November 08, 2004

Ahead of Myself

I watched the third, or is it fourth, American beheading today on the internet. I’m always shocked at how quickly it happens. How soft the neck really is.

The black hooded man lunges forward. He grabs the hostage by the hair, pulling upward. The other hand reaches around with a blade and slicing inward the head comes off trailing a jagged, wet mess.

And I can’t take my eyes off of that head hanging there. It’s a person’s real head. The hostage’s death mask, a silent scream, lingers there on his face. I’ve seen decapitations before. I’ve seen them countless times in slasher films. Human heads are impaled on fences, split with hatchets, sawed off with smoking chainsaws. Sometimes heads are rotting or speaking from beyond the grave. They are all usually much, much bloodier.

But in these movies the heads are separated and placed almost politely on the back of an orange suited body. I stare at it. I can’t stop staring because it looks phony.

I mean the head he’s holding looks like something I could make. Give me some corn syrup, a Styrofoam wig stand and some putty. Jesus, it looks so fucking cheap! But it’s real. It’s real and that makes my stomach churn. It makes me gag. This man was my father’s age.

Why the fuck was he there? Why did he put himself in such danger? Is the money that good? Is Dick Cheney paying his contractors so much as to risk dying by beheading?

How can a person inflict that harm on someone else? I am the savior of my country and this act is what I must do to free my homeland of the oppressors. I scream to my God and quickly, without thinking, bring the blade to his throat. I cut into it and my breath shortens because I must cut and cut. And my hand is soaking wet. My knife is slippery. The man’s hair is so greasy. The head is surprisingly heavy. He screamed so loudly.

That final scream. The first hostage, Nick Berg’s scream was a death throttle. I hear it in my head.

The second one was an inward gasp, as though he was diving underwater. He had a physical build like the second one, whose name I’ve also forgotten. They were both big guys, truckers in their fifties or sixties. Probably a few kids at home who will forever be known as the ones whose dads got their heads cut off. Years from now at their high school reunions, they’ll still be known as the kids whose dad’s got their heads cut off.

And the White House sends them a sympathy card and a cheese basket. Maybe two flag draped boxes, one a casket, the other a hat box?

I blame the White House. Yet, I wonder was his execution a necessary sacrifice? Perhaps Christian martyrdom? And, disgustingly, part of me welcomes his execution. Only when more Nick Berg’s and middle class truckers (who look like America’s dads) have their heads cut off will the red states wake the fuck up and realize we are in a quagmire. What will the reaction be when the first American woman is executed on video? And I get so angry at myself for toying with such disgusting ideas.

A laser guided missile or a dagger into someone’s throat, is there a difference? How about a plane into a financial tower? Retaliation creates retaliation until one party is strong enough to stop. But we’re sinking and nowhere near the bottom. The President tells us to stay the course and not to be swayed by terrorists.
Bush’s talking head appears more gruesome than the silent one neatly placed on the back of that dirty, orange jumpsuit.

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