I was heading home alone from the infantry, after a long war between America and Pakistan, that had claimed many lives.
‘Doole, Neves, Broone, kwame, All dead, I thought within myself, those were my pals, we’d do almost everything together,
Doole was shot dead right in front of me, I had carried Neves body myself, he died in my arm, thrusting his ever precious necklace in my hands as a message for his daughter,
I can’t Go further to recount Broone’s its heart wrenching,
He was. .
While I still had my head buried in my palm, in the Tram, a lady sat by me with her son. Interrupting my haunting thoughts.
‘Broone was shot in the leg, I had hoped he will survive until I saw the allahu akbar terrorists running towards us,
He told me to run, I hesitated, we would die together, we always said, but here was death staring at us in the face’,
I left him there, I don’t know if he survived but the odds were little. I doubt if I can ever forgive myself for that.
‘Are you an American soldier? ‘ The young lad shook me, Taking a look at my round neck top, which had an inscription ‘AMERICAN NAVY’
‘Dan! ‘ his mother cautioned her six-year-old. ‘Stop asking stupid questions’
By then the ticket officer had gotten to us confirming our tickets.
‘Here’ I showed him mine.
‘How would we have entered if we never paid, Mister?
Dan, queried confused.
Dan? His mom’s voice came again, as she brought out her ticket.
‘Enjoy your ride ma’am ‘ the ticket officer said smiling.
‘Are you soldier? His soft voice came again, reminding me of how innocent we were before we became professional killers. Those bloods haunt us.
I had mistakenly killed an enemy’s son, about eight years old too, his father was Al – Nadir Muhammad.
One of the eight suspects we were to take down if we met resistance.
when we got there, I almost got distracted at the size of the mansion, guided by the jihadis who would risk everything to protect their ‘sent one’.
This was oil money, meant to feed the poor and less privileged, yet this man was heavily guarded by his Muslim faithfuls. This I do not understand.
We took down the jihadis with silencer, it was a silent operation, we bursted through, and here was Nadir, in the swimming pool heavily guarded well trained soldiers , i couldn’t tell whether they were pakistanis. But whoever they were? They are well trained. Four ladies, almost naked surrounded Nadir in the swimming pool.
one of the soldiers spotted us and raised alarm, they rushed at us shooting directly at us. We were taken by surprise, we took cover, then regained momentum, exchanged fire with them, and took them all down but it came at a cost.
Nadir was hiding, we carefully examined the whole area,
‘Suspect found, I repeat suspect found’ Sergeant Riles hollered.
‘He’s dead’, Broone said,
‘Wait let me check’ Dr Fajid said.
‘He killed himself’ Dr Fajid a medical practitioner, who joined the force recently and was placed in our team.
Bringing out the liquid container out.
‘Son offa bitch’ Broone said again and looked around.
‘Guys, where is kwame? ‘ Broone asked, this time worried.
Then we began our search,
‘Kwame! ‘ sergeant screamed.
Kwame had been fatally shot in the chest region, the bullet had cut an artillery, survival chance was slim.
All of us rallied round kwame,
‘I love you guys, you’ve been with me since I came, ive never felt lonely around you guys’ kwame said gagged by the blood coming out of his mouth.
‘He’s gone ‘Doole said. ‘ will all of us die this way?
He queried in between tears.
‘Be strong, never give in, we’ll fight this through’ sergeant comforted him, in between sobs.
Doole was the youngest, arguably the most timid of all. Easily scared. Well he should be because he had just joined the Navy so it was expected.
‘Kwame will be missed, he was Ghanaian who came to the U. S through asylum, he was threatened because he was gay. He was lively, full of life. We enjoyed his stories about Africa. Kwame showed us Africa is more than what we thought it was, I look to spend my vacation in Africa because of Kwame’. Just as we were mourning A kid hurried across the war torn house, then I turned around thinking it was an enemy, shot him, I shot him dead.
I wasn’t emotionally balanced
Neves was dead, now Kwame.
Then I realized the impact of what I had just done. This was a costly mistake, I could be severely punished for it, I could even go to the prison.
‘Man that was a kid’ Dr Fajid spoke, and my fears were confirmed. It was Nadir’s eight year old son.
i was going to be punished when I get home. I prayed for leniency.
Dan shook me, to see if I was responding.
‘Oh Dan I said’ Almost forgotten the poor boy’s question.
‘Yes Navy ‘ I said.
‘Have you killed before? ‘ Dan cried excitedly.
‘Hey don’t you go about asking people personal questions huh? ‘ Dan’s Mum queried him.
‘I’m gonna spank you ‘she added.
My worst fears were confirmed the boy had asked a question I had feared to answer. I prayed i had gotten to my Stop.
‘Have you ‘ the boy asked un afraid of his mother’s threat.
‘Yes’ I answered.
‘How many? ‘ his eyes shone bright like the sun, during midday.
‘Enough to fill a country’ I said, with my eyes piercing into his.
‘Hello, Passengers we have gotten to NYC, if your stop is here kindly push the red button. ‘
The host said as his hoarse voice boomed over the radio.
‘Here is my destination lad. ‘ I said grateful the discussion will not continue.
I alighted from the Tram, and made my way Home
As I looked around, things looked familiar to me, the sweet smell of the trees in the spring.
‘This is home’ I said to myself.
After all I’ve been dismissed from service.
The committee , never took our explanation of how things went.
‘You were trained for situations like this, when they happen you know what to do’ one of the committee
I was at the infantry awaiting my fate, when sarge came in.
‘Sir’ I stood upright with my right hand up right beside my head.
‘Richard ‘ he called me that for the first time, from the first day he had always called me ‘richie’.
Then I knew something serious had happened.
He handed over an envelope to me.
‘You have been dismissed ‘ He said to me.
‘ you should be thankful, you were not thrown in jail’ he further added.
‘Aye sir’ I said, happy because I knew the consequence of what I did.
I left the mariners a fulfilled man.
A SeaL, had many medals to my name.
My brief stint in the army was fulfilling.
I smiled to myself. As I crossed the bridge that linked to my home,
I saw Mr Greg, an old neighbor
‘Ric is that you? ‘ mr Greg called.
‘Oh my God’ Mum said on sighting me.
My brother came running to me. I trust he would ask for stories.
Well I would tell him the whole story, but after a good meal, and a very long rest.
Writer : Kehinde. Owoseni
(Kehinde Owoseni is an understudy of University of Nigeria Nsukka. A Jacksonite; 023 class)