The mystery of slaughterhouse-porno:
War crimes a go-go: How I learned
to stop worrying and love mass-murder.
by Simon Field

"Goddammit! Spider! You worthless piece of shit-trash bastard!"

This is Royce. My editor. I can tell he loves me. It's in the way he says my name - Spider. There's a note there that says without me, he is nothing. Less than nothing. He needs me more than I need him. This makes him nervous.

Hence the swearing.

"Screw you!" I yell back at the vidphone screen, "And the camel you rode into town on. And when that's panting and done with, screw your wife, your family, and your analyst too!"

"You keep your stinking grubby paws off my doctor, Spider! And you listen to me!"

He stabs his finger at me like it's supposed to make me pay attention. I'm already speed-dialling the number for some hardcore lesbian action, I reckon it'll probably be fun to chop that up into Royces datastream, so instead of listening to him screaming I can listen to some girls, moaning.

Its a grand plan, but it all goes horribly wrong when I misdial and get something quite unexpected - "He-yyy. You've reached the Ninth Church of Our Lord And Saviour Fonzarelli. Blessed be his name."

"WHAT?" I roar at the picture-in-picture representation of a young nervous looking man in a leather coat who has just appeared superimposed on top of Royces purpling face. This is not lesbianism. I feel cheated. Where are the naked ladies?

"I said I am the hand that feeds you!" Royce screams.

"NOT YOU. Dumb ass cocksucker!" I trigger the control to mute out Royce.

"I'm sorry sir, I didn't quite catch that." The young man swallows, his adams apple bobbing.

"I want lesbians!" I lean close to the monitor so that he can pick up the urgency in my voice. "It is very important that I have lesbians. Now."

"I'm sorry sir, I'm afraid we don't have any of those. But if you'd like to leave your credit details, we can send you some fascinating information on how to save your soul the Fonzie way."

This is too awful.

I cut the young man short and switch back to Royces call. He's still shouting something. I don't think he's noticed that I've muted him out yet. Though when I lean back and pop a can of Ebola-cola, putting my feet up, I think he catches on. Because next thing I know he's hand-written a sign. It says - 'Turn the damn volume up now, or else!!!'

I've always thought the use of multiple exclamation marks should be reasonably grounds for a swift sharp kick to the balls followed by a humane execution.

The next sign says - 'I mean it Spider, you will accept this assignment!'

So I grin and wave back.

"What are you doing?" It's the filthy assistant. I didn't hear her coming. Maybe I could get her to wear one of those collars with bells on.

"Trying to make Royces head explode." I reply, turning to look at her. Damn, but she's tall. "Say, you used to be a stripper."

"Yes, I did Spider. And no, I'm not taking my clothes off for you. How many times?"

"No. Seriously. Do you know any lesbians?"

She flicks me the finger and walks off into the kitchen. Thus forcing me to return my attention to Royce. He's in the middle of scribbling out another message. Which he holds up for me to read. Two words. General Carter.

Damn. Bastards got me interested now.

With great reluctance I turn the volume back up. "Speak." I command tersely.

"Oh, so now you'll listen!"

Royce is actually foaming at the mouth. He should learn to relax more.

"Yes. Yes I will. But make it quick, for I am about to embark upon an epic quest for the lost Sapphic paradise of Amazon women."

"The war crimes tribunal have finally filed charges against General Carter, and I want you to cover the proceedings Spider."

General Carter. When the Peruvian food riots broke out back in '26, things got mean for a while. General Carter, part of the International Humanitarian Police Force - a long and fancy sounding name for Thugs In Uniform, was called in to quieten the situation down. Which she did with staggering efficiency when she called down fire from the European-Union Tycho mass-drivers on the moon. One half-ton nickel-carbide pellet accelerated like a fuck-off bastard and bang.

Three-mile-wide smoking crater.

"I do not accept assignments." It is important Royce understands this point. "I make my own assignments." I hold up a finger to forestall his inevitable recourse to foul language. "However, I have decided to cover this war crimes tribunal. See to it that I have the proper paperwork delivered, along with a generous expense account and a concealed weapons permit. I'm not walking into a courtroom unarmed."

"Just make sure that you take your assistant with you Spider. I cringe at the thought of letting you loose with an expense account unsupervised."

"Fine. Fine." I thumb the disconnect switch, and already my journalistic juices are flowing. I am wet. Sometimes we must use our stories to tell Truth, in the hope that some bastard somewhere learns something. Sometimes we tell our stories to entertain, and as long as we don't call it 'news', that's okay. But sometimes. Sometimes we must use journalism as a scourge. Sometimes we must destroy. Sometimes we must point the Truth at some sack of shit fucker, and rip them to bloody shreds.

Let the sharks deal with them, feeding-frenzy style.

I will eviscerate General Carter. I will make her eyes bleed. I will make her pray for a quick and merciful death. I will not rest until her body lies in the ground, a home to breeding maggots. I will do all of these things and many more, for I am Spider Jerusalem!

But first, I must urinate.

Bloody Ebola-Cola.

When I'm done, the assistant has re-entered the room and is flicking through the newsfeed channels, munching on some of my left over Kariboo-munchies. She probably doesn't need to know what the cat was doing with those last night.

