Warrior David


James steps out of the office onto a hot London street. The sun shines on his polished shoes. James hates the sun. He prefers the tanning booth. Besides, the sun fades his suits. His tailor told him. James refuses to pay for a hand-cut suit only to have it faded by a bit of burning rock in the sky.

At his feet there is a beggar. James sails past grandly. He has no idea that the young beggar - more of a boy really - is a shell-shocked Afghanistan veteran who can kill with his bare hands but who is "deemed unemployable". What with his limp wrists, which he deems a genetic condition, there is a limited number of things James can accomplish with his bare hands. He can pour another glass of wine, though he would rather employ someone to pour it for him. It's his father's fault, really, for being in an expensive nursing home. James works a sixty-hour week selling loans to people who should know better, but barely has the money for a manicure.

James calls in at the delicatessen. He hates the food there but loves (simply loves! Gorgeous, darling, gorgeous!) the young man behind the counter. He buys some cheese he will never eat with a credit card he will never pay off. The young man behind the counter barely acknowledges James. James is affronted (horrid, darling, horrid!)

Then to the bar, where the love that dared not speak its name has taken its top off and is dancing on the table. Since the smoking ban the ashtrays are full of condoms. "Safer sex, every time," says the owner, every time. The owner thinks himself a very responsible man. James pockets a few condoms, which he will never use. At the bar he strikes the pose de rigeur of the modern gay man: that ambiguous affectation of malice and langour. "Fuck me," he proclaims silently. "I will hate you tomorrow." When he walks to the lavatory it is as though his arsehole is already in possession of a cock. It is the walk of the modern gay man: tight, brisk, staccato. It is the walk of a man about to shit himself.

James returns to the bar and buys a £75 bottle of wine, for who should be there? It is the young man from the delicatessen! As James approaches, with his wine and two glasses, the young man turns to him in horror:

"What is that terrible smell?"

"It is the cheese you sold me earlier," says James, patting his pocket.

"Oh," says the young man, recoiling, "I could never sleep with a man who disrespects his cheese." (Never, darling, never!) So James takes a table and drinks his £75 himself. As he drinks he plots revenge fantasies against the whole of mankind; in particular against the young man from the delicatessen. His fantasies are his refuge from his powerlessness. In reality he has only once struck another man. It was a man he blew in the park. It was the day James put his father in the nursing home. All he had wanted, really, was a kiss and a cuddle and some soothing words. All the stranger wanted was an orgasm. James had got off his knees and punched the man, once, twice, seven times. But he was no fighter. The man walked away baffled, shaking his head.

After the wine James goes to the park. On the way he throws the cheese into a bin and answers a text from his wife, Charlotte: "Working late. Home soon x". James loves Charlotte. Genuinely, he does. She has a way of moving her hips that makes him come within minutes. And she is pregnant. But he will not be home soon.

In the park he is unlucky. He approaches a group of lads with his cock out and is promptly set upon. He is punched to the ground and his head splits open on the concrete path. But James has an ally in the park that night. The lads know him and fear him. They call him crazy, but it is his absolute indifference to injury that they fear. He will take them all on - and he does. They scatter like leaves.

The man helps James to his feet. James would recognise him too, if he were less concerned with the effect of the sun on his suit. It is the young ex-serviceman who begs outside his office. But all James can see in his Good Samaritan is Another Potential Romeo (APR). This is him! thinks James. This is the man I've been waiting for! Someone to protect me, to pay my bills, so that I can sit at home and address the fact that maybe, just maybe, I drink a little more than is good for me. It is easier for James to delegate this responsibility to another man, than to become that man himself.

James must thank this APR in grand style. "Fuck me," he groans.

"Fuck off, you fucking ponce," says the ex-serviceman. "Get out my fucking park or I'll lamp you too."

James scampers away, breathless. The ex-serviceman goes back to his blanket under his tree. He has nothing. But neither does he fear anything. In a way he is happy. He stares at the sky, trying to pick out stars beyond London's electric glare, and dreams of the mate who will never return from Helmand.

