Julius Caesar being tended to by his people.

Ever read Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar?

You’re not alone.

It moves like a single, run-on sentence, punctuated by a thousand stray commas and semicolons. When I read it in high school, I nearly throttled my English teacher because that many punctuation marks killed the romance of the story. I was a die-hard romantic, pure as they come.

Slogging through Julius Caesar reminded me of driving a Ford Fiesta and hitting a speed bump every six feet. Sure, there was a harmonic thing to it, but it was jarring and unnerving.

I ended up doing some light editing: rewrote the entire thing by hand into my notebook so I could read it normally. Anal, yes, but it beat the crap outta those speed bumps.

Shakespeare Wasn’t Actually That Shakespeare

The man who reportedly wrote the play, according to our history books, never read it, either. In fact, he never wrote a word of “Shakespeare,” but contributed his good name to the comedies, histories and tragedies that shaped the modern world’s sectors of all societies in all countries.

Kick, scream and fire a few warning shots across my bow, if you will, but when you do as I did and read all of Shakespeare’s works back to back, you may discover the same: there are five distinct authors’ voices in his writings. I recall explaining that to bestselling author and presenter, David Wilcock, on a show he interviewed me for in 2015, for his DISCLOSURE tv series. He was so incredulous that he had his producer and editor delete that part of the episode.

I personally thought it was the best part of the whole program, bringing new evidence to light that the most famous writer in the history of the English language was actually a bunch of priests who spent 20 hours a day dreaming up ways to control, exploit and influence entire populations of unsuspecting citizens. Please don’t shoot the messenger: believe it or not, it is still happening today.

Knowing you’re ready to either dismiss or kill me, I carry on bravely: I contend that five men diligently researched the ancient Greek and Roman writings, and applied them to the modern society of late 1500s Elizabethan England. It was a grand experiment that sought to turn Greek fire (read: wisdom) into British propaganda, to “educate” the common people, and shape and manipulate their inexperienced minds. We know it worked well because their mind-control mechanisms scared the crap out of the population, and the taxes kept flowing in, even from English counties suffering from severe economic drought. It’s DNA still propagates today in our beloved America.

Do As I Did And Ye Shall See The Light

I read all those works in two weeks. Why? I’m a binge-eating bookaholic who devoured 405 books in 2021, mostly to see if I actually could, while still maintaining a steady, well-paying job as a ghostwriter/editor of books. I’ll not do that again, because it required frequent bouts of speed-reading that blurred the pages and, hence, morphed the stories into a barely recognizable literary mush. Still I recall every book, every story, every lesson learned. Also, the more you stuff inside your superconscious (some erroneously call it the subconscious; I forgive ’em) at once, the more it can digest and remove the chaff, analyze the remaining, then disseminate the resulting distillate.

Actually, I read the works of “Shakespeare” because I’d heard a rumor that they were not penned by the bard. And I wanted to test that hypothesis.

It proved accurate but that’s neither here nor there. Besides, this article is about signing your life away as a mercenary and doing the unthinkable. Don’t think, just listen.

Let Slip The Dogs of War!

Mercenary in Africa.

Please accept my apology: I draw out this lengthy introduction to my piece and mention Julius Caesar because of a famous line inserted by one of the true authors of Shakespeare’s brilliant works. He placed it in the mouth of Marc Antony:

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war!”

That quote has been misused for centuries, so much so it became a cliché, something we all habituated to and eventually dismissed.

The Murder of Julius Caesar: A Watershed Moment for Western Civilization

Read Next: The Murder of Julius Caesar: A Watershed Moment for Western Civilization

But it was reborn in the 1974 novel that encouraged me to become a merc after the Army: The Dogs of War, by Frederick Forsythe. It’s a clever story about an opportunist who forms a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries to overthrow a small African nation and “cry ‘Havoc’! The spoils, of course, was a mountain full of platinum.

I wasn’t interested in killing people wantonly. My thing was to assist those who couldn’t help themselves so they could escape persecution and have a voice of liberty.

Never Drink Italian Beer When Planning A Trip Abroad

Simulated scene of the author, drunk.

I know parts of Africa very well, having lived in the southern region for two years. After a painful divorce, I planned a short trip to Costa Rica, to go hiking and get lost in some lush jungle, and eventually find the meaning of life. Or El Dorado.

That night I remember grabbing a six of Peroni, putting it in an ice bath, and accessing Delta.com to look up flights to San José, Costa Rica.

