THE NEW PAPER PROJECT
LOST AND FOUND
The first time he saw the prosthetic he thought of the fucking Belgians. Because only the fucking Belgians would have designed an orca-sized strap-on penis for use as a NATO bargaining chip. But this dildo wasn’t Belgian-made, it was from Pittsburg, and it had two heads and two very slim grips.
Hemmler shot the guard in the head, strapped the massive, two-headed dildo to his back with fish tape and set off for the drop-off point in his jeep.
The jeep broke down five miles later.
Abbas, Hemmler’s driver, was disgusted and refused to lift the hood.
Hemmler got out.
Abbas looked at Hemmler and the whale penis taped to Hemmler’s back and said, “I’ve hung a photo of Churchill on the wall.”
Which, Hemmler realized, was obviously code for something.
Hemmler leveled his pistol at Abbas.
Abbas said, “If we sold it on the black market, we could retire rich men.”
Hemmler thought. He was thirsty and had a sip from a grimy jug of warm water sitting at Abbas’s feet. He said, “If we sold it, they’d find us and kill us.”
“The moment you stole it, you were a dead man. Sell it to Abu Bakr and you won’t go to heaven thirsty.”
Hemmler poured the rest of the water from the jug into the engine, dropped the hood and sat back down next to Abbas, hunched over.
They drove through the desert. Hemmler’s eyes fell shut and in the darkness he saw a troupe of Belgian carpet makers tying sausages to sticks and then flinging the sticks at the Americans who had made the dildo. It seemed a fitting punishment.
Hemmler woke with chapped lips to the sounds of a wild grunting.
It was Abbas at Hemmler’s back trying to bite through the fish tape, his hard black eyes rolling in their sockets.
Hemmler thought of the day he’d found Abbas baking hummus pies that were mostly cement dust in the scrub surrounding the base. Abbas, Abbas’ uncle and a third man with a leaky bladder and a poor command of French had been competing in the UNDP bake off. Abbas had been the winner.
“We’re out of gas,” Abbas said, panting.
Hemmler had never trusted Abbas, not even when Abbas had cashed in his prize from the bake off to buy the jeep so he could become Hemmler’s driver.
Hemmler shot Abbas in the head, lit the jeep on fire and set off on foot.
By the second day he’d covered only twelve of the seventy miles. Slow-moving Bedouin caravans passed in the distant, stopping briefly to point through the blurry heat at the massive purple prosthetic taped to Hemmler’s back.
By the third day, Hemmler’s gums were bleeding and he began to hallucinate.
It was on the fourth day that they found him face-down in the sand but with the dildo still taped to his back.
The headlines ran the next day: NATO SQUARES UP TO PUTIN, RETURNS CETACEAN LOVE TOOL TO FIFTH AVENUE PLAYBOY.