Beckoning of Responsibility

It’s midnight. He sits in the same post he started the day in. Of course, his day didn’t begin until 1 p.m., but nevertheless, he sits. His eyes, blood-shot and glassy, stare into the horizon. There he finds both enemy and comrade, and one impulsive mistake could turn friend to foe in an instant. His fingers ache, almost arthritic, but he fights for his life, his country. This is no time to focus on pain.

“Cover me!” shouts the voice of a soldier he only knows from his time in the field. He doesn’t know this man’s story. He doesn’t even know his name. All he knows is that they are both fighting for a righteous cause, and for this he would surely lay down his life, even for a stranger. He wipes his brow, stretches his neck, sips his water and marches on.

The dingy village, with its decrepit framework rotting from years of neglect, is littered with anxious men sent to destroy one another. The sand whistles in the afternoon air, and the sun beats down harshly on the terrain. The rapid claps of gunfire liven as he closes in on the enemy camp. He is yards away from victory. His pulse races. His thumbs twitch. He raises his weapon, and just as he lines up an enemy soldier in his sights, a familiar voice rips the moment in half. “When are you gonna get a freaking job?” Game over.

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