Terms of ServiceMature

This story is about situations that soldiers may be forced to deal with from day to day. I've purposely left out any mention of dates or where they may be fighting, as well as any terms (weapons, enemies, situations) that would denote a country of origin or a particular conflict. All that is given is that this is a squad of men in a combat zone. Each chapter could either be stand-alone story or a continuation from this chapter. Enjoy!


Training Opportunity

Staff Sergeant Keller knelt down by the body as he pulled on a pair of gloves.  He glanced over his shoulder and spoke: “Smythe, I need you to watch the door.”  Keller looked up to the small group of men surrounding him and the corpse lying on the floor.  “Corporal Smythe is going to be door security.  I want Dodson to act as my security for this demonstration.”  Dodson walked over and knelt beside the body also. 

Sunlight knifed through the ceiling, half caved-in by a stray mortar round.  The subject on the floor lay sprawled, strewn across broken rubble and gazing up sightlessly toward the light.  The late-morning sun was already causing the temperature to rise to an uncomfortable level.  Keller continued: “We’ve already checked this guy out but I wanted to show you how to clear an enemy corpse.”   

“Dodson, you stand over my shoulder and cover the enemy with your weapon.  If he moves, shoot him, not me.”  Keller said with a grin, causing a few nervous chuckles here and there.  “The first thing you want to do is to assess if the enemy is really dead or just pretending.”  Keller brought his hand up and flicked the dead man in the eye with his middle finger making a popping sound.  The squad of younger soldiers all jumped instinctively.   Keller smiled again and shook his head.  “If he’s alive, he’s going to move.  If he’s dead, then he won’t feel it.”

“The next thing to do is to check for grenades. Get a good grip on his shoulder and on his belt here and roll the body slowly towards you.  If there is something there, then quickly move the body back over the grenade and lay on top of the body.  Hopefully, it either won't go off or he’ll absorb most or all of the shrapnel.”  - Keller stood up and pulled off his gloves  - “Any questions?”

Dodson timidly raised a hand and asked: “Sergeant Keller, what happens to the body now?”  Keller shrugged and waved off a bothersome fly.  “We’ve already called the civilian police.  They’ll be along directly to get him.”

Dodson looked down on the nameless dead.  He thought to himself that he finally knew what it meant to be a soldier.   

The End

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