Viral vignettes: 'The Secret Koch Brother'

First in a series.

From his perch in the Eagle’s Nest, A.K. Koch answered the call from the guardhouse at the gate. “She have the test results?” A.K. asked.

“Clean bill of health, sir,” replied the guard, one of six former Blackwater mercenaries, armed with fully-automatic assault weapons, billeted at the compound in the Ozarks. 

“Okay, send her up.”

On his security monitors, A.K. watched Lexi pull through the checkpoint and accelerate up the mile-long driveway in her shiny red pickup. He checked the time: 7:08 p.m. 

“You’re late,” he muttered at the screen.

A.K. was itching to see Lexi. She’d be the first visitor allowed inside his mountaintop mansion since the coronavirus panic began.   

All his in-house staff, and now Lexi, had been tested for the virus by his private physician, Dr.  Joe Bob Mengele, whose office was filled with test kits thanks to A.K.’s latest $1 million contribution to a Trump campaign super PAC.  

No one besides A.K. knew where his fortune came from. Born Andy Devine Pickens in Fayetteville , Arkansas, he was shoveling shit at a Koch Industries fertilizer plant in Oklahoma in the early ’80s when his boss told him he was a dead-ringer for David Koch.

Over the next year or so, he quit his job, legally changed his name to Andrew Koch, called himself A.K., claimed to be kin of the Wichita Kochs, became a recruiter for the NRA, and attended a bible college in Missouri.

Meanwhile, he did his homework on the Kochs and launched a career of cashing in on his new name.  

On paper, all he owned were four Christian Soldier Gun Shoppes. His teenage girlfriend, Lexi May Sauer, worked as a $500-an-hour intern at the store in Branson.

“I’ve missed you, darlin’,” A.K. said as Lexi came through the front door, head-to-foot in supple black leather, blonde hair cascading down her back.

“You look good enough to eat,” he said, engulfing Lexi in his arms, slobbering all over her face and neck. 

She wriggled free and grinned at her benefactor, tall and lean, with slicked-back gray hair, old enough to be her granddaddy.

“C’mon,” A.K. said, taking her hand, “want to show you something.”

He guided her down two flights of stairs, through a heavy steel door, into a huge basement encased in thick concrete. “Welcome to the Fuhrerbunker,” he said with a wave. 

The perimeter was stocked to the ceiling with a prosperous survivalist’s standard supplies. The floor was covered with recent arrivals – crates of U.S. Army M4A1 fully-automatic rifles, a row of mechanical respirators, racks of hazmat suits, cartons brimming with coronavirus test kits, surgical masks and gowns, gasmasks, hand-sanitizer, tissues and toilet paper.

Lexi raised her gaze toward the heavens.  “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up – James, 5:15,” she recited.

“Amen,” A.K. intoned, posing proudly amid his merchandise.

He leered at Lexi. Smiled.  

She was fifteen when he first approached her while trolling for protégés at a Trump rally in St. Louis in 2016. He was drawn to her striking resemblance to the youthful version of his ex-wife, Donna, way back when they met at bible college. 

It wasn’t until after they were married that Donna revealed she had been an actress, best known for playing Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies.

They went on the road together, with a traveling gospel show. He managed the tours and handled the cash.

Donna convinced him to write down everything he’d told her about his life in the Koch family. She arranged to publish the book, The Secret Koch Brother, ghostwritten by her brother Jethro.   

A.K. sold the 268-page paperback for $20 at tour stops. Pocketed the cash. 

He added it to the money he skimmed from the gospel shows, ditched the aging Donna, and was on his way.

A.K. escorted Lexi upstairs to his happy place. The brass plaque on the door read: The Eva Braun Room

The flag of Nazi Germany hung over the king-sized bed. Another swastika was stitched into the bedspread. A copy of Mein Kampf shared a night table with the Holy Bible, below a framed photo of Adolf and Eva at their Berghof hideaway in the Bavarian Alps.

It was here that A.K. home-schooled Lexi, told tales of his pilgrimages to Berchtesgaden, his treks up the mountain to Kehlsteinhaus, the original Eagle’s Nest that he had reproduced in the Ozarks after the 2008 election.

On this night, as others, A.K. narrated accounts of Nazi conquests. Foreplay to bouncing on Lexi in rhythm to a vintage recording of the Horst Wessel Song.

After, they retired to the living room. Another copy of Mein Kampf sat on a shelf beside The Turner Diaries, The Camp of SaintsGoebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich. 

He clicked on the TV. Fox had gone lamestream, reporting the news – all virus and all bad.

“This is the final plague predicted in the Book of Revelation,” Lexi said with a whimper, snuggling up to A.K. on the couch.

“It’s okay, darlin’,” A.K. said, “we’re ready for it. We’ll survive, and so will our people.”

He clicked off the TV, folded his arms around Lexi, and whispered in her ear. “Might turn out to be a blessing.”

They fell asleep to the overture of Hitler’s favorite Wagnerian opera, Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen.

My book, The Expat Files: My Life is Journalism, is available in print and Kindle editions from Amazon.com and Amazon Canada.

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