2 Bad Pages a Day
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2 Bad Pages a Day

Against The Tide

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Photo by Jannik Kiel on Unsplash

Bored, bored, bored, BORED

Man alive. This is dull.

Four hours on, one hour off. Four hours of watching. Watching precisely nothing. Keeping an eye out for … nothing. And no-one.




Bored guard. Border guard. BORED’EST guard.

This uniform is so damn heavy too. Black, in this sunshine. The cuffs, the Stunner, the flares, the flare gun, the body armour. Those damn boots. Walking my 100 metres of wall, listening to the ‘clump, clump’ of those damn boots. A 6-month tour. Four hours on, one hour off. Watching. Always watching. For … nothing. Pre-cise-ly NOTHING.

This is Zone 6. What the hell ever happens in Zone 6. Sure, there was that attempted crossing the other night. Now that’s pretty unusual. Even read the Security Notices that evening when I came on shift. Came in a little early. Half an hour less of X-Station gaming {first-person shooter, of course … what’s that game called? Oh, yeah, ‘Migrant Invasion’ … let them come on to you, get them in your sights, blast away. Fills the time when the real thing — much promised in the recruiting adverts — literally NEVER happens}.

An argument today with the new guy.

Jesus, how did the Recruiters let him through? Weird. Strange fella. No, more than that. Real leftfield. Spoke up for migrants. Feels sorry for the guys in the mines. Yeah, so how are they going to heat our accommodation without anthracite, wise guy? Mm, no answer to that, have you? Some shit about it being a trade ‘back in the day’. Back in what day, Crazy Man … that’s borderline Remembrance. Did you fail the Entrance Exam, buddy? The Rules, fella, The Rules. There’s no good that comes from remembrance. So, we’ll have less of that sort of chat, fella, and “no, I don’t want to sit with you at lunchtime”. Weirding me out.

Maybe they’ve brought him in as a test. Ah, yes, a test. The Border Force inspections. I’ve heard of them. Sneak someone in, catch you when you’re bored, make you say things you don’t really mean. Yeah, that must be it. An Inspection. Right, I’ll watch my tongue. It’s the only thing to watch around here.

Four hours on. One hour off.

Watching a bloody concrete moat. In the blazing sun. Every. Damn. Day.

Bloody Inspectors. Nice one … throw in a migrant-loving curve ball. Think I’m too stupid to notice. Wrong move, guys. I’m wise to it. I didn’t spend two tough years on the street as a Vigilante kicking seven shades of shit out of … well, anyone, though we always wrote it up as ‘trangressing the Rules’. Two years of laying into anyone who looked a bit flaky. Fucking bookworms … the ones who care too much about other people … do-gooders … what did they call them back in the day … oh, yeah, Awake. That was it. Awake … soft, more like. Two years of stamping down on that sort of thing. Literally, those big issue boots picked up from the Guard Headquarters stamping down on ankles, legs, heads if they got in the way. Stamping out that Awake shit. Yeah, two years before getting selected for the entry exam. Scraped through … what do you even mean, ‘too extreme’ … ‘tone it down a bit’ … 6 months training. Training? More like ‘play time’. All those weapons to practice with. Prisoners to practice on. “not so Awake now, shithead, are you?”. Two glorious years on a Central Zone Enforcement Squad until …

… yeah, time to reflect. The guy probably was complying. It was cold. Perhaps he was taking his hands out of his pocket. {too bloody slowly, if you ask me, too bloody slowly}. So, the Manual doesn't strictly include ‘repeated kick to head until suspect is lying in a pool of their own blood’ but, hell, he had it coming to him. Upstart migrant from Zone 1 thinking he’d made it by getting into a cushy number working in the Archive. Loser. Anyway, perhaps the last three or four kicks were (strictly speaking) ‘over the top’. He hadn’t really moved after the first couple. Well, he made me mad; looking like that … we’d dealt with plenty of his lot in my Vigilante days; waiting on the beaches, beers around the campfire, watching as they struggled on the changing tide, strolling down as they coughed their guts up, salt water choking them before we laid in with those bats (they say they used to use them for sport, back in the day … we had some fucking sport with them, I’ll say). Coming over here, expecting a warm welcome. I’ll give you a bloody warm welcome. And now you’re in the Central Zone (kick), taking jobs off us (kick), free meals (kick), lording it on the Autotube (kick) … yeah, are you listening, fucker. Mate, he can’t hear nothing no more. Shit.

They let me stay in. Zone 6. Border Guard. Three years, we’ll reassess you then. Yeah, maybe that’s it. A sneaky little reassessment. Pretending to be Awake. See if you can wind me up, fella. No chance. I’ve changed, right? Buried that stuff.


Four hours on, one hour off. Four hours of watching. Watching precisely nothing. Keeping an eye out for … nothing.

And no-one.

Just let one of those migrant fuckers try anything on my shift.



A dystopian imagining of a time in the near future; a time when Citizens are slaves to shadow’y figures who control the resources, the levers of power, and the narrative. Slowly, the seeds of dissension are sown as people are called to change. It is in their Nature.

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