Pero was a god among men.

Pero was a short man, with orbits of fat that wobbled as he adjusted his bulk. Pulling his trousers up, he made a leer at the small crowd around him.

“We take what we want.” He began, the youthful crowd weary on their feet shuffled trying to not draw attention to their fatigue.

“We are men. They are rats.” On the word rats, he shook his head vigorously, his dark hair drifting with each shake. His eyes were black and beady, his mouth puckered with his yellowing upper teeth protruding over his bottom lip.

He paused to smooth his moustache. Pero knew how to talk to the people; those under his command. And if they didn’t listen? Well, he made sure they did. Pause. You have to pause, to let them take in the profundity of the words. Let them hang on every syllable, waiting, anticipating. The longer the pause the better.

Pero wasn’t uneducated; in fact he came from a good home. His father, a business man had ensured that Pero had received the best education from the best school. He spoke with a twinge of fury, to underline his authority and knowledge.

“You see me before you, my name is Pero. But I do not want you to remember my name, just my words.”

“This Country, our glorious home; is failing. We’re being attacked on all sides. We must defend ourselves!”

Pero’s father, some twenty years past, held a meeting with local business men. They discussed the scourge of the poor, the pitiful penniless who had invaded their home; their city. They discuss in hushed tones about what could and should be done. At his father’s insistence, Pero listened to the outcome. He heard the only way the city could keep itself clean. The business men, although delicate in speech; believed strongly in action.

“You. You. You,” he pointed at the young men and boys around him with a pudgy finger. “You, like me, are now the men of the militia. We are all men here.”

Pero always gave the new recruits boots; a luxury far beyond the ken of the street urchins and school boys they recruited. He felt their love and gratitude at the hardy boots, at his words that made them unhappy but opened their eyes. He basked in the admiration, his chest swelling up and tears forming in his eyes.

“You make me cry. You are all beautiful. Truly you are the hands of god, my friends. My men!”

He liked hearing them cheer; chanting his name and the name of the Country. That made his heart swell with pride. The pride that he, Pero, was going to tidy up. Make the world a better place, for them, him – for his father. He was their father, these young boys. He wanted to give them the pride his father had given him. Bring them up well.

“With your guns, with your strength; we shall clean everything. We shall live in a utopia!”

The boys glanced around. What was a Utopia? They were tired, some already forced into murder; others still awaited that horror as the other boys described it vividly.

“A man takes. He acts. He acts without hesitation. He is fierce and relentless.”

“You will now do good work. The Lord’s work. Help our fathers and mothers to live in peace and safety. You are chosen!”

“The glory, the everlasting memory of greatness. The world. It is yours!”

Pero’s heart was close to bursting. With joy, hope, pleasure and pride. He was going to do it. He was going to make the world right.

“We. WILL. Win.”

Long pause for applause and adulation. Yes, Pero truly was a god among men.

To Chapter Twelve – Collision

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