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You Only Dud Twice

By Rod Walker



 The only important thing in postal Diplo­macy is the press. I don’ t know what the poor people who have to play the game FTF do.  Without press releases, the game is unspeakably dull…,an occasional stab will liven things up, but after a while, it doesn’t make much difference whether you do or you don't.  At that point, I always suicide against all of my neighbors simultaneously and go out to the kitchen for some cold pizza.

 In postal Diplomacy, it is otherwise. The game exists merely as an excuse to write press (and perhaps as a background for it).  The deadline is when the Gamemaster wants the press so he can type it up.  Negotiations are for the purpose of coordinating releases.  Rating systems and organizations exist entirely to give us targets for topical and satirical releases.  Strategy and tactics articles are written only to give us ideas for interesting things to do on the playing board so we can write press about them.

 Some time ago I began a column in Diplomacy World about press, but it short-circuited because lack of reader response indicated that I was taking the wrong tack.  What we really need is an example; something topical, satirical, relevant, and all of the other virtues I’ve already talked about.  Thus, without further ado, we present:

You Only Dud Twice

Secret Agent Roddie Dudright, Code Name 0-0-Dud, slid into Secret Superspy Headquarters. He always thought it a bit demeaning to have the secret entrance disguised as a demonstrator in a slide, see-saw, and jungle gym specialty shop, but he never argued with the judgement of his Leader, the ominious “Big D.”

Dusting off the wood shavings which filled the box at the bottom of the slide, 0-0-Dud opened the door to Big D's office a crack and threw his hat in. This act was followed by a burst of sub-machine gun fire. He threw open the door to see smoking fragments of his hat wafting downward to the floor.  Big D’s Secretary Margaret Gummygammy (affectionately known to all the agents as "Mad Meg"), was smilingly putting a smoking weapon back into her umbrella stand, "Come In, Mr. Dudright," she said tooth­somely.

"Big D" entered the reception room from be­hind a huge arras hanging on the wall. "Don’t dawdle, O-O-Dud, She's shot down the last 50 hats you've thrown in, so you needn't be surprised by now…” They went into the office be­hind the arras and sat down. "Your unique talents are required on this case, O-O-Dud; it is one the Home Office is particularly interested in having nailed town, The Special Effects Of­fice will furnish you with a case file and the usual array of secret weapons, and then you’re off to Santa Pasta.”

"Where's that? What for?”

"Inquisitive lad.  Well, Santa Pasta is a feudal republic lying on the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland.  It is about 10 miles long and 3 miles wide.  The capital is Spumoni, which lies near the headwaters of the Vermicelli River.  The current Doge is Gualthero Buccanini.

 “You are being sent to foil the sinister plans of the local Spectre agent, Johann Bashud. During the war he ran the Dudburg Concentration Camp, which was entirely composed of Polack POWs.  They all escaped within 2 weeks.  During a subsequent assignment as Official Yes-Man to Goering, he found out what was going on at Buchenwald, and spent the rest of the war trying to get an assignment.  At the end he tried to escape to Sweden, but went the wrong direction and wound up in Switzerland.  In 1947 he set up a gun-running operation to the Arabs1 and ferried arms to Haifa for a year and a half before he found out who actually owned that port. He then set up a gingerbread hut outside of Nazareth, but the but the local kids kept eating the walls without ever once accepting an invitation to jump in his ovens.  He is now the chief Spectre operative in Santa Pasta…and assignment not in line with his ambitions, but certainly with his abilities.”

 "So what are his sinister plans?”

 “Big D” drummed his fingers on his desk.  “We’re not sure.  Some mysterious things are going on there.  Our local operative, Lenda Lizzard, will brief you when you arrive."

 Lenda Lizzard?  Isn’t the one who got out on the firing range and…?”

 "Yes, O-O-Dud, she is the only one of our agents who managed to miss her target, the broad side of a barn, more times than you did. At the moment, she is diguised as an exotic dancer, Samantha and Her Sexy Snakes. She's working at the Mosey Inn, which is near the new Westworld Amusement Park. Now get going: you don't want to miss your plane; Dogpatch Airlines only flies this route once a month!"