07:55:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 819 words  
Categories: Announcements, Old Ventures: Refuge

ANNOUNCEMENT: NaNoWriMo 2018, Old Venture: Refuge

I'm sorry. I know, no man is an island, but I've had trouble even being one drop of rain in a river. It's difficult, these days, not to feel like the very foundations of sanity are shaking loose. And I have struggled under my burdens, as I know many of you do. I only yesterday finished last year's NaNo (which I'll be uploading soon to the blog) and I'm going to try and publish one chapter a day this NaNo. It's going to be a rough election cycle this year, and I'm hoping we can get through it together. But if you retain none of the words before or after this, remember these: you are not alone. Amidst all the chaos, and pain, and dehumanizing horror, you are known, you are cared about, you are loved. And so long as we continue to have each other, and to hold one another in our hearts, we have hope. Below is an excerpt, a preview of a chapter I realized was important enough to write and publish out of order, where it might still have some impact. As always, check back daily for updates, on this as well as on older projects that I got behind in posting publicly. And in the meantime, may you and yours stay safe and close in these trying times.

* * *

Jack stepped out onto the stage, and for a moment was blinded by the house lights, and then the chorus of flashbulbs from the media. "I'm happier than I can say to welcome a true American hero onto this stage," the man said, flashing a wide smile.

Jack shook his hand stiffly, then waited for him to clear the stage before speaking. "I'm not comfortable being here," Jack said, "and I'm sure that shows."

The audience chuckled nervously. "That's okay. You're laughing with me," he paused, "I think."

"But I've never been comfortable using my... celebrity, I guess, like this. I've marched, with John Lewis, Martin Luther King, for many varied human rights on many different occasions. You could say I've never been apolitical... but I've always attempted to keep who I am as a man separate from who I was as a symbol. I never wanted to trade on the good I've done, and even today, that's not my goal.

"But I can no longer abide my prior silence. This is not the usual push and pull of politics. This is the rise of something far more sinister, an enemy we fought a world war against, an enemy I hoped we vanquished for good. Maybe that was nave of me. Maybe my generation failed to keep the flames of vigilance lit.

"I didn't decide to speak until last week. I waited, hoping that sanity would return, that someone, anyone, would be able to show the Republican candidate that he's not just trying to be the leader of conservative America, or scared America, that he'll need to lead all of us. He'll need to represent the will of all of us. He'll need to represent the hopes, as well as the fears, of all of us. And their convention convinced me that realization will forever evade him. At his core, he is a divisive and spiteful man. He doesn't like the idea of an America united, unless he can force us to unite behind him, not as a good and changed man, but as he is, angry, scared and lashing out.

"And with each passing day, the parallels with the fascist rise- a rise that cost our world millions of lives- become stronger, and harder to ignore. Every day, more language about how everyone but America is the problem is used, while more narrowly defining what counts as America. I have seen this ugliness before, I have seen what it does to good men and women caught up in its throes, and I have seen what they in turn do to those they deem unworthy of sharing soil with. I wish I could be here for any other reason, truly. But we do not get to choose our burdens, only how we rise to meet them.

"So please, vote. Not just for Democrats, but for democracy itself, for a return to normalcy, to respecting our differences, and the rights of others. For returning this country to an ideal for the rest of the world to envy. For a world where our most vulnerable are cared for, protected, and safe. For America as we want her to be, and need her to be, not what she was. Because viewing who she was through rose-tinted glasses can't erase those who were left behind or excluded in that past, and we know better, now, and we have to do better. The only hope I have to leave you with is this: we can do better. I've seen it. And I pray I'll live to see it again. Thank you."

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  07:16:36 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1806 words  
Categories: Banksters

Banksters 02: Secretive

I spent a few minutes at my computer after the meeting typing. Corporate communications are second-nature to me: cold and utilitarian and efficiently artless. I'd brought my old printer from downstairs, and printed the memo on it.

I looked at it a moment, to be sure it was exactly how I wanted it, and then took it down the hall. Security had its own executive level office- just not the title, and Daria was sitting in the same chair, at the same desk, as I had.

Daria Rheme. Beautiful. Obsessive. And a pain in my ass. F; K if necessary, though if things went to plan, it shouldn't be.

