HOUSTON—In an empty parking lot behind a suburban Cabela’s, they’re preparing for war.
There’s a retired Marine who did two tours in Afghanistan in the far corner, teaching five local men it’s better to pull the trigger on your AR-15 once and hit the enemy than empty the magazine in a “spray-and-pray” that only wastes a clip.
But the real secret weapon sits in a crate on the back of J.T. Derringer’s rusting Ford 150.
“There’s no way we can win a conventional war, not even with the Texas Guard, Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent on our side,” said Derringer, who called himself the five-star brigadier general of the Volunteer Army of the Republic of Texas. “And it’s damn near impossible to fight a successful guerilla campaign without jungles like ‘Nam or mountains like ‘Stan—so we aim to get creative.”
U.S. Army troops spent years learning how to spot and destroy IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Derringer said, so that powerful tactic isn’t really an option for his rag-tag rebels.
But what about a mobile IED, one that’s low to the ground and remote-controlled? One that tends to jump up to four feet in the air when startled?
“If you drive these parts, you see plenty of armadillos as roadkill,” Derringer said. “That got me thinking, why not use their natural habits to our advantage, militaristically speaking?”
A nine-banded armadillo in the wild. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.
The first experiments did not go well. They successfully combined a pipe bomb, duct tape, the working bits of a cattle prod and a remote control taken from toy monster truck with two broken wheels, all items Derringer had in his garage. Those components worked, sort of. Pushing left and right on the controls gave the nine-banded armadillo a shock to the left or right, though their first test case simply jumped straight in the air whichever direction they pushed.
“That old cattle prod was engineered for steers that weigh more than my ex-wife,” Derringer said. “Far too powerful for a little old armadillo, so I don’t question why it ran scattered right under Johnny Lee’s new Tundra, hiding from all that pain and shock. I do apologize to Johnny Lee for how it torched his ride, though we had to tease him about maybe buying an American pickup with the insurance money.”
Derringer is also training the remaining platoon of armadillos for underground warfare.
“We read about the secret tunnels beneath Wal-Marts, the ones they’ll use for re-education camps,” Derringer said. “One tunnel plus one armadillo equals no more tunnels and a lot more freedom.”
When asked about reports that Jade Helm is simply a military training exercise, or that Texas was already part of the United States and not in need of being invaded and conquered, Derringer shook his head and spat on the ground.
“Isn’t that what you’d expect them to say, seeing how they’re lying?” he said. “I’d rather believe the honest patriotic journalists at World Net Daily and that Texas Ranger who witnessed saw trains with shackles. Plus, this morning Johnny Lee says he saw heard straight from his barber who read something online about Sarah Palin flying down from Alaska with a planeload of guns, moose jerky and night-vision goggles.”
Derringer said if his forces run out of ammunition and armadillos before Palin touches down, his backup plan was to base every brigade of his army within half a mile of the nearest Cabela’s, since it’s already “packed to the rafters” with tents, camo, boots, rifles and 5.56 mm ammo.
A separate team of trackers and hunters, he said, were out in the bush right now, gathering up a sufficient supply of armadillos for the coming Armageddon.
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Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.