Michael Jackson is Gay.
Before telling you about this incident, let me first be clear that I have nothing against Michael Jackson or gay people, nor is another human being’s sexual orientation anything that I have ever concerned myself with caring about.
As a teenager, I listened to Michael Jackson quite a bit. I guess. As it turns out, everyone in Somalia listened to Michael Jackson. I would venture to say that in Somalia, Michael Jackson was second in popularity only to the prophet Mohammed or Allah himself. Insulting someone’s religious beliefs is definitely something that is off limits to me. However, insulting their taste in music? Well, I think that is something that can be insulted, torn up and burned without boundary. Especially when it’s 130 degrees outside, its noon, and you’re wearing body armor, Kevlar, carrying a weapon and you’re really, really bored. And your target of insult is a volatile crowd of hostile and potentially dangerous people in another country.
And honestly……maybe I snapped a little…. for my own amusement. And I would love to tell you about it. I’m sure Lariam is partially to blame for this temporary psychosis, along with just being stressed out beyond belief.
This incident took place at the port of Merca, in the lower Shabelle province of Somalia. I have no idea what the date was. All I know is it was hot, I was really tired, I was bored, and a crowd had begun to amass at the gate leading to the port. The gate I was guarding on this fine day, which is what we did during our “downtime”, the time when we weren’t doing Air Assault missions, raids or ambushes. We would guard things.
I had always heard that the man that measured the pyramids, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, was able to do so by wearing a tutu so the locals would think he was insane and wouldn’t stone him to death. I have no idea if that is historical fact, or if I risked my life believing something that wasn’t true. But after three days without sleep, I was pretty sure it must be historical fact.
As Steve Mangold and I manned our post and the afternoon sun grew to its highest point in the sky, workers toiled to unload shipments of rice, oil and other goods from a large boat out in the harbor. Doc Cooke from 2nd platoon came by as a small crowd had started to gather, a crowd of maybe forty people, when a young man in the crowd tried to strike up a conversation with me by exclaiming “Michael Jackson!!!!” and pumping his arm in the air, then asking me “You like Michael Jackson?”
“Michael Jackson?” I asked. “Michael Jackson is gay!” I exclaimed as I performed the internationally recognized gesture for a blowjob in every imaginable angle to make sure he understood what I was saying.
“NO! Michael Jackson NO gay!” he screamed frantically, waiving his finger in my face.
“Oh yeah, he sucks dick!” I replied, continuing my crude gestures as more people in the crowd began to concentrate in our immediate vicinity, their grumblings becoming increasingly noticeable.
Mangold looked over at me as he took a puff from his cigarette, a mischievous smile on his face, slightly shaking his head as he smirked and exhaled, turning his head back out toward the crowd as he leaned up against a shipping container. He was relaxed and cool, as though he was hanging out on a street corner back home in California, a smile on his face. The look he gave me was almost as though he knew what was coming, though I doubt for a minute anyone could have predicted how this day would play out. It was also a look of approval, almost saying “Yeah, I’m pretty bored, too. Entertain me.”
Doc Cooke gleefully helped fuel the fire by echoing my sentiments about Michael Jackson. After about 10 minutes or so of dick sucking gestures and back and forth screaming about whether or not Michael Jackson was in fact gay, the crowd had become increasingly agitated and had now tripled in size. And they were getting closer to us. Almost like we were being boxed in as we sat there smiling, smoking our cigarettes and performing simulated fellatio en masse. Their discontent began growing exponentially with each gulp, slurp and stroke of a gigantic air-cock.
The group closest to me was furiously pumping their fists and repeating “No! Michael Jackson NO gay! No suck dick!”
“Hey, Slane……I think this is about to get a little out of hand, dude….” Mangold chuckled, still smiling, though maybe through a hint of growing apprehension.
Mangold then charged his weapon, which made the crowd closest to him jump back and become startled. Things quieted down for all of about 2 seconds, and then got even louder. The startled people becoming more and more furiously animated, the look in their eyes was pure hatred. I had defiled what they apparently held most sacred, second only to The Prophet Mohammed himself. Some in the crowd tried to reason with me through pleas of broken English, begging me to recant. “Sticks and stones may break my bones”…. and these mother fuckers were looking for both…..and they wanted to do more than just break my bones.
I slurped away. Stroking and gulping. Holding firm, as it were, to my claim that Michael Jackson does, in fact, suck dick. And he likes it. And just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get more heated, one of the people in the crowd grabbed my arm. I quickly pulled out my 9MM and pointed it at him, the crowd moving back just a little, but not seeming very much calmer. In fact, they seemed like they might be getting even angrier with each passing second.
