For Wade and Ashton. Without you I would've never made this
"What can I say? I don't know. Sorry guys. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging for so long. Life's sweet! I couldn't have asked for more."
Leon sat on his back porch watching young Osaka throwing sand around. Her little E-tool that Staff Sergeant Motniv gave her just sent her into her own little dream world. She chucked sand up over her head. The little grains stuck in her hair. She didn't like the trickle on her facade, so she tried to brush the sand out. Leon just laughed under his breath. Sometimes just a little chuckle seemed hard to get out. It was going to take a lot to get his memories out of his head. It was the same for every one.
"I love this girl. Me and Liona were could have never been happier. I know in my heart she hurts like me, but maybe it could be that she didn't lose what I did. At once I had everything. A beautiful woman, a bright young boy, and a life that made me happy. Every time I look at my family I still see what I lost that day in Memphis."
There he was again. Charlotte's smile still burning in the back of his head. He was across the park trying to purchase some grub at the hotdog stand. The line was a little backed up today. The same scene always ended the same. There was a gunshot. Leon snapped back to the present. This time it took a little more out of him. He clenched his fists and felt a few tears coming up.
"Daddy, what's wrong?" Osaka asked him. She placed the E-tool by her feet and went silent.
"It's nothing hun. Daddy's just got some issues. Don't tell mommy. This is like those little moves I teach you here and there." Leon said aloud.
Her little bright smile always calmed him. His own flesh and blood. The one thing he feared most was something happening to her. Liona always left him at home to watch her while she pulled in money. They both were in the right mind set. Leon took his eyes off her for just a second to make a phone call. He grasped onto the little device and dialed the only number he could think of. Any second. Ringing. Ringing... ringing...
"You've reached Staff Sergeant Motniv--United States Marine Corps--I can't answer your call right now. Leave a message and I'll get back to you whenever I can." He never really answered his phone. Leon hung up and waited a few seconds. Surely enough he started to get a call back. He quickly answered it.
"Hey man." Leon muttered.
"What's up Leon? You called me." said a rather gruff voice on the other end.
"Yeah. Just had another one of those moments. Sorry man, I can't talk to my kid about this."
"Well I'm no psychiastrist. There's another meeting tonight. You know the drill."
"Staff Sergeant Motniv was just like me. I guess in some strange sense you could say we are both Drifters. I drifted here to there to find my girl while he drifted to every corner of the globe just finding ass and killing many like me. He was a grunt. 0341 I think? I don't know much about the military. I just know he operated machine guns and taught young marines how to fight in his career. But just like me he has a past behind him that I guess he handles better than me. I guess."
Leon waited patiently for hours with Osaka by his side. In his hand he had a little card he collected at a counsel about a month back. The little group got together weekly so people could just come together and get their problems out. In all reality it was a clinic for war veterans suffering from PTSD. Staff Sergeant Motniv was still able to handle it. After all he was there every other day to teach young recruits his shit. From all Leon could gather just about every war veteran he met had some form of PTSD. Whether or not it was what was getting to him it was still a problem none the less. The minute Liona came home to take over, he was already up and ready to go.
"Hey baby." Liona said with her grin.
"Hey hun," Leon said before giving her a big hug. He bent down and gave her a little kiss on the lips before letting loose. "I'm meeting up with Motniv again."
"Ok babe, that's ok. I just don't want you bringing him here that's all!" Liona's face seemed a little concerned. She was never this direct.
"Hey don't say that. Staff Sergeant Motniv is a good man. I have a lot of respect for the guy. You can't say that you don't have some empathy for him."
"Let's not get into this right now."
"Yeah, I get ya..." Leon was almost a little upset with her, but he sucked it up. It was just a lot on his chest. A good four years trying to be normal for once was more stressful on him. Maybe it was what got him feeling good? He let Liona go and quickly grabbed his coat.
"Leon, be careful." Liona said finally.
