In the creation of this work I did a great deal of reflection. I didn’t have a title when I began, in fact when I began I didn’t know I would tell the stories that I did. I didn’t have an end either and in the process I had some realizations and some breakthroughs. The biggest breakthrough was I realized, my journey of beliefs, being in the moment, living for yourself, and living a life that inspires and thrills you, all seem to stem from a joke my father once told me when I was young. I know he didn’t realize it at the time, or even have the intention behind it, but that joke arrived in my head as I wrote this and wouldn’t go away. From my adult point of view I thought it was a stupid joke, until I took a closer look.
A commander his held up in a bunker during a furious battle, He is out of troops, the front lines have been broken, the enemy has advance and the bunker is about to be overrun. In desperation the commander notices that the only man left in the bunker is the cook. The cook is in the kitchen mopping the floor.
The commander rushes in. “Look here son. We’re fucked. Do you understand me? The enemy is right outside that door and I need every able bodied man to get out there and fight. So I need you boy. Get out there and attack the enemy and save this battle. This is for your country! Now you get out there and do your worst.”
The soldier doesn’t even question the commander. He drops his apron, grabs a helmet and starts looking for a rifle. “Sir, I don’t have a weapon, what can I do?”
The commander stares at the cook, grabs the mop, snaps the head off with his boot and hands the cook the mop handle.
The cook stares at the commander, takes the mop handle and looks at it. “Sir? What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Look here soldier. I know what this looks like, but this ain’t what it looks like. I need you to forget what it looks like. Understand me. Forget everything you have ever learned or believed. This my boy is a rifle. And I want you to take this rifle, go out that door and I want you to go, BANGA BANGA BANGA BANGA!”
“I have faith in you son. You can do this.”
The cook nervously takes a step towards the door and stops. “But sir, all the other soldiers have bayonets.”
The commander doesn’t miss a beat. He looks around the kitchen, grabs a napkin and ties it to the end of the mop handle. “There now. You take this, and I want you to go STABBA STABBA STABBA STABBA! You understand me soldier?”
The cook is silent and dumbfounded.
“You can do this son. You just got to believe in it.”
Now the cook, is frightened. He moves to the door and it sounds like the world is coming to an end outside. He looks back once and the commander straightens and salutes him. The cook takes a breath and bursts out the door.
Outside the bunker there are bodies everywhere, soldiers are screaming and through all the smoke he can see the enemy advancing fast. The cook dives into a fox hole and peers out just as the soldier next to him goes down. Then the soldier on the other side of him goes down. He takes a deep breath, jumps out of the fox hole, shuts his eyes and in a fit of terrified screaming desperation yells, “BANGA BANGA BANGA BANGA, STABBA STABBA STABBA STABBA, BANGA BANGA BANGA, STABBA STABBA STABBA!”
Which is followed by, silence.
The first thing the cook notices when he opens his eyes is that there is smoke, drifting off the end of the mop handle, and the napkin is singed and dripping red. Bodies are lying everywhere around him.
Through the quiet haze the cook can just make out one last enemy soldier marching towards him. The soldier has no gun and he is just marching right towards him.
The cook is more confident now. He closes his eyes and again yells, Banga banga banga! Stabba stabba stabba! He opens his eyes and the soldier is still coming. The cook stares and tries again banga banga banga stabba stabba stabba, but he’s still coming.
The enemy soldier crosses the battlefield, past all the fallen soldiers right up to the cook. He steps on the cook’s ankle and breaks it knocking the cook to the ground. He steps on his knee, snap, his chest, crack, and then his shoulder, snap.
The cook is on the ground, broken.
The enemy soldier walks past the cook, turns around and begins to start back.
The battered cook mutters, “How?”
The soldier turns back to the cook and says, “Tanka tanka tanka tanka.”
There is no one who can believe in you enough to make you do anything. If you don’t believe in it yourself, none of it matters. You, can do anything you put your mind to.