...They should be here by now. I know we didn’t get the location wrong. Maybe Pyrus got it wrong, dozy fuck probably got the time and date wrong too. He never was much good at, well anything, but a job is a job, and this one sounds important. This is just what I need to get back into it.
The alleyway is littered with old bags of rubbish, many of them torn and split or flattened down by cars. I’d already finished reading my paper, The English Standard, and had cast it to the ground, stamping my heel on the image of the flag, grinding mud into it. Broken glass glistens along the edge of the walls, and the whole place stinks of stale piss. Underneath a layer of topsoil blackened by motor oil and tyre tracks, old cobbles protrude sparsely, revealing the original level of the street and betraying the age of the alley. Cobblestones; who knows when they were first lain. Could have seen three wars for all I know, could have seen four.
I hold out my hand to my comrade and motion for him to hand the bottle to me. Greedy fucker will end up finishing it before I’ve had a swig otherwise. He hands the bottle to me reluctantly and eyes me enviously as I open my gullet and swallow as much as I can. As the initial sourness fades from my tongue, the alcohol hits my stomach, and an illusory internal warmth spreads upwards from my midriff to my oesophagus. I peer across at him, as he stares on expectantly. I close my eyes and choke back two more mouthfuls, which is more than I can usually hack in one go, but I force it down anyway to spite him, before handing it back. The sourness of the drink is quickly washed away by the feeling of thick saliva creeping up from my throat as my stomach churns in protest. I thrust my arm in his direction, handing the bottle back to him, and spit the excess saliva onto the ground. The warmth of the alcohol, and the mild nausea it brings, mellow together into a creamy release of queasiness and comfort. I close my eyes and exhale deeply relaxing my arms, welcoming the sharp wisps of cold air, savouring the bittersweet feeling.
I once again survey the alleyway, inhospitable and ugly, the local councils invested a great deal of money into removing, blocking off or paving over areas such as this. The entire architecture of a conurbation could be chopped and changed, to remove any pockets of darkness, grime or obscurity. Modern dormitory towns were made up of cul-de-sacs, circling a central hub of grassland, so that each house could be seen from every other. The notion was that such architectural design would minimise criminal activity, and ensure the safety of the common man. In reality, the idea was to create an almost panoptic system of self-surveillance, coercing conformity and compliance, and minimising any recalcitrance amongst the working classes. Alleyways like this, though inhospitable and dead, were in essence a breeding ground for insubordination. In these grim and filthy pockets, obscured from prying eyes, men could truly exercise their intrinsic human right to independent thought, free assembly and affirmative action against the dominant ethos.
“Got any fags?” I ask motioning with my finger.
“Fuck off Pick, you’ve had shit-loads of mine” he protests
“So fuck! You got any or what? I don’t go to war without a fag” I snap at him.
I survey him as he reaches into the inside pocket of his waistcoat, pulls out a cigarette packet and throws them to me aggressively. I catch it, thumb one out and throw the pack back in his chest. He tries to catch the pack in vain, and then hunches down to pick it up off the ground. I snigger as he hunches over, gripping the grimy bowler hat on his head to stop it from falling off.
Mr Industry, or Indy to those who knew him, always wore a bowler hat, a loose tie, and a grubby frayed waist coat. It wasn’t really a waistcoat, at one point it had been the jacket of a luxurious Italian suit. He’d ripped the sleeves off some time ago, revealing the yellowing sleeves of a white polo shirt underneath, which he’d clumsily sown cuff links to. On the left sleeve he wore a Deadeye Totenkopf emblem, on the right, a twisted Ankh. He bulged out of his clothes- they were salvaged like mine-, and were at least two sizes too small.
The mock-formal wear ended at the top and the bottom of his person. His shoes were steel toe-capped leather work boots, though the leather had peeled and cracked at the toe, revealing the metal underneath. The bowler hat sat clumsily on a crown of short and spiky blood red hair, flecked sparsely with splashes of orange and purple. Stocky in stature, Indy was often mistaken for being flabby and out of shape, because although he was deceptively strong, more so than myself, his muscle lacked any definition whatsoever, giving him the appearance of being somewhat doughy.
“Got a lighter Indy?” I ask, as he returns to an upright position, having retrieved his cigarette packet.
He looks at me apathetically.
“You don’t even have a lighter?”
“Aw fuck this!” I spit, “when are these faggots getting here?”
Indy fumbles with the bottle and the cigarettes to find his lighter.
“Shut up with your fucking whinging Pick, it takes as long as it takes, this isn’t a weekend break in the Cotswolds” he says mockingly.
“It’s not a wank in a wind tunnel either. I’m not waiting all night”
Indy hands me a lighter and I hastily light my cigarette, put it in my mouth and tug again at my sleeves. This jacket is too small, the sleeves run up and the wind runs up my arms, hitting my chest. The cold doesn’t bother me that much, I ‘m always cold. You live in squats for years on end and you learn to cope with it. It’s the waiting I can’t stand, makes me irritable. But I owe much of my success to my itchy feet and impatience. Ducks sit, crows fly and vultures pick the bones; that’s how me and Indy had stayed off the radar for so long.
Nowhere was safe for guys like us. X faction soldiers, Grimesters, Punk insurgents, Neo-anarchists, whatever the fuck they want to call us. For us, life is war, a constant perennial conflict. We remained separate, individual in action but collective in our ideology, a loose fraternity. X faction soldiers, the real ones I mean, lived in and out of slums and squats, remaining transient, uprooted and free. We travelled by night, hitched lifts, stole cars or rode the rails, and we never stayed in one place for too long. The first one to lay his head was the first one to lose it.
I unzip my fly and let loose a stream of piss, aiming for the muddied flag of The English Standard. I watch as the urine soaks into the paper, and the colours fade into sepia.
Much was said about the ideology of the X faction, the media demonised us, the police and government hated us, and the general public feared us, but to say we followed an ideology was erroneous. It would be more fitting to describe us as anti-moral. We have little in the way of a prophetic vision of a world after the war is won, nor any plans to seize power or sanction any kind of great change. We are not politicians, nor philosophers. We simply detest the state of the nation, the draconian government which fosters it, and the indifferent apathetic majority who suffer it. To us the war is everywhere; to us the enemy is everyone. Anything we can do to break the party’s control, upset the balance of power, or disturb the established order is a victory. It doesn’t matter much what it was we do. Everyone in England, even those who refused to believe it, is being repressed and our civil liberties and human rights have been steadily eroded by the new government since the end of the fourth world war. Reckless abandon and wanton destruction, to me seems like the only action to further the cause of sanity, in a country swept up in a fever of madness. What else could I do to battle an authority that cultivated a culture of constant trespass upon the right to live in decency and dignity? What else could be spawned from such trespass but loathsome, undignified creatures such as ourselves?
I zip up my fly, watching the steam rise from the puddle, dissipating into the night air as the stream meanders around the cobblestones and broken glass.
Rebellion lay in the hearts of every man, but a man can spend his whole life keeping his head down, walking in step, and remaining compliant, knowing he is being exploited. It is only when he gets angry that he takes action, only after he’s seen the grotesque, fucked up face of our society for what it really is that he will make a stand. Destruction of any kind would unsettle the government and the people they control. It didn’t need to be aimed at anyone in particular. You could splash acid into the face of a police officer, burn a bank to the ground, or defecate in a public fountain. It didn’t matter. Every action that stirred up horror, misery or pain widened the area of sanity in which progress could be made, and fuelled the anger that would eventually culminate in the overthrow of our corrupt fascist leaders..
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Read X Faction Soldiers – Part 2
(C) JC Axe 2014