The Bee Killer Friday Read #1
Updated: Feb 14, 2022
The Bee Killer
—Robert E. Lee “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”
Different day—Same oven. Scorching heat, Kabul style. The sun, a blood splat, rose. Soldiers repositioned in disappearing shadows. Night-vision goggles had transformed them into patriotic vampires in the service of Uncle Sam. The enemy couldn’t shoot what they couldn’t see. Great plan until the ride no-showed. Three of the soldiers wore scars from Muslim bullets. Seven had pulled messed up bodies to choppers. Nick and Butternut were newbies. They still thought death came for others. Drill Sergeant told ‘em to use their training to stay alive. It was the unexpected stuff scared Nick the most. He worked himself up from a crouch and unzipped. Everyone heard him splashing the dust into a mud-puddle.
O’Connor thought, Wet pants and livin’ beat dry pants and dyin’.
“Jeez … can’t believe I hada take a leak.”
“Don’t worry about it; first time oudda the wire. Piss in the moonlight; shoot in the sunlight. You gotta get your blood type marked on your boots. Then let’s make sure you got a dog tag around the neck and one on the boot. Little things keep your ass unrefrigerated.”
O’Connor liked the kid. He was older than O’Connor but he’d be a kid—Nicky-New-Guy—until he was baptized with bad intentions. War gore splattered on the ol’ face usually did the trick: urban renewal for the soul. No room for kindness.
The pick-up point was half a block north. Plan called for a ride back to chow and shut-eye. If no ride showed before the darkness vanished, it could get bad. He glanced at the other eleven infidels muttering—“fuck”.