Road trips had never been Pete's idea of a good time. At sixteen he'd spent a week in the back of a van with a set of drums and a pair of guitar cases, stopped at tiny towns where spiked hair might as well have been a set of horns the way people stared, and saw many, many hills and many, many sheep. He wasn't impressed. As an adult, cars mostly registered as places where he couldn't smoke.
"How can you not have a driver's license? You have a pilot's
"Public transportation. Girlfriends. Mooks like you to act as chauffeurs. Hey, hey, eyes on the road!"
"Some super-spy you are."
Pete had wanted to take the MI-13 helicopter, but John had nixed that idea. Wasn't real big on the idea of the boss knowing about this little trip, and hey, Pete owed the man... Skrull... whatever, he owed John
enough favors to go along and keep his mouth shut. After all, this had started when John tried to get the band back together, and by 'band' Pete was pretty sure he meant 'alien invasion.' But then Ringo had turned up missing, under circumstances suspicious enough that John wanted Wisdom for backup.( Belles of Hell... Now why did that sound familiar?Collapse )
It's 1995, 1 AM, and the queen ice bitch is yelling at me to go home, go get drunk(er), go anywhere
, she doesn't care, just get out of her face. She doesn't give a damn what I'm working on, only thing I ought to be working on is the damn non-combatant job I made such a fuss about, so just crawl off into some hole and sit tight until then, because you're driving everybody nuts, Wisdom. And it's a little bit hilarious, because a few days ago I was desperate to get as far away as possible from the whole sorry lot of them. Thing is, though, then there's just my empty flat waiting for me, isn't there? First time I'd been back there in months, it's just so much empty space and empty time until this new job gets started. Much to my surprise, you can't fill up every hour of the day with whiskey alone, and the wonderful thing about work is it saves you the trouble of free time in which to think.( 2 AM, 3 AM, 4...Collapse )
Don't know what you're getting at with that. I'm an honest man. Even when I probably shouldn't be. Too damn honest, me.
Oh, right, it's the whole spy thing, isn't it? Yeah, yeah. All romance and glamour and secrets and double lives; look at me, I'm Sean bloody Connery. That's the films, mate. I'm not that kind of spook. I'm the kind that walks up to you, flashes some ID and says, hello, Pete Wisdom, spook. You want to uncover some secret double life, don't look at me, go find some 'happily' married couple to pester. Those are the people with the real good secrets: the completely ordinary ones. They go out and do something terrible - or they build it up in their minds until it seems terrible - or they betray some trust and can't face up to it, or maybe they just didn't tell you something 'cause they didn't want to hurt you. They let it build up, one little white lie after another.
Me, not so much. Might be my job to keep other people's secrets, sometimes, or to clean up after them. But I don't have many of my own.
I don't care about anyone enough to lie to them.
...fuck, that sounded downright pathetic. Right. Locking that bit.
Oh, wait, I've got one! Can't remember her name - Cindy? Sugar? Candy? Something like that - whatever, if a certain blonde bombshell from San Francisco ever reads this, I should tell you: I didn't actually lose an eye while going back alone for my wounded partner in Dagestan and also rescuing a small horde of war orphans. I don't even like kids. Yeah, so glad to get that off my chest; fantastic things, confessions.
...Wonder where I left that old eyepatch, come to think of it.
"Ooops. Dissection lab go boom."
"That, Wisdom, was a terrorist act."
"Was it really? Wonder why?"
Rebellion comes down to a choice between two things. ...wait, no, actually half the time rebellion's the desire to give your parents as much hell as they've given you. Strike that. Rebellion as an adult comes down to a choice between two things: doing what's right, or doing what you're told.
It's not a change. Nothing changes, not for you anyway. You didn't just wake up one morning and decide, hmm, nothing on the telly today, suppose I'll go throw off the shackles of an oppressive society. You're just doing the same things you were doing all along. It's all a matter of whether or not the rest of the world's agreeing with you at the moment.
