Going Home – 6
March 9, 2022
I wasn’t planning to join the army but don’t sweat it when they draft me since I’m an unemployed nineteen year old guy looking for something in life. During basic training the drill instructors scream all the time and make us do a lot of extra marches and exercises but when that ends they tell me I’m one of the lucky soldiers heading to Ukraine for an easy operation to protect our people from neo-Nazis in the Donbas. That’ll be exciting, and I bet I find a pretty Ukrainian girlfriend.
I’m surprised the army doesn’t send me to the Donbas but to Belarus and then south toward Kyiv. Right away the Ukrainians show they’re tough, firing artillery and missiles and guns at us, and they’ve got some pretty good planes too. All the explosions and gunfire are scary especially when guys next to me get their limbs or heads blown off. After a week of this I’m a mess. I can’t sleep and my hands are shaky and I just want to get out of here.
“Sir, I need medical care,” I tell an officer.
“Where were you wounded?”
I point at my head.
“You cowardly bastard,” he says. “Don’t think you’re going home. You’ll stay here and fight for your country.”
I’m still fighting a few days later won’t any more after something explodes behind me. In a sense I’m happy I’ll be going back to my parents and two sisters. I expect to be treated respectfully but some soldiers open a massive round steel door sealing a huge pipe in back of a truck and put me in there and turn on the fire, and I figure they’re getting rid of those who’d attract attention if they came home in body bags and had to be buried.