Life and Death at the drop of a slug.




It was just one day that took my life away from me. It was in the summer of '02. My squad and I were doing recon in the crags outside Kandahar. Astricky, our LT. quickstoped us behind an outcropping of bushy rocks. There was something wrong with the situation. We had been tracking Jal Ameen for weeks. Shadowing his every movement. Waiting for the prize. Waiting for him to come near anyone taller than 6' 6". Then it would be my turn. One shot.
There were six of us. Two Marine Recon, two Seals, and me and the LT. When we were introduced to the group we were given orders not to divulge what branch of the service we worked for. Yeah, like there's even a branch that describes it. Hell, it's way out on a limb somewhere, rotting off .
We were all tired and hurt. A week earlier there was a rockslide that buried us all ten feet under in some dank cave. The air became so stale and filled with dust that when we finally got out we had to get used to the clean air again. We didn't care though. We had a mission.
It was the most publicized target in the world, ever. And no one even knew we existed. The six of us would never have a parade. Never get a shiny medal. They don't give medals to people like us. They give prison sentences. And I was about to commit my crime.

The LT. motioned me forward. As I was crawling into position I noticed something odd. He was sweating. Eyes moving a mile a minute. He was worried. He never worries. And he sure as hell never sweats. We've been slithering around Aphganistan for over a year and he never even broke a sweat. Something was wrong. But not with the mission. It was him. He was panicking.
Then our position exploded in a plume of smoke and orange dirt. I was blown off the edge of the rock and slid a couple hundred yards to another ledge. When I looked up I saw the LT. sliding after me, shooting. In the blink of an eye I swung my rifle up and put a bullet through his right arm, the one pointing the gun at me. It went in between his thumb and fore finger, traveled up his arm, and came out his shoulder. He hit the dirt and rolled right next to me. There was a sharp rock sticking out of his chest. Gulping air like a fish, he managed tell me that he and my wife had been having an affair for years, and they wanted to be together. They figured the best way to do that would be to remove me from the picture.
I started crying, uncontrolably. This was my best friend, and he tried to kill me. We've saved each other's lives a hundred times over. And now I did the only thing I could. I pulled my Deagle from it's holster. Cocked it. Put it in his mouth. And said goodbye. He twitched for a long time. I buried him where he lay. He may have been a *******. But he was the best friend I ever had.
When I made my way back up the hill I found the rest of the squad dead. The two Recons, Janice and Kara, were killed by the blast. It looked like the Seals fought off a few of the target's crew before falling themselves. I never did get their names. Their bodies were picked clean by the guards.
I spent another month in the mountains. I finally caught up with Jal Ameen. He was in a meeting in a Mosque. I snuck down to their parking area, and parked a tank at the mosque door. After a very brief firefight with a few stragglers I torched the Mosque. I already knew hell was waiting for me. Because right now only God and the Devil knew what I was planning.
I returned home shortly after that. My commander told me I had done more than was expected of me under the difficult circumstances that occured. I told them we were ambushed. How could I tell him the truth.
My wife was at the tarmac waiting for me. A nice summer dress, flowers on it I think. We hugged for what seemd like forever. Damn she was beautiful. But her beauty wasn't on my mind. While we hugged I knotted my hair in her thick red mane, and I snapped her neck. She looked in my eyes as she trailed off. Her pretend joy of me being home mixing with the stare of certain death. I dropped her off at the mortician and gave him enough money to bury her quietly. Then I left.

I have no doubt in where my place in the afterlife will be. I hold no hope of redemption. All I'm here to do is kill things. Good, bad, that's a matter of perspective. And from my perspective, everyone is guilty of something.



