Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Slam and Soar

Pain-killing clarity within a shot glass. It slices like a paper cut. Still stings. Face reflected in a Russian liquor bottle.  She doesn't even like the taste.  Take another shot and wince. It's better with orange juice but works harder straight.  The libator's equivalent of cutting oneself. Her razor blades burn her throat and leave no scars. Non that he can see. Not that he'd notice.

Why doesn't  he 'get it'. She's told him often enough. Perhaps that's the problem. She should  'suggest', 'ask', surreptitiously, program his responses. Women's wiles no? Not so wiley this fox.  Change him she would. Not much. Install a little more kindness. Instill less selfishness. Engineer a few more affectionate responses to make herself feel validated. Turn him on, switch him off. Make him march to the beat of her drum instead of being at his beck and call.

He controls her. Pushes her buttons, scrambles her circuits.  He yanks her chain, forces her to jerk, react, behave contrary to her nature.  Her response always predictable, robotic. She knows she's being manipulated but it's sweet manipulation and better than the alternative.  Being left to rust in some dark corner. Unnoticed. Unwatched. Unloved.  She thinks too much. Installs another application. Slams another shot.  She's feeling dizzy. A reminder that she is still human. This over imbibing isn't normal. This is a self-destructive coping mechanism. He has no heart. No capacity for real love. He's mechanical, all wires and motherboards, thoughtless. She loves him and despises him.. He loves and despises her but they are programmed to persist.

She reminds herself that he isn't mechanical, he's a man. Warm-blooded, thin-skinned and vulnerable. Wears his heart on his sleeve. Sometimes in his hand. She isn't the bottom of a bottle, it doesn't define her.She's pragmatic, sensitive, sensible. Their liaison is driven by mechanical compulsion and emotional extremes.  They love and hate with voracity at both ends of the spectrum. No middle ground.  Slam another. This time it dulls the pain but intensifies emotion. She thinks too much. 

He calls . . he always does. She answers. Switched on, turned on. Light in her eyes, affection in her voice. She can hear the smile in his. The program's on repeat.  He says "Jump!" she asks, "How high?"

She doesn't wait for an answer. She's already started to soar.

Posted for The Tenth Daughter of Memory "Extreme Robot Vodka"

Friday, December 17, 2010


The box arrives discretely packaged in brown, marked “DELICATE:” and leans seductively against the porch like a hooker in the doorway of a peep show. As his Camry pootles into the driveway a wry grin emerges on his normally sullen face for he knows what lies within his early Christmas Present.

Gears disengage and park brake ratchets. He scoops up the bottle hidden within a brown paper bag, disengages keys from ignition and excitedly exits his car. He walks purposefully towards the porch and prepares his house key for the lock. Looks briefly at the address on the box to ensure his delight is justified and opens the door.  He turns, tenderly lifts the elongated package, as you would a woman by the waist and carries it over the threshold.   Once inside he lays it gently on the dining table.
As a surgeon removes sutures, he gently scissors each line of packing tape, unseals the box and stares longingly at its contents, for they are stunning and exceed all expectations.

Lying nestled among white tissue paper is a woman. Perfectly fleshed and proportioned, manicured and pedicured with seductive partly-opened lips and longing lashes. She wears nothing more than a black lace bra and g-string. Her skin is tanned yet tiny veins protrude from the backs of her hands, the crest of her ample breasts and the tops of her delicate, nail-painted feet. She is gorgeous.

Discretion being the better part of valour, he draws the blinds against possible prying eyes. She is for his eyes only. Dim orange light highlights her rouged cheeks. He takes a glass from the buffet and pours  himself a stiff drink while something else begins to stiffen.  Just a fingerful of Stolichnaya which he sips rather than slams before dabbing his lascivious lips with the back of his hand and sighs as the the tasteless liquor burns his throat.

Always one to read instructions, he fumbles beneath the tissue paper and retrieves the book and remote control. Written concisely with diagrams for maintenance and repair, he absorbs all salient information about operation, body function and all-important hygiene.

Thrilled with his surrogate lover but not yet ready to test drive the beauty, he leaves her languishing in all her glory on the dining table. Tonight is Bingo night at the RSL and he might have a chance with that rather fulsome woman he’s been eyeing on table 10 and he relishes the thought that a sexual liaison with real flesh might be on the cards. Another swig of Vodka and Dutch courage kicks in. He exits the house, off to
 Bingo, in the hope of romance and a win, totally unaware that he is under observation.

His observer has been noting his abject predictability.  Bingo on Wednesdays, late-night shopping on Thursday, a  'constitutional' walk at exactly 7pm every other evening. Rising at 6, work at 8 and is never home before 5:30.  He knows there’s an awesome sound system inside. He’s heard Barber’s Adagio streaming from the house, even seen the man conducting the invisible strings with a chopstick in his hand.  He knows that he’s recently purchased a wide screen, digital television. It’s large enough for him to see the porn on screen when the curtains are not properly drawn. He’s even had a hard-on more than once thanks to glimpses of naked women, writhing and 'enjoying' each other’s company. He's rather partial to lesbian sex.

Prizing the latch is easy and the old wooden doors at the rear of the house, give way. He's in the family room, adjoining the dining room and his eyes are drawn to a large box resembling a cardboard coffin sitting on the dining table. Accompanying the box, a barely opened bottle of Stolichnaya ready for the drinking. “Bonus!” he thinks aloud, “Telly, sound system and  . . . well, well, well! What have we here?”  The box piques more than curiosity.

"Fuck’n ‘ell" he surprises himself with the volume of his response.  "You’re hot! And those tits? Gawd they look real!”  He gazes on the scantily clad beauty and is unable to resist fondling the araoli visible beneath her bra.  Their light and rubbery texture causing a ruction in his trousers.