"Come on hun, it's not like I'm going to war!" Leon said with a sadistic grin. He laughed and rushed out the door. Free at last. Liona bent down to pick up young Osaka from off the floor.
"Did you and daddy have fun today?" Liona asked.
Leon could feel the burn of the liquid through the cheap styrofoam cup. The sensation was about all he could think about. Just in front of him was a young soldier with his face pressed into the bossom of a middle aged woman. Tears poured from his eyes while the group around frowned.
"I didn't know why I did it too! It just happened," the young man cried. "I wanted to do something. I didn't think I'd be in a warzone! Those Haji mother fuckers!"
"It's harsh. Lots of young men every year get sucked into it. But the military is a good thing. Recruiters love to lie to young men and women all over just for a paycheck!" the woman said.
Just sitting across from the two was Staff Sergeant Motniv with this blank but firm stare. Leon could tell there was much anger being held inside. Every now and then there were kids like this. Somebody was always complaining that they were tricked into signing but in all reality they signed that paper. Leon scratched his head.
"It just happened so fast. Just that loud blast from that daisy chain and seeing all my friends going into the air." the young soldier muttered.
"Just don't let this anger get to you. That war is over. Remember that the men who did it were just fighting for their beliefs. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time," the woman reassured him. Staff Sergeant Motniv looked like he was about to mutter something under his breath but he didn't. The young soldier let go and sat up. He was missing an arm. What caused it? An IED. Shit happens. Whether it was the soldier's fault, the fault of another complacent other in front of him, or just because of a clever enemy nobody would know. "what we all learned from such is to never ever sign anything that's too good to be true. All of us know that bad things happen but you have to let go."
"I know what you mean. I've done my fair share of damage and had losses myself." Leon said aloud. The whole room seemed to give him a dark glare except for Motniv. For some reason this was the only person on Earth Leon could connect to. These groups were there to help him, but the connection...
"I never felt at home here. I try to get help here but thinking about it, these groups seemed to make things worse. I've heard some fucked up shit here."
As quick as the group assembled they were already up and moving out again. Motniv stood up and gave Leon a quick slap on the shoulder.
"Come on Goashima, let's get a fuckin' drink." Staff Sergeant Motniv said quickly. Finally!
"Ooo rah. Let's do this." Leon replied. The two were off. Before they could even take a few steps Sergeant Martin cut them off.
"Are you gents down for a few jager bombers?" He included.
"A good one to blow this trauma out." Leon replied.
"That's a good one." Staff Sergeant Motniv added with a smirk.
"We were our own little trio. Sergeant Martin and Staff Sergeant Motniv had seen battle t ogether and even were drill instructors. 3rd Battalion, that was the place. I thought about becoming a Marine but I didn't wanna fight their wars. I fight my own every day. It rages on in my head and until I beat that I'm not holding a weapon ever again."
Just like normal they wound up at a bar across town. The Regulars. It was one of the oldest clubs in town, but probably the finest unless your definition of fine was cheap drinks. Besides that the place was pretty nasty. Arlene was running the counter tonight. Her and Leon were laughing like crazy while Sergeant Martin was running in place still drunk as ever.
"Fifth General order!" Staff Sergeant Motniv screamed.
"Sir, this recruit's fifth general order is to talk to nobody in the state of Louisiana, sir!" Sergeant Martin blasted out. Motniv started to scream out random gibberish just to make spit fly out.
"Wrong answer bitch, get on your face and push!"
"Push aye sir!"
Martin hit the ground and began knocking our push ups like never before. Staff Sergeant Martin kept shooting random curse words and insults out while everybody around them just laughed away.
"You've been sucking too many Mario dicks! We're you eating turtles today?" Staff Sergeant Martin asked.
"No sir!" Sergeant Martin cried.
"What the fuck?" Leon shouted before curling up and breaking out into tears of laughter he'd been choking back.
"Stop!" Motniv said aloud. Immediatelly Sergeant Martin came to his feet, snapped his feet together at a forty five degree angle, and then assumed a perfect position of attention.
