The War, On Drugs By Todd Mercer

January 7, 2016 Comments Off on The War, On Drugs By Todd Mercer

We have no idea why we’re out on patrol, getting our asses shot off, helping people who don’t want help.

Every time we’re pinned behind trees or boulders, taking fire, someone wounded, I think, this would be unbearable if we weren’t high as hell. The war on drugs — it’s definitely better than a lucid, clear-headed war. You’d be out of your mind to pick that.

Sometimes new guys rotate in here and try to swing it straight up, but they see that it’s a horror show. They come around to medicating. Almost all of them. They ask, can I spare some of that stuff for a brother? and I say, yeah brother, I can.

Among the long-timers, only Private Dawkins abstains. That’s because he fights the war on Jesus. The every other word is Jesus kind of Jesus-y. It keeps him wired, like the drugs do for us. Jesus is his co-pilot. He might be schizophrenic, I’m thinking. He might do worse back in The World than now. He might die a hero because he’s the last to get his head down when we’re under fire.

I write home and tell my folks that we’re building schools, because they’re worriers.

When I shipped over here the unit’s detail was burning poppy fields. On poppy fields. Not so bad.

I wouldn’t have re-upped another tour like I did had I known the great brain trust would re-assign us as sniper-targets day on day. There is absolutely nothing of military value up this way.

Why are we doing this?

No one tells the platoon. Shooting at shadows in mountain passes. Taking the ridge and giving up the ridge. Hey, here’s your ridge back. Enjoy. Why? Orders, that’s all I know. Someone’s orders. Better to dream it away.

We’re winning the war on drugs, if we have any chance of winning it at all.

© 2015 Todd Mercer

Todd Mercer won the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015, the first Woodstock Writers Festival Flash Fiction Award, two Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes, and was runner-up in the Palm Beach Plein Air Poetry Awards. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance appeared in 2015 at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Camel Saloon, Camroc Press Review, Cease, Cheap Pop, Dunes Review, Eunoia Review, Kentucky Review, The Lake, The Legendary, Literary Orphans, Main Street Rag Anthologies, Midwestern Gothic, River Lit, and Spartan.

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