He removes the 50kg woman from her resting place as gently as if she was flesh and places her neatly on all fours upon the Berber rug. Her limbs are pliable and easily bend into position.  He removes her underwear with gentleness, almost forgetting she’s not real and admires the purpose-made orifice between her buttocks and legs. "Jesus you’re lifelike," again, said a little too loud but since the object of his desire hears nothing, she won't be offended.

Not waiting to read the instructions and with plenty of time to spare, he fumbles at the remote control, mouthing the words adjacent to a plethora of buttons, “Oral, anal, vaginal . . .hmmm. Voice . . sultry, dominatrix, motherly.”  He makes appropriate selections before checking speed and gyration, “Fuck this is awesome!" He selects a mid-range speed and presses the green button. Eyes roll with delight as madam begins to pivot back and forth, moaning and groaning in what could only be described as her sultry voice. Mouth opening and closing, soft nippled latex breasts wobbling beneath her so realistically he has to check them out with fingers and tongue before he admires the said replica of female sexual anatomy forcing itself back and forth in his general direction.

Cajoled and bewitched by the moans of "
Take me baby, yeh, there . . awww, you're so big . . yeh . . touch me there . . " He takes a goodly gulp of vodka, drops his daks

Before he can disengage and attend to his primary purpose, his seed is swimming upwards with the same robotic determination demonstrated by its recipient who is still moving back and forth and begging “Take me baby, yeh, there . . awww, you're so big . . yeh . . touch me there . . "  

Zealous sperm are unaware that the complex wiring they desire is not a fallopian tube and cause the lady to mechanically vibrate and quiver with the onslaught. They swim through and beyond the ICAXE-25 Project board, ignoring the USB PICAXE Programming table, soaking the LD293d Motor Driver and totally sizzling the Servo S03N,  Infra Red Rangefinders, Male Pins and Female Header jumpers. His microscopic swimmers are banjaxing the whole shebang.

Panic sets in as the little woman seems to have developed an extraordinary pelvic grip and vaginal muscles befitting a lifetime of hard core Kegel exercises. The vice-like combination now refuse to release the flaccid love tool. She wobbles like a jelly and rocks with gay abandon, rather faster than is sexually stimulating. Her voice now sounding frantic, its erotic effect completely evapourated. " Takemebabyehthereawwyou'resobigyeh," Takemebabyehthereawwyou'resobigyeh," Takemebabyehthereawwyou'resobigyeh."

Panic turns to pain as the intrepid burglar realises he's not going anywhere too soon. The sexbot is not about to release her carnal grip. Arms flail as he attempts to reach for the remote control and knocks over the bottle of Stolly, soaking every button. Despite desperate attempts, the extreme soaking will not turn our latex  Lolita off. She in fact metaphorically and physically, remains very much ‘turned on.’

For what seems an eternity the poor man is pushed, pulled and thrusted. Tears stream while his paramour is fixed with her latex smile, come-hither eyes, jingling bosom and crushing grip.

As the lovelorn homemaker returns from a loveless and luckless night, he is now eager to road-test his boxed beauty.  Upon entering his home, he’s far from impressed to discover the violation of his palace and worse still, his new toy.  He is however, in no hurry to admit to any police officer that the contraption belongs to him, even if she has ‘nabbed’ an intruder in the most intimate of embraces.
Because he has perused the manual, he is able to disengage a safety switch beneath the darling's hair, just below her ear and cease her constant grinds and thrusts. Although the vibrations continue for some time until the whole thing short-circuits with a fizz, voice and motion ends. The only sound now audible being the desperate groans and anxious pleas of the hapless burglar. His wedding tackle still tightly wedged between our latex leviathan's buttocks.

Feeling no sympathy, he roughly ushers the now blanket-covered burglar and his paramour, into the back seat of the Camry and tries to drive inconspicuously to the local hospital. The lovers still locked and loaded. Waiting Ambos and nurses can hardly suppress their amusement as the unfortunate couple are assisted onto a gurney, "One two three . . Lift". Both are still kneeling and tight in each others ‘embrace,’ now headed with some urgency to the operating theatre for surgical disengagement.

At this point, our mild mannered friend seizes the opportunity to do a runner and escape any embarrassing questions, safe in the knowledge that this particular intruder is unlikely to return.  He resolves to court the living doll on table 10 next Bingo night, since it's patently clear that a liaison with a sexbot can be . . . well . . extreme! 

Posted for the 10th Daughter of Memory "Extreme Robot Vodka"

Sunday, December 12, 2010


"It'll seem different in the morning darling" she says with warm empathy tainting her normally pragmatic voice, "Everything's clearer in the light of day" she soothes.

"How? How will anything be different! " he protests, with anger and upset, making his voice quiver, "I'll still feel like shit. It's all fucked up I tell you totally fucked. Everything I did to make things good has turned out to be fucked. Everything. It's all been a waste of time. Good guys do finish last. I should be a total bastard!"

Her consolatory words are clearly missing their mark but she persists, "Not so. Uni wasn't a waste of time, it was an achievement and jobs, hey they come and go." He raises a disbelieving eyebrow, he's heard these words before from his overly optimistic and luck-charmed sister and he's in no mood for a 'pep' talk but she continues, "You have a wonderful partner, a loving family, a roof over your head. Things aren't so bad. Trust me, it'll all work out in the wash, be patient"

He gives her the 'don't lecture me' look because he doesn't really believe her but knows he's being self-indulgent. He's not going to give into guilt and he's certainly not going to be encouraged by her words but he will take them on board.

