As I lay there, bleeding and bloody, eyes transfixed by the twinkle of stars through the mist of my breath, one thought entered in my mind: I can do this; it was a moment of utter clarity. Thinking of it now, if it weren’t for the heat of hot blood, ebbing in the chill of the puddle of rainwater the back of my head was resting in, I probably wouldn’t have had that moment, nor any other moments, not conscious ones anyway. Even so, I didn’t get up straight away, or rather that’s the way I perceived it, the impetus to move and the action that follows, were separated. Not by time, but by consciousness, where thoughts could dwell.

I’m getting up, I’m going to punch him in the face now, he’s going to dodge but I’ll catch him with my other fist. He’s down, I’ll kick in him the kidneys first then when I kick him the abdomen, he wont be able grab my foot.

He was at the trial: kind of, so were his mates that were with him that night, lying through their teeth for queen and country, well at least he earned his shilling. No CCTV in those days, so it was up to me and my silver tongue, ‘Reasonable force, what’s reasonable to expect in circumstances where…’ blah blah blah. The barrister was an idiot, just called to the bar but at least he was an adequate puppet, that together with the fact of my accuser’s previous dalliances with the law, saw my aquittal. He, the barrister, was cock a hoop and at the verdict, they ain’t allowed to smile in court: but I could tell. It was a different story with the brief, he wouldn’t look me in eye, I think he was supposed to make sure we lost.

It wasn’t all roses and buttercups from there though, the press had taken an interest and I had to negotiate my exit from the building without getting snapped. My picture in the paper wasn’t something I was keen on living with, could hamper the prospects of not getting the crap beaten out of me by the odd passing angry boot stompers. I did take the time to take the piss out of my erstwhile adversary though, as I was passing him in the hall. That’s right, they don’t keep you separate after you’re acquitted, it’s off with the hand cuffs and you’re a free man. Free enough to taunt a guy in a wheelchair with an, ‘eek eek eek’ as you imitate the sound of his new mode of ambulation. By chance, the resulting commotion was enough for me to get away unheeded by the awaiting press photographers. That and the last moment application of a newspaper in front of my face, when I was confronted by a straggler.

My encounter with her majesty’s finest, while he was having time off from shooting Paddy in the back, had a profound effect on the course I was to choose from then on. In some ways, a life ended while I was there on my back in that street.  It’s as if the memories I have from before then, are not real, not like a dream, just not belonging to me, like old photographs from someone else’s album. Sometimes I think about the guy lying in the road with his head cooling in a puddle, was it the same for him, was there a moment where he became. Was it the first time his heart was broken, the first beating he got for holding his fork wrong at the family table? I suppose there should be some remorse but there isn’t, it’s me here now and he’s gone.

You know they have this saying, it’s not guns that kill people… then it goes, it’s people that kill people. Well it’s kinda true, but it should say: it’s not bullets that kill people, because hardly anyone ever gets shot. It’s just too much trouble to point a gun at everyone. Artillery kills, fire kills when it’s set in the building you forced everyone into, bombs dropped by a plane kill. When someone’s killed by a gun, he either shot himself or got ambushed, either way, he was an idiot or following an idiot. Falling into an ambush is just not necessary, I won’t do it, idiots who try to put me into that position, have just found the third way to get shot. The only other time a gun will really kill you, is when you haven’t got one; it’s the gun not in your possession, that is the most deadly. That’s why they’re necessary, because of the threat they represent, the realisation of that threat is seldom routinely exercised. Do you know how many people it takes to win a war, it’s fewer than you think. You just have to put them in the right place, so they can point their guns at the right people.

It took its toll of course, the scars that score the deepest are not the ones cut into your flesh but what artisan doesn’t bear the tell tales of his craft. I can do this, I thought and when I discovered just where I excelled, I thought the sacrifice worth it.

~ by deadspidereye on February 20, 2016.

2 Responses to “Fatigue”

  1. If this was not posted fiction I would not have been able to tell it was not truth. I still wonder. Excellent writing and excellent point .

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