The Spoils of War

Lance Corporal Jack Shaw is discharged from the Army after extended tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He returns to his birthplace of Bradford where he meets Parminder Sherwani in a local bar. Parminder's an attractive, confident University student who's not adverse to a bit of fun.

To date, Jack has 100% record with Asian women. They can never say no to him, but then again Jack's always been a soldier, and soldiers carry guns.

The relationship gets off to a flying start and it seems romance in the air but when Jack's physical advances are met with resistance, the result is serious conflict.

Parminder claims she was raped. Her comments go viral on Twitter. Parminder's brother and his friends hunt down Jack and beat him half to death, leaving him wheel-chair bound. Bradford quickly finds itself reliving the riots of 2001; Asian gangs and students are fighting the English Defence League on the streets.

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THE SPOILS OF WAR

Surtsey Ana Krakatoa

Copyright © 2013 Text Surtsey Ana Krakatoa

The author asserts the moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Toddington Service Station, M1 Motorway, Bedfordshire

 

"Excuse me, mate."

The older man slowed, stopped, and turned. "I'm not your mate." He took a long second studying the burly soldier, the shiny boots, the khaki uniform, and the untidy straw-like hair. "Where's yer hat?"

"My beret's in my bag, sir."

"What can I do you for?"

"Are you heading up north?" asked the soldier.

"Silly question, really. If I were going south I'd be on t'other side."

"Any chance of a lift?"

"Sorry," the older man replied. "It's against company policy to take passengers in the van. We're not insured for it."

"Okay, thanks anyway." The soldier turned away, surveying the car park in search of other drivers.

The other rubbed his chin whilst studying the soldier's uniform. "Where you headed?"

"North. If I were going south I'd be on t'other side."

"Touché . . . and where are you coming from, lad?"

The soldier dropped his bag, turned, and lowered his head, avoiding eye contact. "Afghanistan."

"War for war's sake." The man sighed, and rolled his eyes. "I can't be doing with all that rubbish, the Army. To think how much tax I'm paying. That war's a waste of my bloody money. It's not even our war."

"Don't blame me," the soldier replied. "I don't do politics. It's not my job to agree or disagree. I just went where they sent me, and did what I was told."

"Hold on, so you're just one of them mindless Privates who kill folk because you was following orders."

"I'm not a Private. I'm . . .  I mean, I was a Lance Corporal."

"Oh, right. That means bugger all to me. Have you gone AWOL?"

"No."

"Are you on leave or sommat?"

"No, I'm done with the Army. I'm going home."

The older man raised his eyebrows. "And where's home?"

"Bradford."

"Bradford's not up north. It's in the Midlands. And the place is full of Pakis."

"Not much has changed then." The soldier smiled, and shook his head. "According to my sergeant, anywhere north of Watford's up north.

"What's your name, lad?"

"Lance Corporal Jack Shaw, sir."

"Seeing as you're not in the Army, you're just Jack now, Jack Shaw. I'm Pete, Pete Foster." The driver extended a hand. "I'm going home, proper up north - Newcastle. Gather up your kit, lad. I'll drop you as near to Bradford as I go."

"Result." Jack pumped his fist in the air, and followed the driver across the car park.

"This is me." The driver stopped adjacent to a white Mercedes van with "Fosters Countrywide Deliveries" emblazoned on every panel. Before unlocking the doors the driver paused to ask a question. "If you're not in the Army why are you still wearing a uniform?"

 "Simple," replied Jack. "People like you are far more likely to give a lift to a soldier than a civilian."

The old man opened driver's door. "Clever bastard, ain't ya."

 

The Mercedes Sprinter accelerated, gathering momentum as it sped along the slip road before pulling onto the busy motorway. Jack leaned back in the passenger seat and closed his eyes in preparation for the journey.

"I suppose you've got people waiting for you at home," said Pete. "They'll be putting the flags out for you and having a welcome home party."

Jack answered, his eyes still closed. "No, not really."

"I bet you've a nice lass waiting for you."

"I've been away five years. You can't expect a decent girl to wait all of that time."

"What's in Bradford, then – family, your Ma?"

Jack shook his head. "No, no family. I've nothing in Bradford."

"Why you headed there, then? A young lad like you with his whole life ahead of him – why go to Bradford? It's a right proper shit-hole."

"I don't know. It's the place I left. So it's the place I'm going back to. When you lose your bearings it's best to go back to a point when you knew where you were, and who you were."

"Aye. Makes sense. Have you really no family, lad?"

"None that matters." Jack yawned. "The army was my family."

Pete randomly searched for radio stations, and finding nothing to his liking, reverted to questioning his passenger. "Seeing as you're a soldier, have you ever killed anyone?"

Jack watched through the side window as the van passed an estate car with a little girl sitting in the back. The child waved and smiled. Jack waved back before returning his attention to the driver. "Seeing as you're a courier, have you ever delivered any parcels?"

"Touché – again! Alright, lad. I'll say no more." Pete looked across to Jack. "You look tired, son. I'll stop asking questions and let you get your head down for a bit. We've a way to go."

Jack was very quickly asleep, his head lolling against the door-glass.

Pete couldn't keep quiet. Before they'd reached Milton Keynes he was chatting away.  "I don't understand it. I remember the Falklands War – what a waste of money that was. Let the Argies have it I say . . . And then there was the Gulf War – twice.  People say it was about the oil but did prices go down? Did they heck! Do you know what it costs to fill this thing up with diesel? I swear it goes up every week. . . . My wife says . . ."

 

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