James is bitter. In the taxi he tells the driver that he works for the Prime Minister.

"Right then," says the driver, and says nothing more.

Charlotte is asleep. Of course she is: it is two o'clock in the morning. There is wine in the fridge: of course there is. James pours a glass and wanders into the television room. Every aspiring couple needs a separate room for the television: it takes up half the wall. James finds it very droll that millions of feckless Britons each year pay the compulsory £147.50 television licence fee, in order to be told what to think. Though he does admire the BBC's nature documentaries. They are the best in the world. He tells his friends this, but omits to add that he evades the licence fee. After a while he wanders into the computer room. (Every aspiring couple blah blah blah). He stares at pornography, conscious that there is blood leaking onto his shirt from the back of his head, but too drunk to care. He cannot get his dick fired up. It is Charlotte's fault. Other women let him do anal on them: why can't she?

It is no use. Tonight he is impotent. So, just out of curiosity, he visits the website his friends laugh about; the one where the men refuse to do anal. James reads a few paragraphs, and promptly bursts into tears.

What is wrong with him? He calls Joshua. "I'm getting used to it," Joshua slurs. "Getting fucked, I mean. Four years' practice. Do you want to fuck?" James hangs up. Joshua has a syphilitic rash on his back and drinks wine by the pint. Joshua regularly sees his own boyfriend in the queue at the sexual health clinic. "We are both medical students," says the boyfriend. "We should know better."

James staggers upstairs and passes out in the spare room. At fourteen minutes past four he dies in his sleep. His brain is bleeding. It is a considerably easier death than the one which lay in store for him. James likes things to be easy.

James's father has no idea that he will outlive his son by forty-six days.

Charlotte has no idea that at twenty-three minutes to seven the following morning she will call for an ambulance. She has no idea who Bill Weintraub is, but her husband has written a message to this man on the computer and forgotten to send it. It reads: "help me".

Charlotte has no idea that the bank she helped rescue with her taxes is about to seize her home. She has no idea that her husband has been redundant for three months, nor that the office to which he so dutifully goes each morning, so smartly-dressed, is just a rented flat where her husband has had sex with one hundred and thirty seven men and twenty four women.

Charlotte has no idea that in seven days' time her brain will send a message to her womb: abort. The brain senses that there is something wrong with the child, but it cannot detect what. There is a virus hidden in the child's cells. It will be the second time in a week that Charlotte calls for an ambulance. But it will do no good. The baby is lost, and the virus that hid in the child, lurks in Charlotte too.

But for now, Charlotte sleeps the sleep of the innocent. Ignorance is a dream about a freshly-painted nursery.

And in the park, a homeless war veteran, forsaken by his country, lies beneath a tree. He tells himself he does not miss his mate so very much. No, not so very much. But he cries in his sleep.

Welcome to the UK, plc. Enjoy your stay.


PLC, David tells me, means "public limited company" -- it's the equivalent of Inc in the US.

In an email, Frances said to me:

David from Scotland is writing about what happens when we don't question the world we are born into, and simply behave until we die.

We don't have that luxury anymore if we are to survive.

As always, Frances is correct:

We no longer have that luxury -- and haven't for many years.

Frances adds:

It is a war fought daily to do the right thing vs. the expedient thing.

The daily corruptions of our soul by the oligarchical forces are to defeat the hero within us. To render us helpless, useless, and disposable, so that finally we dislike others, and most of all ourselves.

The forces of oligarchy -- the forces of growth and greed -- seek to corrupt our souls and thus defeat the Hero within.

James, and others in David's story, have been defeated.

Have you?

James dislikes himself -- even unto death.

Will you?

Bill Weintraub

Also by Warrior Dave:

The Last of the Free

The Jacobite Soldier to his Comrade

Related articles:

Multipartnered Pansexualism or Heroic Love

Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not a Condition


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