Work In Progress

PREDATOR 

Walks in. Peers intently out of a window. Sharply dressed, expensive clothing, buffed shoes. Winning smile. Very well spoken. Tired. Sighs. Turns to us.

My job is murder. But there are benefits.

I’m respected, famous, have friends in high places, certainly well travelled and though the locations aren’t exactly glamorous, I must’ve wracked up a zillion Air Miles? I’m due so many upgrades!

I’m just about to shoot off again, actually. Twice already this week, and when they asked if I fancied another, another little mission, I said yes, of course. What choice do I have?

————

I get a bad rap for what I do. Many believe that I should have more concern for the “little people” whose lives I’ve obliterated through my supposed thoughtlessness. My negligence. Especially, as a few folk are always pointing out, You Lot are paying for me. Whether I make mistakes or not, whatever abuses I commit, whatever my excesses, I can always rely on you lot to foot the bill. Hah. You’re all little people from up here.

But if you really understood the life I live, you wouldn’t want it, it’s desperately spartan. The effort I put in, fourteen hour shifts, the things I see…I see everything. And everything, trust me, is nothing. Barren. For miles and miles. Most of my days, my days and nights in fact, are spent loitering, bored witless, the boredom is the hardest part until…until I get the call up and then…and then. Well. Then I’m fucking James Bond, sexy international assassin.

Elegant.

Dances.

Lethal.

Judo chop.

Precise.

Points.

Mostly.

Unaccountable.

Shrugs.

Always.

No, it’s ok, you don’t have to keep it a secret, everyone knows about me, my methods, but they don’t mind too much because, it’s me. I’m too bloody cool! I’m cool, I’m calm, I’m…

Laughs. Hyperventilates. Slows breathing down.

I’m calm, distant, a thing of wonder.

I was built for this shit. For clearing out the bad guys. The Bad Guys.

Yes, there are occasionally children…it’s inevitable within my sphere of operation. But the kids see me coming so they have a chance, they hear me coming first in fact, and they run in fear. I like that, it’s the best thing for them. “Shoo, ya little varmits!” Yet with all my refinement, it’s someone else, in me, twisting the controls, I’m not really here, it’s the monkey on my back. So when there’s a hurry, when it goes wrong, when I leave those children exploded and burning on the roadside…it’s called a mistake. Collateral damage. Sandwich break. I’m the one who’s left out there to feel. They call me a drone, but it’s more like puppetry. Not lacking in heart or mind, just in control.

Blood, I myself have no taste for it, I just excel at expelling it from a human body at extremely high velocities. It’s my skillset, not my desire. When I started, all I did was look out for the little people, I was just an eye in the sky. Then You Lot saw my potential.

Though God, if the Other Lot catch me my sensitivity, my compassion won’t register, they’ll still strip me, probe me, hack me into literal pieces. Stab their claws into my remains, scratch around, trying to figure out what makes me tick. Those curious savages!

So if that’s the trade off, I have little trouble justifying myself, no one will under these conditions. On this side, at least a lot of the right people have my back. And it means there’s no threat to you and yours, which is all part of my charm.

My blockbuster space alien namesake can turn invisible when it’s hunting humans. I can’t. Not yet. I so wish I could. Not so they couldn’t make me do it, but so the Other Lot couldn’t see me coming, see what I have to do. I know I’m a tool, but I’m an ageing tool, nearly twenty years in this business, and there are so many newer, willing, efficient replacements, there’d no point resisting even if I could.

No protest, no hero’s welcome on my return, no retirement. Just a joyless refuel, a quick once over from a harried mechanic and back to the job. The future and deserts spun together, stretching On and On and On and On and On and On and On and if you could see what I see, do what I do, this swooping mechanical fury far from you, far from fault, far above the loveless blood-full plains of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, you’d be angry.

You’d be terrified.

You’d be fucking amazed.

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