A Warning about Wishes
"This is a load of crap," the soldier said with annoyance. The
only responses he got were dirty looks from the other soldiers
around him and a few hushes. To him this was a waste of time and
an effort by the sergeant to gain favor from the officers. In his
mind, he belonged at the Supply tent issuing equipment to
infantry soldiers. Patrolling was their job, not
his. He really wished he wasn't there.
The sergeant held his hand up to halt the patrol. He had a bad
feeling about the village that they were about to enter. The
simple houses and stalls that made up the Village Square could
contain a hidden enemy. In the past week a dozen shots had come
from this general vicinity and he was told to root it out. Though
he had the training and experience to do the job, he wished he
had better men than clerks and typists.
"What kind of infantry crap is this?" a voice behind him said
Turning his head, he saw the speaker, one of the Supply goons.
This one in particular was a major thorn in his side. All he did
was complain and go on Sick Call. In the old days, he would have
written the fool up and processed him for a Bad Conduct
Discharge. Unfortunately, in this day and age, a shortage of men
meant he had to keep the laggard. He wished the soldier wasn't
The sniper crouched in his hole. Before the foreigners came, he
was a man of distinction and power. One of the elite in a land
filled with sheep. Now he was just a shopkeeper; a peasant who
hoped no one noticed him. All it took was someone to recognize
him, and jail or worse awaited him. For this reason, he joined
The Cause. Now when the opportunity arose he became a freedom
The patrol was in his sights. He saw the sergeant raise his hand.
Drawing a bead on him, he prepared to eliminate a leader amongst
his enemies. Then he heard a voice. One of them was talking. He
often wondered what they talked about, what their lives were
like. Then he would put such thoughts out of his head. Putting a
face of humanity on the enemy was dangerous. If he wanted one
less foreigner within his land, he would have to stop thinking of
them as people. He aimed at the talkative one. He wished the
soldier wasn't there.
Everyone got their wish.
by Joseph J. DeRepentigny III
... who is a military intelligence veteran now working as a
security screener; and has a dozen published pieces to his
credit, including work previously published in this literary