[The Idle time of scarecrows, 658 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Another boring day on the job. Another day as a protective service officer. Half the time you’re standing around in the heat, waiting for something to happen. But it never does. You stand around and a whole lot of fuck all happens.
Jeff turned around to his partner. His partner smiled back. It seems he, at least, enjoyed the laid back style that was the job in reality. After all, in most cases, they were little more than scarecrows. Scarecrows set up at every train station to let the public know that their behaviour was being monitored. That was all that was really needed anyway. The public rarely misbehaves when they know their actions produce consequences. There was, of course, the odd occurrence of teenagers acting up or some drunken fuckwit picking a fight. Apart from the odd occurrences of fuckwits and juvenile delinquents, standing around on train platforms, acting as scarecrows was what the job really entailed. Jeff hadn’t wanted that when he had signed up. He wanted action, he wanted Die Hard, he wanted Terminator and all the other madnesses that Hollywood had injected into his eyes that made him make believe he was the hero. The problem with heroes is that they need a villain to show their true prowess. Without the villain, the hero could not manifest and in the end the concept of the hero became nothing more than a scarecrow. Scaring all of the citizens into orderly form and behaviour. Hollywood also did that, it had penetrated the minds of all with the vision of the impenetrable hero, a hero that would prevail despite all odds that were thrown at him. With the symbol of the all prevailing hero, most behaviour was avoided on a subconscious level. And that’s how Jeff liked to think about himself. As the hero. He was, in truth, a hero. As a scarecrow he prevented more problems than could be counted. However, Jeff wanted to be tested. Jeff wanted the insanities of the darker half of humanity to manifest before his very eyes so that he could counter it at every turn.
They had, after all, given him a gun to fulfil his duties. During his period of working as a protective service officer, he had never once had to pull it out of its holster. A damn shame that. What’s a weapon if it’s only for show? Part of the scarecrow get-up, Jeff figured. Then something happened.
A seething pulsation of anger and repressed trauma entered his head from a time long ago. A time when he was a child. It was… It was too painful to remember and he pulled the gun out of his holster and started blasting it off. He first shot a teenager who had crossed the yellow line that she was not supposed to cross. It was for her safety. His partner saw it all go down. He turned to Jeff and took out his gun, yelling at him, “What the fuck are you doing!?” At the exclamation of anger Jeff turned around and delivered a couple of shots to his partner. One in his eye and the other skimming across his cheek. His partner went down and Jeff was alone. This city needed a villain and if nobody else was going to do it, he sure as hell would. He would give somebody the chance to be the hero, even if he couldn’t. He knew it was wrong, but as he shot surrounding passengers waiting for their train it felt so right.
“Hey mate, what’s the time?” The passenger pulled him out of his fantasy.
Jeff checked his watch, “Two thirty-four.”
“Thanks mate.” The passenger walked along. He looked back at his partner. His partner smiled back again and gave a nod of acknowledgement. Fuck. What was he thinking? Idle time is definitely the devil’s plaything, standing around all day doing very little produced the most obscure lines of thought.