The day is normal. Helicopters come and go, dropping off letters and ammo. Vehicles are maintained and weapons cleaned. Sentry Duty is performed. It is my turn.
I stand in the hole looking toward the enemy. I have yet to see him. We pound his holes day after day. Shells streak though the sky and bombs fall from planes. I smoke a cigarette and hope the enemy are all dead.
My watch lies to me as the Sentry Stag drags on. An hour has passed in my head, my watch says it's 5 minutes. I smoke endless cigarettes as I look across the flat brown landscape. Blue smoke rises from all of the holes defending our position. The Officers say nothing about the rule breaking.
A Tom takes over from me. 'Have you heard mate?' He says 'Geordies been killed' The words cascade into my head. My friend is dead. I had breakfast with him. I question my relief. 'How?' I stammer like I did as a nervous child. 'We've had no contacts'
The soldier shakes his head. 'No mate not that Geordie. The one whose bird's up the duff. Back in Germany'
My friend Geordie is dead. He didn't deploy with us because his wife is having a baby. The Army let him stay at home. A car crash just ended his life.
I tell the Tom I'll do his Stag. 'Nice one mate' He grins at me and disappears, unable to believe his luck. I stare toward the enemy. Geordie is dead. My friend. I can see his face and his feeble moustache that betrayed his 21 years.
We are moving position. B52's give us light and we drive toward the enemy. Dead troops pave the way - I look at them and think of my dead friend. Then I climb into a hole. The Day is normal...