The War According To Phallus Slim
Dead men don’t spend on shoes, so I check again the corpse’s boots size and decide alive fellows shouldn’t either. Not that I could buy shoes or anything else around here. I am in the middle of nowhere but I should be thankful of being alive or at least of not being dead. All I can see around is charred land seeded with dead bodies and suddenly decommissioned armored vehicles. I guess this is the way war looks: like some really wild after party. This is the first time I see combat action although I didn’t see that much because the air was full of smoke and I was running in opposite direction than the rest of my platoon when I lost my shoe. But seeing this I see I didn’t miss much. I think I won’t like war. It’s too boring and dangerous.
I am here because coal. And because women don’t like black balls. I am not black, but my balls are. Or used to be, I don’t know what color they are now but they feel like two frozen rocks stuck in my throat. They used to be dark black when I was working at the coal mine. The coal mine is always full of coal dust and after my shift my body was blackened from the tip of my hair to my toes. I showered of course, everything I did was taking showers all day. But it was impossible to clean my testicles, the coal dust got stock there between the cracked skin and only peeling them off would have worked, and I wasn’t just ready to reach those extremes to get rid of the damn coal dust. That is why I enlisted, because every time I was going to get laid, when women saw my coal black balls, they would run scared or puke on the spot. Yes, it was that bad.
I went to a recruitment center in a shopping mall that offered discount coupons for a complete pinewood furniture set from a shop in the same mall. They said they didn’t care about the color of your balls in the army as far as you had some. The recruiter told me that many great generals like Napoleon, Patton, Rommel and George Washington had had black balls themselves. ‘What the hell!’ the recruiting officer said ‘I am veteran myself and I have one black testicle in my shoulder plate. It got stock in there from my buddy Snowflake when a grenade exploded right under his ass in our foxhole. After the war I visited his folks to show them what was left of their son on my back, I am almost a family member now.’ He also told me they didn’t have wars available at the moment but that he would put me in the waiting list if I wanted to kill people. He explained that I wouldn’t be able to shoot people at peacetime. I had to wait for war, then group trips overseas were organized to shoot people in foreign countries where laws regarding homicide were laxer. He said there was the chance the enemy might come by their own initiative to our country to be shoot at and paying the transport cost themselves. Then it wasn’t called war but invasion and no waiting list was required for those because they usually were a surprise and everybody could join the onslaught. For now I would have made do shooting targets and non-extinct small animals because you are not allowed to shoot people from your own country. It did seem like fun so decided to join but first I had to pass an intelligence test and I almost didn’t make it when they discovered that I could do sums and spelling.
They sent me by bus to a sort of prisoners camp where we were forced to sleep in barracks and do gymnastics all the time. Our sergeant was a mexican called Gordo Juarez and for him the army was his family because he had none. He had been found as a baby inside a fish tank by a squad taking pictures of a fresh-bombed town. He was just a larva and the fish tank was the only thing still standing in that place, or so he told us. The squadron adopted him as mascot after having eaten their pet bear during a particularly bitter siege to a candy factory. They took him with them and he made his way up the ranks from mascot to private, then back to mascot, later private again, corporal, major and then sergeant. He really liked the army for some reason but he though that we were just human manure, in spite of the fact that we were part of the army he loved so much, an opinion he never failed to remember us from time to time on a daily basis. Then one day he said there was a war going on and made us pack our stuff hurriedly and loaded us on a plane to come here and shoot everybody.
My name is Dick Cock, but everybody calls me Phallus Slim because my name sounds obscene and I serve in an army of gentlemen, who will shoot the enemy in the face but ask for permission afterwards. Standing here, in the middle of this battlefield surrounded by the dead I begin to realize that I have made the biggest mistake of my life and I might not have time to regret it if all days are like this. I have been here only forty-height hours and all those people everybody calls the enemy had already tried to kill me in every possible manner. I have been lucky, but may be next time they will be luckier. I have to get out of here. I must go back to headquarters, it is almost lunch time and I already missed breakfast.
In the horizon I can see a plume of dust and I don’t think is the road runner. As the dust cloud approaches I see it is a vehicle, it is one of ours because it is painted the same color as the tanks and all the other vehicles in our side. It comes straight to me with two people inside. I hope they are not officers because I look like a mess and officers like their people to look good in case they get killed in battle. The speeding jeep brakes a few meters from me and two officers step out. One of them is tall and wears tinted glasses, the other one looks exactly the same but stupider. I hope I won’t get in trouble for my appearance. They are officers but I don’t know what kind of officer. I never remember the meaning of all those patches they stitch in their clothes, everything I know is that any man in uniform with more patches than me is to be addressed as ‘sir’ profusely and you never make practical jokes to him.
‘What are you doing here soldier?’ asks the man that looks less stupid
‘I am lost sir’ I answer
‘What the fuck happens here? What are all those soldiers laying on the ground. Taking a nap? We have a lot of war to do.’ says the stupider officer, that imagine is the superior of the other man.
‘They are dead sir.’ I say.
‘I can see that soldier. Do you think I am blind? I wear these dark glasses to look trendy. What the fuck happened here soldier?’ asks the less stupid man.
‘People started shooting each other and now everybody is dead, sir’ I reply.
