Across Continents

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Warmongering

January 5th, 2012

The Hogpen in Leakey – pronounced, I discovered later, ’Lakey’. I’d glibly described it as a Bikers Den, but home to the local Chapter of the Hell’s Angels it wasn’t. Instead drawing in the Harley Davidson crowd. But not today. Empty bar myself, the bartender and another customer. A large screen explained that the background music was Classic Vinyl. Mostly Seventies, possibly late Sixties. Doors. "The End". Felt sure it’d been used in the Vietnam War classic Apocalypse Now. Haunting.

Earlier I’d met Neil. He was a fellow cyclist, hailing from North London and heading west towards San Diego. We shared an engineering background. He’d worked in telecoms. Sensed a little disenchantment. Talking disparagingly about spending hundreds of man hours developing better, more intuitive, ways for drunken party goers to send pictures of their private parts to friends. So he’d decided to head for the road.

And whilst he might have barely tolerated the mobile phone business, he especially disliked the defence engineering sector. Quite clear on this point. I teased a little. Big export earner. Creative killing was one of the few things that distinguished the Human Race. What separated us from the apes. Fact of life. Ethics aside, explained I did at least favour brutal honesty. Adding I’d no illusions about surgical strikes. Or collateral damage. Hogwash. War. People die. Period. Parting with the suggestion that if I ever went into the field, my marketing slogan would be ’We pedal death’. Can’t then accuse me of being misleading…

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