She was in charge of corporate security. And she was really good at what she did. Thorough. And scrutinizing. I couldn?t have that. In the end, I wanted what was best for this company- but not necessarily what was best for the senior executives. She was a firewall, standing between them and me. And that wasn't something I could suffer to continue.

I smiled nervously at her for effect. ?Daria? It's my first day on the floor, and I'm still getting used to operating at this level.?

?The altitude this many flights up is killer,? she said with a smile. Under other circumstances, I probably would have found her charming. ?But gloves? You're not planning a murder, are you??

I stretched my fingers in the black leather gloves I always wore. ?Bad circulation. My fingers get cold. Especially with the central air.?

?Oh, I know. The can never seem to find a good medium. Most of the time, in the summer they keep it too cold, and in the winter I swelter until I've stripped down to my skivvies.?

?But, uh, I wondered if you could take a look at this memo. I don't want my first day here to be my last day.?

?Usually I'd have one of my,? she glanced at her computer, then the empty inbox on her desk, and didn't finish the thought. ?Sure. Just don't expect it to become a habit.?

?Of course.? She scanned it. There was a typo in there she either didn't catch or didn't mention, but she did hone in on the important part.

?You're CCing and blind copying this all over your division, but you left in contact information for your Executive VP. Most of these people would be able to get that, anyway, but as its presented, he'll be the one inundated with concerns or questions, and Cliff hates that.?

?That's good,? I told her. ?And from a security perspective??

?Otherwise it looks fine. If that were releasing to the press obviously it'd be different, but for internal consumption it looks fine.? She handed me the page back.

?Thank you,? I said, and I did a little bow and left.

I walked back to my office, where I slid the memo into my desk, and grabbed my coat. I pressed the intercom button to talk to Petra. ?You about ready for lunch??

?Really?? she asked, a little surprised I'd remembered.

?Of course.?

She was already wrapping herself in a fur-lined coat by the time I got out to her desk. She followed me down to the parking garage, and got into my car. ?Where would you like to go?? I asked her.

?You're new to the floor, not new to the city,? she said, but when I didn't reply, added, ?Brooks.?

I drove us there, about a mile north. At dinner, Brooks would have been impossible to get a seat for without several day-old reservations, but the lunch crowd was thinner, since nobody's ever impressed or that impressive at lunch.

The host stared with some irritation at Petra. ?Something wrong?? I asked him, giving him at least as good a glare as Richard used at the meeting earlier.

?Uh, no, sir,? the host said, and led us to our seats.

She was anxious, and the host's reaction to her had only justified her fear. ?I really thought you were going to tell me 'no' about coming here.?

?Why?? I asked.

?Because I'm not dressed for this kind of place.?

?No, that's why you wish I'd said no. Not why you thought I would.?

?I'm just a...? she trailed off.

?Just a secretary? Is that what you are??

?Well, administrative assistant,? she said sullenly.

?If I thought that, I'd fire you. Do you think that??

She made an unexpected lemon face. ?You're looking for 'no,' right??

?I'm looking for what you think. Do you think you're just an administrative assistant??

?No,? she said quietly, but still tried to hunker down in her chair.

I made a sweeping gesture with my arm. ?Look around. That woman had easily $50,000 worth of plastic surgery. That woman at the back's wearing a $9,000 dress. It's a light lunch crowd, but the women in this dining room have spent, cumulatively, a million dollars to not look as good as you do, right now. Wearing what you wear into the office. This is you not trying that hard. So I want to know, and I want you to really think about it before you answer me, but are you just an administrative assistant??

She exhaled, annoyed at my question. But then she looked around the room, and sat up a little straighter. ?No.?

?Good,? I said. ?Because I'd look capricious after telling Ed that I'd keep you if I fired you a few hours later.? Her eyes opened wide. ?Trust me, when I say this, you never want to be saddled with anyone who is just anything- it's so limiting.? I noticed she was rereading a page on the menu a third time. ?On the subject of limitations, order what you like.?


?Money's no object. Besides, what you order tells me something about you, something far more valuable than what anything on this menu costs.?

?And what if I just wanted a salad? What does that tell you??

