Jump to content
Server time: 2017-08-16, 15:20

Sign in to follow this  
novacane

"The Lost Legionnaire" - Marcus Lau profile

Recommended Posts

novacane    2

The Lost Legionnaire

18/07/2016:

(updating)

g8xIbWP.png

Caporal

LAU, MARCUS

2e REP | 2e Compagnie | 5e Section

My full name is Marcus Guan-Tse Lau. That's the name I was given eight years ago. I went by another one before that – the one my parents gave me. I've tried so hard to bury it, but now with the world gone to shit, and all the time in the world to think about it, it's hard to look in the mirror and not remember the fuckup staring right back at you.

I'll start from the beginning.

PART 1: Home

I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. My parents and my older sister, Karen (five years-old at the time), emigrated from Guangzhou, China in hopes of a better life. My mom was pregnant with me on the way over, and she and dad managed to find a small apartment in Chinatown. Dad landed a job at a warehouse stacking boxes while my mom became a cashier in a local grocery. A few months later, she gave birth to me.

We lived in Room 419 of an old ten-story brick building that was built back in the 1970's; the wallpaper was yellow and peeling, and the floor was made of some kind of crappy brown wool carpet. There was a kitchen that tripled as a living and dining room, a bedroom for my parents, a bathroom in the little hallway, and then the walk-in closet that me and Karen had to share – it had just enough room for two beds, shoved in side-by-side. The “room” got smaller as I got older, until eventually my sister had to sleep on a mattress next to mom and dad's bed. This was home for the first eighteen years of my life.

I was a small and shy kid growing up, and in the big primary school I went to bullies were everywhere, and they saw me as an easy target. I got beat up a lot; plenty of times I've ended up in the nurse's office with cuts and bruises, and it got so bad that my parents considered moving me to a new school, even though the next one (that they could afford) was an hour further away. Dad kept telling me to fight back, but I didn't know how – they were always so big.

I met Jason during those days, and he became my best friend. He was another CBC like me, but his father left when he was younger, so he only had a mom and a little brother. We hung out a lot, and one day after school he introduced me to this gang led by one of his older cousins, Kenneth.

Kenneth and his guys looked pretty mean – with tats, chains, slick or spiky hair, and they drove some pimped out cars and bikes too. Apparently, Kenneth and the gang was involved in some illegal shit; mostly drugs, and they jacked a few rides here and there. One or two guys ran grow ops, and they had access to some more potent stuff too. Some had even served prison time. After school, Jason and I would follow them to their hangouts where they'd go drinking or partying. One night, after tasting my first beer and sharing my first joint, I was one of them – one of the “crew”.

With these guys at my back, the bullies started backing off. And it felt good.

For awhile.

Years pass. School was boring, but I got by as an “okay” student up until senior high. English and Art classes were my most favourite, and I dreamed of one day becoming a comic book artist. But after school, I was one of the “crew”.

By that time, Kenneth and some of his friends got busted bad for trafficking, so we pretty much ran our own group. And man we did some crazy shit: we partied, we jacked rides, shoplifted, raced, and broke stuff. Jimmy had his own grow op and I was there during some of the deals (though all I did was ride in the back), and we made some pretty decent cash. Once in awhile we put on bandanas and gang up on some pampered white kid, and then leave him to walk home shirtless. Mom and dad eventually caught on, and they weren't happy – told me that I should stop hanging with them, that they were a bad crowd. We got into a lot of arguments because of that; these guys were my friends. How could I leave them? And there was this cute girl that hung out with us a lot, and I really wanted to ask her out... and I can't remember her name. Not even her face.

I should've listened to them.

It was the beginning of summer, 2006: Jason said he scoped out this new jewelry store in the West End: "Easy money" he said – said that he knew how to get past the security system pick the back door lock, and that we'll empty the place while the owner was away. That night, we put on some ski-masks, waited until the guy was gone during the night, and then we moved in. Jason went ahead for a few minutes, then came back; and true to his fucking word, the door was open and the alarm didn't sound. We went in and raided every shelf and display case, filling sacks and backpacks with watches, rings, diamonds... it was a fucking motherload. I even found a nice necklace for that girl I liked.

Then we heard Sam call for help; he was in the back getting his ass kicked by the owner, who came back for some reason. We ran in and got the guy off. He then pulled a baseball bat on us. When he wasn't looking, Matt got his crowbar and cracked him a couple of times over his back. The man fell down and stopped moving.

We all ran after that.

The news reported the robbery in the morning, and that the owner was alive but in "critical condition". Matt got badly tangled on a fence and the police got him easy. They got Jason the day after – Matt must've squealed to save his neck, the fucker.

I knew it wouldn't be long before they came for me and the others, so I went and turned myself in.

Matt was tried as an adult and got ten years for paralyzing the store owner. The rest of us spent a couple of months in Juvey.

I celebrated my eighteenth birthday there, alone in my cell.

Mom, dad, and Karen picked me up and confronted me at home, tearful and angry; I was expelled from school, and had a criminal record to my name – robbery, breaking and entering, vandalism, accessory to an assault... almost everything I did with the gang was on the list. That night I just sat there on the edge of my bed, shaking with head bowed as my dad whipped a coat hanger over my back and shoulders, screaming that he was ashamed to have a son like me. Then he went to the kitchen. I could hear Karen and mom crying in the bathroom. I glimpsed up through my own tears to see dad sitting at the tiny dinner table, head in his hands beneath the ceiling lamp.

