The last of the cabbages


03 Nov
03Nov

I’ve been dreading this evening ever since the invite. 

Fuckers, all vying for favour even at this late stage in proceedings. 

A birthday bash in an underground venue. I hate birthdays, they are always fraught with tension, at least in my experience. 

But I have to attend this event despite the risk to my own life in just getting here. I should be seen although the host is not what he was.  I don’t say this last lightly. I revered and adored him, perhaps even wanted to…no let’s not get carried away. The thought of lying with another man sickens me. An illness, one that should be beaten and shot out of people until they live straight or die trying. I’m not that way inclined, just he, our host, was special. A light in the dark. A voice clear and true. The base of his vocals boomed into hearts and minds. I swear if I’d clenched my teeth, back when he addressed his audience in full pomp, I would have felt dentures rattle in my mouth. He was a giant among mortals. 

Not so much the case now, however. I’ve not seen him for a month or so but am informed his state grows worse on various levels. He physically shakes for one, his hand permanently pulses while his mind is not what it once was. 

Not that I would tell him that, nobody would, he might be mad but he’s not fucking soft. Vicious bastard up until the last no doubt, and with paranoia his closest friend, I’d be insane not to attend this last soiree. 

I watch as the guests swarm around him, currying favour or attempting to, although they know as much as I, that it is all in vain.  Unlike previous birthday bashes for the old sod. 

I say old, he’s not elderly but boy does he look it. We’re not that far apart in years but you wouldn’t know it. I was always considered a weak fellow in my youth, too unwell to serve in the forces as a young man, but now I’m rather grand and dignified looking. A real class act not to mention a top of the chain type of man. A general, far more important than any soldier. 

Anyway, I cringe inwardly, thinking about previous celebrations. We competed, like fools for his affections throughout our lives, and his birthdays? Perfect opportunities to show off just how much more loyal and affectionate each of us were compared to the other. An unspoken game. Just as we know what is really occurring here. 

We will feign glory, talk up our position and even discuss new plans to vanquish enemies, knowing how absurd in real terms that is. We are done for, the royal we. Not me, I’ll be getting the fuck out of here this evening, moving on and far away. Cut a deal with the enemy who will naturally treat me like royalty. I have much to offer and they know it, or will.  

I just don’t want him suspecting anything before the inevitable happens.  I’ve managed to set tongues gently wagging through the wider grapevine, a few stories of my trying to pull off a last moment reprieve, riding in to the rescue for our great cause. I hope word has reached him. 

It stinks down here I must add.  Something to do with the water from underneath this bunker while the air is recycled and now that food supplies are running short, apart from cabbages that is (they have lots of cabbage I’m informed) the smell that surrounds us is primarily of sweat, damp and, well, cabbages. 

It does not make for a pleasant aroma. The nervousness of attendees tonight, only makes that fact worse, an unpleasant addition to the gathering stink. They are all on tender hooks. Even the big fuck who is heading towards me as I speak. His wide pompous grin and fat face is enough to induce instant loathing. 

Still, I gather myself for one last conversation with the odious, idiotic lump, as he lollops his way over to me. “You fucking showed up then, wise. You eh, staying on here or…?” 

I know what he wants. He wishes to ascertain whether we’ll be competing over getting out tonight or if I’ll be loyal to the last.  At least I assume. He might be staying here until the bitter end for all I know, not that he truly would stay. But he might like to give that impression to the birthday boy. Which is also my plan! 

“Oh I’ll be here to the last. I uh, might however need to see to a few affairs before.” 

“Before what?” he interjects. He always does that.

“Well, before our host and leader decides on our next…you know…” I reply coolly. 

His planet round face gurns keenly, “No I’m not sure I understand at all. Before he what?” 

He is testing me, but I have never underestimated him, despite everything I just said to the contrary. It’s all in his eyes, they are as keen as ever and while he may appear constantly foolish and defeated, he is always playing the angles. 

“Before he, let me see, ah yes before he announces the plans for a final great victory,” I say with pride. 

He starts laughing, stifling his titters with the pink trotter he calls a hand. Fatty mimics me, repeating my words in a squeaky voice, “Oh, a final great victory!” 

I frown before deciding what to do next. I’ll probably just and go and speak to someone else in a moment, see what the others are up to. I terrify most of them just on sight, which is always fun. Fear or loathing, maybe both, either way it makes me valid as a force and has served me well. 

He grabs my arm and pulls me to him, whispering, “I’m just fucking with you, dickless. Christ you’re a skinny little runt. No wonder you’re so vicious. Look at that,” he says incredulously, squeezing my arm in his grip, “Like a skinless, boneless chicken. Actually I could do with some chicken, just to go with the cabbage, pep it up a bit.” 

I pull away. Thinks he can intimidate me with his physicality. He should know better. After all, I’ve had people like his dear grandfather, who he loved so much, killed in their masses. Worked them like beasts and murdered them like rats. I’d love to put him in one of my…oh here is his face again front and centre. 

“Cat got your tongue old boy? Unlike you. So come on then, cut the final glory horseshit. I am getting the fuck out of here once formalities are done. There is no fucking way I’m going to die in this shit pit, to the sounds of his insane rambling monologues that would make more sense on fucking Mars. He might actually be planning that as we speak, boys we’re invading space itself.” 

I under normal circumstances would suspect this a ruse, a trick to trip me up and spill my duplicitous plans.  But clearly we are in stranger times. “How are you going to do that, I wonder? Wander out with some pathetic excuse? Forgot to feed the cat? Or you just remembered your grandfather is still deceased?” I say that last knowing it’ll sting. “He won’t allow it and even if he does, well, he’ll suspect you and…” 

“And what exactly? Hmm? What can he do? You know we’re done for. It is over, all of it.  We’ve lost. Now it’s about getting out and I’m sorted sunshine. I have strategic matters to deal with, it is already decided. We, chatted, a little before you arrived funnily enough.”  

The bastard. So he is here to gloat. Strategic plans indeed. He’s promised to mobilise his legendary airborne to do the impossible and of course, to oversee it all. Which he won’t because fuck all will happen. He shall race off, collect his stolen bounty and head for the hills. Plus his airborne is actually shit, by the way.  

I’ve planned similar as mentioned, negotiations are underway with the enemy who are no longer my enemy. If anything, they are less of a threat to me now than the cabbages. 

“I see, and do these strategic manoeuvres happen to be with you leading from another continent, feet up and all the morphine you can…” 

He grabs my arm again, “Careful, slim.  I’m not here to scupper you. It is all fucked now, the charade is collapsing around us. I know a sly little operator like you has its own plans. Probably negotiating immunity if you surrender and to release some of your prisoners in return? Those that are left at least.” 

I don’t think he knows my plans, but he understands me well enough and is not far off at all. I nod discreetly. 

“Pah! I knew it. Well, I look forward to watching you trying to weasel yourself away tonight,” he replies with probably the most honest thing he has ever said in my presence. 

“Well, quite,” I reply curtly before spying a snack across the way from me. The Snack catches my gaze and I summon him with a curt, ‘come here,’ motion. Fatty wheezes a titter next to me. 

“Gentleman, how lovely to see you both here today,” says the fop as he staggers nervously towards us. 

He never should be here in our company. Quite what the leader saw in him I’ll never know. He designs and builds things that impress, although I gather he has been most efficient in his newer role. But it is all in vain. What use is there in prolific production if there are no longer enough people to benefit and to make use of it all?  Simple maths really. He knows it too. I wonder what his plans are beyond this evening. 

“Lovely indeed. What a strange choice of words considering our situation,” I reply curtly. 

He might be the favourite but I’m the ever loyal one and relied upon as a result. The fact I’m not remotely faithful, is besides the point. I appear to be and that used to matter, still does. Whereas this little twerp has the genuine affections of our hailed commander and that’s, well, it’s pathetic is what it is! I'm not jealous, just that such affections sicken me.

I can see chunky here is ready to get stuck in and spear our mutual friend for sport, but we are interrupted by the clinking of glass. It makes my stomach turn and the pain is back. I shall speak to my doctor once I’m out of here. I have endured these pains for some time. Late at night when sleep evades me, I wonder if it’s a symptom of certain acts that, well, are necessary. I’m sure the enemy will see that in time, once we discuss fully my terms and practical use, post all this decaying nonsense.  I had to do something about the problem, find the solution. I also had crime and disease to control among so many prisoners, and while my methods may be questionable, I still feel they were necessary. People will understand, in time.  

I follow the gazes in the room to the glass clinker, knowing already who it is. It’s the fucking Pitbull. The one who never fucks off or leaves the side of our hailed governor. How the boss has not seen this I’ll never know, everywhere he turns he sees that face instantly. The bastard is better at being a shadow than an actual shadow is at…I think the drink is going to my head a little. There is a lot of alcohol down here, not to mention the potential of debauchery. It has that Sodom and Gomorrah feel. The Pitbull will no doubt be leading it too, I’ve seen him eyeing up the skirt around here, like a predator coaxed into action by the end of days. 

He orders silence for our leader, who has a speech prepared, or more accurately a stream of insanities to issue. I prepare to zone out and mull over my excuse to depart a little later. I plan to tell him or confirm, if my rumour mill has worked, that I have secretive negotiations afoot with potential new allies. We have pissed off most of the world but I could embellish something about traitors to the enemy, an army of them hiding in Finland and ready to mobilise for the cause. His brain is so full of holes he’ll believe me, besides, I’m the faithful one to his mind. Whatever those other spineless bastards say. 

I’ve just realised the room is silent and rather sombre while the Pitbull, he looks ashen and most concerned. My heart sings upon seeing his pain. I turn to my fat soft comrade who is once again in the throes of stopping himself from laughing. I elbow him. 

“Ow, fucking watch your pointy gnarly elbow will you,” he whispers.

“What did the boss just say? What’s up with Bor…” 

Fatty is smiling again and interrupts me with an excited slap on the back, “He said he intends to stay here until the end. He’s going to die down here if events don’t turn in our favour. Look at the Pitbull’s face! He is shitting it!” 

I speak through pursed lips, “Keep it down for fucks sake,” though I have to conceal my own amusement. 

The Pitbull has made our situation infinitely worse since his involvement, his tongue so rigidly up the arse of the leader that we couldn’t get a word or a plan in edgeways. He sabotaged everything. Planned his little escape too, which involved running behind the boss through hidden catacombs back at the nest, probably with his dick in hand while jerking off to their personal salvation. Not now. If he wants to stay as close to the boss in these times, it means dying down here.  

The Pitbull looks across at me and fatty, as if sensing our thoughts. We both raise a glass and smile. The lump next to me even manages to sneak in a throat cutting mime, followed by a nod and wink. Nice touch.     

The speech is over apparently as people shakily fill up their glasses, to the brim, with more alcohol. I turn to the snack but he has gone already, straight over to the boss, holding a detestable solemn look in his putrid little eyes. I smile inwardly as I see the Pitbull, even now, circling our boss protectively and trying to keep the snack at bay. But the little cherub makes it in and our hailed leader is immediately leading him off to his private quarters with the Pitbull a few metres behind. 

I feel a rush of jealousy that I'm not with them, then remember the reality of the situation. Old habits die hard.


                                                                                *     

                                                               The Evening Is Late 

“Right well I’m off then, fuck face. You really are dragging out your grovelling exit and this place is getting depressing. I got shit to do. See you in the next life, toothpick.” 

“Fuck off,” I reply.   

With that the walking balloon departs leaving me staring at the snack, who is also leaving. He was dragged into the private quarters of the boss and emerged forlorn.  It doesn’t look entirely like grief for the beloved leader either. I grab his arm as he tries to scuttle past and am taken aback by his expression, “What the fuck is up with you? Don’t tell me you are already in mourning for…” 

He shakes off my grip and stares at me, his eyes reflect sadness and something else, anger. I didn’t think the mouse had that in him, “Now that he finally sees we are defeated, he wants me to destroy everything. Kill our own, scorch the lot, all of it, everything. They don’t deserve me, he said. Like a petulant fucking child, he lost so now the entire country must die at his command if the inevitable happens.” 

I hate this man, even now. He is genuinely shocked and hurt at what he has been asked to do although he's right of course. His naivety sickens me. Who and what did he think we were working for? Did he believe we were all Santa’s little helpers?   

I reply calmly, “If the inevitable happens? I should think you mean, when the inevitable happens. That is how inevitability works. I mean it is happening as we speak, so.” 

Those sad eyes stare deep into my own, now there is a pity in them, “I have to go. No doubt you’ll be leaving too.” 

“What is that supposed to mean!” I shoot back. 

“That you’ll be leaving soon, boss informed me that you, his most faithful, will try to utilise and coordinate diminishing allies, to win this war. If you don’t succeed, then I am supposed to blow it all up and consign our country to the bin. Can you believe that shit? So, miracle man, I hope you have something magical up your sleeve.” 

Now I could tell him not to be so daft, that we are of course absolutely one hundred percent fucked to the eyeballs. You couldn’t fit anymore fuckery into our skulls we are so fucked. Our plans are deader than the food menu here tonight. But then he might scamper off and tell the boss. I need him to leave believing there is the slimmest chance. I’m also relieved to hear they still think I can change the direction of this one way collision course with abject fatal failure. My little deceptive leaks have paid dividends. 

“No magic as such, just a slender hope. I’ll try to the last,"  I say solemnly.

Good enough. I won’t see this soft wank stain again, so I grab an opportunity to whisper my last few words to him, leaning in, “He may have liked you the best, but I was always his most loyal. I just want you to know you were always soft as shit, building stupid blocks of bland nothing, trinkets to entertain the boss. But they were never more than that. I hope you get shot in the face out there somewhere. Perhaps by a weapon from one of your armament factories. You always riled me. ‘Ooh, I’m the nice one.’ That’s you. You dry little prick. Had no qualms using my prisoners for your factories though eh, working them to death under my banner. Yeah, you are in it up to your neck, sweet boy.” 

He pulls away and hurries himself out of here just as I was miming a dry penis, which isn’t easy. I fancy he is crying a little. That makes me glad. I got to him. I always could but it is nice to do so right in his waxy face. When I negotiate peace on behalf of the country, I shall take control of things. I know our latest departed friend won’t see through the orders to incinerate the lot. Doesn’t have it in him. Gutless wonder. Works well for me anyway, I'd prefer to have actual living matter to reside over. 

I turn and here is the Pitbull, looking none too pleased with life either. He wreaks of booze and sex, sweat, all of it cloying and repugnant in my throat. I grimace at him, “You fucking stink. Managed to tear your tongue from out of the bosses arse at last I see. Been a few years, can you even speak now without flecks of shit flying about the place?” 

He can barely manage a word such is his inner turmoil, “How droll.” 

This is too priceless to let go, “Is that it? After all this time, as we stand on the edge staring into the abyss, that is the best you can come up with? Fuck me pink. Actually, don’t do that, you’ve been doing a lot of that recently I hear. Anything that moves, apparently.  Tell me, have you also been at the cabbages? Are you sullying the supplies with your rogue semen? I hope the cabbages don’t mutate, although at least we could send them into fucking war in our stead. You fucked us Pitbull. The moment you came into our lives. All those messages you didn’t relay to him, every little one that you filtered or kept for yourself, has been our undoing. And for what? Power for you? Some power, you’ll end up either dying at his feet like a mindless pig, or slip out when it’s too late and get killed in the dark, shaking like a coward. You’ll be quite a catch too. After the post mortem, they’ll say it was a miracle you lived so long without a spine or any innards. ” 

He stares straight through me, my verbal tirade barely registering, “I built him all those secret tunnels back at the nest. I was going to keep him safe down there. We could have gotten away. I had supplies and rations.  Everything we needed, we would have made it. But now…” 

I smile sarcastically, “Now you and we are all fucked. Well, mainly you. The boss is at peace with his decision. Seems you are not. Should I tell him on your behalf?” 

Now he’s awake, “You bastard. I only ever wanted to keep him safe. From all of you.” 

“Well, then you failed. Nobody is safe. You kept him all to yourself. Now look where that has got us.” 

He bristles and tries to compose himself, “So, faithful pet of his, he thinks you may have one last plan. I hope to God he’s right but I doubt it. If you do, spill the beans, quickly please.” 

“Oh, now you want to be friends after all these years, how touching. Shall I tell you? The plans? Let me think…uh, no, fuck off.” 

Now he’s looking really upset. I’ve never seen him this way before but the vile glint is back in his eye, “Listen here precious. How is your little tum tum by the way, still aching sweety? Need some more time away? Perhaps we can get you your little masseur to kiss it better," he coos. 

Bastard using that against me.  He has no idea of the pain I was in and my physician was essential in helping that complaint.

"You best be making some last dash attempt to save us, even if it is in vain. If you are planning a betrayal, I’ll fucking know and I’ll tell on you!” finishes the Pitbull. 

He will do too, even now when all is practically lost, I need to play this carefully. “Well, I am his faithful one, so, you know,” I shrug. 

“No, I don't. Assuming you want to leave tonight sick boy, have you got a plan or not and what the fuck is it?  

He’s gasping as he asks me this last. Pitbull genuinely hopes I am the saviour. How marvellous. I tell him of the fictional plan and he swallows it, because he wants and needs to.  I’ve no doubt, when the dust has settled and if minds are sobered up long enough, he’ll come to the realisation I’ve long gone and I’ve betrayed the cause. He’ll then seek to destroy my reputation, from here in this stinking grief hole. The empire will soon be rubble and death. All dignity lost and his whining about my disloyalty will be greeted with great anger but nothing more. Just echoes. 

Pride must not deter me, I remain stoic and calm, cold as ever, but collaborative enough with the Pitbull, to get out of here. I know the leader is watching too.  

Finally, Pitbull nods to the chief as if to affirm my plans. The boss raises his wobbly withered hand in acknowledgement. 

I am dismissed for a last act. 

Our hailed leader, a divine figure in the eyes of many, perhaps even himself, barely looks at me as I leave. He always considered me faithful despite our distance and I see a glimmer of delusional hope in his eyes, just a hint, but enough to get me out of here. 

And I am freeeee! 

From the sweat pit and the war itself, out into the night air and away from the stench. The night is filled with dust and bullets, fire and rubble, however. The journey home will be treacherous.  

I shall meet the enemy and make peace should I live long enough to. They shall understand the atrocities committed in time and even if they don’t, it will happen again and again regardless, and all in different guises. 

You can be sure of that. All you need is a flag and a message, no matter how patently untrue and abhorrent. When times are tough, people will believe anything. 

As fatty once said to me, ‘All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It’s the same of any country.’ I’m sure he’ll say that publicly one day, if captured and unfortunate enough to be asked to justify himself and our cause. 

By the time you read this, I either would have conquered and taken over the empire, or died at my own hands or that of the enemy. Unless the cabbages killed me first.

But we’ll keep coming and resurfacing in different forms and sizes, for no matter where you are, people will always fall for propaganda. And when convenient, actively choose to believe it with a passion and an irreversible pride, no matter the dire consequences. 

You'll look back at me and my kind, and say never again, lest we forget, learn the lessons. 

Now look around the world you live in and truly consider it today, what do you see? Flags, patriotism as a platform to attack others? Camps? Ever growing rationalised hostility towards 'immigrants?'  

I'll see you real soon, just open the door a little wider for me.




The End   


As Germany's defeat became imminent, Himmler made attempts to negotiate with the Allies. Hitler subsequently stripped Himmler of all his offices. Following Germany's surrender, Himmler tried to escape under a false identity but was captured by the Allies. On 23 May 1945 he committed suicide in custody. Himmler was one of the main architects of the Holocaust, with a deep belief in the racist Nazi ideology to justify the murder of millions of victims. They further wanted to breed a master race. He believed that he could engineer the German populace through eugenics, to be Nordic in appearance within several decades of the end of the war.  

Hermann Goring (Fatty) was a leader of the Nazi Party and one of the primary architects of the Nazi police state in Germany He was condemned to hang as a war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nurnberg in 1946 but took poison instead and died the night his execution was ordered. 

Albert Speer (‘The Snack) served as the Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany during most of WWII. A close ally of Adolf Hitler, he was convicted at the Nuremburg Trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

Martin Bormann (‘Pitbull’) filled the post of head of the party chancellery. Bormann was an unbending guardian of Nazi orthodoxy and a major advocate of the persecution and extermination of Jews and  Slavs, and he played a role in expanding the German slave labour program. He disappeared shortly after the death of Hitler. He was indicted August 29, 1945, along with other Nazi leaders, on charges of war crimes and was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia by the International Military Tribunal at Nurnberg on October 1, 1946.  He is thought to have died on the 2nd May, 1945 after further investigation, during his attempts to escape the Soviets encircling the Führerbunker.

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