Excerpt from my upcoming novel, THE SOUTH END

These joes now a days are a bunch of tepid daisies and buttercups - no conviction among the most of them. No sense of military bearing these days. Sometimes I feel like I stepped off LeonardWood Airways and fell flat on a pile of lard and crusty venereal-ridden societal backwash. Like someone was standing there, as I disembarked the airplane with no less than three eighty-pound rucksacks all piled over me like I was a circus-bearing elephant, and that person standing there was waiting just for the moment that my foot hit the tarmac - so they could infect me with some ridiculous type of apathy and disenfranchisement. A CS canister filled with the taint of stunningly pathetic upper leadership, guidance, and direction.

The excrement of two types of leaders in the army today trickles down into a large vat of misappropriated NCO’s and falls hard onto the lower enlisted. It’s not an uncommon occurrence in the enlisted ranks to suddenly stop short exactly where you are, sniff the air, and inhale a large dose of urine and shit. How did that get there? They told us all about the shit that hits the fan, but they told us nothing about the hereditarily urinating chain of command.

The slow trickle.

The aqueous drip of oxygen-dihydrogen, urea, chloride, sodium, potassium, creatinine, cold pizza, marijuana, date rape, and mistakes.

And why would they have told us? Proper leadership training teaches not how to make the right decision, because that is ultimately up to the individual or unit in question, but what actions to take when your decision turns out - as it does most often - to be the wrong decision.


The ultimatum of my soul is the answer that I haven’t been looking for. Or rather the answer that I didn’t want to find. I thought that at the end of a long journey of discovery, all of this would have turned out to have been a dream. There is no golden treasure at the end of a rainbow, only more unanswered questions. And as much as I might have been trying to crack open this prism, as many times as I tried to get something out of it, the only thing I kept getting in result was a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Rainbows and pots of gold? My ass.

Refracted light and redacted lines await the inquisitive, I guess.

Context is fucked. Just an involuntary result of the in-betweenish sickness that grips the belligerent.

And so where was I now, which was then, which is context, which is fucked?

Where was I fucked? In the ass and up a tree, as it turns out. But context isn’t only the past, it is also the future. I had been fucked already, but I was entirely unaware of how quickly this would turn into a full-on gang-bang.

If you’ve ever been hunting for big game, elk, deer, and the like, you’ve probably run across a technology called a hunting blind. This contraption is simple, but entirely effective.

Why was I up a tree, in a hunting blind? I was tracking a big game that night. Not an innocent bystander, but a predatory creature with a miraculous ability to think twelve moves ahead and the degenerative power of invisibility. But invisibility is corrupting. No invisible man has ever gone to heaven.

This one was a wry killer, and there was only one option: justice.

Speaking of the inevitable, let’s get back to the subject of excrement. Hunting blinds, right? They are these little platforms that hunters assemble and shove way high up in trees, so they can sit there without being detected by the big game that they are hunting. Hunters will sit in these things for hours at a time. They douse themselves in dirt and oil to remove any scent that might startle the inquisitive animals on the ground. And they have these buckets they use to shit in. I knew a guy who sat in a hunting blind for two whole days. That’s the spirit and dedication of hunters.

A convoy of black four-door sedans came down the long stretch of road through the thickly wooded forrest, through the treeline, and onto the farm. They rolled up in front of the farmhouse. Security agents began disembarking their vehicles, speaking into their walkies and scanning the area for threats.

“Lord, make me fast and accurate,” my benediction began.

I loaded the first round into the chamber.

“Let my aim be true, and my hand faster than those who would seek to destroy me.”

I took a deep breath.

“Grant me victory over my foes, and those that wish to do harm to me and mine.”

I flipped the safety selector from safe to fire.

“Let not my last thought be ‘If I only had my gun’”

I annotated the range and windspeed.

“And Lord, if today is truly the day that you would call me home, let me die in a pile of empty brass.”

I fired.