It was quiet like that for a long while. Then dad got up and I picked up the phone. I heard him speaking low to the person on the other line. Then he puts it down and comes back.

"That was Uncle Yim," he said, tired but hard-faced. "He is going to help you."

Dad made me apply for a passport and a maritime work permit, and weeks later I was packing a gym bag with some spare clothes. Karen and mom hugged me goodbye, wishing me luck. Dad didn't even look at me. The drive was long and quiet. I leaned my head against the window and stared out as the ocean came into view.

Then we were at the docks in the shadow of a large cargo ship. Uncle Yim was waiting for us and my dad shook hands with him. They spoke briefly. Dad then came back, got me out of the car, and handed me my bag.

Dad looked at me again - one last time, long and hard - and then got in the car. I watched as he drove off into the night.

I never saw him again.

PART 2: Gone

"Uncle" Yim isn't really my uncle; he and my dad were good friends back in China and our families were really close. When my dad told him what happened, he promised to give me an honest job and look after me, and the skipper happened to be looking for a new “ship's boy” (basically a janitor).

I mopped, scrubbed, scraped and vacuumed for months. Uncle and I bunked together in a decent room and we would spend our off-time watching bootleg movies and soaps on a cheap laptop he bought in Hong Kong. There was a small gym onboard too, so I took whatever opportunity I could find to stay lean and fit. Our ship sailed south and passed through the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, and then we sailed north along the east coast of the U.S. until we stopped in New York harbour. We'd go ashore and have fun at every stop - usually to eat and drink at some bar or restaurant, though Uncle was always looking out for me and made sure I didn't get too drunk.

I tried my best not to think about home. About the guys. About mom and sis. About dad – and the pain and disappointment in his face. There were never enough beers to wash that look away.

It was April 2007 when we headed to our next port: a place called Marseilles, in southern France. It was my first time going to Europe so I decided to look the city up on the net while I was on break. Mostly to check out the beaches, though.

That was when a video came up in the search results – it showed a bunch of big guys in round white caps and fancy uniforms, singing and marching slowly with these black rifles hugged to their chests. These guys were holding a celebration called “Camerone Day”, and the video said that they are some kind of special unit in the French army... something called the "Foreign Legion".

Something about the look of these guys impressed me – backs straight and looking mean as fuck, with some guys even wearing big dark tats on their exposed arms. So I kept looking, and learned that these men come from all around the world, looking for “adventure”, wanting some way into France... but most of these guys are running from some kind of trouble. That got me more interested, and I ended up on the Legion website.

The deal is simple: you go to a recruiting office, pass some psychological and physical tests, and you sign a standard five-year contract. You'll get a new name, a new identity, a new life start. After finishing the training you are sent around the world as a soldier fighting for France. Almost like some kind of mercenary. That sounded pretty badass. At the time.

And just like that, I was hooked.

I spoke to my Uncle about the Legion and my decision to join. He was worried, because he had been to Marseilles before and said that the French looked down on most foreigners - including Chinese. I told him I didn't care - told him I didn't want to be mopping floors for the rest of my life. He insisted that I tell the family about it first, but I told him I wasn't a kid anymore, and that I could make my own choices.

We docked in Marseilles and I packed my things. I signed off with the skipper and hugged Uncle goodbye. He promised to tell the family where I was and that I'd be alright.

I then found myself staring at a set of thick wooden doors. I stood there for a little while, wondering what to expect once I walk through them. Five years is a long time to be stuck in place like this... but it's either here, or back to being a janitor. And dad didn't want me back home - not for awhile, anyway.

So I take a deep breath, and give the doors a couple of knocks. A little hatch opens up, and a tall black guy with a hard pair of dark eyes stares at me beneath the black rim of a round white cap.

"Oui?" he asks, sounding annoyed. It looked like I caught him at a bad time.

"Uh... I want to join the Legion, sir."

“... Passeport, s'il vous plait.”

I understand the first word, and I quickly slip my passport through the narrow window. He snatches it and looks down to flip through the pages. He looks at me again, like I'm some kind of cockroach.

"Wait,” he says, shutting the hatch. I was only here for less than a minute and I already felt like I was doing something wrong.

Soon the doors open, and the black guy waves me in. I enter to find another man standing nearby; tanned, broad, and a little thick around the waist, wearing the same short sleeved dress uniform I had seen on the net, but the cap on his head is black. An officer, maybe? He looks me up and down, holding my passport in both hands.

“You wish to join the Legion?” he asks in perfect English. The guy sounded British, which caught me by surprise.

“Yes sir, I do." I look him straight in the eye so that there was no mistake. The officer nods, and tilts his head to another door behind him.

“Follow me, please.”  

PART 3: Legion

8D1tZmb.jpg?1

[mp3]https://clyp.it/1lemk0t4.mp3[/mp3]

Dans la brume la rocaille...

WIP

PART 4: Lost

244850_un-legionnaire-en-afghanistan.jpg

I had that dream again...

WIP

PART 5: Found

ypAFFah.jpg?1

It looks like I've come to the wrong place at the right time...

WIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×