he jumped and laughed, and giggled, producing that sharp pitched laugh, the laugh I recognized, reminding me of how my little brother (Drew) used to laugh when we were kids. The laugh that was some place between a scream and a laugh. He doesn't laugh like that anymore, now he's a 45 year old grumpy diabetic, always arguing with everyone else, that he can "take the sugar". The other day, his wife had to sneak into his room while he was at the hospital, to take out his stash of sweets and chocolates. My brother, always been stubborn and hard headed, the little man.
I remember when we were kids, and we went camping with my uncle and cousins, in Sedona, Arizona. I was 8 and he was 6, and my cousins Gerald and Bobby were 10 year old twin boys. I remember that night, it was cold and chilly. On hindsight, my uncle who was in the middle of a divorce wasn't probably the best person to be in charge of us kids in a remote area at the time. He was drunk and passed out in his tent, and so was I (not the drunk part though - lol). I had a busy day earlier, going through the woods to fetch sticks and branches we could use to start a fire, as well as trying to live out my 'bush hunter' fantasies I had as a child. Armed with my sling and stones, I spent most of the day hunting birds and little rodents. Obviously I didn't get any, but the thrill was more than enough satisfaction. So at the end of the day, I was understandably tired, and I retired to my tent, where I dozed off almost immediately I hit my camp bed. Only to be awoken by a shrill scream. I woke up to find my tent was on fire, I was dazed and confused. I could hear my cousins trying to wake my uncle up, and I was still confused as to what to do. Then I heard the scream again and recognized it as my brother's voice, and then as I turned to look in the direction of the scream, I heard the ripping sound that was my brothers knife tearing through my tent. "jump out" he screamed. I did. My uncle was still deep in sleep, my cousins were terrified, my brother was agitated, and I in shock just realized, my little bro saved my life. I eventually found out, Bobby and Gerald were in a fight, and one of them mistakenly kicked a firewood at my tent, and so began the fire.
The screamy laugh of the kid snapped me back to present day, as I lay on the roof, a few 100 meters away from the child as he played with his dad in front of their house. I looked back into my scope, as his head bobbed in and out of target. He reminded me so much of my brother 39 years ago. I promised him that night he saved my life, that I would save his too someday. I sat up, and started dismantling my M24A2 rifle,........I wouldn't do this. I would have to call and cancel this contract, which I have never done in my 20 year career.
as I got up, and started making my way to the exit door on the shopping mall roof, I heard the child's shrill chuckle again, and I murmured to myself: "this one's for you Drew".