Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Mustang's Saddle Bags

Also known as a trunk.

We've been on the road a while, now. I've been thinking. At least I've been thinking while I've been here in the trunk. When it's my turn to sit up front (taking turns with Harlan so that neither of us has to ride the whole thing back here and Laurel gets a seat the whole time) I spend the time thinking too, just a little differently.

What I've been thinking about is life. Life is important. I mean, saving lives is kind of what I do. Ending them too. But I'm really not very good at either one of those things. Most of my attempts at ending lives are dangerous to the lives I'm trying to save, and most of my attempts at saving lives have been full of attempts to end different lives. Seems to me there's a problem here.

I figure it's in the approach. I mean, maybe it's just the last waning ounces of adolescent boorishness, but until recently (read: the past several months) I hadn't encountered a real problem I couldn't meet head-on and conquer. I mean, even my mom's health problems I could do something about--take her to the hospital, get her good doctors, do my best to make her comfortable and calm. But that sort of straight-forward approach doesn't really seem to work on this Titanic, world-saving shit. At least, it hasn't been working all that well.

Sarah's dead, and I'm pretty sure her ghost is lost to titans.
She died because we had no idea what to do when the fucking ninjas popped out of everywhere and started sticking swords in us.
Her ghost was lost because we had no idea what sort of dangers we were facing in Guinee, much less how to deal with them once they made themselves known.

Loki has the device--whatever the fuck it really does.
He managed to get a hold of it because we didn't really know what to do or to expect after we got out of Wolfsheim with it.

I nearly blew up my pregnant wife--even if she would have lived.
When we left for the underworld I took a bunch of explosives. I figured they would come in handy. They would have, if I had a fucking brain. Instead I used a tenth of them rather ineffectively, and then took twice that much and nearly detonated it with basically all of my allies in the area in the blast radius. I mean, Laurel would have lived--because she's just amazing like that--Ciara would have been fine because she could get hit by an exploding Nemian tank traveling at twice the speed of sound and probably laugh about it. Brendan wasn't too close, but Nate isn't the hardest guy in the world to hurt, and Harlan is squishier than a fucking sponge.

Luckily everyone managed to get out of the way and only I got hurt, but when everyone had to hurl themselves back--and pull someone else with them if possible--to get out of the way I realized how absolutely insane I had been. I mean, I detonated two pounds of semtex less than three feet from my pregnant wife. That's like six pounds of dynamite. You know those sticks of dynamite they show in films? That's twelve of those. You know when someone uses twelve sticks of dynamite, they're trying to take out an entire building and everything in it.

And fuck if everyone else would have lived--I'm pretty sure that Caleb would probably have hurt more cutting one of us than the explosives really would have--but explosions don't have to aim, they can hit everything. They don't have to try to hit Laurel in the gut, it would just happen. What the fuck would I have done with myself if I had let that happen... if I had made that happen?

Hell if I know.

But I realized that immediately. I mean, probably between pushing the detonator button and the actual explosion it clicked, and I felt like a giant asshole. Then I saw Laurel, screaming in pain, the fire burning all over her. I tried to put out the flames, but a moment later the illusion ended.

Now, I'm not dumb. I know proclivities when I see them, and that Harlan may be a good guy--or seem like one--but he's got some of his dad in him; I can fucking smell it. And when he tried to convince me that it wasn't him who put me under that illusion, I swear I wanted to break his neck. The second I saw that it was an illusion I wanted to break someone's neck. I mean, what fucking hubris to think it's their fucking job to teach me a lesson? Do they think I'm a fucking child who needs to see an acting out of the consequences of an action in order to understand that it's wrong? That gods-damned, self-righteous, arrogant prick, I swear if he ever makes me think that I've harmed my loved ones again, or if I even think he has--he won't wake up one morning, and they'll be picking pieces of his pretty face up off the street at least thirteen blocks away.

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I suck at thinking. Whenever I really set out to think about something I end up thinking an awful lot more about something that either really fucking depresses me or really fucking makes me wish I could bury a septet of fifty-caliber rounds in someone.

I need to fix that.

Maybe I should practice thinking.

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