Monday, May 30, 2011

Album 1: Rock 80

Waiting by the shoreline
In Somalia for your reply
I need you to come see me
That's no lie

The guns are getting close
The sweat pours like dew
That fell from the trees in Tripoli
In the spring

I'm white hot
I can't take it anymore
I'm white hot
By the Somalian shore
Yes, I'm burning to the core
I need rain.

- Red Rider, White Hot, 1980

Fuck it all, that didn’t happen like I visualized.
All the training, all the preparation, all the research… over a year and a half, and I’m sitting here with – according to my self-diagnosis using a few reputable internet sources – 16 self-inflicted stitches, a dislocated shoulder, 6 circular bruises where the bullets must have hit, and since it hurts to breathe I suspect 2 broken ribs just above the floaters on the left side, and it even hurts to smile so I’m pretty sure that guy stomped me a broken orbital or cheek bone, wherever those zigomatic or risorius muscles attach.

I know it hurts when I smile because I smiled afterwards. Before the rush wore off. As I was taking off the get-up in a subway washroom stall. After I puked in the toilet (well, half in the toilet). I nodded to myself and a stupid grin peeled back on my face. I had done it and I was still sucking air. I was actually alive.

And 5 of them were dead.

I was armoured up and I sat in that stinking dumpster for at least a half hour. Every doubt I thought I had dealt with since April --, 20--, came back to me. I doubted why I was there; I doubted every hour of my physical training; I questioned the efficacy of the drugs; I certainly doubted my sanity for waiting in the dark off an alley on ---4 Q---- Street East.

But the single diamond hard point that was unassailable was that somebody had to deal with them. Even if all the one-on-one cognitive and group therapy, even if all the anti-depressant and occasional anti-psychotic meds worked and turned me back into a normal functional human being, somebody had to do this.

So I sat until I heard their two vehicles pull up. Adjusted my legs under me, hoping they wouldn’t cramp up as soon as I straightened them. Listened to their macho bullshit chatter as they came closer. Dialed in my night-vision visor when I heard them whining about the light over the back door being out. And just as one guy, the fattest one, squealed when he stepped on the three inch caltrops I had spread around the door, I tossed out the flash grenade into their midst, covered my eyes for two and half seconds.

First mistake, I smashed the dumpster lid up as I jumped out. I hit it so hard it gonged off the brick wall behind and again when it shut. They couldn’t see but now they had a focus, a direction.
Even so, I killed two before any of them could pull a pistol from their belts, shoulder holsters, or in the case of Squealing Fat Boy, from the crack of his greasy cottage-cheesed ass.

A pat on my own back: I made the right choice going for the serrated edges on the two Spyderco Civilian G-10’s.

One of the guys, a chinless fuck with an over-dose of old-man’s cologne, had his head only half on after I dragged the blade across the middle of his throat. From what I had experienced in those 10 days at the slaughter-house in O-----, the cartilage and bone in the larynx might have saved the guy’s life. But at the abattoir, I wasn’t this amphetamined maniac who had jumped out of a dumpster dressed in a black Kevlar Halloween costume. And of course, there was the mask.

I sliced through that guy’s Adam’s apple like it was a rotten McIntosh.

The second guy was twisting away, running and pulling his gun, kind of bent over. So I got him in the lower back, started at what I hoped was a kidney and pumped my arm twice. Sawing my way in towards his spine. I actually felt the knife’s serrations go clickety over the bone. I twisted like I practiced. On a pig, it opened the wound wider. Not immediately deadly, but let this shithead bleed out. I had 3 more. All of them with their guns out by now.

Out and firing.

Mother-fuckers didn’t care now if they shot their buddies.So that’s what scared people do. I’ll have to remember that.

I figured there would be gun fire. I mean that’s why I was here murdering them in the first place. I had hung out at a firing range just to get used to the sound; so it wouldn’t freeze me up. I had molded rubber ear protection in under my helmet. But it was still so goddamned loud. That close, the percussion of bullets being catapulted out of the muzzle, it actually jars your bones. I could feel my teeth rattle inside my mouth-guard.(When I had spit it out later, I saw that I had actually bitten clean through it.)

The first three rounds that hit me caught me square in the gut. Knocked the wind out of me, making me drop one of the blades. Finally, something went as I expected. My breath was gone, but the anaerobic training allowed me to get to the next guy. Some muscle bound freak who might have been taking more steroids than me.

But no matter how shrunken the roids make his balls, he still noticed when my steel-toed combat boot knocked them up into his oesophagus.

As he crumpled over, I slammed my knife down, hammer-fisted it right through his back ribs and into his heart. It jammed in there. Maybe between two ribs, or maybe his Hulk-like trapezius muscles had contracted around it. It happened with the pigs; sometimes you had to put a foot on them, and use both hands to yank it out.

Two more slugs told me I didn’t have that kind of time. One off the thigh. And one straight off the knee cap, hyper-extending it. Kevlar and alumina ceramics kept the joint from completely exploding.

Fat Boy’s buddy charged me. Bulled me over and started stomping on my head. That trashed the night vision. Lights started to explode inside my skull.

My brain was bouncing around in my skull. Unconsciousness started to creep up. It was really peaceful. Like a big thick duvet that your grandma would pull up to your chin on Christmas Eve. Heavy and lulling.

I was ready for that. I had planned that this is the situation in which I would actively think of them.

I don’t know that the army has dreamed up this kind emotional training yet. The dress as the enemy and brutally kill the two most important people in your life. Right in front of you. And then use your memories of them, everything gentle and soothing, like the skip of her flip-floppered feet over the old peeling floorboards at the cottage. Like the surprised happy-shock when the puppy decided to lick the inside of her little mussel shaped ear.

Take those most powerful memories, practice getting over the barf-inducing sobs and super-charge them into an anger so pointed you can feel sweat prickling through your skin.

Cognitive behaviour therapy turned on its fucking ass.

With that lightning coursing through me, my head turned into a painless rock. With the image of the back of her head exploding onto the black rubber of a car tire, I grabbed his patent-fucking-leather-shoed foot and twisted it so hard, I felt his knee come crunchingly unglued.

He fell wailing. I rolled up and hammered his useless knee with the knucks I had built in to my gloves.

As a piece of her skull flapped a white flag in slow motion, I kept smashing at his knee until it was the consistency of school-room mucilage.

Distantly I noticed Fat Boy pinging a shot off my helmet and one into my side.

I took my jack-hammering hand over to Patent-Leather’s head. The dome of the skull hardens as you get older, but there are these lines of cartilage through it, called sutures. I pounded. It only took three shots, and his head caved along the sutures. The membranous bag that held his brain together split so fast, he didn’t even have time to twitch.

Fat Boy was all out of bullets and his eyes had adjusted to the gloom. He had watched it all. With the caltrops embedded in his fat feet, he couldn’t run. And the tetanus bacteria on the spikes would let him live long enough to tell them. He could blather until his fat fucking jaw locked right up.

I turned the mask to him.

That mask is the only artistic thing I’ve ever made in my life.
The look on Fat Boy’s face told me it was a masterpiece.

“You tell them.” My voice, powered by the emotional and physical drain of what I had just accomplished, resonated through the cave of my throat. “You tell the rest of them.”

And then I ran. Ran before my insides turned to liquid and I started Hershey squirting in my pants.

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