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Lenore Coffee avatar 4:17 PM on 10.06.2009
Defiling the Wasteland – A Memoir, Part 3



Scars spread across my body like the patchwork of a web, armor all its own, a story formed by warfare so individual as to fail descriptive faculty—just connect my dots, follow each jagged line to its edge till it splinters in another direction, marks another battle for fight. Flight is not an option.

And it’s the same with everyone. Billy Creed’s torso read like a telemetric mountain range. Jericho’s back echoed a narrative of continual strife, and some Raiders I find etch their respective body counts on limbs, stomachs, even some of their skulls. The most isolated, the most withdrawn from the world cannot escape the story this environment etches into each of us, but this is no recourse for sympathy. Those I’ve spared have only come back to burn another line in my skin, for which I now draw “The End” on virtually everything I come across, with few exceptions.

The Wastes aren’t as desolate as so many seem to think. Dig just a few feet in any one spot and you’re sure to find former vestiges of life, some older than others, some still smoldering. It’s a graveyard—the whole fuckin place—a testament to centuries of error, strife, and the stubborn insistence of humanity to keep going. So if you think about it, wherever you find yourself—here, you’re never completely alone. The ghosts of war are not those to settle silent in the dark. And far from its inherited misnomer—The Wasteland—I intend to waste nothing. Not a moment, not a cap, not a life.

And it has its own maligned sense of beauty. No composer could improve upon the imminent song sung as a man breathes his last, the jingling of rifle shells trailing behind as I go on the offensive. Smoke clears; dust settles, blood sinks swiftly into the brown-yellow dirt that smothers the landscape beneath your feet to the far reaches of the horizon.

So here, in this haunted sprawl of anguish and mutation, survival is for those who’ve already given in, relinquished life as something to which they grasp blindly. No—mere survival…that’s for those already dead. I intend to flourish, to grip every opportunity by the throat and transform, as the great ancient Sirtomas of More once wrote: “Your sheep, that were wont to be so meek and tame and so small eaters, now, as I hear say, become so great devourers, and so wild, that they eat up and swallow down the very men themselves.”

If ever I was timid, so now watch me devour.

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