Josh Gunnoo 2016

Why did M take the mission? 

The latest innovation was unveiled. M was made aware of his mission. The company’s goal; To resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger for medicinal purposes. A cure for the outbreak of disease throughout South Eastern Europe and the Middle East would earn the company millions. Rumoured to be as deadly as the black plague, leaving infected victims with temperatures up to 50°, causing victims blood to coagulate, leaving it to thicken moving as thick and slow as a slug through their contracting arteries; painful to move through the veins. Doctors throughout the world are turning to heroin to stop pain.

“Do you understand your mission, Mr Davis?” beseeches a deep unknown voice.

M, whilst admiring the piece of artwork on the wall, nods his reply, reluctant to speak; worried judgements would be made about himself.

A faint grin grew on M’s face; this work has become tedious.  M has never been to Australia, but the terrain is similar to M’s previous work; it is unforgiving although beautiful to look at. A simple mistake or lapse in concentration can cause you to lose time or even life.  M recreates a mental picture of one the few memories he has of his father, although he still has scars from the numerous times the alcoholic threw horrific punches, at him, which left him bleeding, and feeling a sense of loneliness; a blue feeling that often sent M into feeling the need for isolation to settle his nerves. M still believes these perverse attacks built his character and led to him being the strong mercenary on the outside but the disturbed mental wreck on the inside. He remembers the few fond memories he had with his father, and how his father taught him essential skills to remain suppressed and leave no trace when camping; skills M will need to utilise in order to carry out this mission. M is forever grateful of some of the advice his father has given him; but he still feels the guilt of the circumstances that lead to the gruesome death of his father.  

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M found himself dwelling on the level of difficulty of this task. Although M was usually optimistic about his work; a sense of impossibility ingrained itself into his mind for this particular job. On the outside he seems calm and composed but on the inside, his heartbeat increases, the blood behind his eyes starts to pound. Has M been sent on a fool’s mission? Does the company want M to succeed? Is this a suicide mission? Is the company sure finding the thylacine will provide them with a cure? Or is this just a longshot and a waste of M’s time? M, being a mercenary is often coming across conflicts in his interests and the interests of employers. Being a naturalist, M’s always surprised that it’s harder to kill an animal than it was to see the life slip from his father’s eyes: animals are innocent in comparison to his father. The feeling of isolation he has at his house comforts M, letting him speak his thoughts aloud, knowing there is no wrong answer, in the wilderness listening to the chirps of the lovely birds that fly through the ice kissed rivers of Bern in the winter mornings.

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M brushes all these unanswered questions aside, he signs the contract unwillingly, he needs the money, and fast. M arrives back at his house in Bern, Switzerland. Commences packing straightaway, to catch the red eye to Australia. His house is hidden away into the wilderness of the white, snow-capped mountains kilometres away from any neighbour, any disturbances. M is able to hear any noise from miles away, he has acquired ears like an owl and eyes like a hawk through the experience of being a mercenary; two essential traits to M’s success in his field. The mountains of Switzerland are very much like the relentless nature of the Tasmanian outback; and as M reminisces to the times spent camping with his father, he remembers the method his father used to skin the first deer he ever caught, and use the hide as a blanket. Remembering the technique his father used to tear the skin from the deer’s spine, hearing the skin rip through all the tendons, muscles and bone. ‘Rip pull; rip pull’ M’s Father would mutter under his breath. This was a natural for his father, showing no remorse, looking to get the job done as efficiently as possible.  Whilst packing M comes across a bottle of wine, his first and only girlfriend had given him on their first anniversary. To calm the tremor in his hand he cracks open the bottle of Switzerland’s finest champagne, with each mouthful he feels his heartbeat settle, the anxiety is flushed out of his body, he begins to perspire. M receives a call from his mother, her condition has grown worse. The treatment is required as soon as possible, along with payment for the treatment. M imagines the possibility of becoming an orphan. Remembering the mental impact seeing his father die before his eyes had on him; someone he didn’t see eye to eye with. However, this was his mother, his best friend.  Who will M have left if his mother dies? Who will he talk to about all the things that he is concerned with? Who will talk to him about the memories of his father? His mother had become an idol to him; a best friend, although not always close the death of M’s father had brought them together.  M forgets about the questions about having any point to this mission. Now happy he took the mission, M will go and use anything in his power to earn the money for his mother’s treatment.

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As a young boy, M reminisces on his father telling him about Australia, and also mentioning how Australia have their very own Tiger. Described as having a fox like head, and being as aggressive as the army ants of central and south American.  He has had a lifelong obsession with the continent as a result of his father’s admiration for it, and although always wanting to go there, he is still dwelling on the circumstances that take him there. Picking up his bottle for the last drop, he throws his bag into the back of the car. So small, he has only packed the essentials, he knows the task will be difficult and cannot afford to have an extremely heavy pack. He turns his key, the ignition starts. The dew on the windshield has caused it to be extremely cold inside the car, M shivers; goose bumps crawl up his spine, his arm hair sticks up. Mildly affected by the alcohol, he is slow to react. On the way to the airport M falls out of a sense of drowsiness, the anxiety floods back into him. His hands begin to violently shake, his heart accelerates again, his body feels cold. M knew he wasn’t far from the airport and he didn’t have much more of a chance to turn around, he so nearly does. ‘do it for mum, do it for mum’ the words continually flash through his mind; his motivation.  

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M turns into the long term parking, reminding him he isn’t sure how long he will be, he isn’t sure if he will have the money as urgently as it is needed. M opens the boot and tosses the minimalised bag of luggage onto the trolley, and walks to the departures board. So many flights. Where could all these people be going? He thinks, Are they all in the same situation as me? Or am I the only one living in this dystopia? M finds his flight, and begins to walk to the check in desk before he is tapped on the back by a mysterious man with a long black cloak. M is handed a bag, in this quick confrontation with the man. Always worried about meeting new people as he struggles with people skills.

“Hello.” Says the cloaked man.

M, looks him in the eye and struggles to come to terms with the man, he doesn’t reply. M returning a steely clenched jaw, eyes as wide as a snowy owl. The cloaked man leaves M.

In the bag is a file, labelled ‘M.Davis.’ M pulls out the file, masks his face with a smile, to cover the mind games his brain continues to play him. On the opening page was a photo of a rather attractive girl M thinks, with pale white skin, and a strong sense of innocence and naivety about her.  ‘Crikey’ he mutters under his breath. Repeating what an Australian man use to say when M and his father watched TV together. ‘Lucy Armstrong’. M came to the realisation this was the family he would be living with while working in Australia. He wishes he was able to live by himself, the peace and quiet lets M relax. No need to worry about people tampering with his few belongings.

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Sitting uncomfortably in his window seat, right on the wing of the plane, M is interrupted from his deep thought. He has never understood how a 500 tonne piece of metal could fly, and for that reason he didn’t trust it; he never felt safe in the air. An overweight woman, with short grey hair sits beside him, cramming him right up against the window. Quickly followed by her order of coffee, and M’s dinner has finally arrived. The plane hits turbulence, M isn’t sure whether it is his body or the plane, the tremors in his hand continue. Many tremors, each more daunting then the last.