How does she know? She's his mother.

She holds him close. Actually she forces him close, since he's reluctant to engage in physical contact but he acquiesces out of respect. He'd rather be somewhere else than fussed over right now, let alone clinched in a seven second hug.

He's huge. A formidable bulk of manhood unshaven and unkempt. Hair scruffy but smelling sweet. His lumberjack arms tensed by his side. His  clothes slept-in and stinking of man sweat and beer but she does not release her grip. She hugs him tight and hard. He doesn't resist.  Then there's a change in his stalwart posture. He rests his head on her shoulder, drops his stiffened stance, slumps his shoulders, encircles her shrinking frame with his and allows rivers of tears to flow. It breaks her heart but she knows he needs the release.

How does she know? She is his mother.

Instantly she's transported to another time, while he takes solace in her embrace.

She is transported in that moment to 3:15am, 11th December 1986  and her husband isn't home. She's been having Braxton Hicks all night but they don't hurt. In fact they're strangely pleasant as she feels the pressure of the baby's head gently bearing down.  Just 20 minutes apart now and regular so she's on the phone every half hour giving him updates and begging him to hurry up, wind-up and come home. She knows that soon the back pain will kick in for he's her second, she's been through it before and she'll need to do more than straddle a dining chair, facing it's spine, and pretend that Le Mar's will assist before too long.

Finally he arrives. Starving after night shift, she cooks  him a hearty breakfast. Honey cured bacon and fried eggs, tomatoes, beans and toast and freshly brewed coffee that alert her two year old to the fact that the house is awake and the day about to begin.

The first twang hits the small of her back as she clears the  plates and he has his morning shower. He's tired. He should have finished at 11 but computers foul as if timed to foul when emergencies are imminent. She stands at the sink, legs spread apart to distribute the discomfort and washes all the dishes whilst biting her bottom lip and wincing as the tension escalates to pain.

In earnest now they hit  in waves of unbelievable veracity and velocity. She can feel them welling upwards from her inner thighs through her groin, deep through her pelvis and into the small of her back and the rise of nausea brings bile into her throat.  The wave crests, lasts about a minute then dissipates on some invisible shore and she smiles. This is sweet agony with an ultimate reward.

Ten minutes apart and it's time to go. The waves are literally beating the shoreline and she holds back the tears as the intensity rises and their frequency increases. She cannot sit, she cannot stand, she cannot lie. No position is comfortable save on all fours but with the weight of her extended belly, even that  bizarre pose pulls at her already tight skin and causes ructions.

"For fuck's sake what are you doing man?  Dress the kid and get me to the hospital"

She can feel this one is in a hurry. The toddler dressed in a combination of  red ribbed tights and a pink flanellette pyjama top, she begins to chastise him for his lack of wardrobe nouse but another wave stops her in her tracks and shuts her mouth. She breathes.

They bundle into the car. Every bump, every stone, every stop, every turn has her unravelled. This baby's coming now. They drop the toddler off at her mother's who is herself a midwife but cannot attend her daughter's birthing for fear of being too emotionally involved. She walks to the car "How are you darling?" . .  "I think I'm going to be sick" she says as nausea combines with another excruciating contraction.

"Ray, stop chatting and get out here now, this baby's not going to wait!"

They're ushered speedily to labour ward. This is intense. No really, this is very intense. Waters broken, a name unchosen, the love of her life feeding her ice and consolatory words. "Fuck off for goodness sakes!" she yells as another wave crashes and overwhelms the breathing that's supposed to help. "Gas, gimme gas . ." the harpie commands. Ray reaches for the outlet and mask against the wall and tenderly administers the oxygen and nitrous mix. She sucks it in as if just risen from a deep sea free dive and the contraction ends, the pain subsides.

She asks for an epidural, her daughter was born pain free and she was desperate to emulate her previous delivery but no time with this little one. No doctor, just an Indian nurse named Hadra who stands in wait, not even needing to verbalise instructions to push.

The bearing down is awesome, the pain is overwhelming but within seconds, small cries and a vernix covered slimy boy is in her arms. His father cuts the chord and he's  filling both their hearts with abject joy - a son. Our son. This amazing thing we made together, created by love, with love. This tiny little human, defenceless, quiet and submissive, beautiful and . . . blue! They're allowed a fleeting cuddle before he's whisked away and warmed under fluorescent lights.  A cup of tea, a painless stitch, an hour of worry and he is returned to latch upon her breast. 

She hasn't seen him  cry in years. Even as a small child, he rarely did but now, he's letting go and  letting her in. This massive man who thinks his woes are insurmountable as defenceless as the child she once embraced. She loves him now as she did that day.  She sometimes sees  him now as she did that day. Vulnerable and in need of nurture and protection. Her funny boy, her happy child, her constant gardener, her gourmet chef . . her son is sad beyond sad. Blue beyond blue and it strains her heart.

But she is stout of heart, sound of mind and warm of spirit. She is no stranger to pain or loss. She has survived, she lives, she loves and she has wisdom. She has two precious gifts and one of them needs her, now, so she willingly complies.

This is a hold, a hug, a heartfelt moment.  But she knows for fact that he will bounce back, things will be better in the morning.

How does she know? She is his mother.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Skinwalkers Part 4

The deed done, he notices Jenson face down in the sand, blood seeping and turns him roughly onto his back, enjoying his wincing. This is not a mortal wound. It's bleeding badly and Jenson's not in good shape but Lawrence has mortal thoughts. "You'll be OK Redneck" and slaps the man firmly on the side of his arm. Jenson has lost his mess tent arrogance and resembles a frightened child, he grabs the Navajo.  "Hurts man, fuckin' hurts real bad!" The Navajo inspects the wound, unsympathetically spits, "Put pressure on it. Stay put, I'll be back."

