you can take the Afghan out of Afghanistan but you can’t take Afghanistan out of the Afghan
There are people who are against enhanced interrogation techniques, calling them “torture”, but Jon Quplic knew they saved lives. He wasn’t enjoying his time at the Salt Pit in Afghanistan but he knew the work he was doing there was protecting the ones he loved back at home.
He was awakened at 2 a.m. by someone shaking his shoulder. They had acquired a high priority target and his presence was required in one of the interview rooms. He was told the room number by the guard at the front desk and made his way back. When he arrived there were two large men standing in front of the door. One of them turned the handle and held it open for him. Taking a deep breath he went inside.
Bound to a filthy metal chair was a dog (I will let you decide the breed. It’s important that you decide what type of dog it is, what it looks like and, most importantly, you do not change the type of dog it is as the story unfolds or, specifically, when you learn the name of the dog. Got it?).
(I’m guessing some of you wanted to make it an Afghan Hound after reading the title but don’t know what an Afghan actually looks like. Would watching a Westminster Dog Show every now and then kill you?)
Overhead the light flickered slightly. Jon heard the door shut behind him. It was very quiet, the soft panting of the dog was the only noise.
“Ok Mr. Tickles, my name is Jon. I have a few questions for you.” And so it began.
Jon hoped it would be over quickly. There were techniques that could be used like sleep disruption, exposure to deafening noise, deprivation of food and drink, subjection to extreme heat or extreme cold, or confinement in a small crate but all of those required time and time was the one thing they didn’t have.
Before he even asked the first question he rained down a few savage blows into the face of Mr. Tickles. “I need you to know I mean business.”
He began walking around the dog, opening and closing his sore hand. “I’m not saying you’re a bad dog. Let me be clear about that. I know you want to be a good dog. I’m here to help you.”
Sitting on the table in front of Mr. Tickles was a folder and a tackle box. Jon walked over and opened the tackle box. He withdrew something and held it front of the dog.
“Do you know what these are?” he asked. “Bark once if you do.”
The dog remained silent.
“I see… a hard case huh?” Jon sighed. “They are toenail clippers Mr. Tickles. Often times when used incorrectly they draw blood. Do you understand what I’m getting at?”
He withdrew a few more grooming items from the tackle box and laid them on the table in front of the dog then, with practiced precision, he struck Mr. Tickles on the back of his head with his open hand.
The dog whined slightly.
“You are being a very bad dog.”
Mr. Tickles wagged his tail ever so slightly.
“So it’s going to be like that is it?” said Jon, rolling up his sleeves.
I get the feeling that you’re switching the breed of dog on me. I don’t know why, but I just get that feeling. If you are, you are totally fucking up this story. Stop it. Pick a dog and stick with it. Don’t stop and Google what an Afghan looks like, it’s too late for that.
An hour later Mr. Tickles was slumped in the chair. Blood dripping from a dozen places, one eye swollen shut and his breath coming in ragged bursts. On the table was an overhead map of a known terrorist compound.
“I need you to show me where the weapons are. Be a good dog Mr. Tickles and point to where the weapons are being stored.”
The dog coughed.
“Don’t you want to go walkies? Don’t you want someone to rub your belly?”
Almost imperceptibility the dog’s tail began to wag. “Are you ready to be a good dog?” Mr. Tickles barked once. Jon walked over and untied one of his legs. Slowly, painfully, Mr. Tickles put his paw on the southeastern part of the map, over what otherwise seemed like an unimportant structure.
Jon reached for the walkie talkie on his belt. Moments later four Bell AH-1 SuperCobra twin-engine attack helicopters lifted off and disappeared over the dusty horizon.
Mr. Tickles was shipped to an ASPCA facility in the US where he was confined in a small crate until he was euthanized. This was not because he was a war criminal, it’s because that’s what happens to a lot of dogs at the ASPCA.
I realize you’re dying to know what became of Jon so… let’s say that he left the military a few years later and opened a book store in Boise. But he never forgot Mr. Tickles.
He still laughs about that name to this day.