"Hammertime!" Sergeant Martin screamed at the top of his lungs. Staff Sergeant Motniv's mouth curled up causing him to laugh out loud. The two took a seat before laughing away. Good times!
"I tell you what boys, my husband was in the national gaurd and he told me some funny shit. That however was too good," Arlene said as she took their glasses. "do you want another?"
"Yes mam!" Motniv declared confidently. Arlene turned around and started to make another bomber just for them. Leon wiped the tears away from his eyes before shaking his head.
"That never gets old." Leon said.
"Why don't you try it some time bitch?" asked Sergeant Martin as he tried to get some air.
"That's ok. If I wanted that I'd just join the service."
"Watch out now, you can't sign anything that's too good to be true!" Staff Sergeant Motniv said quickly. Sergeant Martin laughed out loud with him before asking for another drink.
"I tell you what, that bitch really made my blood boil tonight. I've seen some shit myself and have been in convoys where IED's go off, but after all that I never tried to bury the weight on somebody else." Sergeant Martin added.
"I love hearing what those idiots have to say. You know Leon, I don't know why we even go to those get togethers anyways," Motniv said before delivering a quick shot to Leon's left arm. "I'd rather drink and just swap war stories. You sound like you've had a hard time. For a civilian, you're a hard mother fucker."
"I'm a Drifter, there's a difference." Leon replied.
"Yeah, yeah. I know. Fuck man I was thinking about that one story you were telling me last week. I'd never thought you could blow up a hummer with two Uzi 9mms. I never thought of it."
"I wasn't thinking either. I just acted. You know how it is."
"I sure hope these stories aren't fake just so you couuld hang out with the likes of us." Sergeant Martin said with a dark look.
"Say what you want. I dunno if I really have to prove to you all what I've seen but it doesnt matter to me at all. I'm here now and that shit's behind me." Leon said back.
"That's the spirit. Es spirit de corps. You don't have to prove shit to me bro. Just whatever you do don't break out crying on my shoulder because I'll have to kick your ass." Staff Sergeant Motniv said as he packed up a big pinch of dip.
"What was I doing here? Sergeant Martin was alright, I never did get along with him but the more I thought about it I don't know why I hung out with him or Motniv. The two were pretty sadistic. So was I. We all have our flaws. I don't know if Staff Sergeant really had problems or if he was just cominmg to those meetings to get a kick out of other peoples problems. Then again sometimes I wondered if he got a kick out of me. I sure hope not."
Staff Sergeant Motniv lifted his head up and hacked a big brown glob of spit into the trash can to his left. He nodded happily.
"You know boys I can't wait till friday. I'm finally retiring." Staff Sergeant Motniv groaned.
"You make it sound good." Leon said as he sipped his drink.
"Well it kind of is a good thing. I'm debating re-enlisting or not. Fuck this peace time bullshit. The corps has me doing reserve duty and I wanna go active. Too bad the active slot is full. The Corps wants reservists because we're not really in a war now. I fucking hate this bullshit pay. I could probably get good money out in the civilian world," he didn't really have much confidence. "I could make good dough if I did what you did Leon."
Leon sort of froze. He took a second to think about all the people he'd killed and maimed over the years. What the fuck did he mean? Is this man serious?
"Hey I never made a cent doing what I did. I might've had to jack a wallet here and there but I fought for my friends. I could care less about what happens to me." Leon said.
"That's the selfless attitude I love to hear. That's what makes Marines. You know Leon, it's like were seperate sides of the same coin." Staff Sergeant Motniv boldly stated.
"That kinda makes sense."
"You kidding man? It makes perfect fucking sense! I can kill a man with an MRE spoon like twenty different ways."
"Fuck no!" Motniv sputtered out before breaking into another drunk laugh.
"I bet you got some killer ass when you got out of boot camp."