He moves towards the Pillbox and his first aid kit but thoughts he doesn't want to think enter his head, terrible thoughts.  Jenson would have killed him had he not sprung to his feet. This is his chance to take the life that would have snuffed his own. Perfect, pre-determined by a Japanese bullet, enemy fire.
A wave of resolution crashes over him and his soft heart becomes dark. He pulls the bayoneted rifle from the dead Jap, and walks back towards Jenson's groaning frame. Looks fair and square into Jenson's terrified eyes, speaks something, in Navajo "Ashiiké tóó diigis" and plunges the foreign blade into his chest. Body vibrates, air is gasped, blood gurgles like a sticky spring and another of America's finest lies still, bleeding and contorted on the sulfur sand.

The flares desist and all is quiet.  Lawrence, sophisticated as he is, lets superstition take hold.  The ritual begins.  He strips, naked apart from his boots and rubs his body with black ashen sand.  For now, he is invisible to the spirit world, dusky and stinking. He does not speak. It's important to keep quiet. Jenson's journey into the spirit world must not be interrupted. He must not find his way back. The Navajo reverses slowly away from Jenson's body, dusting bootprints with his jacket, as he moves. Jenson remains exposed for others to find.

The Navajo kneels and scoops dry sand into his hand, allowing a thin trickle to escape and draws an intricate pattern. A picture for the Holy Ones.  Four symmetrical elements for each compass point. He is meticulous as circular heads form in relief on the charcoal silica and grainy rosemary sprigs connect his art with the natural world. He isn't proud of what he's done and knows his shadow may well leave, opening a portal for the Skinwalkers to claim his soul.

He heads back to the field tents and washes the dark sand from his body. Water shears off the ashes but he is tainted as a woman raped. A dog howls. He didn't even know there were dogs on this God-forsaken island but this one resonates and gives him chills. He imagines Skinwalkers tearing at his corpse and shakes the image from his mind. He performed the ritual, sent Jensen on his way.  Self-preservation is a mighty thing, a wrathful thing, a soulless thing but Jenson deserved it and will be thought of no more.

Another casket is shipped  home. Another American son buried, and a native survivor declared "Hero."
Amid the rows of uniforms, aboard the US Hornet, Hunter Lawrence's name is called.  A Navy Cross pinned on his chest for code talk and the not-so-stealthy killing of five Japs on patrol, for trying to 'save ' a fallen comrade.  Beneath congratulatory smiles, superstition runs like acid through his veins. He's lost his shadow in more ways than one but doesn't know it yet.

Once home, life takes over. Wife, no kids but life is good. Unlike the other five, he's survived. All but two perished and they return damaged and distraught. Like so many they drink to forget and sobriety forsakes them. They don't speak of the war and wait for welfare checks.

Hunter Lawrence puts all behind him until widowed and begins to age. As advanced years encroach, so does the wolf to his door and images of his treachery seep like Jenson's sticky blood into his heart. He's aware of his mortality and fears the retribution of death.  Jenson's face comes back to haunt him as does the sensation of steel through skin, muscle, organ and bone. He turns to the solace of the bottle and drinks himself into oblivion.

A Navajo without a shadow is open to the darkness and the guilt he harbours deep inside has led him there. He is condemned to an existence of remembering, after a lifetime of forgetting.  He lies awake at night, dogs howl, coyotes yelp, shape-shifters gather, banging hard on his walls and sleep evades. Gunfire is in his head and guilt his only bedfellow. Jenson's eyes burn his back and he feels the blade between his shoulders. The bottle provides solace and he pours another mind-numbing draft.

At 86 years old, his heart is weak, his liver tainted, his comrades dead, his family gone.  He reaches into his pocket and fondles the shiny thing.  He gazes through glazed eyes at the Navy Cross and makes a last apology to his murdered protector.

An old man sits on the porch, left alone as is tradition. Medicine man already naked and smoothing ashes on his skin. Grave dug, mourners holding back as is their way.  Navajo die alone.

Feeling a shiver and a presence, Hunter Lawrence looks down on sunbleached boards. Breath rasping and his black heart failing. At last, a shadow is cast, looming long and dark and menacing. An animal howls the howl of Hell.  The wind gains force and once more a billow of dust is at his feet. Yee naaldooshii, the Skinwalker has come to make a claim.  "Forgive me" are his last words as the medal falls spinning towards the boards, slips through the gaps and rests quietly for posterity to ignore on reservation earth.
Only the Holy Ones will know.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Skinwalkers Part 3

Days are long as they hunker down. No enemy knows they're there. Contact with the others is restricted to Code Talk on the phone and the occasional trip to camp. They eat together, shit together and despite the tension between them, they talk.  Lawrence explains his morning ritual of taking a pouch of corn pollen from his pocket. This keeps him calm, balanced and safe. Pollen is touched to tongue and head, then lifted to four sacred directions in an act of remembrance and faith. Jenson reminisces about his mother's Cornjacks, pancakes and maple syrup and kisses a photograph of a swimsuit model, since he has no sweetheart of his own. There are moments of connect between the chatter and the gunfire. Moments when one believes he might make a friend of the other but these are few and far between.

Weeks go by.  The 'rabbits' are driven from their burrows and forced north. Flushed from their holes, cut down or watched, as warriors of the rising sun take their own lives rather than become prisoner. As the enemy moves in bloody retreat, a tented encampment on the south end of the beach becomes a welcome distraction. The safest haven on this moonscape. Providing short respite for Lawrence and his watcher. Short sorties of leave are granted from their Pillbox prison and they are permitted to seek the camaraderie of a mess tent, the comfort of a lime covered latrine and sharing chow before returning to their hell hole. This also provides an apartheid of sorts, talkers hang together, whites continue with their antagonism and hostile posturing.

