‘Six o’clock Zulu time, Yorky. It’s just you now, Yorky. Get some spit and swallow.’
One Three Delta, this is Golden Goose, radio check, over.
‘That’s me; shit … Got to turn it down. ‘One Three Delta, okay, over.’
One Three Delta, this is Golden Goose; Foxtrot Yankee is coming in at six o’clock, Zulu time. Keep your heads down and wait. Golden Goose, out.
‘Right I’ve got half an hour. Keep your heads down? Fuckin’ keep my head down! There’s just me left here, dip shit. Here, speak to Bob with half his head missing, it’ll make more sense.’
TIME LAPSE AND I START SINGING
‘When I was young I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favourite song. Friggin’ Carpenters record, is that all I can remember? My bloody ears are ringin’ and I’m singin’ a friggin’ Carpenters’ record. I suppose I just need something to add a beat to my tinitus, eh? Got to keep myself focused and listen out; concentrate. I bet Baz is still alive back there. He always did run in the wrong direction, the fuckin’ coward. Shit, I wish I was a coward.’
‘What the hell’s that; a budgie? It’s a bloody budgerigar singin’ or whatever stupid multi-coloured birds they have out here. The enemy must have disappeared else it wouldn’t be so bloody happy. A machine gun lets rip and you’re singin’, you little twat. That’s some humour you have up there. God, some crazy warped humour. Or maybe it’s just half deaf like me and answering to its own whistling ears from the heavy gun fire. Shit, that was one hell of a fight. Well at least you’re at home, you multi-coloured sparrow. If I ever get home I swear I’m gonna kill my mum’s fuckin’ budgie then find a good old British pigeon and paint it green and yellow, telling everyone I fed Percy on steroids.
Fuckin’ home, huh! No chance. Not after seeing all this shit. I belong nowhere. In fact I belong here, yes, right here. This is my spot, my new home and these bastards have killed all my family. Look at them all strewn and littered, they’re only half the men they used to be, ha ha!
Home. Yes, it’s been in my dreams for too long, but this is reality now. I’ve seen the humanity in friends and enemy alike as they’ve died in each other’s arms, and now I know exactly where I belong. Home is just a plastic doll’s house … a big fake, a plastic friggin’ doll’s house with toy people inside.’
‘What! These bastards are still here calling to me now: calling to me in their dug out machine gun nest. They sound like Manuel from Fawlty Towers, ha ha. Hold on, I think it’s singin.
Come on then, you Rag ‘eds. Yeah! I’m here; still fuckin’ here. You’ll soon need those hats for bandages. Ahhhh, woooo ah woooooooo woooooooo.’
Stinky, sandle-wearin’ bastards. I’ll slap a fuckin’ flash bang to your ears. Here, have some Western music. Have some Carpenters. No, wait! Have some Guns and fuckin’ Roses; yeah, that’s it.
‘ Oi, cunts! Have some Guns and fuckin’ Roses. Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty; oh won’t you please take me home, YEEEEAAAAH! Come on then. It‘s better than your friggin’ la la shite.’
I just got to take a peek over. It doesn’t sound like they’ve moved. Not like us; we shoot and scoot, but you lot, you shoot and stay put and give the game away. You stupid pyjama-wearing twats.
‘You stupid fuckin’ pyjama wearing twats, ahhh-wooo wooooooo!’
Come on, Yorky, take a peek, just an itsy peek. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yeees! Ah, I see you: you motherfuckers. I bloody well see you. Still there, eh? Still friggin’ there. You’ve been too lucky sunshines, too bloody lucky. Big Yorky’s coming to get ya. Yes, big Yorky’s gonna stick ya.
Right, Bob, next move, what’s the next move? Just charge at em; got to catch ‘em unaware, catch ‘em with their pants down. They weren’t looking in my direction. That stupid deaf budgie has helped me by singing next to me, and making them think I’m over there, right where they think it’s scared to go.
That’s it! They think I’m in the dunes as it echoes. I’ve got the edge. Yes I have the edge. Yes, Yorky, you have it. Let’s get them: got to get them. Take a deep breath, only ten minutes to go. You can do this, Yorky; you can do this.
Practise, right? One two three go. One two three go; got to practise. Come on, come on, come onnn, right! After one two three … go!
Right now, One two-three, yes,yes,yes.… Yeeees! I’m running fast as a camel; no, I’m running fast as a leopard. Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on. Fucking sand! Here we go…
‘Aaaaaaargh! Aaaaaaaargh! Fuckin’ yes, yes. Aaaaaaargh, have some, have some: Aaargh …’
‘ No shoot, no shoot.
‘Yes, no shoot, no shoot, dick ‘ed. You should no shoot. Bet you wish you went home now, ‘don’t ya? Av some, av some. You’re not singing now, are ya? There’s no belly dancers for you anymore, you dead arse wipe.’
MOMENTS OF QUIET AND BUZZING FLIES
‘Jesus! Will you look at how old your dead mates are? Will you look?
What? They look about twelve or even younger. They look younger than my son.
Are these your sons? You stupid bastards; you stupid, stupid bastards.’
‘What’s that? It’s six o’clock Zulu time; yes, it’s time. This is it for me now; it’s time.
I’m the actor from the film Platoon. Yes, the one that stuck his hands in the air: on his knees and getting shot in the back by the gooks. Drop your bombs, motherfuckers; I wanna die now. I gotta die now.
Yes yes yes, YEEEES!’
EXPLOSION AND HUGE BALL OF FLAME. THEN SILENCE.
I was born in 1964 in Luton, Bedfordshire: second son to a journalist.
Like a wildebeest looking for easy water, I sauntered through school without a care in the world. It was the same throughout teenage society in those days. We were the ‘wasted youth’: a rebellious lot that rode on the back of the anarchic punk music scene: dragged from the pretend delinquent New Yorker’s like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. We fashioned ourselves on all things bright and sweaty, quelling the desire for anyone to mould and squeeze us in to round tent-peg holes.
At the age of seventeen I joined the army. It seemed the right thing to do at the time: a form of escapism. I scraped through training helped by my newly found mates, and an early morning yodelling training sergeant with a repetitive strain injury in his jaw. Once I honed my marching skills, they posted me to an air defence regiment, then quick as a flash grenade I was bundled off to war with the rest of the boys. We landed in the Falklands just as the Argentine land forces surrendered. Their pilots thought otherwise, but with the whole of their army doing a ‘come on down’ Lesley Crowther impression they had no choice but to fly home.
There were booby traps everywhere, but not of the female variety, hence the deafness in one ear. Two of us were caught in a blast; the other guy was nearly blown to pieces before I carried him back across a minefield.
I did the rest of my stint as a superhero and came back smiling from the southern hemisphere. However, it was in a crazy sort of way and I was later diagnosed with PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
After leaving the army I had various jobs, always resulting in shifting heavy objects from one place to another. Eventually I met my wife to be, Margaret. We now have four kids, two with autism and two with the normal malfunctions of spotty teenagehood.
We are presently living happily ever after in a house by the sea in sunny Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.
I write early in the mornings and evenings as my heavy lifting work still dictates. I have yet to be published.