?Lots of things, little things. One, you don't believe what I just said, about wanting you to order whatever you want.?

?Unless I just want a salad.?

?Nobody wants just a salad. It's not in human nature. It's settling for a salad. And there are lots of interesting reasons why you might settle. To impress your boss with your frugalness. To maintain your figure. To punish yourself for something.?

?Or because I actually wanted a salad??

The server came by. ?Two salads, please, whatever's tastiest.? I said to her.

?To drink??

?Two glasses of white wine, whatever you'd suggest.?

?Very good.?

Petra was in shock. ?After all that, you just give yourself a pass and order a salad??

?We spent so much time talking about them that I started to crave one. But what's to say I'm not prey to the same issues we were discussing??

?You're a man, and an older man.?

?Older?? The server brought the wine first.

?Older than me, anyway. I'm a professional woman. I'm not allowed to let my figure go.?

?Social constraints are certainly different. But I have pride. I don't like the idea of needing new suits, or gaining weight.?

?But you're a man. That affords you the luxury of choice.?

The server returned with our salads, and set them discreetly down in front of us. ?But you had a choice, too. And you chose a salad. And what's more, you chose to have this conversation in an attempt to give me nothing to know you better with.?

She thought about that for a moment, probing for a way she could contest it, but gave up. ?You flustered me, with your logic and your piercing blue eyes.?

?Are they??

?That's just a trick question, to get me to look into them some more, and get me more flustered.?

She did, and I fixed her with them for a moment, before asking, ?Where did you go to school??

?Who said I did?? she asked. She still felt combative, if playfully so, but then realized I wasn't batting at her anymore. ?Columbia's journalism school.?

?So you wanted to be a journalist??

?From a little kid, reading Lois Lane comics.?

?Are you really that old??

?No; but the moment I found out they had Lois Lane comics, not just Superman with her as his arm candy, but Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane comics. I was hooked. I had to crawl through musty old comic bins to find them, but I gathered every single issue in the run, and that comic ran for years. They're not mint or anything, just...? she stumbled on the next step in her story.

?So what happened??

?Journalism dust-bowled. There's hardly anyone actually writing news stories anymore. There's a handful of people who work for like the AP, and then that gets reworded, rewritten or just plain linked to a hundred thousand times for different papers and blogs. I tried even doing entry level, like mail room kinds of jobs in the industry, and couldn't even find something that payed enough to cover my loans.?


?I started with a temp agency. Not exactly the glamorous world I was expecting on the other side of my degree. But it was the only place that would even entertain the idea of hiring me fresh out of school. And it turns out that most of my journalism skills translated decently well to secretarial work: detail orientation, taking dictation,? she licked her lips, and I told myself it had to be because she had some dressing on her lips. ?But what's with the twenty questions? The only person who ever spent this much time trying to know me was Ed Noakes, and he got disinterested in a real hurry when he realized I wasn't going to blow him on my lunch hours.?

?Because I wanted to know that you weren't just my assistant. And now I do. Right now that doesn't mean a lot. Right now, you just have a title, and not a very pretty sounding one. But in the coming days, that will change. I've found finance to be awfully competitive, and some days the work is more akin to battle than business. And if I'm going back to back with someone, I want to know what kind of stuff they're made of before I turn my back. And I think we have a beautiful partnership ahead of us.?

I raised my glass, and she clinked it with hers.

  04:24:52 am, by Nic Wilson   , 0 words  
Categories: Barren Mind

Barren Mind: Will Someone Think of the Kids?


  07:14:02 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1884 words  
Categories: Banksters

Banksters 01: Howdy

Banksters is an attempt at a November Novel Month project, with (hopefully) daily updates. Enjoy.

My name's Mark Dane. I?m a sociopath. Howdy. And it's my first day as an associate vice-president. Like most sociopaths, I work in finance. It?s the sector of the economy where smart, unscrupulous bastards can legally take money from people who don?t know any better.

And get a pat on the back for it.