 One 'Indian' joke too many and Lawrence finally snaps. He rushes his compatriot and foists a well placed elbow smacking hard across his adversary's neck and sends him flying back across the makeshift table. Enamel plates and cups fling off in all directions with a tinny clamor.  It's on! This hatred's been pent up and stir crazy gladiators pitch a personal battle.  The fight is dirty but both men are evenly matched, hand to groin, elbow to head and well placed fists to solar plexus. They're beating the pulp out of each other, egged on by a rowdy crowd. The beatings rage for almost 20 minutes before both can barely stand. Arms limp, sweat pouring, noses and lips bloodied and eyes swollen. Clearly there's no point continuing. Both shake off their furor reluctantly and silently acknowledge that they are a fair and equitable match. Time to clean up and return to their pillbox. It's going to be a long night.

Small arms fire, becomes more evident at night as other noises cease. Star parachute flares, fired by destroyers off shore, light the battlefield. Every few minutes throughout the night the flares burst far above them, and then drift slowly down, creating shifting shadows in their blue-white light.  Lawrence checks his own. A man without a shadow may as well be dead.

Returning bruised and silent to their station, after the mess tent fracas , both men attune to whispers adjacent to their hideout. Quiet, distant, foreign, blocked infrequently by the release of parachute flares.  Jenson gesticulates with a silent hand, knuckles still bloodied, swollen eyes adjusting to the dark. Both are savvy enough to hit the blackened earth, weapons flush to the ground, fingers poised on clip and trigger, praying that the flares desist.  What the Japanese patrol is doing so far in reclaimed territory, neither can fathom.  But they're armed to the teeth, literally, knives in mouths, bayonets glinting with each descending flare, grenades dangling ominously from their belts. This is a brave or stupid unit of five men. Equally wary, senses are sharpened and desperate to reclaim the Pillbox, so that comrades can spill like fire ants, close to their enemy's camp.
The adversaries, now in unison are afraid to draw breath but need to move. They're in the open, exposed. One more flare and they're dead or captured. Jenson knows it. Lawrence fears it.  They commando crawl towards cover when Lawrence feels the cold press of steel against his temple. It's not a Japanese pistol pointed at his head.

"What the fuck?" the Navajo silently mouths. Jenson's finger moves to his lips to signal 'hush' but terror courses through the Navajo. He isn't prepared to die, least not at the hand of this idiot. He might be his physical match but is arguably his intellectual inferior.

The Japanese patrol is nervous, they scout in the dark sure they've heard something move. The air is thick, fit to be cut by knife as one man faces death and the other its delivery.  "I can take 'em." Lawrence whispers, nervous sweat, clouding his eyes.  The barrel of the Colt M1911 still pressed hard against his temple. "Can't risk it" says Jenson, a meld of anger and delight welling in his. "They get you, they get me, they get us. All of us."   Lawrence hears the tell-tale click.

This whole thing is fucked. Sanity kicks in and Jensen realises the shot will draw attention.  He draws knuckled trench knife. Seeing it glint in fading flare light, Lawrence springs wildly to his feet and fires at the oblivious patrol. Jenson's moment lost, usurped, he joins the massacre cutting each Nip down, mercilessly, brutally, accurately.  Unseen, one flanks both men and charges screaming.  Arisaka firing, bayonet loaded and pointed. Lawrence pivots at speed and punctuates the Jap's uniform with deadly perforations. The Nip shudders violently with the impact and falls but not before clearing a well placed shot. Jenson's hit. The Navajo doesn't notice.  Standing over each lifeless corpse he unceremoniously slashes yellow throats. 'Take no prisoners' repeats in his head as he ensures they're all extinguished.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Skinwalkers Part 2

Lawrence's main antagonist is a hick, a redneck. Country through and through. Cliff Jenson does not hide his disdain referring to him as "Tonto."  Jensen has no love of the 'Indian' especially since one ran off with his mother. All adulterers and thieves. "Filthy whorin' fuckers, ain't got the intelligence of a mule," said well within earshot but elicits no reaction. Jenson is aggressive, strong and the most accomplished of the whites. His prowess, although falling short of the Navajo, is also noticed and he’s summoned by command. Unsure whether this is to be a debrief or discipline for his insults he is sheepish on approach.

"At ease." commands the officer, "Take a seat."
 Obediently Jensen sits and awaits his fate. "Jensen, you're aware of this Code Talking initiative?"
"Yes Sir," he replies as his superior continues, "The survival of the talkers is paramount. They will transmit essential information to aid the war effort. This places them in an unusually vulnerable position. To counter this risk, we are assigning you to one as protector."
Jensen's displeasure is not hidden as his freckled face reddens with rage. He thinks himself above protecting an Indian and has blood lust for real fighting not babysitting.
 "I know you don't get along with these men but this isn't a school picnic. These talkers need armed support so abandon whatever grievances you have and stick to the man like glue."
Jenson nods obediently, hiding his displeasure as the commander lowers his voice, "However," Jenson likes the 'however' despite being mystified, "Should the talker be even threatened with capture, he must be dispatched. Do you understand me son?"
Jensen can hardly hide his delight. A licence to kill a motherfucking sonofasquaw, this is just too good!
 "Of course sir, I understand completely."
And the conversation ends.
In training camp, Lawrence is assigned a shadow, a protector, a fellow Marine. Cliff Jensen.

