One

For years I purposely didn’t talk about my military service. It seemed that every time I did, some smart-ass, wanna-be-tough would try to pick a fight with me.

Once, it was woman. She was mouthy, mouthy, mouthy and she wouldn’t let up with the haranguing.

She kept asking me, as tried to enjoy my beer, while sitting at the bar in the B and S Club in Crescent City, “So, Killer, how many deaths would take to end a war?”

“I would hope none,” I answered several times as politely and as calmly as possible. Still she wouldn’t let up.

“So if you don’t want to kill, why train to do it?”

“To prevent it from happening – a strong defense is an even stronger offense.”

“You’re so full of shit.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you for noticing,” I quipped without thinking. It set her off again and again she started in on me.

“So – how many lives would you say it should take to take to end a war?” she asked.

Without taking my eye’s off of her in the mirror, I answered, “One.”

She wrinkled her face and laughed, “One!? How’s that?”

Slowly, I got up from my stool, pulled out a ‘fiver’ from my trouser pocket to pay for my beer, “Keep the change,’ I offered the bartender, who refused my cash before I answered: “One — mine. If I could stop a war with one death, I’d die to end it. It’s what Marine’s do.”

She was speechless for about 15-seconds, jus’ enough time to walk around the pool table, out the door and into the night’s rain. I never again wore my uniform while at home.

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