In those ancient days, I lived by the adage, “In drink, men were most sincere, throwing off disguise and also most open to deeds of heroism.”

By the next morning when I woke up, there were 14 empty beer bottles and a single email in my inbox. It was from Delta, congratulating me on booking my flight to Johannesburg.

Wait a sec, there was no Johannesburg in Costa Rica. Certain excitatory neurotransmitters in Italian beer will do that to you. Red Bull and Monster drinks are similar and they go down well with Russian vodka.

Not one to argue with the gods, because I’m such a good sport and always up for another grand adventure, I stayed the course and flew 18 hours to South Africa, to begin my new journey. I reasoned that, if I could “find” myself in Costa Rica, I could surely find myself in South Africa. Or somehow reinvent and reshape myself into a new man.

Whadda Ya Mean I Can’t Have Fun Anymore?

Up to that point I’d been a scientist, Army Ranger, corporate merc, and done a few other odd jobs. How do you promise yourself that the most fun you’ve had in your life will never happen again?

As an Army Ranger, I’d hung out and trained with kids half my age. They taught me more than any professor ever had, except Richard Feynman and Julie Axelrod, my two science mentors. Richard said quit science and learn the congas, Dino. Axelrod said to stick with what I loved, though he never once asked me what it was.

Thing is, I loved everything I ever did, painful as it may have been at the time. Saying no to fun was not an option.

The Coolest Job Interview Ever

Worldclass artist Sarah Rosetti’s haunting painting of Dino Garner, hunting poachers in Africa. He is surrounded by a clan of hyenas that accompanied him on 10 missions. The carcasses of seven poachers litter the foreground.

In southern Africa, I discovered new species of delish beer, tall stunning smart women, and big animals, then somehow got roped into interviewing for a cool job, hunting poachers on the vast savanna.

On my interview day, I was directed to hike “that way” until I found a poacher camp. What I did with them was up to me, said the interviewer, “Bongali,” bearing a 500-watt smile of perfectly aligned white teeth, and clad in a torn t-shirt, board shorts and flips. He was his own Impi, an entire Zulu battalion, though he more resembled a teenage mischievous do-nothing.

Upon returning from my interview-hunt, I told Bongali that I hadn’t found the bad guys. He opened his arms wide, took me in a warm embrace, and said in very slow, deliberate English: “Mister Dean! You passed the test because you did not get eaten by anything!”

Bongali then added, “I now call you “udrako,” which means dragon! Mister Dean, likufanele!”

My fave word is “likufanele”. In Khosa, it means, “Your name suits you or is perfect for you.” In Zulu, it is, “You deserve this!”

No, I didn’t ask how many other recruits had gotten eaten by African wildlife. Some things were best left unasked, let alone answered. Besides, I passed the silly test and got to see some 5-star southern African real estate, so who cared whether any of my predecessors were served up for breakfast?

In the end, I did 10 poacher-hunting missions. The hyenas were well fed, by the way. Don’t judge me too harshly. Bongali said when it came time for me to deal with the poachers, it was the dealer’s choice. I got kinda good at using that machete.

Navigating The Beautiful African Bush

The African bush nearing sunset.

The southern African bush is a most stunning space. And immediately after even a gentle drizzle, it smells of an Indian spice shop, a thousand different scents that dance about on olfactory receptors and signal the coming of a grand feast. I could taste every source of those scents: bacterial mats, balls of shit rolled by dung beetles, fungus-infected bushes, and the poo of every animal that’d sauntered by the day before. Truth? I added my own poo to the growing reliquary. Yes, Africa is a very holy place and, until you walk among the remarkable ecological paradise, you’ll never appreciate it.

Southern Africa is surely a feast for the eyes! The small rolling hills of sand and fine dirt, the seven-foot-high termite towers, the downy-soft sand/dirt, the prickly acacia trees, the big-ass hyenas. . . .

Woh, hold on there.

Hyenas Are A Lot Bigger Than Those Cuddly Muppets On NatGeo

A big-ass hyena in Africa.

The hyenas of war?

Evidently, they’d been tracking me for hundreds of meters as I made my way toward the enemy camp. What had they sensed from me? Infrared aura? Extra visible-light radiation? The magnetic component of my electromagnetic field? A particular frequency or phase element of that field? The Non-magnetic element of my bioelectric field? Chemicals diffusing off my head and body? Body language?

