“Mike, why did you spend two tours each in both Iraq and Afghanistan? Isn’t that unusual?” asked Gerald, the plastic host. Mike just looked at him in amazement. What the hell kind of question is that? This is already getting off to a bad start, Mike sighed. “Well…I might could answer that question as saying because my country needed me. But, that’s a bullshit answer. Or I could answer it truthfully by saying, “Because I enjoy killing Jihadists.” That’s the long and short answer for you, Gerald.” After a very pregnant pause, Gerald recovered. “That’s actually a good answer, Mike. I mean, these guys are really bad dudes, right? They kill innocent men, women and children according to all…”“Let me tell you about those bad dudes (with emphasis), Gerald,” Mike interrupted. “They’re doing what they have been trained to do all their lives; kill infidels as often and as many as possible. I won’t mince words by just saying it’s what they are indoctrinated to do from the time they can talk to the time they take up arms against “infidels.” They are not interested in assimilation, dialogue or peace. Our political leaders won’t tell you that since it is not politically correct. But, I will tell you their religion teaches them to kill. Killing is what they know and what they do. It’s the only thing they know how to do. Same thing for us. The Marine Corp trained us to kill as many of the enemy as we could and as often as possible. It’s what we do and we do it very, very well. So, at least in that respect, we are alike in that all we want to do is one thing….kill. We just happen to be better at it than most of those bastards, Gerald.” You could now cut the tension in the newsroom with a knife. The interview was going completely off kilter, as Beverly decided to change direction of the interview with a softball question.
“Mike, I understand you have two daughters that are tuned in today at school. Would you like to say something to them, along with their respective classmates,” Beverly asked. My God, I forgot they were watching me, Mike thought. Now, he felt bad for his language and disposition on air. Oh, he realized what Beverly was doing as he had once again lost his temper. Only thing, he did it this time on live TV. But, it was time to tone things down with the realization his daughters were among the TV audience looking on that morning. “I sure would, Beverly. My little girls mean more to me than life itself. They are the very reason I exist, the reason get up each morning for a new day. Melissa and Rachel, I love you more than anything else in this world. But, I bet you already knew that. Thanks for allowing me to speak to them directly, Beverly,” Mike said. He felt better now, more at ease. Mike took more questions from Beverly that consisted mostly of more softball questions, such as what he was doing now (and of course a plug for the dealership where he worked), how he was getting along and so forth. Gerald remained silent throughout the rest of the interview after he led off with a rather asinine question.
At the end of the interview, Beverly asked Mike the last question and most thought provoking to Mike’s way of thinking. “Mike, you went through more dangerous times in your life than the vast majority of people will ever see in their lives. Despite being wounded three times, by your own words, you are in good health. We are all happy to see that. We asked the following question of the two other veterans on this morning’s show and I will ask you. We pray you have a long, happy life. But, when the time comes, what would you like to be on your tombstone or marker upon your death?” Beverly asked. Mike had to think on that one for a moment. Despite his many medals, he never wanted to be considered anything special. “I would want simply, ‘He was just a soldier.’ That’s good enough for me,” Mike replied. And that is all I really am, Mike thought. I’m just a solider trying to survive in a world that doesn’t understand me. A world that completely baffles me. It’s a world in which I don’t think I fit in any longer. I need to get to the VA for help, Mike considered. I need help…and soon.