You ever wondered what actually made you unique? Because we all are, you, me, that dumbass with a blue Mohawk sitting in front of me. Everyone's unique in their own way, even if that way's insignificant.
I always wondered, since psychologists can detect patterns in my behavior and emotions, I mustn't be unique in that aspect, and since every single talent I might have has an even more talented individual showing me how its done, that mustn't be it either… My looks aren't very impressive on any aspect, I'm not very tall, not enough for it to be noticed and even if I was, I wouldn't be alone. I'm no midget either and that too isn't a very unique feature…
So what? Is it the way all these things come together that makes you who you are? Or is it how your memories affect the whole? If so, does it mean peoples stuck with Alzheimer are not really themselves anymore? I really wouldn't know, but I doubt it…
So as I look at the Mohawk guy, sitting at the back of the city bus, I can't help but wonder, what makes him so different? His haircut? His upbringing? Or is it something deeper, something most would call his soul?
"The fuck do you want?"
His voice isn't very friendly either, mine is soft and calm, my voice is my signature.
"Thinking about human soul, wondering what makes us who we really are…"
His eyebrows rise suspiciously at that. A closer look reveals he's got tattoos on his neck and hands, the rest being covered by a red sweater, although I bet he has more.
"You some kind of a fuckin' poet?"
"Nah," I laugh, "I'm just a bike messenger who tries to get deep."
His smile reveals rows of rotten tooth. "So, what makes you you?
"Not a fucking clue."
He chuckles and put his headphones back on. Seems like conversation is over.
I'm almost at my stop anyway.
August 16, 2011
Well, well, eleven o'clock, empty fridge not eaten a single thing all day… Pizza!
My messenger bag crashes into the couch, soon follower by my gloves and jacket.
My work clothes – along with my PDA- are the most valuable things I own, most of them Nikes, except the long underwear, which is some weird brand, UnderArmor or something…
Anyway, I got no computer, except my PDA, no car, no cellphone, and my bike was hand made from parts abandoned near the university. Economy, yes, but mostly I'm just too lazy to go shopping for stuff.
I snatch my PDA from its charging clutch and log to the Dominos Pizza's website. It's in my Bookmarks, so it doesn't take very long…
Hmm… Hawaiian pizza or BBQ chicken?
It's been a while since I ate Hawaiian, but my stomach is screaming for BBQ, yet I'm getting a bit tired of chicken…
To hell with it! I order both and two litters of DrPepper; if I'm gonna spend, might as well have the whole package, huh?
Money's not really hard to come by in my line of work, at least, not for me, I know many couriers are having problems making ends meet, but that's because they spend it on expensive cell phone contracts, high speed internet and satellite TV.
I got basic cable TV playing on a refurbished computer monitor, use the company's cell phone and am leeching my WiFi connection off the Cyber-coffee across the street.
No problem, except my couch is actually a car seat I took from a junkyard and the apartment is actually a bleached white studio with view on a brick wall. Well, there's also the fact none of them has an army retirement pension…
While going to the bathroom, I pass by my former platoon's group picture, framed and hung on the wall, and take a second to salute it, smiling at the inscription.
"That took balls, son! –Lt. Jonas 'Hamlet' Lovell "
Before I became bike messenger, I served two tours in the Canadian Forces, once in Afghanistan and once in Congo. Didn't see much action, but saw both my best friend and my brother blown by IEDs before catching a shrapnel in the balls which sent me straight back home with a juicy pension check from the queen and the most horrifying pain I ever felt… At least the docs managed to put everything back in place.
Still, fucking hell, I'm twenty-three and I'm practically retired!
Of course, they must have felt bad because now I can't have kids, but truth is, I don't think I would have been a good father anyway…
I enter the bathroom and immediately switch the shower on. Water drips on the washed up green tiles in a weak stream at first, then grow steadily stronger until finally attaining the pressure of a cheap squirt gun.
I carefully fold my clothes –a quirk I gained in the army- and step in the hot water.
I'd like to say it feels good, but it doesn't; the water is either too hot or too cold and it has so little pressure I'd be better off showering in rain.
I have dandruff problems, so I need to use a shampoo that costs more than my bike.
The thick liquid forms a pond in my hand and I quickly apply it to my hair. I don't need much since I always kept the same haircut since the army.
I'm barely done rinsing when someone rings from downstairs.
Pizza already? Damn, they're fast!
With no time to dry myself, I slip on my dirty clothes and jog over to the intercom.
The buzzing sound it emits spooks me for a second, but then I realize It's because I pushed the open button instead of talk.
Guess I'll have to wait for the guy to come up here… Might as well grab the cash in the meantime.
I keep it in a locked footlocker with CPL. X. Frankfort printed in bold white letters.
The thing is filled with mementos and stuff the army let me keep; a gas mask, boots, dog tags, a Browning HP, two boxes of 9mm bullets, a shrapnel fragment, a diving knife and two hundred dollars in bills of twenty… The army didn't let me keep that, I just use the locker as a safe.
Someone knocks at the door, five times.
I close the trunk and lock it before hurrying to the door.
I fumble with that damned lock for a second but I didn't even lock it to begin with. Idiot.
The heavy door opens to… Oh bloody fuck.
"Sir?" I choke, looking at a Canadian Forces First Lieutenant, "What…" He's wearing full combat BDU, but he's completely clean and his rifle still has that new gun smell, so I guess I didn't miss too much.. "What can I do for you, sir?"
Just with my tone, he can guess I used to be in the military, so his attitude changes from 'all business badass' to just another grunt.
"Sort of. Arrowhead." That's classified stuff, but I don't think anyone will mind.
"Can you still fight?"
What a fucking weird ass question. "Yes."
"Do you have weapons here?"
"Just my browning…"
"Go get it."
Oh fuck… If things are bad enough a civilian needs a gun, then we're royally screwed!
I walk over to the chest and quickly snatch the pistol and both boxes of ammo.
I didn't load any round in the clip before, so I do it now, while the LT is talking.
"You know about the things that landed on the Labrador's coast?"
Saw something about that on the news, didn't really have time to listen for the details. All I know is that it's an unidentified enemy and they got their ass kicked so hard no one saw a single sign of activity from them ever since the initial drop.
Seems all their fancy tech didn't prepare them for a close encounter with Joint Task Force Two.
"Yes." The 9mm Parabellum bullet slides in the clip with a click.
"Shit just got real. We have ten minutes before Tangos are all over us. You can head to the evac near the stadium or help CSOR and your Arrowhead pals hold the line to the south. Your move."
The clip full, I shove it in the Browning's grip and rack the slide back.
"Got it, LT, any JTF2 deployment on this one?"
He laughs and run off to go knock to the next door.
Stupid question, I guess.
A quick look in the corridor reveals there's at least twenty grunts in the building knocking on doors and giving evac instructions.
I walk past them and out of the building, pistol, bullets and knife in my messenger bag.
Outside, peoples are rushing to their cars or packing their stuff despite the soldiers telling them not to. A man drives away without bothering to wait for his family… Chaos, just like Kinshasa or Kandahar.
Peoples think that kind of behavior –stealing, killing, looting- wouldn't happen in a 'civilized' society.
They're so fucking wrong.
In the middle of all that, I unlock my bike, zip up my jacket and ride south.