"Oh hell yeah. You betcha brother." He lifted up his watch and then quickly stomached the jager bomber. "I hate to cut you gents loose, but I gotta go home. Sergeant Martin!"
"Yes Staff Sergeant?" Sergeant Martin asked.
"Take Mr. Goashima home."
"Aye Staff Sergeant."
Leon quickly rose to his feet. He held his hands out and then scanned his head back and forth between the two.
"That's ok you guys, I'm gonna walk home. I need the excercise anyways." Leon said quickly.
"You PT every day sir, just take the ride." Staff Sergeant Motniv said back.
"No, it's ok." Leon was waving his hand at him with that. Staff Sergeant Motniv's eye twitched. Before Leon could even think twice, he felt Motniv grab onto his hand and squeeze it. For the first time in a good while he could feel a great deal of physical pain.
"Don't wave your fucking hand at me! I'm not fucking stupid!" Staff Sergeant Motniv yelled. Leon could feel spit landing in his face. It actually scared him.
"Staff Sergeant Motniv, enough!" Sergeant Martin yelled as he grabbed onto him. All at once Staff Sergeant Motniv snapped back to reality and shook his head. He let go of Leon's hand and backed up.
"Holy shit Leon, I'm sorry! Don't do that shit to me. You're looking at a Marine!" Staff Sergeant Motniv chuckled. Leon dropped his limb and then looked down to observe in hopes nothing was broken.
"Oh man," Leon muttered. "it's cool. I should've known better. I'm the same almost."
"That coin man, that coin." Motniv said before stepping back.
"Hey man, we all need a good nap. Just head home and call me sometime."
Staff Sergeant Motniv nodded back. He ran his hand across his forehead in shame before turning around.
"I'm sorry man, I really am." Motniv said to him.
"It's ok, don't worry. Osaka's loving that little E-tool you gave her." Leon said back. Motniv turned around and smiled.
"Glad to hear that."
"Two sides of the same coin. Heh."
Legacy of the Drifter
"Home far away"
"There was this blind spot still in my head. Everything I'd done before always creeping through that space."
Leon's twisted nature always brought him to dark back alleys. Mainly he begged that one day he'd run into somebody wanting to kill him or he'd find some woman with a crystal ball ready to give his fortune to him. In this life he begged for a lot of things. He wanted a nice and tight joint to burn between his lips. He wanted to have that gun with no limit to how much you could hold so he could blast away. He wanted an army of the world to run at him again. He wanted his old life back sometimes. Growing up was a bitch. You can't get everything you want all the time. Right now he wanted to go back home and just lay waste to as many cheetos as he could while watching Dirty Harry. Just ahead was a large dumpster in front of a chain link fence.
"How convenient," Leon said loudly. As those words sailed across the dark alley a bright flash filled the sky. "indeed."
The skies just opened up to unleash a massive downpour. Leon lifted up his hands wishing he'd taken Sergeant Martin up for that ride. Not willing to show his weaknesses yet, he rushed forwards. Both legs hit the ground as fast as they came up. He finally lunged forwards and used all the strength he had to skip off the dumpster and over the fence. Just for that one moment he felt like a Drifter again. All at once he came down into a puddle that had already quickly formed. His face lit up with joy after landing inside the small pool of liquid. The simple feat had him gasping but it felt good. As he stared into the water below the ripples formed from his legs started to clear. Instead of his own reflection there was a tall man in a trench coat bent down staring at him. The Enforcer?
"I'm sorry Leon, Charlotte's dead. Saber killed her." The Enforcer's almost hollow voice echoed to him. Leon's face lit up with horror as he brought his fist down to smash his enemy. The water splashed out of the way of his fist. The apparition had dissapeared.
"Damn you! You're dead, stop haunting me!" Leon screamed. He let out a blood curdling scream while swinging his fists frantically against the pavement beneath him. A shadow from above cast down on him.