See, people are stupid. They?ll sign a document that financially chains them to an agreement they may not live to see the other side of, all without understanding it. Sometimes it?s because they don?t speak legalese; sometimes it?s just because they?re lazy- but that?s even stupider. I mean, somebody incapable of understanding their loan agreement, evolution didn?t prepare them for this complicated world we live in. But the moron who glanced at the pages and decided his future wasn?t worth the fifteen minutes- that?s a nurture problem, there. Mommy and daddy loved them too much, so now they think the world is here to wipe their ass- when it?s my job to kick them right in the racing stripe.

I started in home loans, back when that was still a lucrative market, before people started to realize that every strip of dirt was worth, you guessed it, dirt. Okay, maybe not dirt, exactly, but closer to dirt than the wishful thinking, pie in the sky, just because wages are flat doesn't mean people can't pull extra greenbacks out of their backsides forever inflated real estate prices.

But the glory of the mortgage market is we found a way to make money off making bad loans. That's how goddamn brilliant the financial sector is. We figured out how to talk people into home loans that they could never pay back, because we didn't care if they couldn't, because we knew the moment they signed on the dotted line, we were going to package their loan with dozens like it, call it a security and sell it off to some half-wit investor.

We convinced people we were selling sacks full of money for 80 cents on the dollar. But at a certain point, we ran out of good mortgages to sell. By then, people believed we were handing out free money, and weren?t looking too closely at what was in the sacks. So we paid people to take a heaping shit in the sacks, and sold those, too.

And the dirty little secret: any smart loan packager knew how absolutely shit his loans were, but still bundled them up, had one of the ?credible? ratings agencies put their legitimizing stamp of approval on it and then sold it to some poor schmuck who didn?t do enough research to know better. It?s like taking candy from babies, only we offered them less than wholesale for it so it was nice and legal, and they were actually happy with the transaction.

Even people who should have known better, like hedge fund managers whose job it was to know better, thanked me, personally, for taking their money in exchange for worthless scrips of paper.

Of course, that's just how I got my foot in the door. That particular jig is up. Not that it's illegal, just that the rubes who bought the ratings-inflated securities know better, now, and the ratings agencies themselves have already been pretty publicly caught with their hands up the cookie jar's skirt, so they don't want to risk getting the bad press for a second go round.

Not that any of that matters. Because those of us who made money off the deals still have it. And our bosses, and our shareholders, they have even more money than the bundlers and traders.

But that'was the past. Like I said, it was my first day. The man in the ugly gray suit was Edward Noakes; to look at it, you'd think it was a cheap suit, but I've seen in it on the rack and I know that wasn't true. But kudos to Ed for finding a way to look like a bank teller while still paying more for a suit than said teller paid for his car. He's an AVP, too, and he's been helpfully showing me the ropes; though, as we're both now in line for succession to the vacant VP slot, I imagine he's hoping to loop some of that rope around my neck.

At least, that's what I'd be doing in his place.

This floor was only three stories from my old one, thirty feet, but it seemed so much farther away from the little cubicle farm I'd just escaped. No more chintzy partitions, just white walls, fine art prints, and personal offices.

And my own secretary. F. She was pretty, with shoulder-length blond hair, and blood red lips. She seemed to recognize me, but she also didn't seem happy to. ?She belonged to Jameson,? Ed told me, then lowered his voice, but not so low she couldn't hear him- which I figured was intentional. ?I don't know how much you heard from the lower floors, but he left under a cloud. The feeling is that his secretary's been tainted by it. I'd get rid of her; don't want the stink of another man on your girl.?

I saw terror in her eyes, and opportunity. ?I think I'll keep her,? I told him. ?Maybe she can teach me how things work up here. Wouldn't make sense to have both of us wet behind the ears at the same time.?

He seemed taken aback. It was the first time I'd contradicted him, and probably in record time. He wasn't used to people from my floor coming with their own backbone. But contrary to how he wanted to perceive it, it wasn't about him. It was about her. ?And what's your name?? I asked her.

?Petra. Valentino.? I saw it in her eyes. She was mine. She'd do anything for me. Too needy to M; definitely F.

?That's a lovely name. I look forward to working with you.?

Ed led me into my office. I had a view of the city I could hardly believe. We were so high up if I shoved Ed through my floor to ceiling windows he'd have time for a full Catholic confession before he hit the pavement, and probably even time to wait for the call to ring through.