"Assistant!" I declare.

"Jesus Spider." She looks at me, "Can't you put it away?"

"What? Does my penis intimidate you? Can you not see that this is the tool we shall use to destroy! For I am man!"

"And I'm trying to eat." She points at the Kariboo-munchies.

"Very well." I sit back down. "Tell me what you know about General Abigail Carter."

"Isn't that the psycho-bitch who blew most of South America into tiny chunky kibbles a few years back?"

"Yes. Well done Channon. Now, tell me why she blew up South America."

"Penis envy?"

"Hah! No. At least, not as far as I know. The truth is far more terrifying - someone told her to."

"Who? God?"

"No. Our very own President-elect. The Beast."


"I can tell by that doubting tone in your voice that you do not believe me."

"I expect you have some evidence for this?"

"I have a feeling."

"Please tell me it's not in your balls."

"No, it's in my gut. My journalistic gut. You have to develop an instinct in this business Channon. It's what tells you to duck when the lead starts flying. But more importantly, it's what tells you where the story is. General Carter committed career-suicide the second she called in that fire-mission. But these high up military types are career animals, they eat sleep and shit career advancement. So what made her throw it all away in one spectacular firestorm?"

"Maybe she's just crazy?"

"This is what we shall find out. This will be glorious. Book us two tickets immediately."


I hate flying.

I hate everything about it. From the overvalued tin-can fly-by-wire computer system watched over by a pilot whose job consists mainly of wanking off and making pointless announcements over the intercom, to the neo-fascist uniforms with shiny buttons. It all makes me very nervous.

But mostly I hate my fellow passengers.

We are booked in the first class compartment of the 9:45am eastbound Scramjet, due to land in City Europe in 3 hours time. The check-in procedure went horribly, Channon had to pull me off a security guard who dared to suggest that I did not need my concealed firearm on the flight. I politely explained to him that you never knew when somebody might go totally psycho, by jamming the barrel of my gun up his left nostril and screaming like a baboon.

I don't think Channon has forgiven me for taking all of the pills at once. But I had to, don't you see. I could never have smuggled them onboard the flight. And it's 3 hours. I could never survive 3 hours straight. Not here. Not in this place.

Not at this time in the morning

Not with all of these people.

I hate them. The piggy-eyed businessman getting a sneaky handjob beneath the covers from his hired help. The elderly matron who is putting away a truly impressive amount of grain alcohol. The child that is screaming over and over because its mother won't let it watch Sex Puppets. There are packs of rabid dingoes roaming the aisles. I distract them by throwing out chunks of my vacu-packed readimeal. I only wish I had some poison.

The fever sweats have got me now. This thing is only going to get worse before it gets better. It's like I'm viewing the world from a spot about 2 inches above my navel. This is a cold sick and empty feeling. But it's alright. I have a plan.

If things get too bad, I'll shoot out one of the windows.

I wonder how the stewardesses feel about having to wear those uniforms, with the slit cut down the front exposing a generous portion of cleavage so that when they bend over to deliver your meal or drink, you're treated to a glorious view of firm succulent breast. And the shortest of short dresses that seem deliberately designed to expose the uniform panties baring the airline logo with the words 'Fly Me Friendly' and 'Squeeze here if you like my service'.

Does Channon notice. And if she does, what does she think about it. Does she just accept it. Is this just the way things are now, that pretty young stewardesses are paraded around as fuck-toys for first class passengers? I wonder what the stewardesses are like back in economy. Ex-cons probably, with names like Bubba and Cleetus. It must be horrible back there. Jesus. I pity them.

I order some more drinks and try not to stare at the beautiful oriental girls nipples.

We land, and somehow I know the time difference is going to destroy me. It always does. One day the world will run on Spider-Time. And there will be a celebration.

Staggering out into the cold hard light of day, Channon steers us towards the street and into a taxi. The city. It's the same all over, the only thing that changes is the angle of the sun. One day we will have turned the entire planet into one big stinking urban conurbation, and people like me will be left brutally fighting it out for a place on one of the few unmolested mountain tops, while the bulldozers creep ever closer and the hyenas and jackals watch from the sidelines.

"Should we go to the hotel or the courtroom first?" The assistant asks, looking just as relieved to be off the Scramjet as I am. Probably for different reasons though.

"No. First we must go to a bar."

"Don't you think you've had enough?"

"It is never enough!" I rage. The anger hides my fear. We are going to a courtroom, for a confrontation with the vassal of The Beast. We are marching towards the lions den. Those sorts of people hate us. They have a reason to fear the truth. "But we must gauge the mood of the people. We must get a feel for the grass-roots. What do they think about this trial. How many exciting methods of execution can they come up with. This is journalism, you've got to get your hands dirty."

"Ri-ight. And this isn't just an excuse to charge more alcohol and drugs to the expense account?"

"You wound me Channon!"

