"They call us filth," Édith shouts, "but they're the ones with blood on their hands! What stains the dear fingers of us working girls is a liquid of another kind, eh?"
Laughter and drunken cheering — then unexpectedly, she turns to me, "What says the old soldier, eh Marcel? Whose blood you spill?"
I give her a puzzled look.
"A joke," she makes a face, "—herr Marcel; I shan't say you look a day older than me."
"No, that you'd call me a soldier." I say. "I haven't fought in a war, save for the struggle of downing a mug of what passes for beer here. For this they should give me a medal." I say with a grin.
She's not convinced.
"I see many soldiers in my line of work — up quite close and personal I should add — and you hold yourself as they do," she replies, peering over at me, "got that look in your eyes also."
She was right about everything. I had fought, I did indeed have blood on my hands — and if things were to continue as I had set them to, my hands would remain so stained.
While I was stationed with the colonial forces near the Namib, a visiting British officer had told me that the whole project of colonialism functioned on the same mechanism to a weapon they had, called the Maxim Gun. A beastly thing that could tear a man in half, it cemented their rule in terror — and fired with a unique mechanism: each shot would power the action of the next, an eternal cycle of violence. A machine that fed on blood, where the greatest effort on the part of the operator was to release the trigger.
At the time I considered him an old fool, but here I am — finger on the trigger, hesitant to fire.
-Marcel III : August 2nd, 1907