Army Toys

Marsha watched as her brother got out of his car and removed the wrapped package from his back seat. She was expecting him since today was her son, Timmy’s tenth birthday.

“Your Uncle Bob is here,” she called out to the back of the house.

“Coming,” came Timmy’s response and then him seconds later.

He met his Uncle Bob at the door. For his part, Bob handled the package to the boy, saying “Happy birthday, Timmy!”

Immediately, the boy sat down and began tearing off the wrapping to see what his only Uncle had brought him. Timmy’s excitement was barely containable when he saw it was a set of Army toys — complete with a plastic green helmet, a real sounding toy machine gun, a canteen and a rubber knife with sheath.

“Thank you, Uncle Bob,” Timmy squealed in delight as he slipped the canteen and knife on his belt.

Donning his new helmet and picking up his machine gun, he turned to his mother and asked, “Can I please go outside and play? Please?”

Marsha sighed, “Oh, alright – but don’t leave the yard.”

With that Timmy disappeared through the kitchen and out the screen door into his backyard. The two adults could hear the chatter of the machine gun as Timmy pulled the trigger and made explosion sounds with his mouth.

“Bob,” Marsha lilted, “You know how I don’t approve of those things.”

“Oh, Sis,” he returned, “I know, but I talked with Bill and he and I agreed Timmy should be allowed to play like any other boy.”

“So William put you up to this, huh?” Marsha asked in an accusatory tone.

“No, I made the decision myself,” Bob retorted, “So don’t go picking a fight with your old man. It was only a conversation and he never asked me to do anything.”

“Well, you know,” Marsha said, changing the subject, “Toy’s like this invite violence and I don’t want Timmy learning that it’s okay to shoot and kill people, even if it is only make-believe.”

*****

Meanwhile, in a deep, underground bunker, hidden beneath the Pentagon, Colonel Powers was flipping though a massive binder, as he listened to University Professor Ludwig describe how a new technology he had developed could theoretically create super soldiers. The subject was of great interest not only to Powers but to the Department of Defense as a whole.

“Yes, yes, yes,”  Ludwig exclaimed, “With this unseen technology secretly embedded in the soldiers helmet, we will have the ability to tap into the brain’s neurons and affect the synaptic portion dealing with social and anti-social behaviors.”

Ludwig went on to explain that since soldiers were already being trained in the act of warfare, it would be best to experiment on civilians, since they don’t have combat experience or fighting skills. Powers nodded his head vigorously in the affirmative to the suggestion.

“I’m sold on it,” Powers said to  Ludwig, adding, “When do we begin the trials?

“Who says we haven’t already begun,” Ludwig responded. Powers studied the thin-framed, bespectacled man in the sweater-vest for any sign of humor in his face — and found none.

*****

“Come now, Marsha,” Bob responded, “You know that’s all hog-wash. Look at me, I had real guns when we were growing up. I’m not violent and I only shot anyone while fighting the Japs in the Pacific.”

Marsha smiled because she knew her older brother was right. She looked out backdoor screen and waved at Timmy who was waving at her. The birthday boy then adjusted the chin-strap on his new Army helmet and continued killing the imaginary enemy surrounding him.

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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