It's been six months since I killed her. I haven't slept more than a few minutes each day. I can't. When I sleep, I see her face. I remember how happy we were. The day we met. The day we cried together. I ran her dog over with my car. It jumped out into the street and I couldn't stop fast enough. I knocked on a few neighbors doors before they pointed me to her house. The first time she ever saw me I was holding her best friend in my arms. Limp. Tounge hanging out. Still. She started punching me until the grief caught up. Then she invited me in. I wanted to apologize but instead told her what happened. She understood. She was always so understanding of things. That day, the next day when she asked me to come over and help her bury Flick. That was the poor thing's name. I made her dinner that night and she told me about him. Always alert, always playful. I teared up all the way through dinner. She was a vision. At times I thought I was dreaming. God she was beautiful. I could close my eyes and be happy just to be with her. To smell her hair. To hear her voice.
Now all those things give me nightmares. So bad that when I wake my hands are bleeding from clenching my fists while I slept. Was I wrong in what I did? They tried to kill me. They failed. I didn't. I was always away from her. Apparently too long. But him. Why him? The LT. was away almost as long as I was. What the [censored]?
Memories. All I had were my memories. And I can't rely on them to get me through the long nights. They are what cause the long nights. Which is why I haven't settled anywhere. I ride the rails wherever they take me. Behind me are things I never want to see again. In front of me are people and places I don't care about. When the train pulled into ChicagoI figured I would find some work. Maybe construction or something. But when the door opened all I could see was the butt of a rifle hitting me in the head.
I had a really bad nightmare then. Lived my whole life with her over and over again. Death to Death. Just kept getting worse and worse until I flung my eyes open and started screaming.
It took a few seconds but I realized where I was and calmed down. Someone behind me started laughing. When I turned around there was a scrawny figure standing on the grass, holding some flowers. He placed them on the ground and walked over to me. I tried moving but I was restrained. A few well placed zip ties. Shouldn't take too long to get out of. He started blathering on about how he was going to enjoy killing me. That it took him a long time to find me, and blah blah blah. These [censored] guys never learn. I've been in more situations like this than I can count. And it's always the same [censored]. I'm gonna pay for something er other. I'm gonna suffer like they suffered. I will come to know pain. Whatever. For anyone reading this let me give you a tip. Until your target is dead, it's not over. They could be lying in a hospital bed on a heart pump because you removed their heart with a rusty screwdriver they can still hurt you. And, like our friend was about to find out, I can make it hurt real bad. While chucklehead was blathering on about my agony and his enjoyment of it I was busy weakening the zip tie. I guess in his excitement of finding me he didn't read the instructions on these things.
Rule #1-If you're going to tie someone up with a zip tie place their hands behind their backs. Otherwise, they can get leverage and snap the tie.
Rule #2-Don't leave your rifle, or for that matter anything of potential weapon status, with arms reach of said prisoner. Especially if you didn't read rule #1.

Unfortunately for my new buddy he didn't read either of those. Which is why three seconds after I snapped that little zip tie I put three rounds from his M4 in his chest and one round through his neck. Too bad for him. He had me. He just got lazy. I walked up to him and flipped him over face up. Well, can't say I'm surprised. It was her dad.
Yeah, I figured he would might come looking. I just never thought he would find me. Looks like he hasn't eaten much either. Last time I saw him he was twenty pounds overweight. Now he's a beanpole. Or at least he was a beanpole. More accurately now he's a dead beanpole. You know, killing him felt good. He never came around unless he needed something. Usually money. Always made his daughter cry, reminding her of how dumb she was and things like that. What an [censored]. Of course, I'm one to talk. All he did was make her cry. I [censored] killed her.
When I looked around I realized we weren't in a park. We were in a cemetary. All the headstones are the flat, ground level type. [censored], I must be back home. How long was I out?
I walked over to the flowers he dropped earlier and moved them aside.
My breathe stopped. I just stood there for the longest time. Numb to the world. My legs started shaking and I could feel my heart in my chest racing faster and faster. It wasn't just her grave.
I've seen things that would make God flinch. Men dying so violently and painfully that disembowling them would be a favor. But what that gravestone read was the worst horror imaginable.

Beloved Wife, Daughter,
and Mother
Her Unborn Child



That [censored]. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it.


The real [censored] of it ya know, is that I was gone for over a year. I went shadow and didn't see her until that day on the tarmac. The LT. saw her though. I know. He told me she said "Hello" and that she "Loves Me". Yeah, she loved me, but she was [censored] him. I killed them all. I am responsible for the death of an entire family. What's a few more.

