2007-03-21: Why The Good Lord Created Claymores

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William_icon.gif Luke_icon.gif

Summary: William and Luke have a random meeting over coffee. Bonding over past military service, they jokingly plot the downfall of gangs.

Date It Happened: March 21, 2007

Why the Good Lord Created Claymores


Common Grounds

Luke is settling in for dinner - having just come through the door and removed his coat, hanging it over the back of his chair. He ordered a drink - tall mocha - and ordered a muffin, moving to head for a table and settling into his seat, mixing sugar and cream into his drink.

William shifts his messenger bag into a more comfortable position as he waits, and finally gets to order. He places his own order for a latte and bagel, then steps aside to wait for it. He has a casual smile on his face, waiting patiently until he can take the food to a table next to Luke's and settle in.

"Evening," Luke offers with a wave, pushing the chair with his coat away a bit enough to make room. He takes a sip from his mocha, adding some more sugar and cream to it before he takes another sip from it. "The bagels any good here, do you know?" he asks politely.

William opens his bag to pull out a file of papers before he starts to spread cream cheese on the bagel. The question gets his attention though and he nods to Luke. "Evening." He greets, looking down to the bagel before he adds more. "They're pretty good. Not up to Jewish deli standards better than the bagged ones from the grocery store."

Luke nods, "I don't know much about 'em. Never really had bagels where I was growing up," he says as he moves to push his muffin close, using a knife to slice it in half and take a bite, chewing easily. "MMmm. I'm more used to fried potatoes and eggs for breakfast I imagine, along with black coffee."

William nods his head with a laugh. "That's more the style of breakfast my mother made when I was growing up. We had the grocery store kind of bagels though, sometimes. I don't think there was a Jewish deli for several hundred miles of there." William takes a sip of his coffee and smiles. "It's part of living here I guess, along with the fancy coffee."

Luke grins, "I guess so. I'm used to a different life, I think," he says as he looks around here. "People are a bit more .. taciturn, they are more … reluctant to just talk to people. But the city is so huge, you can get lost here, totally." Another sip from his drink and he puts it down, offering his calloused rough hand. "Luke, by the way."

William puts his drink down to shake Luke's hand. "Nice to meet you. I'm William." He leans back in his seat as he nods. "It's a very different life than the one I had growing up. And even very different from other cities. I moved here from the San Diego area, and it's definitely a different vibe to life here."

Luke nods, "San Diego was more relaxed?" he asks. "I did some diving around there, but that's about it," he says as he shakes that hand firmly, returning to his seat. "So you sound like you're somewhat new here, maybe? What is it that you do?" he asks politely, leaning back in his seat.

"I did a bit of diving around there as well." William remarks with a smile. "And yes, it was. Maybe it's the beach being so near." With the hand shaking done, William moves to finish preparing his bagel. "I teach Jr. High math. Just moved here to start this school year. You sound fairly new around here as well?" And that would explain the stack of papers, the top one of which shows lots of scratchwork.

Luke nods, "I am," he adds, turning his seat to face the other man. "I came in a few months ago from .. overseas." He pauses, giving the man a long look. "Overseas, deployed," he adds finally. "So now I'm just bumming around, trying to figure out what I want to do - doing some security work now and then, helping companies with antiterror stuff, that kind of thing you know?" he says.

William nods his head as he chews before speaking. "Oh? What branch?" He looks to Luke over then smiles. "Wait, let me guess. Army?" He asks before nodding again. "Sounds like a good thing to be doing. Probably less like beating your head against a brick wall than teaching Jr. High."

Luke grins, "Maybe," he says to the last point. "I don't know - I've never taught school before. And yes, Army. I was a major when I got out - Army Special Forces, Rangers before that after college ROTC - shake and bake officer, you know."

William gives Luke a look of respect for that. "But since we're both out of the service, I don't have to salute you, right?" That comment is said in a very joking tone as he digs into his bagel.

Luke grins, "No, no you don't. I'm no longer a major, unless I'm getting my pension check from a dime and a half of service," he notes. He takes a long sip from his drink again, settling back, "So why teaching?"

William shrugs at that last question after the first gets a laugh. "It seemed like it'd be an interesting challenge. I like challenges, and would hate for life to get boring. Besides, I get the chance to still make a difference, working with a group of kids that not a lot of people have taken an interest in. They need structure and someone who believes they can learn. Even if it's just fractions."

Luke nods, "Fair enough," he says thoughtfully, tilting his head as he takes another long sip. "And I think that's a good way to channel stuff, to channel your energy into something good. I never thought about it myself," he says. "Did you find the transition hard - from ground work to teaching?"

