Foliage



Foliage

I place my boot on the neck of this commie bone bag, the toe resting on his chin. I think, I hate this wet heat he breathes. At least there is no rain in it--for now. I hate his elusive sky, too. A sky filled with foliage, unlike the limbs and leaves of the hickory or oak trees back home.
"Slats, you and Mad-dog planning to marry that commie beaner," Luke hissed at me.
I watch as reality seems to shift; 5\' 7", 176 pounds of ground foliage in front of me apparently transforms itself into a Forced Recon Marine, even though my mind knows it is just Luke stepping out of the underbrush.1
Foliage, there is an appropriate sound--and smell. Foliage, aged and weary foulness.
I long for a dry breath of clear air from home where foliage is something read about in the geography books, not swum through, or sloshed through, or sunk into.
I glance at Luke. Luke and I are similar. There are just some minor differences between us. I am 11 1/2" taller--part of the reason I\'m called "Slats." I can tan, even in winter, as long as the sun is out. He is from the smog and the city. Luke notices my rambling thoughts, and grins. It\'s a grin that reminds me there is a whole lot of menace compressed in that ash white body of his. Given an even chance, I could take him. He knows it. We respect each other.
The heartbeat under my foot recalls my attention to the task at hand. It is either a few more moments for this worm food to protest its lot in life or an added chance for me and the others. The head, viced by my boot, needs to remain still until I can finish. It doesn\'t matter if he would ever revive.
1) Forced Recon Marine: A U.S. Marine Corps member belonging to a Reconnaissance Team. Their job is to slip into enemy held territory and complete assigned missions. My M-16 rifle, Mad-dog, twitches restlessly in my hand. Ever since I endowed its rigid stock with a personalized, gun-blue, name plate I feel it imbued with life. I watch as my hand is animated by Mad-dog. Its barrel moves up to an inviting temple and cast its vote in my favor. It makes me angry when Mad-dog makes decisions on its own. I can\'t really blame it though, just protecting its own interests. I wrestle the rifle away from its watchful position, it is still not fully convinced of the commies\' sincerity. Mad-dog is contented only after I clean its muzzle on a dull and ugly shirtsleeve and no motion of protest is registered.
A memory of high school comes to me. I once tried to learn the language of this fertilizer under my foot, or something close to it. Mad-dog doesn\'t seem to want to dwell on that, I am reminded how bad I was.
I shoulder Mad-dog, wipe my bloody boot across an agreeable chest, and signal a "go" to luke. I glance again at Luke as we move off through this, now temporary, "safe" zone. Some minor differences between us, I realize, are purely superficial. I stride in an ambling gait, he walks fast. I am good-looking.
Mad-dog whispers, "Even the commie beaner is better looking than Luke, especially now".With a frown I tell Mad-dog, "Shut up, or I won\'t clean you, oil you, I may just throw you away". A snicker faintly blows across my mind, then all becomes quiet. Me and Luke come into a clearing and await the arrival of the other team members.
A clearing out here is where enough light gets through the leafy guard of these sweaty giants that the locals call "trees." It\'s also where everything is not that awful piss yellow anymore. Being out in the light doesn\'t concern us at the moment, it\'s the damn monkeys. They are a double edged sword. If we have picked a spot they cherish, they will gather. Then they will start bickering, complaining, insulting, and finally refuse throwing.
That\'s another thing I hate about this place. It\'s not bad enough to be in deep *censored* out here, the monkeys have to toss it at you from the armpits of these depressing giants.
The other team member\'s