Sheer dumb luck.
That’s it. That’s all that separates me from them. No matter what anyone says, that’s all it really comes down to.
There is no genetic reason, no intellectual reason, just shear dumb luck. A lottery of sorts. Played against my will. If you win, you get to live, but you have to suffer the hate directed towards you and your so-called luck, and the guilt that comes with knowing just how many people are dying to be just like you.
It’s like winning at a game where you lose.
And what protection I gain is drowned out by my shallow self consciousness.
How on earth can I live with myself?
The Department of Homeland Security is an impeccable place. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a cleaner, more organized environment. Everyone is polite and cordial —
Oh, who do I think I’m kidding? The place is foul.
I am sitting in a lobby and feeling eight years old again, waiting for a dental exam.
Mack finds me soon enough,
And he’s a hell of a lot nicer than the dentist.
I find myself wondering how such a nice man wound up working in such a wretched place. The Department of Homeland Security was no more about actual security than George Orwell’s Ministry of Peace wanted actual peace.
Ironically, both were really after war.
And Mack just didn’t seem like that type of a guy.
He remarked upon the last time we’d seen each other (three years ago almost to the day — my eighteenth birthday) and he told a story about his quizzical seven-year-old daughter, Maya. Not exactly typical warmonger behavior.
The interview was short. Mack asked me questions off a single sheet of paper — his tone dry. He didn’t even look like he was listening to my well-rehearsed answers. There was a look in his eyes that told me it didn’t matter, that I already had the job if I wanted it.
And, unfortunately, I did.
I am 21 years old today.
My mother bought me one of the generic cakes from the bakery, but I don’t know why because I won’t even be the one to eat it. It’s 7:45 AM, who wants cake?
There’s hardy a reason to celebrate either. I am 21 years old now, which means I now, legally, work for the Department. Which means I’m due at work in 45 minutes.
It means all I am going to know from now on is war.
It starts with orientation, group orientation. Then it splits off into specific factions.
My parents believe I’ll be heading off with the accountants.
In truth, I elected for diplomacy.
Gale Robinson was 42 years old when she was sent to Africa. She left her three children, Derek, 15; Tyler, 11; and Alicia, 5 in the care of her husband, Stanley, embarking on a single year stint to the US Embassy in Somalia.
Upon arrival, Robinson helped distribute rice and blankets to displaced citizens. She used her years of nursing to medicate ill children and combat immune systems weak from malnutrition.
Three months later, the embassy was attacked by rebel soldiers and Robinson was killed in the gunfire.
Zachary Daws was 26 years old when he was sent to Pakistan. He arrived in Islamabad at six in the morning. At noon, Shiite extremists stormed the US Consulate with homemade bombs strapped to themselves. At 12:02, Daws was killed in the explosion after one of the men detonated his bomb.
Daws was survived by his parents, Karen and Michael; two younger sisters, Kirsten, 22, and Dawn, 19; and his fiancee, Nikki.
30 year old Crystal Morring had been doing diplomatic work since college. She had been on two three-year stints in the Dominican Republic, and one single year stint in Afghanistan. Upon relocation to Russia, Mooring was in her office in the US Embassy, when Russian officials surrounded the building. They ordered everyone out and handcuffed them. The embassy workers were transported to Moscow, where they were kept in prison cells for 72 hours before they were individually tortured to death by the Russian government, in an attempt to discover American CIA intelligence.
I had selected the most dangerous job in the world. It trumps cops, it trumps Mafia worker slash drug lord.
It beat being in the actual army, but that was about it.
The diplomats were the ones getting killed out there. A lot of countries didn’t have a much verbal patience, and they weren’t waiting for treaties or compromises. Diplomats could try whatever tactics they wanted, but the governments weren’t budging.
And they soon found that diplomats were a lot easier dealt with dead.