Mark I. Kirkmeyer

PREPARATION

The TV sets atop an old toolbox
Made of black fiberglass and Kevlar
Covered with an Indian throw rug
A gold lock holds it closed
She tries to move the box
So she can vacuum and clean
It is too heavy to move
She cleans around it.
What is in the box?
She asks as they watch TV
Just old junk, he responds
Mind counting the inventory
A few weeks later
He comes home from college class
News sounds from the TV
His demeanor changes.
He changes clothes like a superhero
Woodland camouflage pants and jacket
Jungle Boots and patrol cap
From student to battle hardened warrior
She comes home and sees the change
Despair fills her face as she realizes
I need you to drive me to the armory
He says without any emotion.
The drive to the armory is silent
No conversation, no radio music
A darkness has overtaken his heart
Take care of yourself, she says
It’s what I do best, he responds
He moves the black toolbox
To the back of a douse
He does not even watch her leave
The company moves out
One magazine per man
Tape over the magazines
Full accountability.
The gold lock unsecured
Black Kevlar top opened
Magazine can opened.
Give up the issued magazines
Each soldier of the squad
Pass the issued magazines
And receive seven magazines
Fully loaded with live ammo
Issued magazines stored
The soldiers are ready
Though they are out gunned
They have the ability to fight
You are an old Boy Scout, Sergeant
Lack of preparation will get you killed
I always knew this was for use here
With any luck, it is not necessary
As they arrive in the City of Angels
The Sergeant paints his face
With green and black wax
Ready for war, paint applied.