Saturday, June 18, 2011

Indivisible Chapter 6

Chapter 6
For seven days Marzan and Rollins hung around base.  It was an unusual respite which they spent playing first person shooters and watching baseball.  They learned during the week that the Washington Nationals baseball team went bankrupt.  Thankfully, Congress came to the rescue, funding the multimillion dollar payroll with Federal taxpayer money while a new ownership search committee was organized.  Congress justified the Nationals nationalization on the grounds that the continued existence of the team “saved jobs”.  The hundred or so minimum wage concessionaire jobs were indeed “saved”…at a taxpayer cost of over a million dollars each.
One morning, they were ordered to fall in at the mess hall.  Another platoon passed Marzan and Rollins as the they made their way to the cafeteria doors.  Jimmy noted the bewildered looks on their faces as they passed in silence. None offered any response when questioned.
When Jimmy Marzan and Rollins and the others in their platoon had taken their seats, and after the prior platoon’s footfalls could no longer be heard walking away in the hallway, the Pattonesque Captain Rick appeared.  The cafeteria doors were closed and locked behind him.
“We’re shipping out,” he announced. 

But he said it in a peculiar way, as if it pained him to say it, and this peculiarity dampened any exuberance that might have bubbled up from the twenty eight men in the room; dampened the exuberance for everyone except for Rollins who let out an ecstatic, singular shout.  He quickly recoiled under Captain Rick’s disgusted glare.
Something was definitely off but little could be gleaned from the eight minute briefing Captain Rick gave except for instructions on what to pack, what to stow and when they were leaving…which was within hours.  They weren’t even told where they were going but Rollins was convinced it was South America as things had been flaring up that corner of the empire lately.  Columbian jungles would be a nice change of scenery and there’s plenty of ‘little brown people’ to shoot at there, too, he thought.  At the conclusion of the briefing, the doors were unlocked and flung open and the platoon spilled out into the hallway, silently passing the next curious unit making it’s way in.
They had two hours to pack their things into pods and with military efficiency they were finished on time and hopped into their Humvees.  They could immediately glean that they were headed for the airport by the road they took out of the Green Zone but this was no surprise.
En route, Rollins and Jimmy’s Humvee got into a little accident with an unfortunate civilian motorcyclist who veered directly into and under their wheels as he attempted to swerve out of the way of another car that had cut him off.  The convoy immediately came to a nerve-racking and dangerous halt along the major thoroughfare.  The road to the airport was not an exceptionally safe place to be stalled as there were many, many upper storey windows from which opportunistic snipers could take pot shots.  Regardless of that, someone had to go investigate the situation and give aid to the victim.  Rollins volunteered—he always volunteered to ‘check things out’.  Getting out of the sweaty, stuffy Humvee was always a refreshing change of pace.
Rollins was hoping for some blood and gore that might erase a week’s worth of mundane dullness and he volunteered the reluctant Marzan to go with him.  Jimmy wanted no part of standing out in the open on a crowded street, examining what was probably a dead man with the encircling, indigenous population certain that the accident was yet another murder by the occupiers.
Rollins saw the victim first and he immediately discerned that he was most definitely dead as indicated by the mangling of his torso and the black pool forming about him on the asphalt.  He hovered over the corpse to take a closer look.
“Holy Shit, Marzan!  This dude is wasted,” he observed as he knelt down beside the mangled body and rifled through his bloody pockets for ID.  “Come check this dude out.”
Jimmy kept his distance, scanning the open windows for RPGs and muzzle flash.  A crowd of aboriginals was already drawing in around them.  Jimmy glanced quickly at the corpse and from his vantage, it didn’t even seem to be human.  He was initially pleased by his sensation of disconnectedness.  To witness a twisted and mangled body, shredded by the torquing forces of a Humvee’s 200 pound wheels, blood and brains splattered up and across the fenders without some sense of queasiness was a testament to his experience.  He was numb to the gore.  But he quickly rediscovered that he was not yet numb to the remorse.  Jimmy’s eyes returned to the open windows trying to block it out but the dead man’s humanity had quickly infected his mind.  This man had a family, he contemplated.  He had a mother.  Maybe he had a wife, a brother, perhaps children.  Perhaps these children were playing in front of their hovel, waiting for their daddy, oblivious to the horrible news that would soon rip their lives apart.
