Bergen Catholic Talisman

on-line edition of our literary magazine

Friendly Fire

I woke up with barely any presence around me at all. I felt alone. Everything was quiet and nothing had purpose. I stared up at the light, at nothingness. Time was like wind it flew by sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but nonetheless it was always going somewhere, and I had no say over it. I heard the distinct yells of men, or my brothers. My senses returned, my control returned. The light faded away into portraits of a landscape, of a beautiful place marred by the holes which we have placed there. The odor of burnt ground and explosives covered up the grass and dew smell. Two men took me up and carried me away. I had no weapons or ammunition. I guess they were taken from me unless I didn’t need them where I was going.

In the tent there were medics and some nurses prancing around. They were taking temperature and shining lights in our faces, not too much different from an interrogation. They were always trying to see in what stage of life we are, living, dying, bleeding but they lack to see where we actually are most of the time. My memory returned and my recollection returned. I was near the front lines with the 12th Platoon in the First US Army Group. My favorite cohort, Alex Lie, was with me and we were talking about how we never got the ladies.

“See, I was always taught that if you were good and listened to your parents and worked…”

“NO, no, no,” as Al cut me off. “All that stuff that people say, listen to your mom and pops was just made up to make you easier to control.”

“But, I don’t think…”

“You better believe it Mort, why would a girl want some pussy boy who sits and adds 1+1+1 when she can have a big tough guy who will make her giggle all the time. You gotta learn it the hard way sometimes. I Know it’s tough. That’s why I ain’t married nomore…” Right

before Al finished his train of thought the bombing from the Air Force made hearing unbearable. We had to hold our ears and wait for this attack to be finished.

“As I was saying, it never pays to be nice.” I believed him, but only for an instant as my ears recovered. I then saw Lieutenant General McNair walking by. A truly wise man. He was not only a great general but a great person. He taught the platoons with patience and devoted his own blood, sweat, and tears. As he walked by I was given hope. Hope that the war can be won with such great LTG’s, hope that we can all live in peace, and hope that I can get the virgin girl that awaits each one of us.

After that high we dug out foxholes and waited. After our days of fun on the beach we decided to camp in dirty holes nearby with an ocean view from France. It was quite beautiful, the calm ocean shone a red in the setting sun as it turned from a soft pink to a violent red all the way to a dead blue. I stared at the sky and thought about the previous days..

Waiting, sickening motion, falling down. As the boats hit land the bodies hit faster. We rush the beach. The metal crosses can only protect us as long as we stand right behind them, and even then we can’t stay unseen forever. We must move. More men get up run from their sickness into death. Jump and swim from a silent safe water to a loud land of blood and gore. I ran. I hid. I ran. I shot. I saw my friends lay down. I saw my friends blow up. I saw the real powers of God. We eventually took the beach. After death and death and death we have won. We have one. We won a beach. A nice beach of course, but we must keep going. As the earth spins on its axis we must keep going towards justice.

Here we are. Waiting. Waiting for the sun to lighten the sky. Waiting for the Germans to run away. Waiting for control to be back in our hands, but we don’t just wait. We act. We strike like a cobra. Quickly and deathly. Without regard for rights or humaneness. That night I remember hearing the pitter patter of rain. I saw the tent which held our admiral LTG McNair. He was out fixing the tent stakes because of the rain. My foxhole was slowly filling up. I didn’t mind, because I have been through worse, but as the water made the land more difficult for me to walk on it was as if Lesley McNair were walking on dry land.

McNair was always seen as such a great general. BAM! He was well educated. He taught everyone fairly. BAM! He made sure that everyone was not only able to follow, but to make others follow. BAM!  Then it happened. The venom hit us, and it was our own. After the crashes and explosions nearby, we were hit. My thoughts were lost, my sense was lost. I didn’t know what to do. It couldn’t have been our enemy for they were concentrating their attack more north, but then as I look over to our LTG I see him. Burned by his stakes. The fire and rain flooded and burnt us alive, the rain was neither heavy enough to put out the fires nor put us out of our miseries. My McNair was dead, and I couldn’t go on living, despite promises. At that moment, through the water I saw a bright deafening light. My senses are lost, my control is lost, my memory is lost, my recollection is lost. Forever.

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