“I tell you my boy, those damned Palestinians are fucking savages. All they do is kill innocent women. No compassion, no love.” Gary remarked as he gnarled his teeth in anger and punched the bartender’s desk to manifest a more convincing and menacing character.
The young bartender remained silent but showcased a diplomatic yet comforting smile.
Gary was an old man in his mid 60s. He had frizzy hair which had accomplished metamorphosis from black to white. His wandering emerald green eyes gave him a perpetually distracted look. He stooped down to drink from his mug of beer which revealed the various scars on his face under the end of the tavern. His old hat fell down over his eyes.
“30 years ago when I was your age, I didn’t have time for drinking and for hobnob. I was in the Army, 29th
How do know a war veteran is near you? He will keep yapping about war, till the roof falls and Gary was no exception.
“29th infantry regiment eh?" The bartender finally made some comprehensible, audible sounds.
“Yes, that’s right.” Gary said with a proud yet austere smile. “And by Jesus, when that sniper’s steel body touches the palm of my hand, I feel like God . I feel like I am the one in command, not that lunatic general.” And then he smashed his mug of half filled beer on the desk. Luckily it didn’t break.
The 29th infantry regiment was the sniper division of the US Army. Gary was an US Palestine veteran. He was a cannibalistic shot. Like they say, soldiers are made and snipers are born.
“I haven’t told you about that daunting day did I? Oh boy! You are in for a treat. I bet Nolan would make a great movie about it. Or did he already?"
The bartender offered an approving glare but he then again had no options. He smiled with one arm on the desk and eyes fixed onto Gary.
“It was the 13th of April.” Gary began his tale with a whisper, his eyes red as a cherry. "Or... Or 15th? Doesn’t matter. It was a ‘day’ in the middle of April. The clouds were dark and leaking. whole atmosphere had a dark orangey blackish vibe to it as if God wanted a perfect setting for war. Just like an artist in action.” His voice slowly gaining the decibels but still very ductile. He possessed a knack for storytelling. “It was a tiring day, I shot over 15 people. All of them, in the middle of the eyes. The sun slowly began to settle down below the horizon, the warmth disappearing and bitter and wet frigidness started settling. I was resting in my wooden cabin. You have seen sniper’s cabin on towers in the movies right? Yeah just like that.”
Now Gary's tone had become much more austere. “I suddenly sensed uneasiness and had a tingling
sensation all over my body. My legs were noodles. I could feel it. Something grim was about to
The bartender who wasn’t a wee bit engrossed was suddenly all for ears. That’s what happens when
you have a master storyteller.
“I did what I always do when I sense danger. Reach out for my gun. The moment I touched the
barrel, a bullet, out of nowhere, pierced my left arm. Blood oozed out of my arm like a tap left open.
But one thing they didn’t teach back in the camps was to panic. I slowly searched for a piece of cloth to dress my wound. I reached out for the bandages which were lying on the opposite side all the while keeping my head as low as possible. The bandages didn’t help. There was hardly any of it
left and it failed to dress up my wound miserably. There was no cloth in sight with which I could accomplish the task. Finally I had no other option then to use my ‘Keep smiling ‘ tee which my mother had gifted me, two days before she died. The bleeding stopped. Next I had to find the
bastard who was responsible for this. I peeped through my scope. It was still raining as hell and my
visibility was greatly compromised. About a mile away, I noticed an old sniper’s tower. Just when I
was adjusting the focus, another shot fired. It grazed past me. It was on. It’s him or me. The bartender could barely keep his jaws closed. He didn’t know what impressed him more, the
thrilling story or the mesmerising oratorical skills of the storyteller.
“Sir, please continue. Don’t stop. I’ll pay for your drinks.”
