Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Standing guard

"Jiggle, jiggle," he thought as the jogger passed him by. He couldn't really see her butt. Not really, on account of the baggy sports trousers she was wearing. He couldn't see her breasts either. They were flattened down somehow. He didn't know how exactly, but whenever he compared joggers' breasts with normal women's breasts, they were always flattened rather than perky. It was strange.
"They must think this makes it better somehow," he thought. In his humble opinion, it didn't; "breasts were meant to be perky. Otherwise, what's the point?"
Every morning, around 5:30 am, the first batch of joggers start to trickle one after the other. They were mostly men, but every now and then, there would be some women. He waited for them. He longed for them. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, he refused to sleep at that time. He knew that if he fell asleep he would miss them. They were, after all, the best perk of this job.
He was 16 when his father died. His uncle came to his mother one day and they had a conversation. Then his uncle took him away. As he left the small, rural village, he could hear his mother ululating and shouting: "my son will be an officer" between jeers and cheers. He took one last look at his seven siblings as the toktok took them further and further away from his home. They went straight to the enlistment camp.
He thought he would be an officer like his mother announced, but then after he was registered he found out, he was to be conscript.
He went up to one of the people in charge. "Ya beh. I was supposed to be an officer," he said naively. The officer responded with a slap that managed to floor him and unhinge two of his teeth from their roots. He spit them out with along with a small puddle of blood. "Clean up your shit, conscript," the officer said as he stepped in the pool of blood and moved away leaving bloody footsteps leading up to his office.
That night he was assigned the cleaning of the entire dinning hall floor. He spent all night scrubbing the floor while his mouth throbbed with pain. He was too afraid to ask for a doctor. All he could do was sob, his tears falling on the floor's muddy surface.
The rest of the year was a series of constant humiliation, abuse and torture. Any kind of thought that had crossed his mind faded away as his body sustained multiple bruises, breaks and bloody lashes.
"Do not think, conscript," they said.
"Obey, conscript," they insisted.
"Push the wall, conscript," they shouted. The wall? How can one literally push a wall? It doesn't matter. Just obey and keep your head down. Those who didn't obey, suffered. No one wanted to suffer. The emotional pain went away after a few months, but the physical pain was always too much to handle. He just didn't want to be hit again and again and again.
He obeyed. It was really his only choice. He could not run away. He wouldn't go anywhere. Whatever money he was given went straight to his uncle. He didn't even see it. He had a bed and three partially hot meals. What else did he want?
Every now and then, they would have to go down in the street "to protect the country".
"Those fucks in the street are fucking terrorists. Your only task is to fuck them. Do you understand, conscripts?" their training officer would say. Every time, they would drill that in their heads.
"Push the wall. They are all walls. Push the wall. Just push the fucking wall," he would remind himself, "then you can go back to sleeping and three meals."
It was on the way to these "missions" that he learned about staring at girls. He saw his fellow conscripts whistling and shouting at girls passing by as they were parked in the street, waiting to be unleashed unto the "terrorists". They sometimes waited for hours, packed in the truck under the sweltering sun. The smell of rotting flesh underneath their heavy suits made the truck reek for miles. The heat was unbearable but no one dared leave the truck, not until they were told. Staring at others was their only mean of entertainment.
He had an inclining that what they were doing was not right, but he also thought it was his right. These people who walked and jogged early morning were trying to lose weight while his whole village were starving. He imagined them stuffing their faces and then going for a run. He despised their ability to choose what to do with themselves; something he lacked.
It was his own way to seek vengeance upon an unfair society. He argued that if people did not want him to look at them, then they should not pass in front of him. After all, they had their fancy clubs to go jog there in peace, but instead they chose the common man's abode. In the street everything was fair game.  

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