Overheard at the NSA

Unidentified sources recorded the following conversation at the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland earlier this year.  The participants in the conversation include General Keith B. Alexander, Director; Mr. John C. (Chris) Inglis, Deputy Director; and Captain Wilbur Dullard, Intelligence Analyst.

General Alexander:  Chris, I have to admit I was more than a little unnerved by the memo you forwarded this morning.  I’d like to talk to the analyst who collected the surveillance information as soon as possible.
Inglis:  I’ll have him report to your office immediately, sir.
[There is a period of silence followed by a knocking sound on a door]
GA:  Come in.  [brief pause]  It’s good to meet you Captain Dullard.
Dullard:  It’s “doo-LARD” sir.  The accent is on the second syllable.
GA:  What?  Oh yes, of course.  Thank you, Captain.  Deputy Director Inglis has sent me a memo about your recent internet and phone surveillance.  Can your conclusions possibly be true?
D:  Yes, sir, I think we have found an active terrorist cell in Texas.
GA:  That’s astounding and extremely disturbing, Captain.  Tell me what you’ve found.

At first we just thought it was a bunch of foppish old men who enjoyed talking about Teas and Bees.
D:  It’s a registry of some kind, Sir.  They have units in several major cities there—Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin—and persons from smaller cities in the surrounding areas affiliate with one or the other groups.  Some members seem to have multiple affiliations.  At first we thought it was just a group of foppish old men who enjoyed talking about Teas and Bees.  That seemed odd because they may talk about teas, but they obviously prefer consuming alcohol in large quantities.  And although we also doubt their interest in beekeeping, they are unusually enthusiastic about another area of agriculture—poultry and eggs.
GA:  Chickens?
D:  Yes sir, there is a peculiar preoccupation with a particular breed and gender of chicken they continuously refer to as the Old Speckled Hen.  We’re not sure, but we think they may be working on some kind of genetic engineering that could weaken the egg and poultry industry in the United States.
  What other evidence makes you think they have terrorist leanings?
D:  Well sir, their publications make numerous references to technical specifications and modifications.  Their communications often seem to be in code.  They use obscure letter series to reference things about which they seem to have a shared understanding.  For example, they talk about TD, TF, MGA and MGB.  There are references to A’s too.  We’re not sure if that’s code for Al Quaeda, A-theists, A-rabs or what, but they’re sure not meaning the Oakland A’s if you get my drift, General. Particularly disturbing are their comments about a large number of “Red A’s,” which leads us to believe there is a Communist faction within their organization.  We have analysts working on it trying to decipher the meaning. 
The group gathers monthly or more often to do something they call “natter.”
Also, we have brought in specialists with expertise in vague and obscure communication from the Army, Internal Revenue Service and General Services Administration to assist.  We already have meetings scheduled in Las Vegas, Aspen, Maui, Boca Raton and Hilton Head Island over the next few months when we will be working diligently on getting acquainted with each other in preparation for our task.
GA:  Go on.
D:  Sir, there also appears to be a religious component.
GA:  What do you mean?
D:   The group gathers monthly or more often to do something they call “natter.”  The guys in Decoding are working on that.  There also are references to a “sacred octagon” that seems to hold special meaning for them.  And twice yearly, the cells from the various cities meet in something they call a Gathering of the Faithful.  It just doesn’t sound Christian, sir. They meet on Mother’s Day and other Sundays.

GA:  What exactly do they do at these religious gatherings?
D:  There are a number of somewhat bizarre rituals we’re trying to understand, sir.  They seem to worship the small cars they drive as if they were idols.  Further research has revealed that some of them possess multiple “idols” and have even built extravagant temples adjacent to their homes where the idols are placed when the members are not at their gatherings.  The group members appear to have been fairly affluent in the past, but have squandered their wealth to maintain the idols, invest in agriculture (the Old Speckled Hen again), and travel to meetings, all for the sake of their cause.  But sir, despite their diminished financial capacity and history of questionable judgment, the members still hold considerable power and influence in various areas, and have opportunity to infiltrate key American interests in aviation and transportation, banking and finance, engineering, marketing, healthcare, nuclear pharmaceuticals, agriculture, etc.  Sir, they are an oddly diverse group as well as being a diversely odd group.
GA:  Yes, Captain Dullard, I understand.  But what happens at their gatherings?

They often are kneeling by their idols, or rubbing them repeatedly or even lying prone with their heads underneath in what appears to be an act of submission.
D:  Sorry, sir.  It appears they meet together in hotels in semi-rural areas.  Unlike the Islamist extremists who pray at certain appointed times of the day, the members of this group appear to be more spontaneous as well as zealous.  They often are kneeling by their idols, or rubbing them repeatedly or even lying prone with their heads underneath in what appears to be an act of submission.  Sometimes when traveling in caravans, one of them will pull off the road or even stop his vehicle idol abruptly in the middle of the road.  As if on cue, several of the members will rush to that one and start kneeling and lying prone with their heads underneath while others stand in a circle surrounding them pointing and gesturing.  It’s an odd ritual, sir, but we have seen it repeatedly.

