He thumbed one of the ears laced through the braided cord around his neck. Heavy rain poured through the darkness of the jungle around him and made a smacking sound as it hit his helmet and poncho.
He was lying in the mud, on his belly with his M-16 rifle pointed in front of him toward the kill zone. He dropped the ears and picked up a claymore clacker, to be ready if the enemy came.
“Enemy”. That’s a joke. He wasn’t so sure he believed that anymore. Sarge says that we are just a bunch of poor people sent overseas to kill a bunch of poor people, for a bunch of rich people, who pay us pennies while they make thousands.
He came here to fight for freedom, and to kill a threat to his homeland. But, he wasn’t so sure who the real threat was. He wanted to please his father and fight. He wanted to be a part of a long line of soldiers. His dad in World War 2, and his grandpa in World War 1, and his great grandpa in the Civil War. He was proud to be a part of that lineage.
But now he just felt like his whole family had been lied to. He felt they had lived lives of slavery, debt and poverty; obeying a bunch of rich people who cared nothing about them.
The rain dripped and ran off his nose, tickling it. He slowly moved to scratch it, so as not to attract attention. His lips were numb from the bug juice that kept the skeeters away, and everything felt strangely calm.
He watched the jungle and waited, but his mind turned again. He hated the protestors because they hated him. He was just trying to make it in this life like they were. He knew what was going on back home. They were fighting the real oppressors; the wealthy power mad parasites who kept everyone down so they could have cheap labor for their factories. Where was the love they preached in Sunday school?
He felt like he was a Roman soldier holding back the Barbarian hordes, which sought to destroy our way of life. But, those hordes just wanted a better life.
He didn’t support communism. People just wanted to be free and have a better life. Why can’t we figure it out without all the bad stuff that goes with it?
He saw something move in front of him. He watched, and slowly a human form emerged from the jungle shadows into the moonlight. It was the “enemy”, wearing the familiar black pajamas and straw hat. Another followed him; and then another and another into the moonlight.
He flipped the safety off the Claymore clacker. It was time to kill. He didn’t want to kill. But, he had to. Not for freedom. Not for money or God. Not for friends and family.
It was because the “Enemy” would kill him, if he didn’t. So, he killed them before they could kill him. Bottom line.
Clack, Clack, Boom.