I hope that this story was just a drunken speech.
I had never visited this bar before.
There were many people inside, and my arrival went unnoticed. I took a drink, and sat in the corner. Funny, but I saw a very interesting program was on the bar TV. I started to watch, to the exclusion of all around.
Suddenly a voice from the next table caught my attention. It sounded so emotional and sincere, and the contents were shocking.
"Would you like to hear about my last day in the training camp?" asked a young, hefty man of a girl. "The final test was pretty hard." He grinned. "Even for us. They put us one by one into a pool with a shark: a Great White shark that hadn't been fed for a while. The only weapon allowed was a knife. The task was not just to try and kill that 'fishie'. When you killed it, they sent you another shark. The task was to die fighting to the last breath, and to not show any fear. Mr. Noirson was sitting in his chair watching us. After the test was done, he resuscitated his soldier and sent the next guy into the pool…"
``Resuscitated?`` Amazed, I thought I misheard this. I listened closely now.
"I've known about this, you know," his girl said, touching his hand. "Calm down, Jerry."
"But I was the best!" he pronounced proudly. "It was the fourth shark got me. And I was lucky; it bit me through with one bite. I died screaming, 'I love you, my Lord!'"
He lifted his glass and drained it in one gulp.
"I was lucky!" Jerry repeated, his voice trembling. "'Cause the man who was sent next wasn't. The shark bit off his foot. He tried to get that damned fish. He really tried! I don't know, maybe that shark wasn't hungry, or it was sick, or just lazy! But it didn't attack him as usual. A few minutes later it bit off the hand with the knife. Just one hand! It bit and bit, just small pieces! And that man finally fell into despair. For him it'd have been better if he just drowned, but he asked for help. He started to scream; he begged us! Mr. Noirson only watched. That man cried, and that shark... Damn! It was so awful!"
My hair stood on end, and gooseflesh was raised over my body. I stared at the TV, pretending to be watching.
"It was so awful that even we were riled up!" Jerry continued his story despite the girl’s attempts to stop him. "But Mr. Noirson turned his head and looked at us."
I understood the man, Jerry, was trying to mimic the haughty gesture of this Mr. Noirson because the girl chuckled nervously.
"Give it up, Jerry," she said. "It's a very regal toss of the head, and only he can pull it off."
"You're right." Jerry sighed, and I heard him pour another glass. "Anyway, he looked at us, and we fell into silence at once. We all belonged to him. We were his slaves, and we chose that way ourselves! But one man jumped into the pool..."
"Scott, come back!" Robert rose. "It's not your turn, moron!" He laughed. "Leave that loser!"
Scott tossed his head. "Mr. Noirson, sir, please! He can do it! Just next time! Please, give him a chance! I'm sure he can do it!"
"I said get out! That's an order!" Robert's face became darker with rage. "I will not resuscitate you if you dare disobey me!"
"And he didn't..." Jerry said, and I heard him take a drink.
I wanted to finish my own beverage, but the red liquid in my glass seemed as blood, and I couldn't force myself touch it. Besides, Jerry was now continuing his story and I was all attention.
"And after, Mr. Noirson looked at us again and asked, 'Okay, any more heroes here?' He was visibly angry and we all lowered our eyes, and then he lit a cigarette, sat down in his chair again and sent the next guy into the pool...Those who graduate this camp are not ordinary humans any more. We are killing machines, perfect soldiers! We are not afraid of pain or death. We are the Devil's servants. But some things are much worse than death..."
"Enough!" the girl hissed with spite. "Please, stop it! What if someone overhears us?"
I felt her gaze drill my back, but I sat still. The young people continued their talk much more quietly. I couldn't understand a word, but I'd heard enough.
I slowly counted to one hundred, then got up and left the bar, praying and hoping that this story was just a drunken speech.
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