When a man signs on to defend Queen and country, it seems a pretty simple thing. Big bad men out there trying to hurt poor little innocent civilians, boo, hiss, let's go take them out, be great bloody heroes. Accent on the bloody; I'm not swearing here, I am talking about a very messy line of work. Somewhere along the line, though, people tend to confuse "ready and willing to defend Queen and country" with "brainless suit who'll do whatever he's told."
See, here's the thing. Odds are, that man who wants to defend the innocent civilians and all that, he signed on because he knows there are horrible things happening in the world, and he wants to do his part to make them stop. That's what you call an obedient little soldier. And if you take that same man and say to him "hey, let's do horrible things to innocent people, but this time, we're gonna do it in the name of the government you serve," well, then you've got what you might call a rebel.
Or a terrorist. I'm not particular.
My father told me once, never bring your work home with you. Do what you can, when you can, but don't make it personal. That's a fast way to drive yourself mad, burn yourself out. Have to remind yourself, it's not your job to judge people. You leave that to the courts, and, realizing that the court system is shit, you leave it to God.
Harold Wisdom. Champion of the 'do as I say, not as I do' school of child rearing.
Not much difference between the police and MI13 in this: when a partner turns up dead, who the hell wouldn't take that personal? But although my father may be senile, and evil, and insane, he did have a point. Obsessing over revenge is a fantastic way to lose your mind. Take a look at the news sometime; the wars, the terrorists, human or otherwise - all these nutcases getting back at the world for some slight or another.
Thing is, I'm not sure the revenge is the problem in that equation, so much as the obsession. You obsess over anything, you're going to go a bit off. People can snap over knitting. Football. Comic books. Whatever it is, obsession means your priorities are getting fucked up. People - overly idealistic people - like to talk about revenge leaving you with nothing. Nice theory, isn't it? Revenge fucks up the avenger, yeah, all right, that's a nice way to discourage the practice, and half the time it's true, revenge does fuck a person up - but try talking to someone in lock up. Hell, try talking to Campbell, he's paranoid enough about the subject. Revenge doesn't leave you with nothing. That's too easy. Obsessing about revenge just means revenge becomes more important than everything else, replaces everything else - and revenge is pain. Your pain, and the desire to cause more. That's what you're left with.
So don't obsess. Just do what needs to be done.
Because leaving it to the courts, or to God, or anyone else you care to think of, that's just a way of reassuring yourself that you'll get your revenge eventually. Only thing that changes is who's doing the dirty work.
I am very good at the dirty work.
There's this scientist, name of Fisher, spent a lot of time studying love and the things that it does to your brain. The chemicals of it. She works out that as far as biology's concerned, love only lasts about four years. Just about long enough to raise a kid. Goes back to prehistory: kid works up a basic immune system, figures out that whole walking trick, manages not to get killed by the first predator to wander by, and you're free to lose the wife and kid and off you go to find a new mate. Far as the survival of the species is concerned, four years in love is all we need.
Guess how long most marriages last before the divorce rate spikes.
Monogamy, sure, all right, I'm a believer in that. At least, I'm not against the concept. Always expected, growing up, that I'd wind up settled down with a family at some point because, well, you don't question it when you're a kid, do you? Don't think about it much at all.
I haven't thought about it much since, either.
I'm not the sort to cheat on a girl. Not that sleeping with a person makes me blind to everyone else, but one woman's trouble enough all on her own, I'm not suicidal enough to try for two. So, monogamy. Serial monogamy, anyway. But the lifelong soulmate shit, that's something made up for kids and storybooks; a myth, much like an honest government. People aren't wired for relationships that last.
You have a 44% chance of going postal!
The chances of a killing spree in your future are pretty low. But discuss any problems you have with a therapist. Or your local barman. Talking about your feelings is very important... well, and emmasculating, but let's not talk about that.
How Likely Are You to Go Postal?
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Cute, real cute.
The friendly barman who'll listen to all your troubles is a myth invented by the movie industry and perpetuated by overly optimistic alcoholics. If a barman's standing about chatting with you that means he's not doing his job, namely, keeping his mouth shut and delivering the beer.