GA:  Hmmm, that is quite odd, Captain.  Anything else?
D:  They put shrouds over their idols at night.  We’re not sure if that symbolizes death, or if it’s a display of reverence, or maybe a means of concealing their practices from the unsuspecting public in the small towns where they meet.   Also late at night the group gathers in circles for ritual smoke inhalation while continuing their steady and continuous sipping from brown bottles, cans and cups.  The emotional fervor at such times has led to communal singing or even acts of thievery, with members of their own group being victimized.  We have heard reports they have been known to steal from each other and then extort money for the return of the stolen property.  Obviously, the moral principles and structure of this group are complex and difficult to comprehend by those of us with traditional American values.

GA:  What else do you know about them?
D:  We have been studying their organizational structure.  There is an elected leader who presides over their gatherings.  His title is believed to be a derivative of the term Poobah.  He’s called the Fubar.   The current leader seems to be part of a right wing conservative faction of the group since the material he writes for their newsletter includes quite a bit of flag waving and comment about how great it is to live in America.  Also, he actually doesn’t own one of the vehicle idols the other members of the cell have.  It appears the group is using coercion to quell his opinions that may be different from the group’s norms.
GA:  Really?  How are they doing that?  Are they using torture?  Brain washing?  Water boarding?

D:  No sir.  To the contrary, they appear to be using their adulation as a means of persuasion.  They have promised him that if he is elected Fubar again, he will be honored as Fubar For Life.  It is not clear whether any other member of the group has ever received that distinction, although it is suspected that many may have equaled or exceeded the traits present in the current Fubar.
GA:  So what more do we know about the group’s make up?

D:  In addition to the rank and file members, there appears to be another class distinction.  Oddly, the designation Trailer Queen does not appear to be gender specific.  Our analysts have not yet determined whether that title is merely an expression of higher esteem, or if it could be a reference to sexual orientation, genealogy or place of residence.  These individuals do show trends for higher interest in Teas.  Furthermore, the condition of their personal idols appears to exceed that of the rank and file members of the cell.  Still, the Trailer Queens do engage in the same worship practices as the others such as kneeling before the idols and anointing them with various emollients, but with greater fervor and diligence.  Just as in the spontaneous roadside worship I described before, it is not unusual to see several members gathered around the idol after it is rolled off the trailer with some of them bowing, others kneeling and still others in the prone position with heads under the idol.  That ritual may be repeated with one idol several times during one of their gatherings, and it is common for groups to surround an idol and begin the ritual spontaneously.

Oddly, the designation Trailer Queen does not appear to be gender specific
GA:  Do the Fubar and Trailer Queens hold absolute power in the group?
D:  No sir.  There are older men who are revered in a way similar to the Ayatollahs in Iran.  One man seems to be of particular spiritual significance because they display his image repeatedly in their publications.  We’re concerned because his name has a foreign sound too.  We think he may be a former KGB operative.
GA:  Really?  What is his name?
D:  Art Ziesk, sir.
GA:   Are there others?
There’s another older man named Wiggins who appears to be something of a fanatic
D:  Yes sir.  There’s another older man named Wiggins who appears to be something of a fanatic.  We think he could be a rogue British intelligence agent, but our attempts to get information from the Home Office in London have been fruitless.  He often flies an English flag, wears an odd costume and is inclined to make passionate speeches about England.  We’re really quite concerned about him.

GA:  Why is that?
D:  He seems to be a key figure in the expansion of their cause.  Although he lives in Texas, he spends half the year in Maine where he has recruited others to form a cell with interests similar to those of his Texas comrades.  Like Texas, Maine is a border state with a vast expanse of rural territory that is difficult to monitor.  We think it’s possible he may be recruiting illegal Canadian aliens as operatives in his organization.
GA:  [Expletive deleted] I can see why you’re concerned, Captain.  Maine is well known as a liberal stronghold where just recently both United States Senators were women.  You don’t see that in places like Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma, do you?!?
D:  No sir, I guess not.
GA:  So tell me, Captain Dullard, are there any other groups of particular interest at this time?
D:  Yes sir, we have been alerted to a religious group in North Carolina that represents a threat to the textile industry.
GA:  Really?
D:  Yes sir.  They call themselves Muslins.

My heartfelt thanks to Linda Yates, who provided the inspiration and motivation for this piece when we were in La Grange.  At least I think it was Linda.  The face was hard to recognize through the small eye slot of her burka, but that voice seemed unmistakably hers.

Text and captions submitted with tongue planted firmly in cheek by Heyward Green.  Images courtesy of Fay Ratta and, unwittingly, Gary Sandusky.


  1. Information revealed by the NSA special agent concerning Wiggins is true but requires further investigation. He is well known in the region near our neighbor to the north as eccentric which is believed to hide his real purposes. Those nefarious purposes appear to be to confuse and distort our special relationship with the country that manufactured the idols his cult group worships. Further his insistence that the flag of England be substituted for the Union flag is causing total confusion as it appears that it is overly religious with a red cross on a white background. Such religious emblems are very divisive and not appropriate in our modern society’s politically correct environment. This man should be silenced and any related emblems, flags, accouterments, and etc…seized.

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