"Fucking A."

The mumble came from between lips wet with vodka. Troy smiled as he looked into the clouded image in the mirror before him, broken glass scattered about his bare feet. He ran his hand over his freshly shaved scalp.

"Once a jarhead, always a fucking jarhead." He brushed the stray hairs from his shoulders with heavy hands and stepped backwards. His tongue felt thick but his head felt light, and Troy thought numbly that this was a bizarre contradiction.

He pushed the cheap plywood of his motel bathroom door back and staggered to the bed. All his limbs were heavy from the alcohol he'd ingested, and he flopped onto the bed with such leaden force that the wooden frame screeched in protest. He slung one arm over to the cheap bedside cabinet and fumbled with leaden fingers for the small, brown bottle in the one, tiny drawer.

Squeezing the white plastic cap he coughed and dropped the bottle, six white discs scattering and rolling under the bed.

"Fuck it." He whispered. Closing his eyes, he took in a slow breath. "Best be over riki tik." Opening his eyes the room around him was hazy. He wiped at them and his hand came away wet. He coughed again, and his chest burned.

"We're still in the desert bro."

The whisper was choked as he looked at the crumpled photograph on the mantlepiece.

"Come on you s.o.b's, do you want to live forever?"


A story.
A man fires a rifle for many years. and he goes to war. And afterwards he comes home, and he sees that whatever else he may do with his life - build a house, love a woman, change his son's diaper - his hands will always remember that rifle.
He will always remain a jarhead. And all the jarheads killing and dying, they will always be him.

No one leaves the desert.