‘Why are you not dead soldier?’ asks the less stupid man.
‘Because if I were dead I wouldn’t be able to answer your questions sir’.
‘That makes sense’ says the stupider officer.
‘Good work soldier’ says the other man and then adds ‘but you look like a homeless. What happened to your clothes? They are dirty with mud.’ says the less stupid man.
‘I am sorry sir, the enemy artillery blown up our washing machine sir’ I answer.
‘Murderer bastards! Don’t worry soldier, we will make them pay for that.’ says the more stupid looking man, and continues ‘I will make sure we send the bill for a new washing machine to enemy HQ. That will teach them not to mess with us and our laundry. We will send the bill inside an envelope with no sender address so we don’t lose our tactical advantage. When they open the envelope and see the bill they will shit their pants.’
‘Yes sir. A very good idea sir. Can you offer me a ride? I am very tired and there is nobody left to shoot here’ I ask.
‘A good soldier always have something to shoot at, private. Why do you think we give you all those bullets?’ ask the less stupid man.
‘Yes sir. You are right sir. But I don’t have bullets either, I lost them sir’
‘How is that possible private?’ asks the stupider officer
‘I stocked them inside my rifle as I was told sir, but every time I pulled the trigger they went away with a bang. It was very weird sir. They didn’t fall to the ground sir. They flew away sir.’
‘Are you suggesting our bullets are defective soldier?’ he asks
‘No sir, our bullets are the best and only bullets I ever seen sir. I certainly like them better than the enemy’s bullets sir’ I say
‘Of course you do, ours are the best and biggest bullets you will ever see private. Get into the jeep, we’ll drive you back to HQ and give you more bullets. But clean your boots first, I don’t want the back seat full of bloody mud.’ he says and motions me to enter the vehicle.
‘Thank you sir’ I say and I run towards them with my foot in a stolen dead man’s boot.
I am on the back seat of the jeep trying not to listen to the two stupid men talking about war. The stupider official is a lieutenant and his name is Pinky Foothead, the other man whose name is Marcel Debris is an army cook with the rank of sergeant, which is equivalent to a chef in civilian life. They are talking about the horrors and inconveniences of war. The sergeant is complaining how one of his spoons just got bended and had to be replaced because an enemy attack. A suicide bomber thrown himself with a grenade in the general’s soup and the general had to order dinner from a pizza joint and it was shoddy. The major says that in spite of that tragedy we are doing very well in the war. He is optimistic we would have killed everybody in two or three months and then we will go home in time to open the Christmas presents. He tells us about a great offensive the general staff is planning but he tells us not say anything to anybody because is a surprise for the enemy’s birthday and we don’t want to spoil it. I don’t say anything because they say that the duty of a soldier is to kill the enemy and listen and laugh when superiors tell a joke, even if it is not funny. But superiors don’t tell jokes anyway, they say.
Back at HQ I go to the canteen to see if there is any food left but there is none and I have to eat from the sabotaged soup of the general, it is not bad but it tastes a bit to religious fanaticism. Then I go to the dormitories where I lived with another ten people, but now they are dead and the place looks really much bigger and smells better. Only Jelly is there. Leonard “Jelly” Jellyman is sitting on his bunk staring at a pineapple and talking. Apparently to the pineapple. The doctor said he has pre-combat traumatic stress syndrome, but I think he is just scared. That is why he didn’t come with us to the battle. We had found him trying to lay an egg into a urinal and crying because the egg wouldn’t come out his ass and he though he was going to lose his baby. The doctor said it was better to let him rest and wait to see if he could finally lay the damn egg and come with us to kill people. The doctor said in that state he would be more a nuisance than a help in combat. I said I was more nuisance than help myself, at least that is what my mother always said, and I asked to stay and help Jelly in case he needed a midwife to lay his egg but they made me go anyway because everybody began to call sick afterwards.
‘ Are you feeling better Jelly? Did you lay your egg?’ I ask him but get no answer ‘ What are you telling that pineapple Jelly?’ I ask.
‘I am giving her advice. If you listen, instead of talking, you would know. And her name is Marjorie. Don’t call her a pineapple. She has feelings, you know.’
‘Okay, her name is Majorie, but she is still a pineapple.’ I listen to what Jelly is telling Marjorie, his pineapple.
‘… and never leave the dishes undone. They pile up, pile up and pile up and there is no end to it. Eat good food and dress modestly or they call you names…” he is telling her
‘Why are you telling those things to Marjorie?’ I ask him
‘She wants to be an exotic dancer and I am giving her advice so people won’t take advantage of her. She has feelings, you know.’
‘Exotic dancer is not a bad career for a pineapple’ I say and I go to my bunk. I get a comic book from my trunk. It is a Percolator comic. Percolator has power to control water vapor and become vapor himself. He got his powers after a freak coffee machine accident while making an extra strong cappuccino. His archenemy is Dr.Starbucks who wants to enslave humanity using an army of genetically engineered coffee beans twenty stories tall. The secret identity of Percolator is Tony Espresso, a young american italian working part-time in a coffee shop franchise. I like him because he reminds me of myself although unfortunately I can’t turn into water vapor. But I still get myself turned into minced meat if I spend too much time in here. I will have to try lying an egg or something.