Flipping through the pages of the novel, Zero Footprint – Leave no Trace, Take no Prisoners, by Simon Chase and Ralph Pezzullo, I initially thought to myself, this seems like some decent escapist reading. Then as sudden as the color of action and violence presented in the description text, I regretfully realized that this book is published as non-fiction. I set it aside, and checked my frontal lobe for any protruding objects, and then the doors and windows in the event that some hopped up drug-addict busted in and spiked my drink, now waiting, nervously in the corner of the room, for me to lose my grasp on reality then walkout with my hard earned possessions. After a quick check of the premises and the dilation of my pupils, I settled back down to complete my review, and read the description again.

No way, I thought to myself, someone gave me a Michael Bay script, but there it was in black and white. In assurance that I was coherent, I read it again, aloud this time;

Armored cars, burner phones, top-notch weaponry and top-secret missions–this is the life of today’s private military contractor. Like author Simon Chase, many PMCs were once the world’s top military operatives, and since retiring from outfits like US Navy SEAL TEAM Six and the UK’s Special Boat Service, they have devoted their lives to executing sensitive and hazardous missions overseas. Working at the request of U.S. and British government entities as well as for private clients, he takes on jobs that require “zero footprint,” with no trace of their actions left behind”.

Assured that this was a fiction novel, despite the text, I could then only consider the fact that I had attempted autoerotic asphyxiation, and it was not going well. There I was on the brink of void, breaking the bounds of this life in an embarrassing sexual misadventure. I needed to check reality, to see if I was truly still upon this plane of existence, so I decided to contact my boss, Jack Murphy to get some feedback on autoerotic asphyxiation and the book I was to review. Jack as always was in his uniquely personable form, he assured me that I was in the land of the living, and did not recommend autoerotic asphyxiation. He also had this to say about the book, “This book is pure bullshit fantasy nonsense about the military contracting world. The plot is something that I would expect to hear from the mayor of Candy Land after the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa ruffied my scotch. You would think that the publisher would know enough to vet this shit after the debacle surrounding Jamie Smith’s made up misadventures at Blackwater”. There it was, I was not destined to the void, nor doped up by some shaky ragamuffin.

It was only then that the unsanctioned reality of the situation sunk in, two lunatics have escaped from an asylum, written, found or stolen a novel while on a jenkem binge and somehow convinced a publisher to send this book out to the public. No doubt through intimidation, possibly breaking into the home of a publisher, in the middle of the night, eyes widened on jenkem, musky with the stench of cheap wine and train yards. Shrouded by darkness and reinforced by the wit of a pair of maniacs, an intimidated and helpless publisher in fear of safety, signed an on the spot book deal.

That would also be fiction, much like the fiction portrayed throughout the pages of Zero Footprint. In all honesty, before the book I can say that I never considered what the activity, or results of watching the classic 1985, Schwarzenegger movie, Commando after ingesting a healthy dose of psilocybin mushrooms – but thanks to Zero Footprint, I can simply read that experience on demand.

Page by page, Zero Footprint delivers, what could have easily once been the diagrammatic ravings of some deprived lost soul, found in an abandoned shack, on a wall covered in doll parts, placed in the middle, as if it was some holy object in a lost religion, the scribbled upon casing of a DVD from a poorly scripted action movie. Zero Footprint, made me want to run, throw it away, and hide from anyone who believes that this a true story, as – Obsequiously, two microwaves are on a globetrotting adventure, and executing “…missions too sensitive and top secret for even Delta Force or SEAL Team 6. [As,] They operate under a pact of secrecy known as ‘zero footprint’. They are to leave no trace behind, particularly when a mission ends in carnage.”

All the while, the duo is pulling in $2,000.00 a day, a piece. Retrospectively, the pair wishes that they contacted a financial planner, and that they did not hire such an expensive interior designer for their bed and breakfast in Hamptons. After all, there is no fathomable reason that anyone making that kind of cash should be broke enough to hammer out a novel, in violation of any U.S. confidentially agreements and the U.K. Official Secrets Act. Alternatively, they may intend to forfeit the profits to their respective governments.

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