The carpet was a little too short to be comfy; I preferred feeling like I was stepping on a sheep, even with my socks on, and it was beige; the perfect color to stain while remaining completely bland.

The desk was modern in its sensibilities, black wire frame, glass top. ?The desk is standard,? he told me, running his hand over the glass table top, smearing his fingerprints across it. I didn't know him well enough to know if it was a dominance play, marking my office, or if he was just that callous. ?If you want, you can look at the catalogs Suzanne has; there's some nice furniture in there. I'm partial to cherry wood, myself.?

?But I'll let you get settled in,? he said. ?Your first staff meeting starts at 11. Feel free to settle in before then.?

I sat down in my desk. Then I called in my secretary. ?Ms. Valentino. Could you come in here, please??

?One moment.? She was faster, even, than that. ?What can I do for you?? she asked.

?Close the door, and have a seat.? She did, and leaned forward in her chair. I couldn't tell if she intended to show me her cleavage or not. ?I don't want to get off on the wrong foot, here, so I'm trying to figure out what my predecessor did right and did not so right. What were his mornings like?? She averted her eyes. ?It's okay, I'm not going to blame you if he spent his mornings on eBay or whatever. I just want to know.?

?Mr. Jameson spent his mornings chatting with underaged boys on the internet and trying to get them to send him pictures with their clothes off.?

?We'll skip that, then,? I said, trying to calm her with my smile. ?What about his afternoons??

?He spent his afternoons meeting transgender prostitutes.?

?He had a full social calendar. But I'm assuming there were times when he actually did his job.?

?Tough for me to say,? she said; she was upset, even betrayed. ?I always thought he was working. Video-conferencing, off-site meetings. They wanted to fire me with Denny, but that security bitch interviewed me, and I told her I hadn't known anything before IT came to her with his internet logs.?

?The security...?

?Daria, you'll meet her. She'll be at the executive meeting. Always stands at the CEO's side like she's his little attack dog.?

?Is she all that bad?? I asked, treading that treacherous ground between questioning interest and dismissal.

?She's an inquisitor. I felt like I was a terrorism suspect.?

?Well, I'll be careful of her. And I'll see to it she never has a reason to question you, ever again.?

She heaved a relieved sigh that seemed to surprise even her, then stood up. She checked her watch. ?Meeting starts in ten minutes.?

?Thank you, Ms. Valentino. And if you're free, it seems like you've had a lousy morning, I'd like to buy you lunch. Get to know the new boss kind of deal.?

?Sure,? she said, smiling as she left.

The meeting was boring, a waste of everyone's time and talents. All of the action was happening in Administrative, Alice Mott's division, and I got the feeling that was the case 80% of the time. After all, this company's bread and butter was still banking, even if the margin on it was lousy. Ops and Finance, were better money-makers, dollar for dollar, but the senior staff didn't have nearly as much with the day to day.

The only bright spot in the entire tepid affair was an off-color remark the President, George Morgan, made at his brother Richard's expense. Big brother Richard was CEO, and Board Chairman, and he treated his little Georgie like he was still a gawky child. Richard was throwing a party tonight at the office, ostensibly to welcome Sam and Alex Warwick onto the board. But the party just happened to coincide with Richard's birthday. ?Finally figured out a way to get people to show up to your birthday party?? George chided him.

Alice chortled at that, and Richard glared. But she was the only woman at the table, at least today, and certainly at her level, so his glare didn't faze her. So he shared it with George, then the rest of the room. I dutifully looked down and away.

Cliff hadn't made it into the office, so without trying to figure out who from our division was next in line, he spoke to Ed and I collectively as ?finance? and told us to draft a new memo. We both shook our heads, without looking up to see if he was still glowering.

  07:09:12 am, by Nic Wilson   , 262 words  
Categories: Gitmo

Gitmo 43: Men

I came to to fists in my guts. Hamdi must have been hitting me a while, though probably he had somebody else do it, since it actually hurt. He hit me again, this time in the face, but when my head didn?t go ragdoll he stopped and smiled.

?Thought you were awake,? he said. He sat down in a chair opposite the one I was tied down in.