He drove the thoughts out his mind.  He had been well-conditioned by the Army and knew how to deaden destructive thoughts like ‘remorse’.  The indigenous were things…not beings, things that gave aid and comfort to their enemies.  Whenever a flicker of pity was to sparkle in his mind’s eye, Jimmy remembered his dead American friends.  He remembered buddies like Fossen from Savannah whose head exploded out the back when he was picked off by a sniper.  There was Roberts from Jacksonville who was cooked alive in his Humvee after an IED explosion warped the truck’s iron doors shut, sealing him inside the oven.  Jimmy could still hear his screams at night.  Friends like Michaels from Austin who bled out so fast that the transfusion of milky, fake blood oozed out of his fist-sized chest wound before the medics even stopped CPR.  Michaels had blue eyes.  In death they appealed to God.  Those pale blue gemstones set against his sanguinated face of pearl, those eyes forever stared into the abyss of Jimmy’s soul.  And that was how soldiers were conditioned.  Before long, Jimmy Marzan felt no pity for the ‘little brown people’. 
“Check this out…Mmm,” mocked Rollins as he removed his Bowie knife from his belt and pretended to scoop out a portion of the dead man’s exploded skull as if it were the meat of a breakfast melon…Marzan wasn’t amused.
Within three hours they were buckled-in to the leather seats of a commercial jetliner, still wearing their sweaty fatigues, sipping lemon lime soda from clear plastic cups and reading about the latest popular vacation destination.  Their M4s were stowed in the overheads and they were reminded by flight attendants with batting fake eyelashes, pancake makeup and long, polished fingernails to “Take care when opening the overhead bins as contents may have shifted during flight.”
Liberty Air, also recently nationalized when at the precipice of insolvency, had managed something of a resurgence under the new owners…the American taxpayer and his infinite bankroll.  Liberty, unlike the other airlines that had recently disappeared, had facilities in all the right congressional districts, districts with all the right congressmen whose campaigns were funded by all the right donors— all the right union donors.  Therefore, Liberty was saved and the other airlines, most in better financial shape, died.  What about Liberty’s creditors?  You know, the ones that poured in billions trying to keep their investment aloft?  “Fuck them,” was the politician’s response.  Those “greedy bastards”, who were actually just everyday serfs with retirement accounts, got tossed out the hatch without a parachute.  Liberty Air sailed on with its new union co-owners, debts forgiven by the DC kleptocrats.  Soon after the restructuring, Liberty magically secured the very lucrative deal of ferrying U.S. soldiers around the empire.
So there Jimmy sat on the Airbus next to Rollins who was asleep most of the time, drool trickling down his chin.  A short stop in Frankfurt then airborne again.  Over England, it wasn’t going to be South America after all.  Rollins will be so disappointed, thought Jimmy. 
But where? Jimmy asked himself. 
No one knew anything, or if they knew then they weren’t telling.  Not even that sneaky Manning knew anything and Manning, ever the eaves dropper, always knew everything.  They seemed to be flying west but it was hard to tell as they were above a thick blanket of clouds.  Mexico?  That made sense.  It was just a matter of time before the chaos there would suck us in, Jimmy thought.
He fell asleep reading a story about how the country could be saved by “green jobs”.  Congress planned to pass a law requiring every window in the country be replaced with a newly developed, energy efficient glass.  What a boon to the glaziers!
When Jimmy awoke he first glanced over at Rollins who was still asleep and still drooling, then he took a look out the portal where he could see that the clouds had cleared away.  Their plane was descending.  Off in the distance stood the Statue of Liberty.

Chapter 5          Chapter 7

Indivisible can be purchased here from Amazon: