A border patrol officer is training new recruits in this story set a few years into a Trump presidency. Contains content which may offend.

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© 2015 Flash Totty / Used With Permission

Y’all better listen up now cos this’s important. There’s a lotta facts you better learn real quick if you wanna survive, and y’all won’t hear nothing from no one else more qualified than me. Been working this job nearly four years come fall and I gotta tell ya, this ain’t some walk in the park. Out there it’s kill or be killed, know what I’m saying?

Lemme tell ya a story about this kid called Daryl. He came in here, acting like his shit don’t stink, saying he was gonna clean up this place. Like some kinda hotshot superstar kid, he thought. Thing is, he showed potential, y’know? He shot good. Most times he hit the target on the range, and he had stamina. Boy, that kid could run. He’d do a mile flat out before he had to catch his breath, left us wheezing in his dust. And he could drive good, too. Seemed like he was the whole package.

So this kid Daryl was all attitude when he did well in bootcamp. He started a few weeks after me, but what with this being a new job’n all, no one really knew what to do. I was trained in the first wave by the Sergeant that came over from the base to the west, but he went after we all got through, so that left us to pass the torch, so to speak. Me, Bobby there, and this other guy Mike.

Anyways, we taught Daryl and the others what to do. Tested their aim and made sure they could run and drive. He was top of the class. Y’all could learn a thing or two from Daryl about that. He’s the only one I trained that scored more than forty per cent on the test. He said his momma taught him how to read, and his momma musta been a bright spark ’cos he understood at least half those questions. Me, I only knew a few, but that don’t matter ’cos I got other skills, y’know?

The first day outta bootcamp we gave the rookies their guns and trucks and sent them out, just like we will with y’all, if you pass. Daryl and his partner, this other kid called Frank, was covering the hill stretch to the west. Figured as he was such a hotshot’n all I’d put him where they try to come in the most. See, since the election there’d been a lot more coming in, and we wanted that to stop.

Lemme ask y’all something. How many of you voted Republican?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. We all patriots here. Good on ya.

Y’all remember after the election, right? President Trump closed the borders for six months to try and weed out the terrorists. Didn’t want no more foreigners coming in, no way.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right, Daryl was in the trouble spot. So he goes out in his pickup with his guns and starts patrolling. Was like that kid’d never had a radio before, he was on it all the time. Mother Goose, he’d say, I’ll find your golden egg. Stupid kid, goofing around when there’s serious business going on. Still, we all had ourselves a good time joining in ’til we heard him yelling. Got some, he said. So go get ’em, I replied. Yes sir.

Bobby was patrolling the east side and I was in the middle. That Mike I mentioned earlier, he was supervising the west where Daryl and his partner’d gone. So Mike comes on the radio and says I’m on it, on my way. See, in our trucks we got screens that show where y’all are at all times. Little dots on the map sent by satellites, so we can make sure you ain’t up to no good.

Now, ’cos this was a new job’n all, no one really knew what to do. We got this book of rules but no one got time for that, so we figured best thing is to track ’em down, round ’em up, and take ’em back to the border. Course, now it’s a lot easier, what with the wall being there, but back then there was just a fence and anyone could get through.

So Mike’s heading for Daryl, and next thing I know I hear gunfire on the radio and Daryl saying they was under attack. No one else can talk as he’s got the damn button pressed down so the channel’s blocked. I see on my screen Mike’s right on top of him, but I figured they’d need backup so I turned and headed out west.

Whilst I’m driving the radio shuts up, so I tell Bobby what I’m doing and tell him to cover my patch too. Then Daryl comes back on the channel, saying Mike’s been hit. What about your partner? I asked. He’s dead, Daryl says. It’s just me now, there’s too many of them. Shit, I say, and I drive as fast as I can to get there.

Thing is, this’s a big area we covering, and y’all better realise that when you get pinned down you’re on your own. I told Daryl to hold on, that I’d be there soon, but I knew it’d take me a good half hour to arrive.

Now I don’t want y’all to get too scared. That wall’s pretty much finished, we’re covering the last opening, so the chances of this kinda shit going down’s pretty low, but since all this happened we got some choppers on standby just in case. Plus, there’s a lot more of us now, and we gotta lot more guns.

Anyhow, when I got there I could see the gunfight from miles away. First I saw the smoke. Turns out Mike’s truck had gone up and was burning hotter’n my momma’s barbeque. I got closer’n saw the muzzle flashes, and they saw me. Wasn’t even in range to see who was who and I started taking fire.

Back then the rookies went out in pairs, but us regulars were on our own. Not no more, not since that day, but at the time we didn’t have much men and it was a big stretch to cover. See, we’d only had either runaways and families coming through the fence ’til then. No one’d attacked us, but like I said it was only a few weeks since the election and for a lotta folks it hadn’t sunk in yet. Guess they got organised pretty fast.

I pulled over and got out my rifle. Gotta scope on it that’d shoot the fly off a horse’s ass and I took a look at what was going down. There were seven of ’em left, moving in formation’n wearing fatigues. They weren’t military, not unless they’d upped the weight limit for drafts, but they knew what they was doing. Had Daryl pinned down behind his pickup and he didn’t look so good.

The wind wasn’t too high and I could adjust for it so I took out three before they realised what was happening. The others hid behind their trucks. Somehow they’d gotten vehicles through the fence. Musta rammed it down somewhere, I figured.

I got back in my truck and loaded up the M16, firing bursts at them as I drove closer. No aim or nothing as I was driving, but I kept the spray short and away from Daryl. It was enough to keep ’em hidden and made sure I could get close enough to work out my next move.

Now, Daryl was stuck behind his truck and his shirt was all red. Musta been hit at least twice by that point. I took out some gear and he gave cover fire while I drove up to him. Got my truck behind his so it wouldn’t take too much damage, and if worst came to worse we’d be able to get outta there, y’know?

Anyways, Daryl was in bad shape. Face’d gone all pale like there was no blood left in it. Kid was on the way out and he knew it, but he still had some fight in him. He laid down cover and I used the mirror off his truck to take a look. Spotted the four, all set up in tactical positions, and worked out a plan.

Killing’s easy once you’ve done it once. Guys like me and Bobby did time in the military, served our country when we was young. They teach you to kill and then once you’ve done it, pulling the trigger comes natural. For y’all, rookies, the first one’s the hardest. Daryl’d hit two of them already, I could see the blood on ’em, but there was only three bodies. The ones I’d laid out. I told Daryl to cover me and then when they came up after, I’d take ’em out one by one. Daryl wanted to kill. He was mad as hell. Angry that they’d shot him, but mostly ’cos they were coming into our country and trying to take it over. He weren’t having that. Neither was I.

Daryl sprayed some cover fire and I aimed’n waited for those prairie dog head sons of bitches to pop up, and then one did. I blew it open like a melon, spraying brains all over the ground, then ducked before another did the same to me. We did the same again and I took out another. That left two, and I knew they wouldn’t fall for the same trick three times.

They had a lotta ammo, these boys. Bullets were whistling over our heads like grasshoppers come dusk. Y’all ever been in an ambush? It ain’t pretty, let me tell you. Come to think of it, I’d not been in no ambush ’til then, so I had no idea neither, but I sure as shit weren’t gonna stay in one.

So Daryl wanted blood and I wasn’t gonna deny him that. I clipped up an Uzi and let off a few rounds fast. He leant out to getta good shot and when I stopped he fired one, two, three times, then ducked back quick.

D’ya get him? I asked. Think so, Daryl says. I used the mirror to look see and sure enough, there’s another body on the floor. Only one left now. I gave Daryl a thumbs up and he nodded, then his face went a lighter shade of pale like and he started shaking.

Daryl, I said, pull it together, we gotta take out this last one’n we’re home free. He couldn’t hear me. It was his first kill, his only kill, and it hit him hard. Then he leant over and puked all over the ground.

That much blood and death starts to stink, let me tell you. Like pennies on your tongue when you’re a kid. Plus the bodies empty themselves so there’s shit in the air, too. And all the gunsmoke just makes it worse. So throw puke in there and y’all ain’t never smelled nothing so bad. Made my eyes water and my tongue wanna crawl out my mouth, but I just spit and then shot some more at that one bastard we hadn’t got yet.

Daryl was looking a little better after spewing his guts up so I asked him, over the gunfire, if he wanted to take out the last one. No, he said, you do it. Alright, I says, gimme some cover.

So this is it. Us two versus one guy, out in the wild, no one coming to help. Daryl fires a burst outta one side of the truck and I go round the other, running across to where I know this guy can’t see me. He’s still shooting at Daryl as I make my way toward him. Got my Glock in one hand, my knife in the other just in case, and I’m ready to make this fucker bleed. Creep up nice’n slow behind him, and just as I get close enough he stops shooting.

Don’t know why, but at that moment I froze. This guy turns and I see his face, and it ain’t that different from mine. See, we all people, after all. We’re all made in the image of God, we all got eyes and in them eyes I see this guy’s like me. Probably gotta wife and kids at home, just doing what he thinks he needs to, just trying to protect them. And he sees me, and he sees the same. And this guy, he’n I are just staring at each other. Neither aiming, just waiting. Like we’re both looking in a mirror.

That’s when I heard the shot. Bang, it goes, and I look up. There’s an eighth guy stood by where Daryl was with a shotgun against his shoulder. Where’d he come from? Didn’t see him before, musta been hiding or something. Shit.

I look back at the guy looking at me’n see his arm move. He’s bringing his gun round to shoot me and I’m doing the same, but time’s moving so damn slow it’s like a movie. I know I won’t be able to take him out quick enough so I lunge forward with my knife and drive it into his neck.

He don’t even blink as he dies, just keeps looking at me as he chokes on his own blood. I still don’t know how I managed to get him before either of us shot. Perhaps he was drawing slow ’cos he saw what I see, and he knew I had to win. After all, we’re in the right here. He’d crossed over the border, not me. I was just protecting my country.

When I look up I see the guy that shot Daryl walking this way. He ain’t seen me yet, so I wait until he’s real close then I blow his fucking head off. No hesitation, no pause. I just cold-blooded kill him dead, right there. Then I carefully checked the area in case there were any others, but there weren’t.

I brought Daryl and Mike’s bodies back to base and they’re buried out there in our cemetery. The invaders I just left in the wild to rot. And y’all better understand that’s how we do things here. We ain’t part of America no more.

Border patrol’s a serious job, and like I said the wall’s almost done. This’s our land now. President Trump can go fuck himself for all I care, this’s a free state and we ain’t under his laws. Since that day when Mike’n Daryl died there’s been plenty more attempts to take back this land, each more organised than the last. Every time we fought ’em off.

It’s a good job none of y’all voted Republican. Like I said, we’re all patriots here. I suppose the one thing we can thank Trump for is giving us the idea of building that wall. See how he likes it, being kept outta our territory. Don’t want none of his kind here.

Now then, we gotta get to the range, make sure you boys can shoot. Y’all brought your guns, right?

Seb Reilly is a writer, fiction author and occasional musician. He lives by the sea in Thanet, Kent, with his family and two cats.

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