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Published September 05, 2009 More Info »
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Published September 05, 2009

Hey all! Thanks to everybody who has commented on  my book . FYI, this is a fictional piece and themain character is not me...I'm an asshole...just not a fucking asshole.
Here's chapter two.

I liked my job.  Well, not the job so much but the perks.  Take for example the night Chip died: his girlfriend, Lori, came out and we had a quick screw in the pilot’s lounge.  Later we ordered pizza and watched a video in the firehouse break room.  Chip was working base security and had no idea Lori was there.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

She and I were watching a bad Hugh Grant movie, and an uncomfortable silence flowed between us like it always did after we had sex.  We adored each other for the naughtiness and unbridled lust we gave each other, but her guilt and good Catholic girl morals were always pushed to the forefront after her libido settled down.

Halfway through the movie I drove her to her car just beyond the front gate.  She left without kissing me goodbye.

 

 

Most of the other guys on swing-shift weren’t like me; they were lifers, whose sole existence seemed to be to help motivate people like me to stay in college.  I mean, if I dropped out, I might have ended up like a lifer.  That scared me.  I didn’t want to end up with an unusual key collection like my Shift Supervisor, Earl, or be so deluded and reality deficient that I feel the need to carry throwing stars and have nunchuks stuffed into a special “ninja pouch” like Dickie Wayne, who also bragged about being the Western Indiana high score champion of Donkey Kong. 

What I’ve got that sets me apart from them is ambition, pure, blind, amoral ambition, plus a big, heaping dose of me…Jack Hawkins.  Cool name, isn’t it, Jack Hawkins.  Kind of flows right off the tongue and sticks a picture in your head of a hawk swooping down on a rat, eating it, and then shitting it out over an Al-Qaeda training camp.  And that’s exactly why I changed my name from Henry Schipiski to… drum roll please, Jack Hawkins.  I mean who would ever vote for a Henry Schipiski? Too ethnic.  So, along with my chiseled, dark, good looks and my 146 IQ, the name Jack Hawkins gave me the full package as a future candidate for the great state of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Indiana. Jack Hawkins.  Hi, I’m Jack Hawkins.  Vote…Jack Hawkins.  

  

They were good people, the Schipskis, my foster parents.  They didn’t beat, molest, or put their cigarettes out on me like my prior fosters, and in my world that made them as warm and comforting as a Care Bear.

I never knew why I was in foster care.  I was an all white, crack-free baby who, according to my social workers case files on me, bounced with cute conviction and cooed with Gerber like moxie.  A stark contrast of opinion from my future political opponents who claimed that I was a spawn of Satan who was hatched in order to spread evil into the world, and in hindsight, maybe they were on the mark.

But the Schipskis left me alone; glad to have their monthly check from the state in return for my care.  I’m sure I was a business and a burden to them, but as hardcore Polish Catholics they believed that by providing me with burnt toast in the morning, mac & cheese at night, and a pan fried steak on my birthday, they were meeting their quota of charity work.

People have asked me if I have any desire to track down my real parents, I don’t.  What’s the point?  Indeed, my orphan past has helped me tremendously in my career.  People like my past, the way I overcame diversity and made something out of myself.  And it also taught me not to trust, which is a policy I embraced and found to be quite advantageous.

And I certainly didn’t trust the buffoons I worked with at the Guard base, but I did have this in common with the lifers, though, and that was our security  that we would never be called up for active duty because the Feds said we were too indispensable.  And it’s a good thing, as we all are inept at our most basic job functions.  Take me, for example.  My main job is to sit in a beat up pick-up truck for eight hours a night and guard a fleet of underused F-16 fighter jets.  But I never did.  Not when I had a badge and the ability to look the other way when the pilots snuck whores onto the base.  And it was me who ensured the base’s bar stayed open way past closing so the fly-boys could have their fun.  And I was there to document, preserve if you will, their shenanigans for my future prosperity and any favor that I might need in the future.  Ethical issues?  No, Just part of the benefit package.

Sometimes I check the base’s buildings to make sure they’re secure.  I get my best intelligence from these checks:  I know that Captain Lange’s desk is full of Jack Daniels and gay porn, and how Major Cristy loves to put on lace underwear (when I found the Polaroids I wondered if Lange had taken them).   There’s a Captain with a DUI and several of the pilots have herpes which they contracted from one Sgt. Leslie Shaffer (I also know how to break into medical files).  None of them know that I know, but the second I need them to help me they will get a manila envelope crammed full with their misdeeds with instructions on what they need to do for me to go away.

 Usually I’m left alone, as my supervisor, Earl, whose title strictly is name only, spends his entire eight hour shift dumpster diving for aluminum cans, which he claims brings him in an extra fifty dollars a month at the recycling center.

Winters on the base are the worst.  Cold nights and the isolation tend to harbor strange thoughts.  Once, a big buck deer wandered onto the base and Dickie asked to borrow my bayonet to try and chase it down.  I obliged, because it was cold and I was a Hank Williams kind of lonely and I needed the laugh.  I love Dickie.  I love the way he lended himself to the relentless jibes I leveled at him every night about his ninja pouch.  And I was amazed at his delusions of grandeur that filled him with just enough self-esteem to keep the crushing reality of his inadequacies at bay.  I loved it when he threatened us and said “the first bullet in this gun is for me, the other five are for you.”  Never mind that there were eight of us in the room.  And I loved it when he returned my bayonet on that cold night and it was covered in Dickie’s blood.  It seemed he threw his throwing stars at the deer, which annoyed the animal and charged Dickie, who panicked, slipped, and fell on the bayonet, tearing open his hand.  It goes without saying the deer escaped unharmed.

But Dickie’s dead now and so are Earl and Chip and I’m alive and so is Mohammed.

 

 

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