What I did next was only previously known by a handful of people, all of whom were very close to me. Only people in my inner circle, so to speak. But there really is no way around telling this story to the entire world, and it is a story I think worthy of telling, and not divulge the fact that did something completely and utterly…..insane. I am sure many of already think what I’ve described thus far is insane. But you never really know how insane a person can actually get without pushing the envelope.
As if I hadn’t already done that to this point.
I was pointing and waiving my 9MM, demanding people to step back and calm down, while simultaneously holding to my initial statements about Michael Jackson and his oral love of all things phallic, and shit was out of hand. Suddenly, like Cleavon Little in his famous scene from Blazing Saddles, I charged my pistol and quickly swung it up to my own head, exclaiming “Nobody move!!! Back up! Shut the fuck up!” I looked over at Mangold. He smiled and relaxed a little.
“No! No! No!” begged one man directly in front of me.
“Don’t fucking move or I’ll do it!” I shouted, and being as animated as possible.
“Do not do this!” another pleaded.
At this point I pulled the thumb safety on the 9MM, which when cocked causes the hammer to slam forward, as though I had pulled the trigger.
“CLICK!!!!” as the crowd gasped and ducked.
“NOOOOOO!” many protested as they ducked down to avoid the inevitable infidel brain mass they were allegedly nearly splattered with.
“What the fuck!” I said, acting confused and examining the pistol for the reason for its malfunction before charging it again and returning it to my head.
The crowd pleaded for my safety. They begged me not to do it. Just three minutes ago they were ready to tear me apart with their bare hands and scatter my remains across their city. Now, they pleaded for my life as it rested in the hands of a madman. Me.
After several minutes, I was talked down. Dissuaded from harming …. myself. A unanimous sigh of relief could almost be heard coming from the more than one hundred defenders of Michael Jackson and his manliness. Several of those closest to me in the crowd were visibly relieved, expressing their gratitude at my decision to let myself live.
Until, that is, I restated my original claim.
“Michael Jackson IS gay! Michael Jackson sucks cock!” I quietly said to those who were comforting me.
“NO! NO! NO! Michael Jackson NO gay! No suck cock!” they replied.
Again, I cocked my 9MM and held it to my head. The crowd gasped and backed up, the pleadings for my life began anew. I shouted the same demands for the crowd to calm down and back up.
And again I pulled the thumb safety, causing the same reaction as before. “CLICK!!!!”
Mangold was quietly laughing, though maybe a little disturbed and a little worried for both of us. The situation repeated itself a few times, though I don’t recall exactly how many.
An older man, maybe in his 30’s which would make him an elder in a country where people don’t live past their forties, approached from the crowd and pleaded with me in broken English, for some time.
“You must not do this thing.” He said calmly.
“But, Michael Jackson….he’s gay. He really does suck dick.” I said quietly back.
“No, my friend. No gay.” He said quietly.
After a few minutes of calm talking, during which the crowd was almost reverent it was so quiet, I holstered my sidearm and expressed gratitude to the man and a few of the people closest to me, and waived to the now dissipating crowd. Shocked and amazed at what they had witnessed. Maybe Michael Jackson is gay? Fuck no. He is not gay. And if you say he is gay? They will kill you. That is, unless you yourself or someone else tries to kill you.
At which point, they will intervene and plead to save your life. For me, it proved two things: 1) I actually might be crazy. Or at least, I am very convincing at being crazy. 2) I had always heard that Muslims extremists, though they might rape your goat and kill a random infidel for fun, will not harm a crazy person.
To quote another famous musician, “Cocaine is a hell of a drug!” And so is the Army’s anti-malarial drug Lariam. I’m Rick James, bitches.
This incident highlighted how absolutely overworked we were, how totally deprived of sleep. And how giving us guard duty when we weren’t actively out on missions, really did nothing for this lack of sleep. I had also been keeping lots of company with Sgt. Jesus. Not by choice.
No one understood how Jesus was still here in Africa with us. It seems only me and the rest of the disciples, along with anyone else he spent five seconds talking to in the company, knew how absolutely out of touch with reality Sgt. Jesus was.
Which leads into our next chapter……Walking with Jesus. A story of faith, insanity and the emotional toll that a combat environment can exact from a soldier. His real name isn’t important because I have no interest in embarrassing him or causing him unwanted attention. I don’t believe its his fault that he lost his marbles and hopefully by now, he found them all and is able to read this and laugh about it.
Copyright© 1993-2016 by Bravo Charles/Steve Slane