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American Drama Suspense

THE SHOT

Sarge: Look. There he is. The sentry. He keeps coming in and out, looking around. He doesn’t see us. When he comes out again, we can just pop him and take him out.

Private: Easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

S: You ever shoot fish in a barrel?

P: No, it’s just a dumb old saying that means how easy it is.

S: Back home, we’d shoot catfish, right in the lake. They get close to the surface, and pow! Suppertime.

P: Where I come from, only the bad guys had guns. I never fired a weapon until boot camp. But I learned pretty quick and got a sharpshooter medal for it.

S: Well then, focus your sharpshooter’s eye on that doorway and our sentry. As soon as he comes out, take him down.

P: Piece of cake, me boy. Piece of cake.

S: Hey, here he comes. Draw a good bead on him. Let him get out a ways, away from the door. Ready? There we go. Go for it.

P: Bye bye, Mr. Sentry Guy.

S: Bullseye! You dropped him but good! That’s some shooting, son! Nice shot!

P: See? Told you I picked up on it in boot camp. Nothing to it. Just call me Mr. Sharpshooter. Yes sir, need a sniper? Who you gonna call? Sentry busters!

S: Now, you’re an official combat veteran. Your first kill. Please tell the folks at home how you feel about this, Private.

P: Well, it was nothing. Just some excellent training, that’s all. Just doing my job, what they pay me to do. War is hell, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

S: Wait a minute. He’s still moving. Look at him. Rolling around in agony. Listen. Hear him screaming? You didn’t kill him.

P: Come on! That shot was straight on!

S: He’s not dead. A good shot, yeah, but he’s still alive.

P: That was a head shot! I know it was!

Sarge: Sorry, just a click low. Looks like you got him in the shoulder. You hurt him but you didn’t kill him.

Private: What do we do now?

S: We? You got a mouse in your pocket?

P: He was supposed to die. But he didn’t. What do we do now?

S: Finish the job, I’d say. Take another shot at him.

P: My God, I never did anything like this before.

S: You didn’t have a problem when you thought you killed him. Ready to go home and join the VFW and the American Legion and brag about what a mighty warrior you are.

P: I don’t like this. Not at all.

S: Well, it’s a little late for that, don’t you think? This is war, son. People die in war. What, you thought we parked ourselves in some safe bunker and killed all the enemy without any of us getting so much as a paper cut? This is kill-or-be-killed, man! This isn’t Hollywood. This is the real deal.

P: I think I’m going to be sick.

S: Come on, tough guy. Just a minute ago you were John Wayne with a blazing machine gun on each hip, single-handedly saving the world from the enemy. Look at you now. A whimpering kitten.

P: Stop it! Stop it! I can’t take this!

S: He’s still rolling around on the ground. Pretty soon, a few more people will show up who won’t be very happy about this. You can bet they’ll be looking for us.

P: So what do we do?

S: Kill the sentry, once and for all, and we get the hell out of here.

P: You kill him. I can’t do it.

S: Me? You’re a much better shot than I am. I might hit the door at this distance, maybe. I’ll never be able to zero in on him. You do it. It’s your kill.

P: I can’t do it.

S: Don’t give me that! Big tough lean mean killing machine a minute ago and . . .

P: Don’t start that John Wayne crap with me again! I can’t do it!

Sarge: So what do we do? Leave him there to die in agony? To bleed to death? There’s no honor in that.

Private: Honor! What’s honor got to do with it?

S: Everything, son. Everything. Give that man an honorable death. He’s just as much a warrior to his side as we are to ours. Don’t let him die like that. Do the right thing.

P: Jesus, just look at him. He’s in such terrible pain. We can’t let him be like that.

S: That’s what I’ve been saying. Just finish him off. He deserves that, the poor guy.

P: The poor guy? Are you serious? He was the enemy before.

S: That’s right, he’s still the enemy. Do it. Finish the poor guy off.

P: I can’t. I can’t.

S: Just point and shoot. Like they told you in basic. Line up your shot, bring the barrel down until the tabs line up, and squeeze.

P: God, my hands are shaking. I don’t know if I can . . .

S: You better. We’re gonna have company real soon.

P: I don’t like war.

S: Get used to it, son. You have over a year left in your tour. Stop fooling around and just get it over with, will ya?

P: I don’t know if I’ll survive a year of this. I can’t do it.

S: No more arguing. Point and shoot. Now! Time’s a-wasting! Don’t make me order you!

P: Come on, come on, squeeze! Dammit! My hands are going numb.

Sarge: Go for it. You have to do this. One shot and we can go back to camp. That’s all, one shot and we’re home free. Shoot that big ol’ buck and we can take him home for supper.

Private: Big ol’ buck? What big ol’ buck?

S: Forget it. Just trying to help. Now shoot the damn thing!

P: Almost. Got him almost in my sights. Easy enough, I did this before, right? Easy shot. Head shot, right there. Die with dignity and honor, my friend. I’m sorry I had to do this to you. You never did anything to me, why we have to do this to each other…

S: Shoot him!

P: Wait a minute. Look. He stopped moving. His arm just went limp. Is he dead?

S: Hell, I don’t know. Maybe.

P: Then I won’t have to shoot him! I won’t!

S: Let me have a look through at him my scope. I don’t see his chest moving. I think he’s dead.

P: He’s dead! He’s dead! I didn’t have to shoot him a second time!

S: Wow. A real reason to celebrate, isn’t it?

P: I didn’t mean it to sound that way. I just feel a whole lot better all of a sudden.

S: This won’t be the last time this happens, you know. Get used to it. There’s a lot more of this to come.

Private: I don’t like this at all. I want to go home.

Sarge: So do we all. Get at the back of the line, son. Dig in for the long haul.

May 21, 2021 19:29

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