Postcards from the Edge

An unwelcome delivery at the front door

The Vikings season opener is only days away. Man, this will be a fun ride. The Monday-night game against Green Bay is going to feel like a Super Bowl.

Flip on ESPN, will you? ... No, not CNN, not the war. ... Hey, what are they saying about the NFC North?

What? I meant I don't care to watch CNN, that's all. I'm not interested. What is Afghanistan, when you think about it? Seriously, it's like Mars with mountains.

Throw me those movie listings. What's playing at the Parkway? ... Can't wait for the trip to Chicago next week. Andy's going to treat us like royalty, he says. Kevin is going now, too. He and his girlfriend split up.

(Bam!)

What the hell was that? What just happened? Jesus, no! My legs, my goddamned legs. Oh, Christ no. I can't breathe, I can't breathe. Son of a bitch!

Wait, wait. ... It's okay. ... It's not me. Who is that? Where is that coming from? The kids are asleep. I can hear my wife laughing on the phone in the kitchen.

Who the hell is screaming? Shut the hell up. Shut up! Honey, where is that screaming coming from?

There it is on the floor. It's the newspaper. Who is that? Who's in that photo?

Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard? Never heard of him. Good Lord, he's hurt bad, really bad. Oh, God, look at that mess, I can see the bone. They'll have to cut the leg off. I'm going to be sick. Someone tell him to stop screaming. Oh, man, this is bad. C'mon!

Who took this photo? Is that the woman there? She's an AP photographer? Well, she's going to have to answer to the family of that poor leatherneck. You don't publish stuff like this. The family said they didn't want other people to see it. Who is this callous hack? The Defense Department said not to publish it!

We don't need to see this. You don't need to be out there throwing this in our faces, lady. How'd you like it if we sent a photographer to snap a picture of your kid on his deathbed? You're going to burn in hell. This is some kind of twisted.

Oh, don't give me that. This ain't my war. I had nothing to do with it. You want to bring me real news, about my life, you show me something that has to do with my day, my family, my home. Don't fly across the ocean and drag back the splattered body of some shrapnel-filled grunt and shove it up in my grill when I'm trying to have a little hard-earned time off. I'm tired. I work for a living, lady. I don't need this shit.

You want me to feel guilty about it, don't you? That I'm here and that unlucky bastard is over there. Well, I don't feel guilty. I disavow any responsibility. I don't care about that backwards nation. It's a God-forsaken medieval wasteland. Let it go to the dogs.

I didn't vote for these caskets. I didn't give the nod so these mothers could fall to their knees in their primal wailing. I wash my hands of it. Those are D.C. decisions, lady. I'm in the Midwest, pretty damn far from that den of fools.

Look at that poor son of a bitch, look what they did to him. They blew him all to hell. He looks like Gary. He looks like my cousin Gary. God, he's the same age and everything. Tell him to stop screaming.

Someone help the kid. ... What? ... He's dead? ... He died? Oh, Jesus.

You don't make the world a better place with this stuff, lady. You just drag all of us into the mire when there's nothing any of us can do about it.

No, these aren't tears. I'm pissed off, that's all. Get away from me.

Just let it go. Let it go. It's not our war. 

 
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