Weston Ochse is the author of more than twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequel Age of Blood, which the New York Post called 'required reading' and USA Today placed on their 'New and Notable Lists.' His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with 29 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Please contact him through this site.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

When I Was A Little Terrorist

So this is a true story.

I'd forgotten about it almost entirely.

My mother is probably going to read this. She never knew it happened either, but the statute of parental limitations expired many years ago. You see, I had to be ten or eleven when I was a little terrorist. That I got away with it is the story.

I was writing a section of SEAL Team 666:Age of Blood today and looking up the nomenclature for a smoke grenade when I remembered using one when I was a kid. Not the AN/M-18 Colored Smoke Grenades used by our armed forces, but the little gray, round balls with a wick that you'd light and it would pump out smoke.

I was living in Signal Mountain, Tennessee at the time. We're talking 1976 or 1977. I was a latchkey kid and spent all my time playing war in the woods, riding my bike, and trying not to get into too much trouble. But on this day I did the first two very well, and the last one not so well.

You see, I had this little smoke bomb. It was the last one and I had to put it to good use. Then it hit me. I'll smoke bomb the bank. (WTF? What kind of kid thinks that?)

I took a circuitous route through the woods so no one could follow me. I hid in a treeline and waited until someone drove up and the teller opened the metal drawer. Then in a daring act of treasonous glee, I lit the bomb, pedaled to the window, dropped it in the drawer,and pedaled away. In my mirror-- yes I had a mirror, and a six foot orange plastic whip on the back of my bike that served no other purpose than to look cool and ultimately to later giveaway my position-- I watched the teller pull the drawer inside, I heard her scream, then she shoved it back outside and the smoke billowed. The woman in the car pulled away like she'd just learned of a ten for one sale at Penny's. I pulled to a stop in the weeds. Hid my bike behind a tree and got down to watch what I'd done.

As expected, the cops came screaming into the parking lot. There was quite a ruckus  Nothing like this had ever happened on sleepy Signal Mountain. The most that ever happened was you'd hear a huge explosion some nights and you just knew someone's still blew up somewhere in the woods.

Eventually a cop spied the orange whip on the back of my bike. As he got nearer, he got more suspicious. I scootched further into the brush.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

At this point I realized the importance of an alibi. I didn't have one. So I said the most intelligent thing I could think of. "I'm looking for my comic books."

I was treated with silence. Either he was drawing down on me or he was wondering why I was reading coming books in a thicket. I didn't know because my little terrorist eyes were closed.

"Come out of there." Thankfully he left off, with your hands up.

"No," I said.

"Come out of there," he repeated.

"No," I said firmly.

It was a standoff.

Have you read SEAL Team 666?
I'm not sure what happened at that moment. I don't know whether he was called by a fellow officer, he decided to leave my poor little terroristically terrified body alone, or that he remembered that he'd left the oven on, but he left. It wasn't long before the police called an all clear and everything went back to normal.

I made my way back home and promptly forgot about this for the next 36 years.

And then came today.

What I note on the picture above is that very little has changed. The strip mall on the north side of the highway beside the entrance to Cauthen Way wasn't there when I was a kid. The bank was the first building on that side.

Thankfully I'm no longer a terrorist. I just write about them now.

Weston Ochse
Sonoran Desert


  1. Hahaha! Reminded me of a certain incident that involved spray paint, the interior of KFC, and the words, 'Meat is Murder.' Hadn't thought about *that* in quite a while. Great story.

  2. lol...that is tooooo funny!!! i can imagine some of the kids i hung out with when i was younger doing something like that.....

  3. It's amazing what your mind blocks out. I remember being terrified and then kicking myself for the stupid alibi. "Looking for my comic books." What a maroon.