Excerpt of Beaufort by Ron Leshem
(Page 3 of 5)
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Beaufort is the Southern Lebanese Army, local Christians, a crazy bunch of Phalangists. Cigarettes in their mouths all day long. Smelly, wild, funny. They come in every morning at eight oclock and we put a guard on them. They build, renovate whatevers been destroyed by the air raids, do what theyre told. Theyre not allowed inside the secure area, not even permitted near the dining room.
Beaufort is guard duty. Sixteen hours a day. How do you stay sane after thousands of dead hours? Were all fucked up in different ways, just do me a favor and dont choke it during guard duty. Choke it is our way of saying jack off. Its not that there arent guys who choke it; they choke it big time. You wont believe this but a lot of people get super horny from our green jungle atmosphere. Im not kidding. Nature is totally romantic, sensual. You would lose control, too. And its not only nature that makes us horny. The Sayas network at 67 MHz, used for open transmissions between the outposts, can also give you a hard-on sometimes. Its not an official networkit got its underground nickname from a radio broadcaster who specializes in melancholy late-night chatsbut everyone knows it because everyone, at one stage of boredom or another, tunes the dial to Sayas, the guys favorite, where they can talk bullshit all night long and melt from the female voices. Thats because girls from the command post are on the other end, in the war room, hot as fire, no AC, no boys, no reason not to unbutton their shirts a little, let off some steam. They sprawl across their chairsIll bet on itstretching their muscles, spreading their legs, dripping hormones, dying for someone to make them laugh and slowly flirt with them and in the end make a little date with them back in Israel. Why not? Give them what they really need. Sure, baby, I got lots of weapons. I got my short-barrel M16 flat top, a real beauty. And my Glock, a fantastic pistol. And I also have . . . my personal weapon. Measure it? You want me to? No problem, sure, Im happy to measure it for you, actually forgot how long it is, apologies, baby. Thats the way you talk, making it up as you go along, turning yourself on, and they giggle, toying and teasing on that very thin border, one step over the line, one step back, and youre dying to believe that maybe at the end of the night, when all the other guys drop out, the girls are left alone, poor things, to satisfy one another. What, you dont think so? A few strokes, great stuff, nobodys ever died of it. Just dont build any major expectations: the nicer her voice is over the airwaves, the more of a dog she is. I take full responsibility for that statement, Ive been disappointed often enough in my life. A high squeaky voice, on the other hand, means you might want to invest a little time, because shes got mile-long tits. Its a fact, Im not jerking you around.
Beaufort is going out on seventy-two-hour ambushes with a huge supply of beef jerky in your knapsack. You cant believe how much of that stuff you can eat in three days. Beef jerky with chocolate and beef jerky with strawberry jam. And how much you can talk and talk without really saying anything. Pretty soon you reach the stage where you know everything about everyone. Who did what, when, with who, why, in what position, and what he was thinking about while he was doing it. I can tell you about their parents, their brothers and sisters, their not-so-close friends, their darkest perversions. Theres a lot of alone time, too, when youre fed up with all that talking. You think about yourself, your home. You wonder if your mother is hanging laundry just now, or maybe shes watching Dudu Topaz on television. Lilas probably showering now, too. Or maybe shes cheating on me.
Excerpted from Beaufort by Ron Leshem, translated by Evan Fallenberg. Copyright © 2007 by Ron Leshem. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.