Devil In The Details

When I first noticed the strange arrangement of lettering running up and down my back, I wanted to rip it all away. So, what prevented me from doing exactly that? Weakness, my friend; nothing but a supreme fear of what might happen to my life if I decided to toss my backbone on the floor and stomp on it.

Looking back, not acting immediately was the worst decision of my life.

Have you ever thought about ripping out your weaknesses all at once, but in a moment of protocol and preservation, held off? Allowed the thoughts of a day job and a sanctity around your little mortgage or Honda Civic lease to keep you entwined to the physical abusings of your overlords? I sure as fuck have.

But I didn’t. That’s why I’m letting you know, right now, that if you ever begin to see the writing on the spine, you do exactly as I didn’t and get to digging immediately. You really ought to be aware of the fact that your life here is impermanent.

The faster you come to grips with the fact that, since you popped out of your mothers womb you have been hurtling towards an old barn door that is covered in rusty nails and splintered wood, the better off you will be.

Now, back to the letters.

I’m not a schizoid. I’m not a paranoid. I’m just a regular guy who doubles as a tattoo artist. I’m not a big fan of football.

I know evil lettering when I see it.

I can sniff it out.

You probably can’t. It’s not a skill that many people develop over their natural course. You probably grew up in a comfortable house, with a comfortable bed lining and a comfortable shower that spat forth comfortable water of a comfortable temperature right before you went to comfortable sleep.

I grew up in a barn, sleeping in hay, riding the waves of emotion of hunger and pain and death on a farm.

I learned all about lettering when I was a kid, and you still haven’t even the foggiest of what real lettering is all about.

See, lettering – whether tattoo or scrawl or the kind of lettering you find on ancient walls in tombs long forgotten – can be used for good or evil. My first real experience with evil lettering came a few years ago when my buddy Ludo, the Latvian beast, lumbered into my life and began chattering about how my tattooing was far too literal, less meaningful, and that I could have a much greater impact on the underworld if I just let my real lettering show through. If I trained the dark arts of dark tattooing.

That’s when I began to study. I mean, really study.

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Devil In The Details

I Was A Sniper In Kiev, And Today I Had Free Reign Over Life And Death

(translated from Kiev public radio)

Today, I was given free reign over life and the death.
I stood on a parliamentary building, and stared at crowd,
Beneath my scope, walking through my scope.
No different than my video game, or my training simulations.
Except that today I had live rounds to use against live people.
I walked slowly from behind the corner of Verkhovna,
And lowered everything and set down along a concrete banister,
My rifle and my scope, and then attached my scope.

I could see the demonstrators walking up close to the entrance,
Of the parliamentary bridge, with their gasbombs and molotov.
I loaded my gun after locking the sight into place atop.
I have a NIB Tikka .308 that used since immersion training.
I have never shot nor killed another human being.

Until today. Today I became a killer.

Leveled the gun and proceeded calibration for scope,
I could make out their tiny heads from a distance and then,
Through the scope they became quite clear.
All of a sudden, in fact, they were larger than life heads.
I remember in training, we were taught how the nose is a very soft area,
And the eye sockets, and the neck nape behind our head.

All of these training’s came to mind as I thought about my directive,
To keep the demonstrators far away from the parliamentary,
To keep them from attacking my protectorate, my leadership.
But, I was asking if my leadership, have killed another human.

I took sight on a man, with a green bike helmet and black scarf,
And the scarf was wound, around his neck nape, and nose.
He was a leader, I could tell, and was encouraging. They followed him.
Like ants marching, they followed him up towards parliamentary.
And all I could make, were his rough, brown eyes, and squinting.
I calibrated for his right eye, just inside near the nape of his nose.
And breathed in and out. Slowly, as was taught to me.
And then I pulled the trigger.

It seemed like an eternal time passed until, I saw bullet land.
Or rather, the aftermath. The small puff of red mist from back of his head,
His spasm, jerk, and his fall to the ground. His shield had fallen.
His comrades grabbed his ankles and yanked, but it was too late.
I could see the back of his skull through his helmet, it had come out the back.
Without thinking, I reload the gun and lock, and retake position.

I am firing now, consistently, and watch as the bodies fall behind shields,
After a while I fire only on kneecaps. A strategy, it is not for my humanity.
This draws the enemy in to pull their wounded out of view,
And then I fire on their kneecaps as well. And they go poof into red mist also.
Their kneecaps exploded, they cannot move again.

They bring the shields, but they are thin, and my caliber (.308) can pass.
I begin to notice the faces, of my countrymen, of the people I love,
And am forced now to put down as though a rabid dog,
As though their humanity is but a flickering flame, not long for this world,
And I cannot help but question what am I doing here?

I have enough rounds for 300 kills, and am quickly running out.
Inside of parliamentary, there are millions of rounds stored in cages,
Emergency use rounds, and they are setting up a rotary, and bringing more,
All I have to do is return to the back of the building, and restock,
And then proceed back to my station on ledge, take aim, and fire.

After there is a big sized group, who have hobbled now,
I begin to take aim at their chests and heads,
I prefer now to shoot through the chest. I cannot see the wound,
And generally they have thick padding so also there is no mist,
The mist is most terrifying, I cannot stand the sight of it, because I know,
That the soul is leaving the body with that mist.

God forgive me, god. To my people – I am sorry…

(end transmission)

I Was A Sniper In Kiev, And Today I Had Free Reign Over Life And Death