William gives Luke a half smile as he jokes. "I'm a SEAL, if a retired one. We don't find anything hard." He reaches out for his coffee before he shrugs. "It was an interesting transition though. The kids don't seem to listen well to orders."

Luke nods, "I think a lot of kids growing up now don't." he says, shaking his head. "WIth their cellphones and Internet and texting and MTV - listen to me, I sound like a tired old man," he says with a relaxed laugh.

"In my day…" William jokes before he nods. "But some of it is also where I teach. Gangs hold more sway than teachers, or even MTV." William reaches out for his coffee. "But maybe some of those kids will resist the gangs, get an education. Even end up in the service, preferablly the Navy."

Luke grins. "Or the Army, grunt for life," he says with a grin. "But I get what you're saying," he says as he lifts his coffee. "Can the cops do anything about the gangs? Or do they just run full tilt over the whole school?" he asks.

William gives Luke a smile at that first part. "Or even the flyboys in the Air Force." He's joking until he returns to talking about gangs. That's serious. "They can keep out of the school to some extent. And mostly keep weapons out. But you know who is wearing gang colors and such. Which is a wonderful life choice for the 13 year old boy."

"That's … God, that sucks. I wish there was a better way. I mean, it's how the city or area is, right? Gangs are a matter of life. But I Just wish there was a better way of things being done. Who wants some thirteen year old to have to pick before knifing someone for a gang and graduating from school. Is it because they think they have no hope, or?"

"I teach in a bad area of the Bronx. It's a way of life. That's what they grow up knowing." William says before he shrugs. "My goal is to show them that they don't have to screw up their lives that way. I know I won't reach all of them, but if I can help a couple kids a year, that will end up being a lot."

Luke nods, "That's a good plan." he replies. "And noble. A lot of people I don't think would even bother," he says as he takes a long gulp from his coffee. "Do you have kids you're really getting through to now, or are you still starting out with them?"

William shrugs. "I don't do it because it's noble. I do it because it needs done. And I'm finding I enjoy teaching." He smiles and nods at that. "There are a couple of boys that I play soccer with before school on occasion. I speak Spanish, so it's a good bonding point with the Hispanic students. And several kids I tutor in my free time. By March, we're pretty far into the school year."

Luke scratches his jaw, "OK," he adds. "If you ever need help, or you want someone to come in and talk on career day or something you let me know? If I can help out, I will. You may not see it as noble but," he offers a full grin, "It really is a bit noble when you stop to think about it."

William laughs at the noble comment. "Thus says the retired Major." He's back to joking as he nods. "I'll let you know if something like that ever comes up."

Luke grins, "You're too young looking to be a chief - petty officer maybe, right?" he says. "But nothing I did was that noble," he adds. Another long sip. "So, what other restaurants are good around here, or bookstores, or gyms?"

William grins back and shakes his head. "Lieutenant, actually. I'm an academy grad." He sits back in his chair and shakes his head. "You were a Ranger, and you want to tell me you never did anything as noble as teaching seventh grade?" His tone is teasing before he smiles. "I tend to use the public library more than bookstores when I can. There's a good gym I use about two blocks south of here though."

Luke grins, "Lieutenant. Alright, fair enough. Sorry about that. I'll check that gym out. You know how it is - you get old enough you need to keep working out, if you ever stop for some reason you're really going to end up screwed, body wise."

William smirks over. "I guess I'm not that old yet." He pauses for a sip of coffee before he adds. "I just enjoy working out though. Beyond not wanting to lose all the effort I put in getting into good shape, it serves as a great form of stress relief. And it's less likely to get you arrested than strangling students."

Luke grins. "I can see that, I can see that. I do it to get over some of the frustrations with working with corporations. You couldn't even imagine how complicated their rules are. We want to be protected, but we don't want to spend too much money, or we want to try to cut corners, that sort of thing. And everyone looking to save a buck, cut corners."

William polishes off the last of his bagel before he replies. "I'm sure they are. Bureaucracy in all its forms is annoying. And I'm sure they'll love the cutting corners right until something bad happens."

Luke nods, "And then they will want to point fingers at someone and yell at them - someone like me. I'm sometimes glad I didn't get
promoted high enough to have to deal with anything beyond the battalion level - I imagine at the brigade and regimental and division space it's something like that," he says with a shake of his head.

William nods his head as well at that thought. "I'm pretty sure it's a lot like that. That thought alone is enough to make me glad that I didn't stay in long enough to be promoted beyond my platoon. And my current principal wouldn't dare take me on. He knows I could snap him in two one handed, as if I'd want to."

Luke grins, "Well, that puts you in a position of power," he points out. A grin as he takes a long sip from his coffee, shaking it around to mix it up some. "So it's not going to be like in that movie right - you aren't going to take the gangs on with SMGs, assault rifles and hand grenades?" he asks.