?This is all very exciting for me,? he said. ?Between here and Gitmo, I haven?t been a free man in most of a decade. Ate when allowed. Slept when allowed. I wiped when I was provided toilet paper.?

?It?s hard to be a man, hard to feel like one, live up to your responsibilities, when you?re chained up like a dog, beat anytime you get out of line.?

?You are a dog, Hamdi. A rabid fucking mutt. And in a better world we would have put you down. And instead we coddle you, like you aren?t a worthless little shit, like you aren?t a danger to yourself and everybody around you.?

But he didn?t rattle, much as I shook the tree. He just smiled. ?If you lose communications, the protocol outlined in the agreements is for the military to wait for thirty hours without communications from the Marshall. The beauty is that if they come too soon, I win. One more breach of the agreement and Bim Maa Chiaa will riot. And if they come too late? well, I get to peel that smug grin off your fucking face.?



  08:20:43 am, by Nic Wilson   , 0 words  
Categories: Barren Mind

Barren Mind: Assertive Dominance


  04:21:35 am, by Nic Wilson   , 0 words  
Categories: Survival

Survival Page 94


  07:00:01 am, by Nic Wilson   , 496 words  
Categories: Gitmo

Gitmo 42: Breach

The alarm went off. I expected some trouble- I?d wounded Hamdi?s ego too much for him to let it slide. It was a GPS, on the edge of the range of their little electric cage. The fact that whoever it was had jumped back over the line meant dick; there was a curfew, and he was supposed to be in his home.

?Monty?? I called in, opening the door into the cell. It was empty. ?Well fuck,? I said. I got the shotgun out of the safe and checked the GPS map. The marker belonged to Mustafa. I picked up my radio and keyed it. ?Orange cat??

?What?s up, blue dog??

?Mustafa?s taking a walk, and it looks like my deputy has, too.?

?And him we still don?t have tagged. Ain?t that a shit and anchovie pizza??

?I?m going to go have a talk with Mustafa. Watch my ass for movement. It?s dark and I don?t want to get caught up.?

?Absolutely. You sure you don?t want some back-up. Ready response team lives for this kind of shit, and I live for waking up assholes in the middle of the night who are smug about getting to sleep regular fucking hours.?

?Belay that.? I noticed the lights inside Hamdi?s place were all on, so I walked up to his door and knocked. He opened it almost immediately. The fucker was wide awake, and smiled at me. ?Good morning, officer.?

?I wanted to look you in the eyes for this part, shitheel.? I set my radio to the intercom. ?Emergency lockdown. Everybody in their homes, now.? I let the button go. ?And if I see you, Hamdi, edge so much as a toenail over the threshold, door or window,? I raised the shotgun, but he just smiled.

?Allah watch you,? he said as I turned away.

Mustafa?s was two houses down. The lights were all out. Front door was barricaded; I unlocked it, but furniture was pressed against it. So I went around the house, between Mustafa?s and Hamdi?s was Ramzi?s place. I didn?t like being so close to it so soon after.

I didn?t have to focus on it long. Mustafa?s window was open. But he couldn?t have climbed back through there, it was too high off the ground, and if he was showing as back inside, that meant the back door had to be open.

I started to circle the house, but as soon as I was passed the window someone dropped down behind me, from the roof. There wasn?t enough room to properly turn with the shotgun, but I tried to bring it around, anyway, and fired. The shot went off, too damned high to be dangerous to anything but the birds, and something heavy and metal hit me in the face, pot or a damn pan. I went down, knowing I was losing consciousness, and wouldn?t even feel hitting the ground.



  07:07:48 am, by Nic Wilson   , 462 words  
Categories: Gitmo

Gitmo 41: Carp

I?ve been standing in the lawyer?s office at Fort Gates for almost an hour; haven?t had a dressing down like this since I was in the service, only I?m not in this ass-hat?s chain of command anymore, so I?m getting pretty fed up. ?Ramzi gut himself like a carp,? I say, exasperated.

?And you took time away from the medics to lecture him.?

?And it?s their opinion that I contributed to his death??

?It doesn?t matter. A jury could feel?

?The back of my sinewy right hand.?