His taunter will keep him safe, protect the secret of the code.  Both men have much in common despite their ethnic difference.  Both are young and fit, keen hunters, laden with testosterone and longing for the kill. Both are skilled in combat and stealth, whether armed or not.  Both longing for adventure but neither tainted by action. Both share an animosity approaching hatred of each other but only one discloses. "Yo Tonto!" yells Jensen, "I'll be your Kimosabe, lick my boots!" Lawrence flicks him the bird, says nothing. "Ha! I'd like to take your squaw out for a good steak dinner and never bring her back!" Again the Navajo ignores the taunt. His race are used to abuse but he will not forget.

The evening before deployment, enemies of a different kind lie on cots, side-by-side. Gleaming tags on green T shirts, their hands clasped behind their heads. Eyes focused on an invisible and elusive target high above.   "You scared?" Lawrence asks. "Fuck no. Can't wait to kick some Jap ass, the sneaky fuckers.  We're Marines Tonto, kick ass is what we do." Both  roll but neither sleeps a fitful sleep. Lawrence feels the eyes of his reluctant companion burning holes into his back, imagining a blade between his shoulders. He dreams the wolf is at his door, a Skinwalker come to claim his soul.  Jensen dreams of treachery. He can't wait to ship out.

Huddled in their landing craft, they encounters scattered fire as the beach speeds into view. They're unaware of the labyrinth of tunnels beneath this stinking hole, protecting their aggressors, secluded deep, like rabbits and shielded from aerial attack. They make landfall on Iwo To amid ash and black volcanic sand. Halfway between Japan and the airfields of the Marianas, its strategic importance is well understood. The vulnerability of his comrades, immediately comprehended. It is an altar prepared for the immolation of seventeen thousand men.

Marines scramble onto the beach and the bloodbath begins. Japs open up and men are pinned by withering fire. Their Amtrack, accompanied by Ducks among the first assault, Lawrence's shadow is omnipresent, pushing him forward onto the beach taking his arm and stabilizing him as waves lash at his waist. Lawrence holds the field phone and radio above his head. He's a target and he knows it.   This is an uneasy partnership with protector and protagonist as one.  Made all too real by a beach already littered with the corpses of blackened amphibian tractors and green-clad marines, still helmeted and twisted where they fell. One more Navajo  body would barely change the toll. A mortal garden of exploding shells. For now, Jenson is his Lord Protector his brother in arms.

A spigot mortar lands and propels both men.  Their flight limp and helpless before landing hard upon damp sand. Lawrence scrambles for his equipment, crawling to take cover, feeling numb. He shakes the ashen dirt from his head, shoulders, face. Ash is a funeral right and he wants none of it on his body. Shell deafness rings in his head as he tries to get his bearings. A Pillbox rises above. Japs fire at will within its protected walls, wild and random. He crouches at the base to avoid detection. "You OK Tonto?" whispers Jenson close behind, barely audible above the Japanese fire. He keeps one eye on his charge, the other on the tower. "Fine! Deaf but fine!"snaps the other, still shaken but alive.   Jenson reaches for a grenade, removes the pin and hurls the missile amid the blood-lusting sentries within. Both hit the deck and silently count, wait, for the inevitable smell of burning flesh, acrid metal and falling rubble.  Scrambling below fire, they clear a way, drag body parts beyond it's perimeter and secure the Pillbox.  This is their bunker now, home for a while. It’s time to talk.

Lawrence sets up his radio while Jensen blocks the tunnel extruding from the far interior wall of the Pillbox. The Nips will be back if the Marine's can't hold position. Hard to tell with Nips, they're crafty little shits and tough adversaries. Guerrillas all and full of surprises.

A Navajo conversation begins between Lawrence and a fellow talker the US Hunter off the coast. Instructions are relayed, positions marked all in Navajo tongue, coded to disguise meaning. Their messages are fast, less than 2 minutes each they code assaults, warn of danger and find a safe place for bivouac along the littered beach. He is a link in the Navajo net keeping everything connected like a spider's strands spanning distant branches. The talker talks while Jenson, ever present, watches.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Skinwalker Part 1

An old man sits on his porch. Military cap on head and cane by his side. His face creased with the ravages of alcohol. Eyes hardened by the blood of war. He stares at the boards beneath worn Moccasins but cannot see his shadow.  This perturbs him greatly. A man without a shadow is a man without a soul and both left him long ago.  He’s never spoken of his past. His wounds have barely healed.  At 86 years old, he's dying and needs to tell the wind of his shame. He fingers shining metal and remembers.

Running wildly, rifles in hand, teenage boys chase rabbits. Fire flushes them from warrens and pot-shots echo through the valley.  It’s Saturday, 'free day' at St Mary’s Catholic Boarding School. Lapin roasts over an open fire, watched carefully by another, when he hears the news that sends him screaming towards the young hunters,
 “Pearl Harbor was bombed! Pearl Harbor was bombed!”
Startled they stand steadfast in their tracks.
“Where’s Pearl Harbor?” asks one.
Incredulous that Hunter Lawrence doesn't know, a chorus of five then yell, “HAWAII   Fool!” 

“Who did it?”
“Why did they do it?”

“They hate Americans”

“What us too?”
“Yeh, us too”

Each tender brave then makes shakes hands and makes a promise, sealed with rabbit blood and spit. They will enlist and shoot Japanese, not rabbits.

The dry dust of early summer billows as two Jeeps speed along the school’s driveway. Five boys sit on the cooling steps and watch the approaching vehicles, "They're military," says Hunter Lawrence who hasn't forgotten last year's promise. "Wonder what they're after?" The question goes unanswered as five braves, elbows on knees and chins in hands watch the tiny convoy grind to a dusty halt and a uniform emerges.
"Where's your headmaster son?"

