Gary Faulkner, i.e. the “Bin Laden Hunter,” i.e. “Step Aside Jack Bauer, there’s a New Bad Ass in Town,” i.e., “What is this Guy Smoking?”, is somewhat of an enigma. He is a 50-something with failing kidneys, a criminal record, and a calling to track down Osama bin Laden, or, as he likes to call him, “Binny Boy.” When Pakistani authorities caught Faulkner attempting to cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border back in June, he was armed with a pistol, dagger, sword, Christian literature, and night-vision goggles. It was his 8th time visiting Pakistan to track down OBL.
I’ve written about Faulkner before, here and here. But nothing prepared me for the awesomeness that was in this month’s GQ. Oh yes. That GQ. Here are some gems from the piece, though you really should read it in its entirety:
- “Gary’s youngest brother, Scott, a doctor in Fort Morgan, Colorado, drove him to the Denver airport two weeks earlier, on May 30. ‘He was in great spirits,’ says Scott. ‘He was excited about his trip. I remember he was looking at his crossbow, deciding whether or not he should take it.'” Yes. He just said crossbow. He is not kidding.
- “‘I believe that is going to go down in history,’ his other brother, Todd, tells me, ‘and kids are going to write essays about that 200 years from now.'” Forget 200 years from now! I’ve written two posts already! And damn it, give Gary Faulkner a freaking reality show, Fox!
- In response to “You’ve been described as everything from hero to crackpot,” Faulkner responded, “I’m a little of everything. I’ve done crack, I’ve done crank, I’ve done coke, I’ve done pot, I’ve done everything in the world out there.… You know, I’ve been to prison, I’ve been shipwrecked, blown up, shot, stabbed. My story does not just start here; it started when I was 5 years old, the first time I tried to hot-wire a car.…” Oh sweet baby Jesus.
- “‘He just had a dream about hunting down bin Laden,’ remembers Jim Sage, who has worked on construction jobs with Faulkner over the past decade. ‘In his dream he was supposed to get there without his feet touching the ground.’ At first, Faulkner took this to mean that he had to go by boat. So he bought a twenty-one-foot yellow-and-white yacht called the Piña Colada…he set sail from San Diego. He figured he’d head west across the Pacific and work it out from there.” Later Faulkner took the “feet not touching ground” thing to mean he should get there by hang glider. You can’t make this stuff up.
- “Gary says he was told that Al Qaeda had not only noticed him but photographed him and was circulating his picture. After dark that night, believing they were soon coming to get him, he headed up the mountain…’It’s old-school for me, because I used to be a thief, so nighttime is my time. I laugh. Here I am in the middle, they’ve got a squeeze play going on, and once again I slipped away in the night.'” For some reason, this is my mental image when I read that [circa Zoolander, when he’s toiling in the mine]:
- “He has told me that he doesn’t particularly care for the media nickname that seems to have stuck the most, Rocky Mountain Rambo, but I’m not so sure. When I see him write down his name for strangers, he’ll write “Rocky Mountain Rambo” beneath it, and when there’s a problem finding a New York hotel reservation, he wonders aloud whether he might have been booked under the name Rocky Mountain Rambo.” Personally I prefer the Bin Ladenator, but that’s just me.
The piece is about 10 pages long, but it is worth reading, not just for the laughs, or the headache that may ensue afterwards, but because there really is no one else like Gary Faulkner.