Guide to Moral Living in Examples: The Color Red

"Five minutes to thermonuclear detonation!" cried the officer at the tracking station.

Admiral Akheem watched over the officer's shoulder. A dozen green blips flashed across the screen. Once, in the academy, Akheem had heard a cadet ask why the blips were green instead of red. The instructor considered the question for just a moment, and then had picked up a red pen and flipped it through the air so that it bounced off of the cadet's forehead, before bellowing "because I am here to make you fear the first and last red menace while you are in the academy: my flippin' red pen! You will one thorough, one-hundred percent doo-doo in your pants at the sight of a red mark after I am done with you!"

"We need to strike back," said Commodore Muntz. "We only have a few minutes to launch a counter attack."

Commodore Muntz pointed at the enormous red button sitting on a dais-like control panel, surrounded by black-and-yellow warning stickers. The missile detection system had automatically flipped off the safeties. With a push of a button, the blood of almost half-a-billion people would be on his hands.

"And what, pray tell, do you expect me to do after I launch those missiles?" Admiral Akheem asked in a whisper. His dog, always present with him in the command room, whimpered.

"What do you mean, sir?" Commodore Muntz asked. "We're in a bombproof bunker under a mountain in the middle of absolute buttfuck. Zeus himself could not reach us down here."

"But Hades could," Admiral Akheem replied. "It would be a vengeful strike. We don't know if that launch was intentional. We have not heard from the President of their country. We don't know for a fact that those warheads carry nukes."

"It don't matter! You're goddamn right it'd be a vengeful strike! I'm talking about retaliation against those chowderheads that would attack us! I'm talking about Mutually Assured Destruction, and we've gotta be the ones doing the mutualism and the assurance! All you gotta do is let those missiles do their thing, they'll take care of the destruction!" Commodore Muntz' face had gone as red as the instructor's pen.

"I can't do it. I won't do it," Admiral Akheem said. "Not until I hear that the launch was intentional."

"What is this besides an act of war? Their birds are coming over our head!"

Admiral Akheem didn't move, but Commodore Muntz did. Towards the red button. Subsequently, Admiral Akheem's hand moved towards his belt and away, carrying with it the ceremonial sword that he wore strapped to his waist. He held the tip against Commodore Muntz' throat.

"Let it show that Commodore Muntz attempted insubordination."

"Let it show that Admiral Akheem is out of his mind!" Commodore Muntz yelled. He kicked Admiral Akheem in the shin, and together the two men fell into an ancient art of pugilistic negotiation.

In the commotion, Admiral Akheem's dog did not run to defend his master or even cry out.

The phone rang.

One of the officers who wasn't busy preventing a destruction of the noses of the naval chain of command picked it up.

"Admiral Akheem is right here," the officer said.

They fight broke, and Admiral Akheem tried to talk around his rapidly-puffing lips.

"Admiral Akheem here. Yes. Yes, we've been tracking them. No, we haven't launched a retaliatory strike. Oh, thank god, thank god. Sir." Admiral Akheem hung up and pointed to the tracking screen. Despite the klaxons and the flashing red lights in the room, the green blips went on flying past the cities, past the coast, to plop into the ocean on the other side of the country.

"It was an accidental launch. They were able to override their codes," Admiral Akheem said. "Nobody died today, and I'll trade a puffy lip for that anyday." He saluted Commodore Muntz, who understood what he was getting out of and saluted back, smart and crisp, despite his bloody nose leaking onto his uniform.

The dog now yipped, high and piercing, the kind to get attention. The dog stood on its hind legs, putting him high enough for his paw to hover over the button. Once he was absolutely sure everybody was watching, he pressed it. Soon, a new set of green dots appeared on the screen, sailing towards the enemy.

The Moral: dogs cannot be trusted around thermonuclear weapons or sausages.

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