THE YOUNG SOLDIER
The bus jumped as we turned the sharp corner, my neck snapping back awakening me from my momentary daze. “Ten minutes! ten minutes Ten Fucking minutes!” Was shouted from the captain in the passenger seat. Shit, I thought as I looked down. My hands, my hands were shaking involuntarily, how embarrassing. Surrounded by some of the toughest soldiers I know and I’m the only one pissing myself. I gripped my rifle tighter hoping no one saw my moment of weakness. I was able to keep a stone face no matter what, even when my father died, I didn’t weep a tear, but I guess my tell was my hands.
With the seconds till we hit ticking away in my head I looked around at the men on this death truck. Thirty-two, I counted thirty-two souls on the entire bus ready to journey well into the afterlife. I only ever spoke with my small squad before jumping on this vehicle. Bertolli, Aksu, and Branson. Sergeant Bertolli was the first man who introduced himself to me at boot camp. Being three times my size he made sure the shit heads would keep off me giving me some peace of mind during the first weeks of training. Private Aksu, I met during kitchen duty. I remember the day we met he showed me there were other cunning ways to get revenge. Before the D squad donkeys came to get their dinner, he took the chili out back and took a hot steamy piss right into the center of it. “Aksu what the fuck man why would you do that?” I asked, “Fuck these kids’ man, they knocked my tooth straight out of my mouth last week.” Aksu pulled his mouth back revealing his void tooth. “They gave me eating problems for a week, I give them Zesty Chili for a night.” I didn’t say another word and nodded. Private Branson was a special character. The smell of cow shit would burn your nose if he was to come into a 100-meter radius of you. He spoke low and slow and would always drag his feet around. He was a farmer’s boy, built like an ox but with the mind of a chicken. The boy had no evil intentions in his body and from what I could tell he was a pure saint.