It is depressing. More so than I could ever have imagined in my worst nightmarish sweat-soaked hallucination. It isn't until the ninth bar, a topless donut joint, that we find somebody who even recognises the name 'General Abigail Carter'. The dumb-fuck can tell me a dozen ways of dunking without splashing whilst simultaneously stuffing cash into a G-string, but he can't actually tell me anything at all about the war crimes tribunal. Let alone that General Carter is up on charges. He just remembers that she was the cute chick with the tight butt who looked good in uniform.

I suppress the urge to commit random acts of brutal violence.

Channon keeps reminding me that the first arraignment hearing is scheduled soon, and that if we don't get a move on, we'll miss it. But I'm too transfixed by the sight of a society staring witlessly into the pit of endless bouncing fleshy oblivion to care anymore.

"Dammit Spider, would you move! Or have you actually managed to jam that barstool permanently up your rectum!"

She leaves me. Storming off to cover the hearing on her own. Good luck to her. I have decided to be depressed instead. I wander from bar to club, diner to whorehouse, in the search for somebody, just one single solitary somebody, who gives a damn. I flick through the newsfeeds, I key the system to flag up any mention of General Carter, and all I find is endless slow-mo set to music pieces of the Tycho mass-drivers opening up and the mushroom clouds boiling flesh away to steam.

It's all just more pornography.

I met Channon again at the hotel, two days later. She had sat through endless tedious courtroom meetings, taking copious notes. Her eyes were red, I think she'd been crying.

My eyes were red too, but for totally different reasons.

"Spider." She asks, "Why doesn't anyone care?"

The hearings, it transpired, were being held in a small office in the twenty-third floor of a provincial courtroom, in front of a judge, two secretaries, half a dozen military officers, and three political flunkies who kept popping pills. Channon was the only reporter there. They made her stand in the corner next to the coffee machine.

An exhaustive war crimes trial this was most certainly not. If you listened closely, you could hear the sound of paperwork being shuffled, palms being greased and the deck being stacked. Not to overwork the metaphor, but you get my point.

"All of those people, dead." She continues, "Millions of them. And nobody cares!"

"No. Not nobody." I look pointedly at her.

"I'm just one person though."

"Yes. You are. And that's all you can ever hope to be. You do what you have to do Channon. And you let the rest of this shit-heap world look after itself."

"But.. How do you cope with it?"

I give her my best crazed glare.


"You have two choices Channon. You can care, or you can not care. Personally I recommend the latter, but I can see how it might not agree with you. You have done good work here, and I want you to finish covering the trail."

"You're only saying that because you don't want to step inside the court buildings."

"Damned right! Those people have it in for me! I dare not throw myself into the maw of justice! I will be devoured!"

"You're sweet sometimes Spider, you know, when you're not being a complete and utter asshole."

"Yeah. Say. Any chance of a quickie?"


What sort of crazed and psychotic bullshit is this. We're on a downwards spiral now, as we rapidly approach the point in this horrible and terrible journey where there becomes discernable a ghastly sort of inevitability to the conclusion. Who cares where the bombs fall, just so long as it's not on our own damned heads. Screw thy neighbour, he's a nasty looking bugger anyway.

I don't know what Channon was doing back in '26 when the ground boiled. I bet she saw it on the newsfeed and thought how terrible that must be, before turning back to her own life and worrying about what she was going to wear onstage that night, and whether the greasy floor-manager would try to cop a feel. Hell, I can't even remember what I was doing, up on my mountain.

Shooting at peacocks with a grenade launcher I expect.

What were you doing? When the firestorm hit and the people died?

It was done in our names, and it is a stain upon us all. One day we will have to account for this sorry mess we've created. One day it will come a-knocking on our doors. Where is the reason, we shall scream and die. Decisions are being made, important decisions, by career psychotics. People who wouldn't understand reality if it came up to them and defecated all over their feet. Twice.

And why not. You simply cannot understand the grim slaughterhouse that is reality until you've been up to your neck in it, until you've smelt the vomit mixed with spilt guts spewing shit in a foul cocktail dance party at the end of hope. And how many of our leaders have ever been close to there? General Carter must assuredly has not. She lives in an ivory tower, one of the untouchables. Part of the system that cares only for it's own narrow field of interests. Have you ever wondered what those people get up to in their private lives? I've seen it, and believe you me, it would turn the hairs on your head white, you'd puke and you'd cry and you'd run screaming.

I did.

Here's the thing though, we have to fuck the system, before the system comes and fucks us.

But if not, hell, there's always going to be more pretty titties to stare at. An endless succession of them, paving the road to hell.


Two weeks later General Carter was discharged honourably from the army. Technically her orbital bombardment was strictly by the letter of military law, she had filled in the paperwork declaring the impact zones to be designated free-fire zones, so the charges against her had no legal standing. However it was felt that in the public interest, her time in uniform was at an end. She received some very sparkly medals, which in their own way, are just another kind of wank-mag.

A month after that, she took up her new appointment as a civilian military-intelligence advisor to The Beasts presidential staff.

I resist the urge to say I fucking told you so.

These people are never nailed battered and bleeding to the cross. No matter how many of us they eviscerate. But maybe if we cared just a little bit more... Because until we do, maybe it's not them who deserve the kicking of a lifetime.

Maybe it's us.


I never did find those lesbians.


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