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The Bond
by Thomas Kappel
11/19/06
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A warm moist jungle breeze stirs heavily through the trees. Branches pop and crack, sounding like distant gunfire.

"Tom! Did you hear that? I'm scared." The whisper cut through the night.

The two men firmly grip their rifles as they try to push their bodies deeper into the soft earth of the foxhole.

"My God, Willie, keep your voice down, please."

"Sorry. Where is he?" The whisper comes softer still.

"I think he's over there in that thicket by the tall trees. He headed in that direction after he had us crawl in here."

A warm breeze tousles the soft brown hair of both men as they risk a quick peek out over the dirt edge.

"Damn. Three days in combat and they stick us with a sniper. Do you think he's using us for bait? Some of the old timers say they've been known to do that. Do you think it's true?"

"I don't know, Willie, and I don't want to find out. At least we're in this mess together. Now, how about we shut up for a while, huh?"

The two men slide down with their backs against the hard ground, their rifles angled across their bodies, a nervous finger on the trigger and thumbs ready on the safety. They try to relax.

"I'll try Tom, but when I don't talk all I think about is Barbara and how beautiful she is and how much I miss her. It drives me nuts. I close my eyes for a second and I see her and want to touch her one more time."

"Willie, will you pa-leeze shut up!"

"All right, I'll try, but...uh...I gotta pee."

"Oh my God protect us from fools. Okay, Willie, just pee quietly, will ya? I wouldn’t want to write home and tell everyone you got it while taking a leak."

There was a rustle of cloth and movement in the dark.

"Thanks a lot, Tom. Just remember all those times I saved your butt as a kid."

"You saved mine? Don't you mean I saved yours? You feel better now?"

There was a pause and silence for a moment. Then the sharp metallic click of a safety nervously snapped on and off a few times sounded loud in the night, followed by the sounds of a man sliding back down and making himself comfortable.

"It's sure quiet. I swear I can hear the bugs dive-bombing to feed on my flesh. I guess I pee a lot when I'm scared. You think we'll make it home?"

"Another dumb question. Of course we'll make it home. We're a lot luckier then most guys sent over here. We've got each other."

There was a moment of silence between them.

"Tom, if I do die out here in some dumb way like peeing, tell everyone something nice for me, will ya? Especially Barbara."

There was no answer.

"Tom?"

"Goodnight Willie."

"Did you hear me?"

"Yeah, I'll tell them something nice. Now, if you don't shut-up I'll shoot you myself."

"Thanks a lot Tom. Uh..."

"Now what?"

"I...I thought of something else, something I have to say. I want you to know that I love you. I've wanted to tell you that for a long time, but especially now, in case something happens. You know."

"I know, Willie. I love you too. Now get some sleep or else."

"Yeah, sure."

“I know, I’ll pray.”

“Great idea, Willie, but quietly, no sound.”

“Pray with me?”

They bow their heads for a few silent minutes, then raise up and look at each other.

"Goodnight, brother."

"Goodnight, brother."



End






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