Morning Shift

May 31, 2018

Forget politics. Man does not eat his supper by the dictates of the council. He pays my wage yet knows not my name. My friends die for him yet he does not mourn. My days obscured as they are to a single frame. … . . ! …!! . !


“Arise Bartuc! Sleep poisons the weak. Now; Now!” Fall out of bed and fall flat in 2 shakes. Standing is the hard part and not well received. The night before still heavy in my eyes. “Ready to move sir” I implored. “To your post, on the double!”


Peace is for the prepared it seems, I don my uniform. Built for the average man; in my 20 man company it fits not the 1. Too long in the arms or too tight in the chest. Both in my case. The system deems it so.


As I report to my post I am late. Maybe a quarter turn? “Hello Carl. I have come to replace you.” “Yes, yes you have Bartuc” he spits. Angry at my lack of diligence. “It won’t happen again.” “Words are wind, scum, and you are the storm“ he snarls.


Yeah, cause the east wall has ever seen action anyway. To hurry up and wait? What I can take is mine. The same treeline month to month; diligence mixes with distraction. Yeah, there were the bread riots but that was under an open sky; not the crotch of dawn. Riots sleep in. Carl’s footsteps punctuate my silence.


Dark of morn gives way to heat of day. Hot as I begin to skulk behind a parapet for shade. Hidden but watching as is all good surveillance. Travelers would not start arriving for another full turn, trade such as it was traveled north south along the rivers. Ah the first one. A farmer, his cart heavy laden with goods. It will be still be some time until he reaches the gate. The sightlines vast and his mule slow. When he finally reaches the gate the guards are there to meet him.


My coworker, the more enterprising of the two, begins to interrogate him. An eager malice I hope never to posses. Words are said and fists are thrown, but it is an all together one sided affair. The farmer and his cart are cleared to the side until he can walk again and is willing to pay his fee. Sadly smackdowns are not free. As a bonus if he dies the city guard can claim his cart. Not eager for the next 3 turns.

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