?You shouldn?t dismiss this. It could have been serious. He killed himself on your watch.?

?The first half of that sentence is really the salient part: he killed himself.?

?But that?s not what it would look like to a jury. They sympathize, even when they shouldn?t, even with fucking terrorists. There?s a pretty well-established bias towards the little guy against big, faceless entities, governments, corporations.?

?If Ramzi had lived? what I said mattered. And since he didn?t, it came too late to matter. But it also didn?t kill him. So I don?t fully understand why I?m here. We always knew this was a possibility. And that?s why we tried to plan for it. The fact that our plans weren?t adequate- and I?m not sure any plan could be- I don?t see how that?s my concern. At all.?

?A man died.?

?You didn?t know him. He was my fucking neighbor. One of my constituents. To you he?s a lawsuit you narrowly avoided. But he was a part of my day to day, and honestly, this stupid fucking thing he did aside, he wasn?t one of the worse ones. I?ll miss him.?

?You?ll? miss him??

?See, that right there, that?s my point. The implication that we can?t be human, can?t be people, to do our jobs. Sometimes it makes it harder, I won?t debate that, but whether or not these are criminals, whether or not they?re our mortal damn enemies, they?re still people. It does a disservice to us to forget that.?

?You?re dismissed.?

?And you?re dismissing me.?

?Is there an echo.?

?No, what I?m saying is you aren?t paying attention. You have your bone, and despite the fact that I said something far more important, you?re going to focus on the irrelevant fact that I?m not just their jailor.?

He sits down behind his desk, and starts jotting down some notes. ?You can leave. Or stay and continue to talk. But I?m done listening.?

It?s on account of my generous nature that I don?t shove that pen up his ass sideways. That and the fact it?s hard to get shit out of the hinges on my watch.


  07:16:35 am, by Nic Wilson   , 0 words  
Categories: Barren Mind

Barren Mind: Meat-Packers


  07:04:19 am, by Nic Wilson   , 558 words  
Categories: Gitmo

Gitmo 40: Choking

We finally got Monty his internet access. The Colonel at Gates was concerned it could provide unfiltered communications, but once I explained to him that I?d become concerned about the way Monty was looking at Ismail when he was bent over working the toilets, and how bad that story would get if Amnesty ever got ahold of it the request cleared next day.

I didn?t see Monty for the better part of the week after it was installed, except for meals, and even then, he didn?t show until late and didn?t even buckle his belt.

If I?d have thought about it, I?d have warned him, and probably Ismail, too, but I didn?t think about it. Not until I heard a squeal of hateful terror from the cell, and saw Ismail running the hell away. I immediately went into the cell.

?Don?t they fucking knock in Terrorabia?? Monty asked. He was naked, with his laptop propped up on the toilet and himself spread out like a centerfold, naked but for his boots.

?Jesus, Christ, Monty. At least put your hat on.? He picked it up, but rather than covering his pecker with it, put it on his head. ?You couldn?t have been a bit more discreet??

?It?s my room.?

?And his workplace. At his scheduled time to clean up. Jesus. You couldn?t wait fifteen minutes before tugging one out to, is that Dolly Parton blowing a dachshund??

?Look-alike, I think; unless Dolly?s fallen on hard times.?

?This isn?t funny. It would be a multimillion dollar harassment suit if circumstances were even the least bit different.?

There?s noise outside, lots of it, then a loud knocking at the door. I grab the riot shotgun, because if I?m getting rushed I?m cutting a bloody swath. Instead I get Hamdi, looking like he?s swallowed a whole fucking family of canaries. There?s already a crowd, angry looking, behind him, but he comes in and leaves them outside.

?What the fuck is it, Hamdi??

?They?d like to hang your deputy.?

?Really? How very 1960s Alabama of you. But they found a rope thick enough that fast??

?Fuck you,? Monty called from the cell.

?Well they can fuck themselves,? I said. ?No, scratch that, they can fuck each other, and then swallow, film said sex act, then circle jerk each other to it.?

?You?re not helping.?

?I?m not looking to. I?ll handle my deputy?

?I trust not in the same way he?s handling himself,? Hamdi said, and I realized he had a clear view from there into the cell.


