Things are different.
Don’t know that they’re better.
But they’re different.
The man sitting in front of us is wearing a very nice suit. He has a ream of papers, and he wants us to sign every last one of them.
Gomez isn’t hot on the idea, even though this deal would benefit him most of all; what with his leg and everything. But they want to pay us, too.
And pay us well.
Danny Boy, he’s ready to go. Batshit as ever; made crazier because Maynard’s still in the hospital, still in the coma. They say he might never come out. They took his breath, and I guess they took too much. More than we lost, anyway. He was always a little guy, maybe that’s what it was. Poor b*****d. We visit him every Tuesday.
Me, I just want to sign off because it gives credence to everything. You go to war and you see things with your brothers, and at first it’s good because you saw that s**t together. It’s hard to deny when your brothers have been there, too. But over time, you wonder. Mass hysteria and shared delusions make quick work of your unity of vision. You all think you saw one thing, but you wonder if maybe that doesn’t matter. Could be that it wasn’t real no matter how many eyes laid sight on the bloodshed or the horror of those calm weird moments out in the desert where you see a wind kick up some sand and maybe, just maybe you see a face in that sand.
Could be that you all go to a red barn and blow the unmerciful s**t out of it, thinking you’re killing some demons that are real, but maybe you’re just killing demons out of your own head; your own shared, crazy head.
But then a man in a nice suit comes along and he says he’s with a company called Barthes Prosthetics, and that he knows what we did. He knows what we killed. Of course, he says we can’t talk about it with anyone but him and his “people”, but that means our shared delusion is either not a delusion at all, or is at least big enough so that we don’t feel so alone in our madness. Either way’s fine.
Then he goes on to tell us he’s willing to pay us handsomely to do more of what we just did. And that he can patch up the new scars on my face, and that he can give Gomez a better fake leg, one that fits, this time, one with some high-end technology stored away in the joint.
Yeah, it means going back to war. It means being a soldier in another man’s army.
But at this point, what else do I have?
What else can we do but do what we do best?
MREs.
Men, Ready to Enlist.