I’m in the Navy Reserves, and for my required two-week annual training I am on a civilian salvage tug in support of search and seizure exercises. Once or twice a day, Naval boarding teams from adjacent destroyers and cruisers board our vessel and we assess their ability based on a series of requirements. In previous days, I assessed the boarding team’s ability to manage the crew. Today, I was a crewmember.
My name is Antonio Asperian. I was born in Savannah, Amber in July 1962. I am 54 years old. I speak English. Although I should be compliant with the Americans, I should ask them probing questions about their vessel and where they’re from in an attempt to gather intelligence. Also, I am prone to argument with friend Sanjay, played by “Doc,” the tug’s medic and an active duty Navy Petty Officer. Sanjay was also born in Savannah, Amber in July 1962. He speaks very limited English and should want to take pictures with the Americans. Sanjay and I were hanging out on the focsle when the Americans arrived.
The Americans had desert camouflage, black helmets, black vests, and black guns. I walked up to the railing of the focsle and waved hello. My man, I love America! Sanjay asked me a question in Amberian and I answered him. The Americans told us to step away from the railing and to use to ladder to come down to the bow. Which, no problem. Once down on the bow, they asked us to sit down on the deck against the side of the ship. Again, no problem. I translated for Sanjay everything in English he couldn’t understand, which was most things.
They asked us our names and we told them. I asked them their names. The American closest to me, who eventually told me he was from the Dominican Republic, said Beans. The American closest to Sanjay, a black man with a mustache, said Stache. These sounded like fake names, but, okay, no problem. At one point I asked them where their ship is from. Beans said New York. Stache said Maryland. At least one of these seems like a lie, but okay.
I said to them I saw Obama speak about the bombing in Turkey and asked the Americans if they also saw it. They said no. I asked if they have televisions on board. They said yes. I asked what other electronics they had on board. They said not much, really. I asked, Xbox? They said no. I asked, GPS? They said no. I asked how many people they had on board, they said 1,500, which seems like a lot for a ship as small as a destroyer, but no problem.
I asked the Americans if they liked Obama. They asked me if I liked him. I said I love Donald Trump. Trump has big hair and big balls and will help me meet American women. I am married to an Amberian woman, but I want to meet an American woman. Sanjay loves Obama. I think Obama is a good man but he will not help me meet women. Sanjay started to argue with me about it. I stood and walked over to Sanjay because I wanted to punch him. The Americans broke us up and put our hands in zip ties. We were also forced to sit down with our backs against the bulkhead, facing forward. Sanjay’s hands were zip tied in front of him, mine behind, probably because I started the fight. We were separated. I was seated first. As Sanjay walked by me, I tried to kick him in his Nike shoes, which are flashy and a betrayal to our Amberian roots. Converse in the brand of our country. Sanjay and I argued some more in Amberian. The Americans said no more talk about politics.
Sanjay and I have known each other our entire lives, but even the best of friends have arguments. Also, he had an affair with my wife. Sanjay isn’t married, but he has five girlfriends. I have five children, one of whom I named after Sanjay back before he made a fool of me. Cheating is a big deal in our country. And yes, I love my wife, but I married her because she got pregnant when we were dating. Sanjay thinks he’s better than me because he’s not married, which, okay, he’s just trying to–how you say–get under my skin. But sometimes I am jealous of him. I love Sanjay, but he can be a real bastard sometimes.
The Americans asked where we were going. I told them and asked where they were going. They didn’t say. I said they should hang out with us when we pull into port. They could drink and smoke with us and help us meet American women, but they declined. They asked if we had drugs on board. I said no, only grain. They asked again. Only grain, I said again. Amberians smoke in my country but not in America. I said we should be friends on Facebook, but they declined. We wanted to take pictures with them, but they declined. I offered to trade goat meat for their electronics, but they declined. 100 pounds for one Xbox, but still no. I asked if they had lots of electronics and secret equipment. They said no. I asked if they had weapons on their boat. They asked if we had weapons on our boat. On this boat? No.
I said that back in Amber we fish for dolphins with dynamite, which peaked their interest, but here in America we have no weapons. They asked if I was sure. Yes, I was sure. Sometimes Americans go boom boom with guns. Sometimes Amberians go boom boom with dynamite. The Americans asked me what I do with the dolphins after we blow them up. Do we eat them? Hey, sometimes we eat them, sometimes we throw them out. Life is for fun, no?
Sanjay needed to use the bathroom. The Americans didn’t understand, so I translated. The Americans told him to wait. Sanjay made hand motions around his lap. I said he really had to go and might go to the bathroom on himself, which is worse than how a goat is treated. The Americans said again that he would have to wait. Soon, Sanjay asked to drink water. The Americans questioned why he would want to drink water if he had to use the bathroom, and I said, hey, my man, this is possible. The Americans offered him my water bottle, which, no problem with me, but Sanjay declined. He’s afraid of cooties.
The Americans asked us if we like sports. Sanjay and I both like soccer. Even though they are terrible, my favorite team is the Amberian national team. Sanjay likes Spain, which I scoffed at. Sanjay yelled at me in Amberian and I yelled back at him. As this was happening, an American from the bridge looked over the side to the bow and asked Stache a question, which I couldn’t hear. I kept yelling at Sanjay. Beans shifted his attention to Stache. At that point, Sanjay stood up and walked to the aft of the ship, probably in search of a bathroom. That bastard and his small prostate. He only made it to the corner when Stache yelled at Sanjay to come back and sit down. I explained what was happening. Soon after, Beans removed the zip ties and placed them in the front of my body, which, much better. Probably for being such a good translator. Perhaps they have a job for me? They said they don’t. No matter: the Americans are my friends.
A little while later, the rest of the Americans came in their camouflage and with their guns. About ten of them. They said they were sweeping the vessel. I welcomed them. Sanjay asked for a picture. Yes, I said, please, take a picture. We will be Facebook friends and tag each other. Then, Sanjay and I will be very popular in our country. It will help Sanjay meet other Amberian women and it will help me meet American woman. The Americans declined. Sanjay asked for water again. The new Americans picked up my water bottle and walked over to give it to him. Sanjay again declined. Oh, I said, so Sanjay will have my wife, but will not have my water. The Americans laughed. I am a good comedian.
Ten minutes later, Beans and Stache removed the zip ties from our hands. They told us to sit there until they left our boat. I told Sanjay what they told us and I told them no problem. They took the zip ties from our hands. As they walked away, I waved goodbye, and said I will see them next time. Sanjay stuck out his fist, asking for a bump. Stache bumped him.