"I'm only as dead as you make me Leon, but too bad I'm going to haunt you till the day you die." The Enforcer muttered with that same voice. Leon looked ahead only to find himself staring down the barrel of a massive pistol. It was a single shot. The bullet launched down the muzzle with a loud screech. It was like listening to an airliner taking off. The round pierced through Leon's chest and sent his body flying back into the fence. He could see a vortex of blood forming in his eyes and creating a negative image of his attacker.
"NO!" Leon screamed as he felt his life slipping out. There was a massive boom in the skies above. Leon was frozen in place. It took him a second to realize what had happened to him. His body was soaked while his chest still remained intact. The Enforcer was gone. This was no fantasy world. People don't rise from the dead. Once again he remembered what happened that day at the steel mill. It was a soul crushing one to say the least. But nonetheless he remembered what he'd done to The Enforcer. He put a fuck load of bullets into him! To add to it the massive pool of molten steel had poured down on top of him causing his remains to burn away. He and Liona even spent the night there. A little picture of the Enforcer's skeleton on the floor of the factory still remained burnt there. Burnt where it should be. It needed to stay there.
"I made my way home."
Leon kept pushing harder and harder. Watching Liona's perfect breast shaking in front of him was already starting to be too much. Normally after this long he'd be done and ready for seconds. It was like he couldn't climax no matter how hard he tried. Liona pushed her upper torso up and gasped for air as Leon kept going. This time she let out a big moan.
"Leon, I don't think I can go anymore!" Liona said as her face turned red.
"That's ok, I'm pretty spent too. Sorry babe," Leon said as he pulled out. He rolled off of her and just stared up at the cieling. "I don't know what's up with me."
"Do I not turn you on anymore?"
"No Liona, don't think that! I couldn't ask for more. I'm so happy I have you forever. I'm not going to those meetings anymore. I think tonight drew the line."
"I figured if you heard war vets talking about their misfortunes it'd make things worse."
Liona reached over to turn off the lamp on her little nightstand. Leon could still see her silhouette in the dark. It was calming enough to get the thoughts out of his head one more time. He felt her hands run up his bare chest. A soothing touch.
"You know Liona I was kinda thinking. What if we never actually got married and just went seperate ways? Life wouldn't be as good." Leon said.
"What brought this on?" Liona asked.
"You remember the Enforcer?"
"Unfortunately. That man was crazy. I don't know why but everytime I see your friend Staff Sergeant Motniv it always reminds me of him."
"I keep seeing him."
"He's dead Leon," Liona added. She was a little worried now. "the only way he can get you now is if you let him get you."
"I just can't stop thinking about all those men and women I've killed. Every single one of them just creeps up on me."
"Leon, that's called PTSD. You're suffering from it. Maybe you should go seek some real help and not just some stupid counsel. Honestly Staff Sergeant Motniv doesn't seem like one who has problems. If he really has them he's hiding it better than you."
"He doesn't really have problems. Tonight he made it clear. It feels like he said he and his buddy Sergeant Martin just like going there to laugh at people."
"That's horrible. That's why I don't want you hanging around them. The Enforcer was in the Marines too. He was a Scout Sniper and it honestly wouldn't suprise me at all if he and Staff Sergeant Motniv had met before." Liona said clearly.
"But that's not like him," Leon said as he rolled away from her. "I think Motniv's a good dude. I mean we're all a little fucked up. I'd trust Osaka in his care if something happened."
"As long as I'm here I'll make sure that never happens."
Leon couldn't ever get her to like him. He had a lot of respect for his new friend. It was going to take a lot to get her to change her opinion. It'd probably take Motniv saving the whole family from disaster. But as much as that would help, Leon hoped it'd never come to that. He wanted to do it--not Motniv...
"I dunno if I'll find a place here. But while I keep trying to dig the memories out I end up stumbling on a man who knows a lot about me. He wants me to help him but I'm a little more than paranoid. Also something's getting to Staff Sergeant Motniv and I'm going to have to find out. Just what the fuck's going on?"