Sunday, December 27, 2009

In Between Investigations...

What do agents/soldiers do during the minimal downtime between solving crimes in the busiest jurisdiction in Iraq? Some, like me, write and blog. Others take online college courses. Most of us catch up on professional development reading. But the overwhelming favorite activity when there are a few spare minutes is to plan and execute a really great practical joke. Nothing mean-spirited, but sometimes they can get pretty messy.
One office favorite prank was perfected by one of our team chiefs (TC). Someone sent him one of those nylon fabric and spring steel frisbees, which twist and fold into a 4-inch diameter circle. The TC discovered if you fold the frisbee, then pack it with the small paper bits from the office shredder, it delivers a big cloud of confetti when springing open. Since everyone in the office has heavy case files on their desks, it's a simple matter to slide the loaded frisbee under the file...
These surprise attacks have been christened PBIEDs, for Paper Based Improvised Embarrassment Devices, and they serve a positive purpose in addition to the entertainment value. Everyone is now conditioned to scan their desk area for the slightest clue a PBIED lurks within. Sherlock Holmes would be proud to see the improved powers of observation demonstrated by his Army proteges. Even the most clever agent can fall prey to the PBIED. One of our best agents, who I'll call, "Raul", had for 5 months carefully avoided detonating the confetti bombs emplaced in his workspace by meticulously checking every inch of anything that looked suspicious, whenever he had been gone from his office for more than 5 minutes. That pattern eventually led to his undoing, as everyone else worked together to bag this prized trophy. One agent faked receiving a call on our "hot line" from the MP desk, and then asked "Raul" for some guidance. While "Raul" was thus distracted, another agent started feeding paper into the shredder, the noise covering the sound of yet another agent sneaking into "Raul's" office, and sliding the loaded PBIED into the Stars and Stripes newspaper "Raul" had just brought back from the mess hall. Once the device had been successfully emplaced, the distractions ended, and "Raul" was soon covered in confetti!


  1. Downrange Dinner Theater presents: The Case of the Booby-Trapped Newspaper.

    I love reading how our troops entertain themselves while deployed.


  2. Well I guess we'll be watching for PBIED's at the work place upon your will make life interesting !!

  3. Here's an addendum: A USO person brought by a big stack of "Hooters" calendars...we placed one on a guy's chair, with the PBIED underneath. Sure enought, he was distracted by the promise of scantily-clad women, and didn't check before lifting up the calendar...Now THAT was a real "Booby Trap"!