Terry Kincaid spun around in his ergonomic chair while the proto-punk blasts of the MC5 blared at nearly unbearable volume inside the Launch Control Center of the 17th CIA Nuclear Weapons Division. Terry always did stuff like that when he was flying on acid. It helped to while away the hours and he didn’t have to leave the LCC – which made it better than smoking. Besides, it was so cheap in the commissary, so why not?
Terry’s buddy, Chuck Burzus, staggered into the LCC with a fully loaded water pistol and proceeded to discharge it all over Terry. Terry responded by drawing his sidearm and firing, barely missing Chuck’s head.
Chuck spun around to see where the bullet struck the wall, just a half-inch away from the fire alarm. He laughed, “Dude, no way can anyone die here.” Chuck took another beastly swig from his bottle of Jack.
Terry laughed right back. “Not until God says it’s time to die! Whoo-hoo!” He started to pound randomly on his keyboard and the buttons at his station. Several red lights started to flash, repeatedly and urgently.
Chuck pointed at the flashing lights. “Armageddon rave!” He proceeded to dance the Frug. The dance seemed rather macabre, what with him performing in front of the melted remains of a bulkhead that had fallen victim to a time when the pair brought a flamethrower to work.
Terry was laughing his head off as he played out a drum roll on his station, knocking his coffee into the innards of some sort of vitally important equipment. Smoke began to rise from the stricken system. That only made him laugh harder.
Chuck wasn’t doing acid, though: the liquor was starting to make him think. “Hey, Terry… Terry?”
Terry stopped laughing and focused what was left of his brain cells on what Chuck had to say. “Yeah?”
“You know how, uh…”
“Like, in science fiction stories… there’s like, always, an ironic ending?”
“You think that’ll ever happen here?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like with all the insane stuff we do, you think we’ll accidentally start a nuclear war or something?”
“Really? How do you figure?”
“That stuff is only in stories. This stuff here…” Terry held his arms high and made another ergonomic spin. “This is reality, dude. If God wanted nuclear wars to start accidentally, that would have happened back in 1948.”
“So, no irony for us?”
Terry shook his head. Only irony we’ll ever have is if we launch and blow ourselves up by mistake.”
Chuck knocked back his bottle and wiped his lips on his sleeve. “I dunno. Maybe we’re tempting God with all the stunts we pull.” Chuck threw the empty at an important-looking computer, whose lights suddenly went dark.
Terry kept shaking his head. “No way, dude. God loves us. That’s why we’re here with the best job in the world. We keep America safe and nobody gives a flying flip how we do it.” Terry then had a funny idea and wondered where he could get a box of hand grenades.
Chuck looked at the broken glass by the broken computer. “I still say something ironic is bound to happen. To us, even.”
Terry went back to shaking his head. “No way, dude.”
The red phone rang. Terry answered.
“Yeah?… Really?… OK, then… yeah, we got it… no problemo, sir.” Terry hung up.
“What was that?”
“We got a go code. Time to launch one.”
Chuck’s buzz went along well with the rush of adrenaline. An actual launch. Chuck sat in his chair and typed in his username, followed by his password, “password.” Having unlocked his launch control station, he selected one of the CIA’s best and brightest missiles to shoot into the sky. He clicked on the missile, armed it by typing in the arming password, “password1,” and then asked Terry, “OK, dude, where does this one go?”
Terry squinted, hoping it made what he was about to say all the more dramatic. “Take a guess.”
Chuck thought hard, hoping against hope that this was the ironic moment he anticipated earlier. “London!”
Terry made an honestly surprised face. “What the hell, dude? That’s not even funny. Guess again.”
Chuck composed himself. He remembered their mission and who their targets were supposed to be. There wouldn’t be anything ironic in this LCC. Not now, not never. “Boston?”
Chuck selected “Providence” from the drop-down list of targets on the CIA launch control program and then clicked on the “Launch” button. He then clicked the “OK” button on the confirmation screen. He turned to Terry. “OK, bro. Bombs away. One less nest of rebellion and terror.”
Terry pulled out a bottle of wine. “L’chaim, dude!”
Chuck produced two coffee mugs. “L’chaim back at you, bro! Time to pour!”
Terry poured and enjoyed his inebriating draught. “Life is good.” Suddenly, Terry suffered a massive stroke.
Chuck’s eyes widened in amazement. “Holy crap! Irony!” He watched Terry die as he kept drinking the wonderful wine.