Sunday, September 29, 2013


'The men are entirely too scattered to be of any real use, Sir.' Those words muttered by my second in command Wilson, brought me up short. Wilson and I have been together for several years, and despite the fact that I consider him a gloomy bastard, I generally give his advice some considerable thought before I chose to ignore it.  As usual, he was right, he generally is which is the reason that I keep him around in spite of his gloominess. Well, it's one of the reasons, there are several other but I don't want to catalog them all, just in case he reads this, and starts to get ideas above his station. One never knows when the 'loyal' second in command will decided to throw you into a ditch, and take control of the company.

His comment, in the case, did give me pause. A pause that I used to take stock of the company which I was, in theory at least, the leader of. They were scattered, strung out along a line that was entirely too long, and too many of them were clearly not keeping up. When the men of which you are in charge become as scattered, as the men of my company had, there is only (sadly) one person to blame. That person being yours truly. It is not all sunshine and lollipops at the top of the command pyramid. The pause also gave me another moment to consider Wilson. A thinking man's man, thin as a rail, dressed like it was the dead of winter, when it was only early fall. A man that was always cold, and I wasn't sure that the coldness came from the environment, or from inside. Because I was fairly certain that Wilson has a block of ice where his heart should have been. I guess that is what makes him a good number two, coldness is something that helps when giving advice to a fellow (i.e. me) who generally doesn't take it very well.

It wasn't like I didn't know the scattering of my men was a bad idea. I know it's a bad plan, but I am nothing if not a master of making bad plans. Shitty terrain, approaching bad weather (or so Wilson says, he is always saying bad weather is approaching), and a group of men that have trouble taking direction, is an absolute prescription for disaster.  The main problem was how I was going to solve this problem. Scattered men are a lot harder to control than men that who are in some sort of actual compact formation. By scattering them, I had wasted my advantage, and I am the kind of person who needs all the advantages I can get. I realized that I was violating all the 'rules of war' and that scattering my strength was not a good idea. It was just all spiraling a bit out of my control, and it seemed as if Wilson was just not going to being of any use at all.

Maybe he had gotten tired of being number two, maybe he figured that one bone crushing defeat who either get my fool ass killed, or at least have the effect of making the men more agreeable to throwing me into that convenient ditch. Even I wasn't sure why the scattering of my men had taken place, it wasn't like they didn't know better, they just seemed to refuse to do better, and therein lay the rub. A group of men, who are trained better, who know better, should fucking DO better. It is not as if this disaster was hard to predict. The trifecta at the Derby is hard to predict, this, this could be seen coming from a mile away by a man possessing only one good eye.

'Maybe, just maybe, my dear Wilson, the men are to blame for this, and not, for once, me' was my tired reply. Tired because after all these years leading this group of lewd, mouth breathing bunglers, I was getting tired of herding them like so many violent sheep. 'Perhaps, they need to learn a lesson' I said as I tried for the hundredth time to fathom why my second in command couldn't really be trusted. Whatever chemicals he took, and I was fairly certain he took some chemicals no one can stay awake as much as he does without taking something, were probably part of the reason for the distrust. After all, can you trust a skinny guy who doesn't ever seem to either eat or sleep, and drinks very sparingly? Never fully trust a man that you haven't seen drunk at least twice in your life.

  Wilson. I had seen drunk exactly once in all the years I had known him, and even then the only reason I knew him to be drunk was because of the drops, made from a particular type of flower that only grows in a particular place in the world, that I had put into his small beer one night at some flop house of a tavern which we were staying. The clever fellow that I had purchased the drops from assured me that 'whomever drinks this will be as drunk as a lord within the hour, and will wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy.' I couldn't resist that sales pitch, after all, I wanted to know what Wilson knew, but wasn't telling me. Good thing for me that I did because when he became drunk, Wilson told me exactly what he thought of me, my leadership ability, and just for fun, mentioned a few things he would like to do to or with my sister. None of these things did I find particularly pleasant, as for my sister, well that you would have to ask her.

Since that night, I have never felt the need to see Wilson drunk again, and I've also never felt the need to introduce him to my sister. I knew from that one night exactly how far (and no further) that I could trust him, and that is exactly how far I trusted him.  The scattering of the men had been an idea of mine just to see how he would react, and he reacted much the way I expected him to.  That idea was not exactly my crowning achievement, and I begin to realize that perhaps I should have found other, less dangerous ways to test my number two. As usual, wisdom comes late, and in this case, late was bad. Very, very bad. Bad things were about to begin to happen to me, to Wilson, and to the scattered set of fools that were nominally under my command. Perhaps, and it is only just perhaps, that if I survive these bad things I will begin to understand that men are not like hash browns at a Waffle House, scattered, smothered, and covered is not a good way to have them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"In three things is a man revealed: in his wine goblet, in his purse, and in his wrath."