I decided that after all the opportunities that God had to kill me already he must want me around for some reason. Master plan and all that [censored]. So in my book, I can do whatever I want. I had a list of people who, for one reason or another, made it on my [censored] list over the course of my adult life. A few government ties that needed to be jerked.

Francis Dinopli. This ray of sunshine would notify me when the next target would be coming into my scope. When I first started in the division he was my trainer. He was a real piece of work. One night he gave me a test. In the simulator he made sure that my mark never left his home. And the only weapon given to me was a rocket launcher. I waited for five hours for my mark to be on the other side of the house, away from his family. Next thing I know the target comes out the garage with his family in tow. Kids in the backseat in soccer uniforms. I didn't pull the trigger. The target wasn't his family, it was him. Too bad the whole point of the test was to teach me that the mark is all that matters. Everything else isn't imporatant. I was given a rocket launcher, not a rifle. If they were interested in precision they would have acted accordingly. That day, I learned that anybody that gets in the way of me and the target needs to ignored. Too bad that will come back to bite him.
I caught up with him at the range. He was teaching a few new recruits the fine art of handgun usage. Like that moron could change a clip while still keeping pace firing. Today however, his students will get a first hand demonstration of how to kill someone. No distance. No scope. No long planned time to find the moment. I just walked up to him with a smile. Shook his hand. And while he introduced me to the noobs I pulled his gun out of his holster and cleared out his earwax. One of the recruits motioned for his holster then, rather intelligently, relaxed his hand and just stood there. I walked out and moved to the next target.

I found my old survival trainer in of all places a WalMart. I almost didn't go in on principle but I figured WalMart has everything. And since I am a big fan of the old MacGyver tv show I figured I would give Sid, that's the [censored]'s name, a little test. I headed for the other end of the store and grabbed an extension cord, some distilled water from another aisle, some metal wiring from housewares, and my trusty duct tape. For those of you who don't carry a little bit of duct tape with you I feel sorry for you. Duct tape has saved more lives than penicillin and bettered more lives than electricity. It does anything you need it to. From waterproofing yer gun during insertion to attaching a length of cable to an extension cord to make a handy trap. He was in the women's underwear section. Pervert. But that's ok. That gives me something to work with. I snuk into the dressing rooms and locked them all from the inside except for one. The clerk didn't mind. She thought the hundred dollar bill I slipped her was real. I ran the cable along the base of the trim on the far end from the door and connected it to the extension cord. I stuck another length of cable into the extension cord and made a loop off of the loose end. Then I waited. I kinda always knew he was a perv but I could never prove it. Well, after I was done with him everybody would know. He milled around in the ladies' department for a while but finally started heading for the dressing room. When he walked in he looked around, didn't see anyone, and made for the nearest stall with a handfull of undies. None of which have a crotch if ya know what I mean. Oops, first door was locked. And the next. And the next. Oh! An unlocked door! Wasn't he in luck. No one would see that man walk into the dressing room holding women's underwear but I bet they would all see him leave. I gave him a minute or two. I waited to see his hairy drumstick under the door before I strolled over and looped the open end of the metal cable to the door handle, plugged in the extension cord, and savored the moment before the kill.
I walked back over to the stall, opened the distilled water gallon, put it on the floor, and kicked it over. It quickly made a puddle that extended all the way to the wall, and conveniently enough the thin little wire that I taped in place and hid so well. I politely yelled "Oops! I'm Sorry!". I offered to clean the stall and he said he would be just a minute. Figures. What's he gonna do? Come right out in his little pink undies? He got dressed, quickly, and since he was barefoot in the water he didn't put his shoes on for fear of messing them up, went to open the door and lit up like times square. He sizzled for a few seconds and then hit the floor. You know, for all the crap he put me through. All the survival training, eating crap and drinking mud, he didn't see it coming.
What a wimp. But hey, I'm not complaining. Every once in a while I enjoy a plan coming together. Yeah, I liked that show to. And to think, I still had a few dozen people to go. I hope it gets a bit more interesting. Otherwise I might have to get sloppy just to make things more exciting.