Hunter leads the way. Boy and man walk briskly down a phenol scented hallway.  Headmaster Logan is in his quarters, probably having a nap. The uniform is ushered into an ante-room and politely asked by the boy to remain. Leaving him behind, Hunter bolts at speed to raise Logan.

 He hammers on the door. A sleep deprived senior emerges, massaging his eyebrows between index finger and thumb. "Hunter what's the fuss?"
"A soldier sir, he wants to speak to you?"
"A soldier? On a Saturday?"
Logan turns and grabs his jacket before both return to greet their guest.
 The Marine stands as they enter and proffers an open hand. The two men sit on large leather chairs with a table in between. A briefcase is revealed and papers shuffled.
"That'll do Hunter."
The boy retreats and closes the door but is soon joined by his companions who clump together, ears against the wood.
 "Mr Logan, we're on a recruitment drive," begins the Marine. "We're experimenting with a new initiative involving native speakers. You have a few candidates of interest. Since they're wards of the state, all you need to do is sign a release and the boys can enlist."
 Excited mufflings from behind the door are unnoticed.
 Logan looks perturbed, "These boys have another three weeks of school and they're only 17."
"I'm aware of this Sir, but we have need of them in San Diego. They have value to us if this project gets wings. I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to tell you more."

 Not one to stand in the way of warriors, Logan signs, releasing all five boys.
 The scrambling behind the door is clearly audible. All five scuffle from the door as the knob turns and stand in line like wooden Indians as Logan and Marine emerge.
 "Men, you want to help your country?" Each beams and nods in agreement. This is the fruition of their pact. "Grab your things then, you're coming with me."
 Hasty efforts are made as bags are packed and excitement burns. "You won't need that son," bellows the Marine, as Hunter tries to slide a .22 rifle into a soft leather sheath. "We'll give you a gun soon enough."
And in another billow of dust, two Jeeps depart with their new charges. Headed for what? They do not know.

Heads are shaved and billets assigned. Uniforms folded neatly on each cot. Today boys become men and arrange themselves scruffily when instructed, amid a troop of white recruits. The colour of their skin appears to both amuse and disgust their comrades who whisper disparagingly and ridicule their race. Hunter is aware but does not react. He's going to be a Marine and that in itself is enough.

After roll call, he is approached, "Marine! Do you speak Indian?’ Hunter resists the urge to say ‘No’ and nods respectfully, stands square and announces, ‘Yes Sir, I speak Navajo.’ After years of being discouraged to speak his native tongue, he is ecstatic but does not yet understand the importance of the question or the impact of his answer. He is to be chosen to send messages that the Japanese can’t interpret as a code talker. He will hone the craft, speak his language in ways it has never been used, confuse his enemy, pass secrets, aid victory. But first, he must learn the military craft.

Bootcamp is tough but times are desperate and enthusiasm kicks in. Hunter Lawrence is fit, he’s always been fit. A fine physique due to good genes and the flush of youth and he excels. Boarding school has instilled discipline and he is commended for his fastidiousness and attention, much to the chagrin of his white companions who resent his every accolade.  Already accomplished with a gun, he masters bayonet, scouting and patrolling.  At commando training he’s a natural and leaves his troop eating his dust. He effortlessly endures thirst and lack of food while the others gasp for their canteens and complain about rations. There is a widening rift between the white and red men made all too obvious by their under-breath deprecation. Hunter Lawrence hears it all but does not react. Their time will come.

With boot camp completed, it is time to learn the code. English into Navajo - Navajo into code. The Japs are comfortable with Morse and many have been educated in the West but they've never heard anything like this. Colonels are "Silver Eagles," Japanese, "Slant Eyes" each first letter of the Navajo translation forming the letters of the message. It's intricate and complicated despite the principle being so simple. It works. What was a trial will be implemented and a bright eyed, Navajo boarding-school boy will get his chance to change the direction of the war.

Friday, December 3, 2010


They lived a life of fantasy and seclusion, pushed into submission by scuttlebutt and bullying. Cornered in the playground, victims of careless whispers. It hurt like a bull ant bite and shaped the way they evolved. But they had each other. And for a while, they had God, or so they thought.

At Uni they were studious and academic, nerds, geeks, with few friends but for each other. Plain to look at, lacking in charisma they were quiet girls, 'loners', friendless. "Oh my God?" they will exclaim in front of cameras, "I'd never have suspected!" Pick anyone, report anything for the scoop. The truth? Nobody knows them or what they think. They are anonymous, unimportant, uncool and undiscovered landscapes. 

Sisters with a mirror image sit opposite each other, amid dim light in a tawdry cheap cafe. A blase waiter ignores their presence until one attracts his attention with a sheepish hand gesture and apologetic order. "Two coffees please." Polite and succinct, no indication of the melee whirling in her head.  He nods, dispassionate and disappearing to hide behind his espresso hiss. Nothing to look at there. Frumps, studious and dull, his froth is more exciting.

Strange how twins so targeted in their youthful past now so invisible in the present.  Their conversation hushed as cooling coffee. Expressions intense, since they are making morbid plans and questioning their faith. "You sure? You ready? Got no problems with God?" asks one of the other, while staring blankly into a tiny universe of milky bubbles. It's a topic preying on both women's minds these days as they rebel against a life of Bible bashing and indoctrination.  "Yep, never more ready." replies the other. It's been a long time since Holy sun shone on their faces.  It helps to know the creator has abandoned them, since books touting religion as delusion have been absorbed. Salient paragraphs highlighted in Stabilo Boss.  Letters long written and all arrangements made. Plans are now complete. No interference suspected from an interventionist God. They don't need God at all. "He's such a fucking disappointment." Mirrored images agree.

