Snakes and Pills

062 - hook

"We are ready," Monticelli's assistant informed him.

The man, clad in a pristine white suit, nodded in approval, not even slightly adjusting his posture to acknowledge the presence of his assistant. Monticelli was not the type to make eye contact with those below him.

His sight remained trained off in the distance, into the barren badlands below. Through the tempered glass window that made up the entire front wall of his elevated, air-conditioned compound, it was impossible to feel the desert's heat.

Yet Monticelli still wiped beads of sweat off of his wrinkled forehead. This was the moment he had long been waiting for, the result of countless hours and dollars. In a moment, the fruits of his efforts would be laid out below him.

In the control and observation room, the radio began to crackle with static, slightly before a voice began to call out over it. "Command, this is Chase One. Payload Charlie is moving through the final checkpoint and will be in position on time. Over." The voice rang out over the sound of madness, the person speaking with a tone of exhausted excitement.

Once again, Monticelli made no initial reaction. However, given the news that the radio had brought, he waited a few moments, and then adjusted his vision slightly downward, towards the final checkpoint.

As his eyes arrived there, Payload Charlie was just coming into view. A stampede of hundreds of cows was racing forward at a blistering pace, kicking up a cloud of brown dust so thick that the individual animals could hardly be seen.

They were being corralled by cowboys on horseback, and as they passed the final checkpoint, the path became narrower, forcing the cattle into a smaller, thinner area. Monticelli kept an eye on this, waiting for the leader of the pack to pass a certain mark.

It had taken years of planning, but as it progressed in real time, Monticelli was amazed at how fast everything was occurring. In another moment, the sensors had been tripped, and his console began lighting up. "Tell them to get the hell out of there!" he barked.

Workers in the control room began speaking into radios and soon the cowboys surrounding the herd began to drop back and away. "Proceed," he nodded upon seeing this.

A radio operator spoke into his headset. "Air, Overland is complete. Target is ready for Payload Juliet." A simple "Roger, coming into range now," came back over the airwaves.

Several C-130 turboprops seemed to suddenly fill the sky out of nowhere, chasing the stampede of cattle down from the air--and closing quickly. "This is Air One, requesting final permission to deploy payload."

For this, Monticelli took control. "You are go on payload deployment," he said firmly, completely masking the anticipation that was filling his body.

The planes lined up perfectly, and at a predefined moment, began to drop their payload on the unsuspecting target below. From each C-130's cargo doors soon came gigantic blocks of red Jell-O. The enormous slabs wobbled in the air as gravity brought them back down to earth below.

The first huge brick of Jell-O made contact with the bewildered cows at the head of the pack, exploding into chunks of cattle and gelatin. The bombardment continued as the rest of the payload was deployed and began making contact. All hell was breaking lose.

Monticelli smiled, finally letting some of his emotion shine through. "Perfect."


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