Peacemaking: Chapter 1-1

I am not a natural killer; I am a trained killer.  I remember sitting on the bus at the San Diego Airport the night I went to Recruit Training.  The bus was filled with thirty or so men.  It was dark outside, but light from a street lamp spilled through the windows.  A woman’s voice was running on a loop through a nearby speaker.  “Please do not leave your luggage unattended,” she said.  I would have closed my eyes, but they told us to stay awake and sit up straight, head forward.  I was too anxious to let my mind wander.  I was twenty-one, a college drop out, and on my way to Marine Corps Recruit Training.  Some jet airliners had just crashed into these important buildings in New York, and I felt it my duty to respond.  Well, that, and I wanted to pay off some credit card debt.  What the hell, I thought, I’ll join the reserves and make some money, plus, like the recruiter told me, I won’t ever see combat.  I probably won’t even be deployed. The guy next to me nudged me with his elbow, “Hey, what’s your name?”  “Oh, I’m Ben,” I said. “Right,” he looked at me like a lost cause, “My recruiter told me to address the other recruits by their last names.  So best get started.  What’s your name?” “Uh, Peters.” “Yep, I’m here to kill sand———-.  How ‘bout you?” I fumbled for a response. “C’mon on now, how ‘bout it?  Why you here?”  “I don’t know, not really sure.  I guess it’s ‘cause I want to defend my country.” “Yeah, all that s—- too,” he replied before turning his head forward, apparently bored with me. It wasn’t long before we saw a campaign hat, also known as a Smokey the Bear hat, bobbing towards us.  This strange man with a shinny shave and closely cropped hair boarded the bus.  There was no turning back.

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