Sunday, 3 March 2013

A new story

Hello. I've written a new story. It's got a rubbish title, but otherwise I quite like it. It's going to be published in the March issue of arts mag, The Bath Burp, but you can also read it here RIGHT NOW. If you want to.

Joe, 29, Patriotic
Will Salmon

How do I get into it each day? Well, I have my little rituals, y'know? Coffee. I need coffee. Without coffee I turn into a bit of a monster. And if I haven't had breakfast... oh, man. In a job like this, you spend a lot of time just staring at screens. Lots of screens! So it's important that you take care of your eyes. I've got one of those packs that you put in the refrigerator, y'know?
Chat? No, not so much. We're busy, y'know, and we like to keep the atmosphere professional. There's a lot going on, and you have to keep in contact with everyone all the time. The times where things have gone wrong are usually the times where communication has broken down. And, y'know, this is life or death, man! I mean afterwards... sure. I'll chat with some of the commuters or maybe grab a beer, but mostly I don't wanna know what people are doing at the weekend. I just wanna get in there, do my job, boom! And get out. Go home and chill.
I don't use Facebook anymore. I don't wanna be staring at a computer screen when I get home. I've been doing that for the last 12 hours, man! And there's too many people posting pictures of their kids. The things you see in this job... I don't want to think about kids. I just listen to music or go to the gym. You've gotta keep fit. A lot of the guys here... they do the bare minimum. They're nerds. I mean, that's how they got the job, right? And they're smart guys, but they don't look after themselves as much as they should. We're soldiers. I keep reminding them that, but they just keep hitting the Twinkies.
It does get rough, sometimes, yeah. Most times it's OK. I mean, it doesn't feel real. When you make a kill... it's like playing a video game. A really fuckin' good video game with, like, the best graphics you've ever seen. And then you remember and you feel... not sad. But you know on an intellectual level that you've just made somebody go away. A few people have quit because of the stress. There was this one guy, couple of months back, started crying in his chair. Totally flipped out, man! Someone else had to take control of the UAV. It was kind of embarrassing. I mean, it's not like we get much recognition from the regular forces anyway and that's not gonna help.
The thing is, we're fighting a war. Most of the people we kill, they're soldiers too. The families? Yeah, sure, it's nasty, but these things happen. Do you think they'd care if our sons and daughters were getting blown to pieces? Hell no!
My perfect weekend? Well, I don't work straight Mondays to Fridays, y'know? But when I'm off duty... I dunno. Sports. I play sports. Pretty good at baseball. Go to the movies. Sometimes I like to kick back and play Xbox. No, haha, no. Not flight simulators. Christ, can you imagine? Hahaha!

© 2013 William Salmon