I’m a bit off. I won’t lie. When a pal crosses meI want them die. It don’t matter how, but I imagine it as slow and that it hurts, and that as they lay dying they beg that I forgive them before their souls disappear into the arms of God.
In my fantasy, I never make their last seconds easy. Blood is my natural drink and the wails of the dying excites.
Back when I used to run the biz side of the mag, as well as the writing stuff, I used to fight withother owner Wheels, like, all the time. When he’d fly overseas – one of us would have to stay to stuff envelopes and maintain spread sheets and that was usually me because I’m good with numbers –I would watch the jet accelerate along the runway and, just as it approached V1, the speed at which there was no turning back from take-off, like, even if the wings plain dropped off or the tail fin wilted,I would stare really hard as if I had super powersand will catastrophe. Sometimes, I would stare sohard the frown of concentration would remain inmy forehead for an hour afterwards.
One friend I don’t want to lose is Charlie Smith, from Eagle Rock, in Los Angeles. Every issue I provide a skeleton; Charlie dresses these bones in the most fabulous muscle and tendon and ligament and golden brown skin you could ever imagine. In June, Charlie set off for Yemen to cover an impending revolution; a war between Communist and Jidhadi. By the time you read this he’ll be dead, either at the hand of a grinning Muslim, or at the bottom of the drink when his Aeroflot LA-Moscow-Aden flight goes down. I recorded this interview at LA International Airport. It also segues into possibly Charlie’s last-ever story for the magazine, beginning page 59, on this minor, but no less bloody, African sideshow.
Why are you going to Yemen? I’ve been twice before and they have the most fabulous bread I have ever tasted. Delicately dusted with flour and salt. Also, the country is slipping into civil war. In the recent past, Yemen was two countries: North Yemen and South Yemen. I don’t know what North was about, but South was a Communistnation, supported and loved by the USSR. The two unified in 1990 but mid-level anger has boiled since. Mostly about the distribution of resources,but also Al-Qaeda has a strong hold in the south and has combined with the Commos to heighten tension. There has been a lot of recent death in the outlaying provinces.
Is it a good revolution or a bad revolution? For my money, revolution is always good, especially because capitalists always win. I like South Yemen better. It is on the Indian Ocean and has beautiful old cities. But I don’t like their socialist proclivities.I hope they get squashed and I know they will. So,it is a good revolution.
What does it mean for Australians or Americans? Rural Yemen usually means death for Australians or Americans, if you happen to be there. Other than that, nothing. Yemen has no oil and it does have really cute ladies but they cover their selves from head to toe and they don’t leave the country. Are you afraid of being killed?
Sometimes yes, but this time, no. I am in an angsty mode like I’ve never been in my life. Half of it is dueto an impossible love situation. The other half dueto killing my Saint Bernard, Chester, yesterday. He was a good boy.
What ways might you be killed? I’ll probably just get shot. I have heard that there are more guns, per capita, than anywhere else inthe world. I tend to believe it because five-year-oldboys carry Kalashnikovs on their backs. They have roadside gun stalls where you can buy suitcase Uzis. The first time I was there, a 10-year-old riding a tractor slid his finger across his throat in my direction. He was also waving a pistol.
What measures have you taken for your safety? I will be with my comrades Josh and Nate. We’ve tasted the goodness of every hell-laced Islamic country together. We may be bulletproof. Aside from that, nothing. Fortune favours the bold.
Do you like firing guns and do you think youmight have to shoot somebody? I love firing guns, especially in Yemen. One time we were with a military escort on a high mountain.There was a family walking on the beach below,about 300 metres away. He pulled out his pistol, shot behind them and laughed as they scurried away. And, yes, I might have to shoot someone.
Is being a Muslim cool? I think it is cool. I think the cocksureness that theypossess is refreshing. None of this post modernwishy-washy. They know everything and aren’t afraid to tell you. Something masculine about thesurety. John Wayne-like.
Would you like to be a Muslim? No. I’m a Protestant Christian and the freedom of Protestant Christianity is unique in the world. I can do whatever I want and I’m forgiven, baby!
If you don’t come back, what words wouldyou like to leave with readers? I never liked any of you.