Envelopes are filled and stamps adhered. Each Will and Testament dedicated to each other. Letters written to key people in their lives. The wherefores the what's and the who's but no explanation of the why. All will be mystified. This is between themselves, twin to twin, soul to soul, they will make a mighty mark that none will comprehend. A mysterious legacy to survive murderous intentions.

They've been researching. Absorbed by a high school massacres. Clippings are bundled meticulously, articles, news papers, letters parcelled neatly in a backpack. Both have a macabre interest in the perverted, betrayed by the faces of quiet innocents. 

They can't remember the first time they wrote to the mother of a victim. At first a consolatory note for someone who'd attended their old school. An exchange between a son-less mother and two lonely girls.  Her letters had the warmth that their own mother had denied. The mother of twins pressed them to achieve, was critical of their dress, resented them living so far away from home, not realising that she was the cause of their evasion.  Yet she would never visit, "Too far, too cold, too hard, too expensive" she would say.  Marie, the mother of a murdered child  would offer condolence and suggestions to overcome their isolation. "God will prevail" she'd said but that had not rung true. God took her son, God ignored the twins, God had left the planet, both were sure of that. 

Time magazine tucked beneath the mattress, the killers on the cover. Both knew why they did it while all others were clueless. They were inside their heads and cognisant of minds that cut down peers turning weapons on themselves.  Now that God has left, they know what must be done. The blackness of the abyss holds appeal. No heaven, no hell, no rebirth no retribution or angels wings. Just quiet. Silence, nothingness, emptiness, an end absolute in its finish. Peace. 

"Won't they think that we're crazy?" one says to the other. "Why?" then remembrance of a quote The delusion of one is insanity but the delusion of thousands called religion. The question is rhetorical and both see humour in the thought, since neither is insane. They've never been more lucid in their lives. 

God' a furfy. A way of controlling  the fearful. It's a fucked up concept if you ask me," one replies. "With all that religion shit out of the way, it makes stuff easier. No retribution, no guilt, no afterlife, no repercussions."  Eyes lift from coffee and breach smiles. Sisters take hands rested on damask and declare affection, "We understand each other," whispers one and squeezes the other's fingers. Their script now well-rehearsed, their moves decided, they slip on their overcoats, haul handbags over each left shoulder, leave the confines of the cafe and with gloved hands, simultaneously hail a taxi.

They are the picture of normality. The cabbie not even remembering the colour of their hair. Anonymous, invisible. Talking between themselves about nothing in particular. They pay him cash and wish him a 'nice' day before walking down damp bitumen towards the firing range.

Nonplussed man behind  the counter barely looks up but realises they're beginners.  "Twenty-two's for you girls"  and shows them how to load and cock a gun.  They smile excitedly and look up at the CCTV camera filming the deadly delivery. 

The rifle range is packed. Old men in fatigues pretending that they're snipers. Young guns with hormone-charged intent, pretending to be gangsta. The odd competitive shooter, practising a round. Nobody blinks twice as mirrors hand-in-hand check cubicle after cubicle until finding their right one. 

Finger pulls, converting kinetic energy from tendon to trigger. A series of sears and springs drop  hammers into the firing pins. Energy hits the primer and explosions ignite powder. Expanding gas forces missiles from cartridges through barrel and temple. But their pact is incomplete, one lies dead, the other barely breathing. 

CCTV shows all and nothing.  One survives but has no memory.  

Newscasters go ballistic. Early editions headline. Coffee conversations and tabloid media collude. Bus stop and water cooler chatter merge with  over-dinner banter. All will saggitate and postulate but never have an answer when all they want to know is . . ."Why?"

Posted for Tenth Daughter of Memory "Shooting the Breeze"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You're an Idiot

 Words cut like knives, spread like cancer when they're put together badly. He's keen on words. They're his craft, his trade and when he pens them they are captivating and exciting, emotive and destructive. They hit their mark. Cause pain and joy. Such joy. She takes every word literally whether deliberate and thoughtful or chosen for effect. Oh he's good at pushing her buttons and choosing for effect. Read aloud they move her core. Make her cry, raise her hopes, evoke emotion. Then watching him read aloud, moves more than her core. That curl on the left side of his mouth, the way he licks his lip, the intonation in his voice. He could read her nursery rhymes and she'd smile that seductive smile that turns him on.

Yet when words are spoken off the cuff, he is oblivious. Mouth engages before brain and he has no concern for their impact. Carelessly tossed as last nights leftovers, all mooshed up meat and cold gravy, sometimes he's an idiot.

“I’ve upset her. She’s crying”

“Oh yeah? What did you do”

“I fired her. Not my fault she’s crying”

“Of course it is, she’s taking it personally. Did you call her into your office and explain why?”
“No, I sent her an email. I tried to telephone but she wasn’t there.”

“So you sacked a friend via email?”

“I gave her warnings, plenty of them”

You sacked her via email? You really don’t know much about friendship or women do you?”

“Fuck off!”

 "Tell her I love her"

"No, tell her yourself"

"Be on my side, keep me in sight, in mind"

'I'm your friend, of course I'm on your side"

"I'm sending an email, that'll piss her off. If I can't have her. I need her to hate me."

"What? Where's the sense in that?"

“Come sit on my throbbing cock”

Do you love me?”


“Do you like me?”


“So if you only love and like me sometimes, why on earth would I sit on your throbbing cock?"

“Because this is one of the times I like you”

He's an idiot. Just as well I love him.