So It Would Be Today

The little dog trotted along, patrolling the perimeter of the camp, keeping to the well worn path just inside the fence. The man followed, a few steps back, automatic rifle in ready position, all sensors on high alert. Not that there was any reason to be on high alert. Every day was like the rest, tinged with the certainty that the invasion would come and the hope that it would be some tomorrow over the horizon.

The terrier stopped, lifted one front paw, eyes fixed on the brush, ears standing at attention. The man halted. Nothing on the screens. He flipped off the on-board electronic clutter, removed his helmet to see for himself, to listen with his own ears. The world looked dusty in the early morning sunlight. The scent of wild sage filled his nostrils. A jay screeched in the distance. His sweat evaporated off the top of his closely shaven head.

There, at the base of the fence, a few hairs caught in the twinned metal strands. Something pushed through here, under the fence, taking advantage of a small depression in the ground. As the man replaced his helmet, a crashing weight knocked him to the ground. He rolled forward, using his momentum to carry him back to his feet, upright, weapon up. Where was the target?

“Whoa! Slow down there, soldier.” Williams crouched a few feet away, palms up. “I was only having a little fun with you.”

“I almost shot your stupid head off,” said the man.