E. All the above.

Most animals in the world have far more complex sensory systems than we give them credit for, let alone understand. Sharks detect electric fields around their prey. Pigeons use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Some snakes use heat “vision” to see in total darkness. So why not hyenas? To me, these sophisticated women of the bush showed extraordinarily good taste in choosing me as their honorary alpha.

The matriarch was always 10 meters off my left 9 o’clock, with her girls doing a semicircle from her, behind me and extending to my 3 o’clock. Their clan consistently subtended an arc of radius 10 meters, even when I guided them silently through the bush, looking for poacher camps. Very impressive.

The matriarch took cues from me and passed signals onto her girls: subtle head thrusts and ear movements, and barely audible yips and squeals.

Seven kills on 10 missions, with a little help from my girls.

Your Bioelectric Field May Protect Your Sorry Ass Someday

Simulated shimmering electric field surrounding a human.

Back in the day, my own bioelectric field had been measured. It was 4-5 times the magnitude of all other humans’ bioelectric fields measured to date. The lead researcher of the study deleted my data point, calling it an anomaly.

Still, the evidence was compelling and it explained a lot: how some people react to me when they’re within 20 or so feet; how sharks used to do endless wide circles around me without attacking; how New Hampshire female black bears with cubs would stop and regard me while I was running down a mountain road, acting curiously, but never attacking; how mountain lions in Arizona and southern California would just stop and stare at me as I hiked or ran by, never menacing or threatening me in any way. Hey, guys, it’s Dino!

The list goes on.

But I Digress A Minute. . . .

After the Army, I was excited to be a civilian again and not answer to orders not of my doing. Grateful I was, of course, for the excellent instruction and lessons learned. They accompanied me in the next phase of my work: escorting people outta hostile territories. Many people in the background had been following my career as an Army Ranger, but I never once saw them or talked with them. They remained quiet except for a small few who approached me when I was living in Arizona after I ETSd.

To say it was the opportunity of a lifetime is an understatement. These people offered me the chance to write my own tactical doctrine and employ it on my own doing overseas missions. The main theme was pulling good folks from their homeland and taking them to places of safe haven. I didn’t know them or their names. I had no idea what they did in a previous life. We didn’t exchange numbers or email addresses. The missions were quick and dirty. Most went well and without a hitch.

Others, unfortunately, went terribly awry but I never lost a client. Some bad guys chased us on occasion and they shot me three times. I’d worn body armor on some missions, but not all. On the fateful day when they hit me in the chest and torso, somehow mercifully, I’d worn something reasonably protective.

To this day, though, I still have protruding bone in my chest from the kinetic energy of one blast. My liver function has returned to normal after two shots to that side of my torso. Other than that time, I got out with my life and those of my clients’.

Inventing My Own Tactical Doctrine Was A Lifesaver

Not to bash our beloved Army training and doctrine but if I had used the tactics I’d learned in Ranger Battalion or Ranger School, I’d be dead now. In working on such civilian missions, I learned that there was no box, no set rules of engagement (ROE), no Geneva Conventions. I developed my own tactics and strategical doctrine, my own tactical actions and behaviors, and was not hamstrung by anyone’s else’s rules or reg’s.

What I learned in the Army I had to unlearn in combat because the ROE were entirely different.

The author’s personal unit patch: Sekir Baschka.

My motto is “Sekir Baschka!” an old Ukrainian battle cry that means “off with their heads!” The unit patch I designed is at left, after a dozen iterations over the decades.

Not surprisingly, my ROE was simple: anything goes, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. Everyone was fair game. If an innocent got in the way, sucks to be them. Spare no expense or energy. Kill at all costs. There were a few times when I was one on one with an enemy, and I felt him go blank. He just gave up when he saw me going all out for 30 seconds without stopping or breathing or regrouping. Of course, he also stabbed and cut me a few times. Those scars still feel hot to the touch.

I literally turned into a merciless, two-headed dragon (like my unit patch) for 30 seconds and spidered and gripped him with lightning-fast movements, and cutting and maiming and killing the other guy within those 30 seconds. No human can survive that kinda hurricane, or at least that’s what I told myself.

In the least, it scared the shit outta the other guy or at least made him pause for a second and go, “WTF!?” When you say or think WTF, you interrupt the normal transmission of vital intel from your brain to your muscles and limbs, thus giving me an opportunity to kill your sorry ass.

