Trigger warning: rape scene and graphic violence.
Background: In Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, Luke, the primary character, tells about how he and his older brother Jake were supposed to go to Nicaragua together to fight the Somoza dictatorship back in the early 1980s. But instead Jake made the decision to go down first and check out the situation, and the last anyone heard was he that he had been executed.
Sequel to the Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril
Seventeen klicks north of El Rio San Juan, Southeast Nicaragua, 1981:
Jake knew what was coming. The operative from the CIA had overheard him saying he wanted out after they’d terrorized the family two days ago, and this wasn’t a job from which people just walked away. Thirty meters across the clearing Jake could see the agency man arguing with Juan Pablo, the group’s commander, and Silva, another mercenary like Jake, but who’d been in country for over a year. Jake had come to Nicaragua young, idealistic, and with that absolute conviction of correctness that allowed people to kill others for their beliefs. He’d been so proud that he was one of the few willing to take a stand against communism and stop it from taking over the world. Or so he believed. The truth was he simply didn’t have the education needed to see through his government’s lies: Just like any other young person weaned on American exceptionalism and our red, white, and blue origin tale. But what they did to that family, what he witnessed without defiance, shattered all his illusions of war, so called American ideals, and any thought that he was an honorable man.
While he and the others had kept their rifles trained on the families huddled together on the ground, Silva held his knife to a bound and kneeling man’s throat. Four other Contras were holding the man’s naked wife horizontal and spread eagle in the air in front of him, as a fifth raped her. Each, without emotion or care for the woman’s screams, switched out and took their turn until all had exhausted themselves.
Then Silva jerked the man’s head back, stabbed his knife through his throat from right to left, and pushing it forward ripped the man’s neck open from ear to ear. The sickening rush of air escaping the lungs filled the space, and a torrent of blood shot out covering the ground. Otherwise, there was silence: No one spoke. Pushing the man forward to the ground with his foot, Silva kneeled down and wiped his blade clean on the guy’s pant leg. He showed no more care than if he was killing a chicken, Jake had noticed.
The woman they let live to tell her story. The Contras never had any intention of actually fighting government soldiers: Their job was to terrorize the civilians in the countryside. And they were adept at doing so. Rape has always been more than just a spoil of war: it’s used to humiliate, destroy the cultural fabric of the opposition, and to alter their genetic future. It’s one of the primary tactics taught by the CIA to help dictators we fund control their populations.
And it has an even darker side, if there can be one: rape of men by men is endemic across the entire world in almost every conflict. And for political prisoners, it’s become a right of passage. Methodical, forced, and repeated anal raping does more than mental and emotional damage. Those organs and muscles are destroyed, infection festers, and daily life becomes hell. One’s desire to resist evaporates, except for those with the strongest of wills. Systematic rape, whether of men, women, or children is effective: it works to win wars. And until humanity claims it’s right as the ultimate sovereign on Earth, over all individuals, religions, and nation states, it’ll remain part of our experience.
But the Contras knew they couldn’t kill everyone. They survived by what they stole from the country folk, and they needed them to keep producing what little they were. So when the Contras killed, it had to be done in horrendous ways that magnified the death of simple farmers in the bush.
Pretending to enjoy something like that, at least convincingly, wasn’t possible for Jake. The agency man didn’t trust him. He wanted Juan Pablo to order Silva to take him a off the trail, cut his throat, and leave him to rot. Silva had been becoming Jake’s friend over the last several weeks since he’d been in the jungle, but Jake expected little mercy other than a clean kill. Silva was a psychopath, just like every other person on the planet killing people for a living. He’d do what he was told and brush it off just like the other atrocities he’d been part of, even if he would probably tell Jake he was sorry before killing him.
Lying on his side with his wrists bound behind him with a zip-lock tie, Jake only had one chance. Bending his knees, he brought the heels of his boots up hard against his butt. Arching his back he struggled with his fingers to untie the knots of his shoelaces. Jake’s hands started to cramp as he forced his fingers to work at the edge of their limits, but within a couple of minutes he managed to thread the lace of one boot through the zip tie binding his wrists, and tie it to one of the laces from his other boot.
All the while Jake had been watching the three argue. But as he thought, the agency man got his way. Juan Pablo was pointing at Silva and then into the jungle, and Jake could see that Silva was giving in. Nodding his head, Silva started walking over to a group of a dozen guys resting against the base of a huge bañyan like tree.
Jake pulled back with his arms tightening the lace through the zip tie, and then started sawing through it by moving his feet back and forth. Even with a short stroke of no more than two or three inches, the pressure and heat from the friction broke through the zip tie in less than a minute. Keeping his hands back behind him, he unfolded his legs and covered up the zip tie in the jungle floor as best he could with his fingers. Glancing back at Silva, Jake saw him offering his hand to help up one of younger Nicaraguans, a guy named Chivo, before they started walking back toward Jake.