Gary continued “I could now get a glimpse of the attacker. He was a Palestinian, with a subtle beard
and small eyes and was wearing a hooded jacket. His upper lip was too big in contrast with his lower
one. My biggest mistake was not shooting as soon as I got a glimpse. I spent way too much time
observing and not acting. By now he got himself covered, observing me through his scope while
being safely hidden. Not even a morsel of his body was visible. It was cloaking at its best. But it was
an old tower, a really old one. I thought maybe I could shoot through the possibly rotten walls of the
tower. I knew I had to take a chance. I guessed where his heart might be, making an approximation
from the scope. “
“The rain was still pouring and through the fuzzy visibility of the scope I had to take the shot. My
eyes fixed to the spot where I had my approximation. Sweat oozing from my pores, dripping from my head. I had to stop my breathing for my gun's crosshair moved if I breathed. My finger ready to pull the trigger at any moment. I caressed the trigger slowly and bam! Right through the wood.
The wooden plank broke exposing him. I missed his heart but got his left leg. He slowly crept to
another spot for cover. I knew I had him. As I was about to reload, realisation dawned on me that I
had a single bullet left. This meant only one thing, the bullet had to go right between his eyes.”
“I knew his head was near the scope. No points for guessing. But this was a difficult shot to make.
Steadily I prepared for my shot. Same technique and hoping for the jackpot. And finally I had my
swansong shot for the night.”
“Oh my!” the bartender exclaimed, now totally audible and with a spark in his eyes. “Did you get
“Of course I did! How else would I have lived to tell the tale? But there wasn’t any blood, not that I
could see. That was very strange. Motion ceased in that cabin that night. I dozed off tired and fragile
only to be waked up by my brothers in the army. If only the Palestine knew better than to be near
the scope after being shot in the leg through the planks. I tell you, all they know is violence. Not a
morsel of intelligence in them.”
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. Maybe you need
to be a little less judgemental.” Spoke the man sitting near Gary.
He had a thick ruffian sort of bear. Those various wrinkle lines in his forehead spoke of wisdom and
suffering. His hands shook as he lifted up his cup of coffee to have a sip. The green faded coat which
he was sporting had the right breast pocket torn and a small hole towards the bottom right corner of
the coat. It surely looked like he had seen better days. His upper lip was strangely, disproportionately large compared to his lower lip. Gary stared at him and perceived the same fear which he had experienced 30 years ago, in the sniper’s cabin.
Before Gary could muster courage to utter a word, the guy landed the most impressive upper cut you have
ever since Ali knocked out Liston.
“I am your nightmare, remember? I am Abed, the fucking Palestinian. Hot news, you missed your shot
30 years ago. I survived and now I guess fate has given us another opportunity to finish our duel.”
The wooden floor of the tavern was stained with Gary’s blood. His incisors were loose and were on the verge of eviction. Gary wiped off his blood and charged Abed with the most deafening growl you hear only in the
movies. Soon the brawl between the old men turned into a death race and before you knew, both of
them laid down on the tavern floor, unconscious.
Gary slowly opened his eyes and the light in the room rushed into his eyes like water gushes out
when you open a dam. He could barely comprehend his immediate environment. He wanted to
exclaim “Where am I?” but he avoided sounding clichéd.
After a few minutes, things were little more comprehensible. He noticed that he laid down on a
white bed in a white room with small pipes poked into his arm. Realisation dawned upon him as he
noticed that he was in a hospital, bruised and battered. A small T.V. was running which served as a
source of entertainment for the patients. He noticed another bed to his right, a few feet away from
him. Abed was in that bed.
Finally, Abed woke up too. He wanted a glass of water, but avoided speaking. The room was dead silent; no one uttered a word to each other. Both had their eyes glued to the television, the idiot box they say. There was a late night talk show with Jimmy Falon on the TV. He had two guests on his shows. Both
looked like generals in uniform. The whole atmosphere of the program was light hearted. One of the
General placed his arm on the shoulder of the other one. It seems that they were thick as thieves.
“The guy with the moustache was my commander in chief. I fought the war under his command.”
Gary finally murmured thus ending the silence in the room.
Abed looked at Gary with an astonished expression on his face, but finally with a gentle smile
remarked, “The other general was my commander in chief!”