In that moment of the stillness of an adrenaline storm when everything slowed to a crawl because my brain had just recruited a million more neurons to sense everything better, I had him. You didn’t learn that stuff in the Army. We were too tame, too traditional, and it got people killed because of the inflexibility and unwillingness to adapt, change, and evolve on the fly.

With Sekir Baschka, I could merge with the enemy, engage him with full force, and end his miserable life quickly and without (too much) damage to me.

By the way, one of my fave jokes: How you can tell if a war is rigged? When there are Rules of Engagement and the use of the Geneva Conventions. Okay, not funny but it’s accurate.

Or how about this one? What’s black and white and red all over? A war that engages the Geneva Conventions.

An Ultra-Sophisticated Boss

The Silver Star.

My backers were pretty savvy: there were no after-action reviews or mission debriefs after my 221 overseas missions. They were only interested in the final result: bringing their clients and friends home or to “the next place” safely.

Me? I assessed my performance after each mission, tried to figure out how to be smarter, faster, more stealthy, more lethal, and mos definitely less stupid and careless. If I’d employed my 30-second Sekir Baschka, then I tried to recall the tapes in my head, see what I could’ve done better.

During a mad adrenaline rush, though, for the vast majority of people, much of the action is not stored in permanent memory, a critical design flaw of the brain. This flaw allows the brain to concentrate only on actions in the moment, rather than trying to store them for later recall and use. I trained my superconscious to store that intel for later retrieval, allowing me to see the entire scene or scenario in slow motion, in vivid Technicolor and full Dolby Atmos. Here’s a detailed article I just wrote on the human superconscious.

I promise you this: once you understand it and can employ it smartly, it will greatly enhance your life. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the stupid-crazy stuff I’ve done over the years. I sure as hell didn’t do that on my own.

By my own design, I was not paid for the suffering of others. These people I assisted were scared to death during our journeys. I literally carried several on my shoulders for long distances, off and on, and some cried and wept as I did so. But they all listened well to my words, especially when I instructed them on noise and light discipline. The evening when those a-holes shot me, I was unconscious for 19 minutes.

There must be something special about being knocked out for 19 minutes, because it happened to me in the summer of 1996 on a bad parachute landing, on the tarmac at Hunter Army Airfield, GA. I burned in at about 40 knots, broke ribs and hand and nose, got dragged down the runway for 100 meters before I released my left canopy riser, and went night-night. Nineteen minutes. I know that because I looked at my Casio just as I unclipped my canopy riser. When I awakened, I checked my watch again. It’s what I used to do to pass the time: stare at and get lost in the baby-blue light from my Casio.

My client remained silent and at my side until I woke up, checked my watch, and moved out smartly. I trained my clients well enough to survive and also not get me killed. Clients were scared but they weren’t stupid, long as you trained them reasonably well and asked, “Do you wanna live well after all this or die horribly?”

In exchange for my services, I only received pay for my expenses on those sorties. That’s the way I’d set things up. There were no formal thank-yous, no commendations, no awards or decorations. No Silver Star. No Purple Heart.

One of my bosses told me once they would’ve put me in for one of those medals of valor, though. That was thank-you enough for a job well done, knowing I would’ve earned a Distinguished Service Cross. Or Silver Star. Simply getting to live another day and tell you about it now was all the thanks I wanted. Plus I got to share this with you, at least the parts I could now get away with without repercussion.

Ah, but that Silver Star. . . .

Ain’t No One’s Bitch

A simulated Black Hole.

Also, I was never anyone else’s “dog of war,” though the Marc Antonys of the world and other dictatorials like him wanted to cage me and control my work. Hell, no. I’d die before acquiescing to their shenanigans.

There were three-letter agencies that wanted me to do their dirty work for them, the stuff that got good men like me dead in a heartbeat. I tried it a few times so I know how they play that game.

A whole different world, I discovered one of dark energy that tried to pull me into its endless black hole. Promises of beautiful women and forever sex, booze, unique pharmaceuticals not on any government schedule, sex and more sex, money and more money.

Dayum, it was something out of a Hollywood spy thriller.

The Walmart Method Of Recruiting Killers

Resisting that temptation was easy, but they didn’t know that. They thought I was like all the others they’d recruited. Not that I was some Boy Scout, but I wasn’t motivated by money, power, sex, or drugs. When I thought on it, I realized they weren’t terribly smart, thinking I was just like everyone else they’d recruited for “sensitive” work. In fact, they simply played the odds with each new recruit. It was easier, not to mention lazy. And they did it instead of trying to figure me out, which would’ve taken a few neurons and a moment of their time. I called it “the Walmart method of recruiting killers: assume everyone is a moron and treat them all the same.”