Flat on his back with his arms behind him, Jake looked up at the two men now standing over him. His only hope was that his brief acquaintance with Silva would cause him to lower his guard enough that he wouldn’t check to see if Jake’s wrists were still bound. Looking Silva in the eyes, Jake slowly shook his head no, searching for some shred of compassion.
“Sorry Jake,” Silva said. “Looks like you should’ve stayed out of this one.”
Silva nodded to Chivo, and they both bent down and picked Jake up by his upper arms. It was all Jake could do to keep his wrists together inside his sleeves so they wouldn’t realize he’d freed himself. Holding Jake between them, Silva and Chivo walked him past the perimeter guard and into the surrounding jungle.
Jake knew his chance of winning against two other men who were also trained was slim. And if it weren’t for their fear that Somoza troops would find his body or hear a gun shot, he’d have no chance at all. Somehow Jake needed surprise; to take out at least one of the two men before the other knew what was happening. The foliage was thick, and within several minutes and a hundred meters they were out of sight and hearing of the group.
“Alright,” Silva said, stopping Jake.
“Let’s make this easy on both of us, Jake. Down!” Silva ordered, as he and Chivo put their free hand on Jake’s shoulders pushing him to his knees.
“Hold on a second,” Chivo said all of the sudden, turning and walking away while unbuttoning his fatigues. “I have to pee like a pregnant bitch,” he said.
“What the hell,” Silva said, shaking his head. Fucking Nicas, he thought, glaring at his partner.
Chivo either didn’t hear, or didn’t care, and just kept peeing.
“Stroke it, cabrón!” Silva yelled, letting his mind fall off the job at hand.
“Fuck you Silva!” Chivo said with a chuckle.
“Screw it! I don’t need you for this one,” Silva said, as he pulled his knife from the sheath attached to his web gear.
Jake was sensing into Silva’s movements behind him. His heart was pounding against his chest and he could taste the fear in his gut, so strong he wasn’t sure he had the courage to try and save himself. But he had little chance to think about it.
Still glaring over at Chivo, Silva bent forward. He grabbed Jake’s chin with his left hand pulling it up to expose the throat. But Jake didn’t resist as Silva was expecting. Instead Jake pushed his head back hard into Silva’s leg as he brought his left hand out from behind his back and grabbed Silva’s knife hand by the wrist, yanking him forward and down. At the same time, Jake drove his right hand hard up behind him into Silva’s crotch, squeezed the all the flesh he could grab, and with a grunt threw Silva forward and over onto his back slamming him against the ground. Still holding Silva by the wrist, Jake grabbed the knife blade with his right hand and levered it out of Silva’s grip, feeling it slice deep into the side of his little finger. Shifting his grip, Jake lifted his arm high in the air and brought the knife down hard into the left side of Silva’s chest, burying it to the hilt with a large thud.
Chivo had turned around as soon as he heard Silva hit the ground, a surprised look on his face as his cock continued to spew pee. If it weren’t for Chivo’s inexperience, that split second of indecision about whether or not to trouser his dick before reaching for his pistol, Chivo would have won. But Jake was quicker. Using the knife still buried in Silva’s chest to help pull himself forward, Jake rolled over Silva and came up low and hard catching a stream of pee in his face. Striking upward into Chivo’s groin, for the second time Jake felt the hilt of his weapon slam against another’s flesh.
As can happen in these types of fights, there was a brief pause as both men looked into the other’s eyes and realized one of them had won. Yanking the knife out of the Chivo’s groin, Jake lurched upward, grabbed him by the back of the head, and shoved the knife’s blade up and though Chivo’s throat into his brain, holding his eyes all the while until the light went out. Chivo crumpled straight down in a heap, the smell of shit filling the air as his sphincter relaxed and the abdominal pressure pushed his insides out.
Jake was crouched low, gripping the knife now slick with blood and jerking around in circles looking for more danger, his breath coming out in heavy gasps.
“Move, Jake! Move!” was screaming in his head as he got his wits back. Going through the fatigues of the two men he’d just killed, Jake took their pistols, money, and personal items. Stripping Silva of his combat harness with first aid and basic survival pouches, Jake put it on and did a quick check to see what he had. Opening a bandage he wrapped it hard around his right hand to stop the blood. Jake was more worried about leaving a trail the others could follow: he’d clean the wound and check for infection once he was clear of the area.
There was no easy way out at this point. Jake was going to have to escape and evade south and deeper into Latin America. Once the agency learned he’d gotten away with first hand knowledge of the horror the US was inflicting on the Nicaraguans, he would be hunted down across the world and killed with no more consideration than putting down a rabid dog.
In the back of his mind, Jake knew any semblance of life before was over. They hadn’t managed to kill him, but he’d lost everyone and everything by stopping them. Quite the lesson for a man trying to walk his talk and save the world, Jake thought. But one step at a time: right now his first job was making distance from the bad guys and surviving the night. Then tomorrow he’d deal with crossing the San Juan into Costa Rica.
END CHAPTER ONE