Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Bullet Is My Only Friend
"I hate you! I hate you with every fiber of my being. I can't believe what you've done to your life. What's wrong with you? What kind of person gets in a mess like this?
"I've had it with you. You're nothing but a goddam liar. I'm sick of it, sick of it! Was it all because of Sara? Did you think joining the army was going to make you a man? She'd be laughing if she saw you now! You fucking idiot. All you did was dig the hole deeper."
The LED digital numbers read 5:24 AM - the time of demons. This night - like every night - they came with pitchforks and terrifying speeches, skewering his body in tense dilemma roasting him alive. Morning wood piled agony on top of agony, crying vainly to a deaf world. Rage like gasoline siphoned through his veins, just a spark away from a burning hell.
The army had bloated his molehills into mountains. For that he was duly used, abused and discarded as a broken toy. For that, the world called him a hero. You're always called a hero for shoveling shit others won't touch. But that's no consolation in the dark morning abyss.
News of the world adored a defiant soldier proclaiming he fought for his buddies before any cause - or no cause at all. What a pity to be still living in that trap. Sooner or later you're going to have to fight for yourself, pal. That or get a guilty 21 gun salute on your burial. They like you to bury yourself in the army. Bury it deep inside. In the hopelessness you gotta cling to your mates sharing the same hell.
But that doesn't stop the perpetual panic, the slow unstoppable fear overcoming you as you wonder where life is leading you. Finding no answer you cling to the camaraderie all the more, leaving you with more to bury, cycling ever downward.
He'd hoped his fears were unfounded. Nothing is really real. Life just seems different after you put a bullet hole in someone. He was imagining the horror. Back in the real world it'd all go away. But the real world only made it more real, more definite - and wholly inescapable. Rage fueled by frustration and fear his only recourse.
To be so blind! Those asshole officers knew this would happen. They just wait for you to fall into the trap so they can control you and use you. Joining the army just makes you a bitch. Is the entire world a conspiracy? He fell for it all: their phony lives and phony wives. Fishers of men's souls they be, preying on the weak and stupid. Like him.
They stole his life and he got stuck with the bill. The vampire brass live high on the fresh blood constantly fed to them, a captive audience. They have the gift of singular clarity, squeezed dry of any feeling, never losing focus, always winning, never needing a worldly whit. He'd trade places with none of them.
Sara had married. While he was off "proving" himself she moved on. You moron! You fucking moron! Stay home and take care of business! You didn't have the courage to do what you wanted. "Grow up. Get a job. Put purpose in your life." Fuck you, you lying pricks. Sara was my only possible purpose. Everyone just wants to drag you in their hole!
"My whole life is a waste." He wasn't fixing anything. All about the cover up now. Get back in the real world and you still have to bury yourself. Don't let anyone know how you really feel! It will ruin everything!
Yeah, well, maybe everything should be ruined.
Losing Sara, the relentless aching morning wood, the lurking demons waiting as you come up for air - who could help? Where are the answers? Are there answers? No mistakes allowed in this cursed world! Sorry, man, can't help you. Don't have the time. I got a life. Go get your own.
Each night, the same conversations running in his head. The same imaginary dialogs with Sara. Never a way out, screaming from the bottom of a well, begging not to die in slow motion starvation.
This has to end or it will end him.
But how? His mind flashed back to Koehler feeling guilty, being deliberately careless, getting himself killed - the easy way out. Koehler got written up in the local paper as a hero who died "defending his country". What would they say if he could come back and tell them the truth? A recruiting sergeant's nightmare!
The knock on the door jolted him.
"Sonny? Are you awake? Don't want to be late for your interview. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help."
His mother felt guilty too having lustily pushed him into the army and his coming back damaged. But the unfaceable ignominy disheartened him to the core of his soul. Even after all the hell and fear-swallowing nights he still found himself living in his parents' house. Didn't coming back alive mean anything? He could have let himself get killed like Koehler - God knows he thought about it enough times. But he fought on. For what?
"The bullet is your only friend." That was the beginning of Captain Carroll's smirking speech. So cocky and confident of his lifer position! As the shade lifted to reveal the naïve morning dawn giving birth to beauty on a plummeting planet, he suddenly realized how much he despised that man. Too overawed at the time to speak he wished he could shove that bullet right up his smart ass.
Stepping into the morning light, he lost all hope. There was only the sun, the fresh breeze and unfounded promise of a new day. Bird lined trees sang in forgotten childhood wisdom. What could he do but revel in it? A feeling of trust finally not misplaced anchored him in an unexpected peace. He smiled to himself. "Nothing left to do but love."