In time, I withdrew from those agents of corruption and bacchanalia and kept true to my own doctrine and ROE. It shocked them to learn I couldn’t be coerced with beautiful women right off the covers of Playboy and Vogue. Or with coke and heroin highs that lasted weeks at a time.

When they finally accepted that experience and knowledge were my drugs and I wanted more and more or both, they let me be. They made no threats of violence or loss of job or income. No one attempted to “suicide” me like they’d done to so many others who refused their “employment.” One guy actually told me, “We like you, Dino.”

They realized I couldn’t be bought on any level. I did tell one of them once, “Then you’ve got some killin’ to do, pussboy,” referring to a mild (empty) threat he issued me when I refused to work with him. He just laughed and left. Once back home, I didn’t stop shaking until about the fourth Heineken.

Not All Rich People Are A-Holes

Monaco at night.

The people who supported and funded me were the best of the elite, and they taught me that there’s more than one way to travel across the world, i.e. without a passport.

Was I in awe of these people with ungodly money?

Yes.

But they lived in a world far different from mine and maybe yours. I mean, dining off a super-yacht in Monaco. C’mon, who actually does that? And they just got done shopping at Maison Noir or Ciribelli and were dressed like princes and their mistresses. Not my scene. Maybe I was just too simple a man to be impressed by them and their gazillions. Honestly, I preferred the comfort of my own home, a good book, and a whole lotta beer and Camels.

Dino Garner in his backyard jungalow.

I’m definitely grateful that I am back in my own space where each morning I order up a six-shot espresso on my Breville Barista Express, and sit on my jungalow patio out back and read good books or just stare up at the stars, dressed only in board shorts and a tie-dye t-shirt.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by dozens of Areca palms, black bamboo trees, flowers of every color and texture, and I get to watch those damn dirty squirrels steal all my bird food and scare away the cardinals and finches.

I’m also back to using a passport like the rest of you ordinary humans.

Dayum, though. . . .

The Afterhyperpolarization

Warriors who spend years in their profession are often married to it and thus cannot separate it from their actual selves, especially when they retire or are forced to leave their job. Their work becomes an extension of them. When fighter pilots retire, they no longer have the adrenaline rush of flying in an F-22 or the camaraderie of their mates in the squadron and wing. Civilian life cannot replace such a unique atmosphere, so they turn to drinkin’ and druggin’.

So do SpecOps warriors, who are much better at killing themselves in gruesome ways, much more so than fighter pilots.

Me? I was a beer-drunk for decades since I couldn’t stomach hard liquor. Just didn’t have enough Irish blood in me. I had three alcohol-related incidents that nearly killed me, put me in jail for six months, and ruined my life during those times. Loss of friends, girlfriends, job opportunities all ate away at my core and had me searching for an even more potent source of pain relief.

I tried everything to relieve the stressors after missions: Running until I dropped; didn’t work well, because I just ran to the nearest bar and got roaring drunk. Playing a Yamaha piano; didn’t click at all and couldn’t find a rhythm, so I took it back after 45 minutes. Painting beautiful tranquil impressionism paintings; it soothed my soul during the creation of those 100 paintings, but then I stopped all of a sudden and hit the same bar for many beers, mostly to celebrate having painted 100 cool paintings. Writing poetry; it was fun for a year as I purged them from my superconscious, but then when I ran outta artwords to spread around the page, I ran down to the bar again and downed a case of beer.

In the aftermath of the nasty rotten end, what I term the “afterhyperpolarization,” I hypnotized myself to stop smoking cigarettes and drinking beer cold turkey. I simply changed the way I valued them. Why hadn’t I done it earlier?

Today, I don’t drink alcohol and am feeling great. I also have $500 extra in my bank each month for it. Cigarettes are also a thing of the past. And I have an extra $200 in my bank each month for it. Crosstraining keeps me healthy and sane.

Life after death is a work in progress that takes your actively making a plan and sticking to it. And that only comes about after you change how you value the bad things that are killing you slowly. It is truly a matter of perspective, all things in your life, and how much or little value you place on things you think about and do each day.

Now I have all this extra time to read and write cool books, and to entertain you with fun stories and articles. I pray I succeed. . . .