Thursday, June 02, 2011

Apocalypse Man

This is the kind of report that reaps men's souls. Where you need to lay everything out: the real reasons, the given rationale, and finally the insanity. In the military, before the evil is done the truth is told. Then it's buried and jealously guarded until the final day when all things see the light of day. Trick is to die before that day and get your 21 gun salute. Till then, they'll kill you to keep your eyes off it - but never, ever do they destroy the paper. It's their one strand to hope.

But it's death for Captain A. H. Lawrence.

They called him the Sixties Man though he'd actually stopped living in 1972, the year he came back from the jungle. But he never really came back, his mind still trapped in the endless green morass, searching for a way out that never existed. It's not like he didn't know. He told them all before resigning: "No one's going to want me now." That was it, he heard no words after that, discussion over. He'd found his apocalypse and it was just a matter of time until the world followed suit.

His apartment lay nestled in an urban war zone, comfortable death never far away. Kids who saw inside called his place a time machine; curious and alive eyes marveling at this warped world. He wore the same bell bottom jeans of 1972 as beads hung down from doorways with empty hinges as nonstop incense kept a smoky allure while Doors albums wafted sorrowful lyrics through an air of delayed ideals. What was the point of change? The wheels of fate had already been set in motion.


Lawrence had gone into the war with no hope and left with even less. It was all a process, an assembly line of death. Kill the yellow man because...he never really knew. That made him feel stupid and guilty, ashamed at his lack of conviction and understanding. As a lieutenant he was supposed to know, but the lack of an answer preyed on his mind, crushing it flat, an unlisted casualty. So he did his job of killing mindlessly to satisfy the world's war. He did it so much even the world became ashamed.

The massacres of villages were small enough to stay out of the spotlight but like a steady drip of blood they just kept coming. The army wanted blood but Lawrence delivered too much - or the wrong kind. But blood was blood to Lawrence: either all of it was good or all of it was bad. What folly to try to pick and choose! What did the warmakers hope to prove? He heard the phrase "moral war" and at the time he was still alive enough to laugh. But in that stale beige room of lunatic friends with lives to protect, that laugh sliced open their souls releasing a raging inferno onto Lawrence. Lawrence never laughed again.

Battle memories he could take. Off the battlefield memories he could not. Despairing slits of sunlight cutting through blinds of surreal whorehouses of grunting human sex on a dutiful death march to oblivion. Wicked smiles of pecking eye birds come to cash your soul, knowing you're just another blown spare part gasket of mad military machinery. Reaching out for love into the grasping blackness, swallowed by the void. Nothing. Nothing anywhere. Just the sounds of others living in a world you did not know. Lawrence tried to swim to the surface but the boulder of his battlefield abominations gave no release.


Over and over he traveled creaking dusty hallways of Vietnam anytime his eyes closed, alien smells invading him, questioning his intrusion as this butcher hopelessly begged to belong. He knew he didn't belong back home either. Truth be told, he'd alienated himself. Even the army hated Lawrence but being the twisted entity that it is they promoted him to get him off the field - but that only drove him deeper into his mind. In labored breath he walked under the anticipated veil of Saigon nights as arrows shot into his heart from the eyes of his victims. The cover up was on. "I mustn't let anyone know" he chanted to himself. "I mustn't let anyone know."

But the time of not knowing has passed. That's why now my mission is to kill him.

"Things are happening beyond my control." The wheels of fate can't be stayed forever - only those wheels are headed off a cliff. And Lawrence was going to take the whole world with him. But there's still too many lies to protect, families living on a false hope of war as a crushing tidal wave of death and destruction roars in as yet unseen from the sea. And the men who engineered that wave need kill the accusers before their fruits of malice come to light. "Kill those who know. Every last one must die, no exceptions." Once again, I have orders to kill in a holy war.

Lawrence had had his apocalypse but failed to obligingly die. With nothing to lose he saw true and deep into the hearts of men as he watched them facilitate doom, stuffing poison into their neighbor's mouths, chaining them with lies of promised freedom, sealing their fate. Such men in a world of open eyes are doomed, a part of no living plan. But as Lawrence could be a part of nothing, he was also not part of them. He spoke openly of the secret scandals he saw, of the women whoring themselves with vials of violence, of stillborn seeds planted to starve coming generations.

It doesn't matter no one believes Lawrence. To men of unholy deeds his presence unbearably cuts their souls as they can not hide from themselves the truth of what he speaks. Praying at the conservative altar, their god demands no quarter be given, no chance to be taken by Love's retribution, apocalypse delayed. Yes, I'm saving the world - but it feels stupid, pointless and insane all over again.

Captain A.H. Lawrence
West Virginia Veteran's Mental Hospital
Inmate since 1984

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