?Y?all?re blue-ballin me,? he said sadly, plopping down on his mattress.

?I mean I get you not liking pornography. I get you wanting your city kept clean. But honestly? you tell them to disperse, or I?m calling in the Army, and encouraging them to bust skulls.?

?You?re being belligerent.?

?And you?re being a bloodthirsty cock. You don?t want me coddling cocks, right? Well that means no longer handling you with kid gloves anytime I?m forced to handle you.?

?This will not go well for you.?

?Things rarely do. But if that?s a threat, Hamdi, know this: you?re the first fuck I give the shotgun to. I ain?t going to Hell alone.?



  08:42:40 am, by Nic Wilson   , 700 words  
Categories: Gitmo

Gitmo 39: Vivisection

The alarm woke me up, but the first thing I was actually conscious for was my deputy saying, ?That noise makes my ballsack crawl up into my insides. Take it that ain?t good.?

?No, reascending testicles are never good. Fuck. That?s in fact a very bad noise I?ve never heard before. Because it?s the noise the system makes when somebody hacks out their GPS. That is the sounds of a prison breaking?

Monty hands me my sidearm. ?But if a prison breaks in the woods, does anybody hear it??

?You?re talking even less sense than usual,? I told him. ?You sure you?re good to go??

?Just point me in the right direction to shoot in,? he said, pumping his shotgun.

?You are to shoot goddamn shit until I tell you otherwise. They implanted the GPS in such a way to make em almost impossible to remove. In all likely we?re responding to a medical emergency, not a break-out- even if that was the intention.?

My radio crackled to life as I opened the door to the frigid night air. ?Blue dog? This?s orange cat. One of your guys cut into his guts or are the sensors on the fritz??

?Don?t know yet. We?re en route. Better get a medical chopper headed this way, because if they don?t meet us there he?ll bleed out, if he hasn?t already.?

?Yup, that?s the protocol. Whirly-bird is headed your direction. You should hear it in, now.? I did.

?That was spooky.?

?That is too much free time with a radar and radios and helicopters. Not that I have any rigorous measurement; length of my thumb to the first knuckle is the audible distance for a Hawk of most varieties.?

On the street, I noticed a few curious heads pop outside of doors. I switch my radio over to the intercom channel. ?Lock-down,? I said into it, and an instant later heard it throughout the BMC, and the gophers popped back in their holes.

?You wait for the chopper,? I told Monty, and used one of the master keys on Ramzi?s front door. His GPS put him in the bathroom.

That?s right where I found him, in his bathtub, his intestines pooling out next to him, though that was hard to tell at first on account of all the blood. ?Ramzi? You dead or just stupid?? At first he didn?t respond, and I almost felt bad for that.

But then he started wheezing and his eyes fluttered open.

The medics came into the room but I put up my hand and they stopped. ?The fuck were you thinking??

?I need to see my wife and child.?

?Well, unless they?re in heaven, you were headed in the wrong direction.?

?Then perhaps now your government will honor the agreement.?

?Yeah, you acting out like a twelve year old girl slashing her wrists to show her parents, definitely the route I?d have gone, looking to get more responsibility.? He blinks at me; sarcasm often don?t breech the language barrier, and him being addled from bloodloss doesn?t help the situation. I motion for the medics to start stabilizing him. ?I?m being facetious, Ramzi. You fucked up. Maybe in such a way that it?ll be even longer before other, non-fuck-ups can get to see their families.? There are tears in his eyes and maybe I should go easy on him. But I don?t. ?There are men on a hunger strike right fucking now, refusing to eat until they get Khalid and their families here. And you?ve just made both less likely. It?s possible you?ve killed them. And I?m not above charging you if that turns out to be the case.?

That crushes him.

?You can get the moron out of here. I?m done looking at him.?

I walk out to the porch. Monty?s already asleep on the steps. I kick him. ?Stay awake. You?re covering the front. I?m going to go around back, keep the place secure until the chopper?s out. And if I have to wake you again, it?ll be with a generous stomp to the nuts.?

?Understood, boss.?


  11:34:40 am, by Nic Wilson   , 0 words  
Categories: Barren Mind

Barren Mind: She Might Be Batman

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