Anthony W. Pahl


The evening I got back to base after the dust-off when Bill’s last breath cooled my tear stained cheek, the short, fat Corporal techo who came out to service the chopper handed me a pail of water and a few cleaning cloths and said… you made the fuckin’ mess, you fuckin’ clean it.

He was referring to Bill’s blood and gore, and the blood from my foot where the bullet nicked me (but I didn’t know about that bullet or my blood until later when somebody commented on it while I was havin’ a beer),

I was in the process of removing my 60 from its mount and I just calmly opened the feed cover and loaded the belt, snapped the cover closed, pulled back the cocking handle and let it go. Just as I was raising the 60 while slowly turning around to kill this bastard, Shippy dived from his side to my side of the chopper and knocked me to the ground.

I got up, stared this short, fat prick down and watched him clean the mess. I picked up my 60, headed to the hangar and cleaned it ready for the next day.

I had killed people that day, and I had seen them killed; and I’d held them while they died – the last thing they ever saw on this earth was my tears: and I was 5 seconds (or less) from murdering one as well!

No word was spoken… nothing was ever said or done… then or since.

… except of course at night… alone

Submitted for the December 2003 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Darkness