William rubs his chin as if he's considering that. "Well, I do still have quite a few friends in the teams… Why? Were you wanting to join the action when we do?" He's clearly joking by the grin on his face.

Luke laughs, good humor in his eyes as he puts down his coffee. "Well. I don't know. I have a meeting on Thursday," he drawls. "But Friday through Sunday I have cardio that I could set aside," he replies.

William nods his head. "I'm sure we could work some cardio into the plan for you. Wait. If we took out one gang, another would just spring up. Damn. There goes the plan." He lets out a mock sigh.

Luke laughs and looks thoughtful. "Well, you know that's why the good Lord created claymores, you know," he points out. "Set up a nice tunnel ambush, draw them in and using overlapping fields of fire from two machine guns…"

"No more gang. And they'd never know what hit them. They're all just amateurs, really." William notes with a shake of his head. "Maybe the police just need a special forces squad to cover the gang aspect."

"See. But unfortunately, there's all those laws and stuff. You can't just go out and set up an ambush position because the gangs won't stop selling crank and crack to anyone that buy," Luke says with a wry smile. "Unfortunately, as much as I may want it to be otherwise."

William nods his head with a mock sigh. "True. We are in the US now. We have to follow laws. Even if the gangs don't." That's all said in a 'doesn't life suck sometimes' tone. "Probably better not to cause a bloodbath in the Bronx. Might even lose my teaching license."

Luke nods, "At the very least. Or they'd throw us into prison and that'd be a pretty big mistake. Good way to clean out the legal system though," he says with a grin, shaking his head with a low laugh - and lifting his cup for a long sip from it.

William nods his head. "True. I don't think I'd really enjoy jail." He pauses for a moment before he smiles. "It would be a good way to clean it out. Weapons may make life easier, but they're not truly necessary." William lifts his own cup for a sip.

Luke nods, "Indeed. I suppose so. But, I think we should change the subject before someone gets onto us and we have to talk to FBI agents at some point," he says with a grin - tossing his empty cup into the trash and lifting his muffin to take another bite from it.

"I suppose everyone might not get our shared sense of humor. I'd really rather not have a chat with any friendly FBI suits." William leans back in his seat. "So, what other thrilling topic could we discuss?"

Luke grins, "I'm rather not either. So." he says as he scratches his jaw again. "Do you go jumping anywhere? I thought there has to be a good place here I could get in some HALO jumps maybe," he says. "Or mountain climbing maybe?" he adds.

William shakes his head. "I haven't yet. If you find a good place, let me know. I'd really like to get in a few jumps. I'm hoping this summer I might be able to take a trip somewhere that I could do some dives. I spent a weekend last fall in New Hampshire. They've got great hiking, but nothing I'd really call good climbing."

Luke nods, "There's got to be some good places. I'll do some digging around. I haven't really done any diving in a great deal of time, a few years. Not since I was a young captain myself," he offers with a full grin. "But it was fun stuff, scary, but pretty fun."

"And probably a better way to blow off steam than plotting the downfall of gangs. I'm sure there must be somewhere outside the city that does such things. As for diving, I may just make a visit to friends in California and dive some familiar waters. I don't know if the waters around here would be great for it." William notes thoughtfully.

Luke grins, "I think so. Far safer for both of us, I think. I'll look around. There's got to be at least a few places that'll let you show them your military free fall cards and get the certification to do some high free fall work," he replies.

William reaches down to his bag to grab a post-it note and a pen, a green one. He jots down on it his name, William Connors, and phone number, 283-3171. "When you find one, call me and let me know. And if you need company for it, I'd be more than happy to come along."

Luke nods, "I will do that," he says as he digs into his coat, pulling out a simple card - his number, a name (Luke Burton) and an email and fax address. "Here you go," he says as he hands it over, exchanging. "I wouldn't mind that at all, you know. It'd be good to get out again, practice."

William nods his head, tucking the card in the pocket of his pants. "Or just to get together sometime and exercise, maybe spar." William says before he drains that last bit of his latte.

Luke nods, "That could work. Although you'll probably outdo me by far Lieutenant," he warns with a grin, finishing his muffin and brushing crumbs from his fingertips. "You were still operational, I was a half meter away from riding a desk when I left, ops position."

"Well then, I'll help you get back into shape." William jokes before he nods. "I still had the chance to do a few years in the field before my body would give out. I don't think a desk job would have suited me well. Not in the military."

Luke grins. "Probably not. It was interesting - it was a great way to see how things work and see the gremlin behind the curtain, so to speak," he offers. He frowns as his phone goes off, snagging his coat and rising. "It was great to meet a fellow soldier again - funny how you miss seeing them when you go civilian. I'll be in touch soon," he adds as he heads for the door.

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