up the staircase at lightning speed while I lagged behind to assist the old man. When we finally got to the roof of the enormous headquarters, there was a black helicopter sitting on a landing pad about five hundred feet from the stairwell, its rotors already spinning. An American pilot waved us over. Chuck said, “Run to the chopper. The guards will be here any minute!”

Chuck made it to the helicopter first and hopped on board, manning the vehicle’s machine gun. McCain and I were still a hundred feet from the helicopter when Chinese guards burst onto the roof and immediately opened fire. McCain collapsed. I stopped to help him get back to his feet, but then I saw the extent of his injuries:  Four gunshot wounds had torn him open. I grabbed his weapon and fired back at the attackers, dropping one of the guards. I tried to drag the old man with me, but after a few seconds he cried out, “It’s too late for me now, Drew! You’ve already saved me! Just go!”

As Chuck Norris sprayed down cover fire, I left McCain on the roof and sprinted to the helicopter. I leapt on board right as it lifted off. As we started to gain altitude, my heartbeat began to subside. We sped away from the compound. At that moment, I glanced over at Chuck Norris. I saw him gazing back forlornly at the friend we were leaving behind. We had failed.

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