“Sergeant, due to your illness, we find you unfit for duty” these words crushed my very soul. Bitter tears sprang to my eyes and an unfathomable rage filled my heart. Angrily I made my way across the empty parking lot to where my vehicle awaited to take me from my career for the last time. “Unfit for duty, I will show you!” I slammed my foot on the accelerator as I tore through the parking lot. Hot tears of rage burned down my cheeks as I sought solace in the fact that I would no longer wear the uniform of my country. “I served this country with honor, and they just throw me away like last weeks garbage!”Whipping around vehicles, I plowed down Academy on my way to the new apartment that would be my new home. “Just like she did! God, I need a drink!” Saliva filled my mouth as my thoughts turned to the dark promise of alcohol helping me forget my troubles. Gunfire and explosions echo in my mind as I pull into my apartment complex. “Welcome to the ghetto old son. Best keep your gun nearby.” I twist my key to unlock my new home. It was as empty as my soul. A lone chair filled the vast vacuum of the tiny one-bedroom apartment. Turning on the light to the living room the soft, white bulb broke the darkness that filled the small kitchen area. “Good ole whiskey, at least it will burn away the pain.” I poured me a glass and sat in the small chair. The sounds of people moving about their lives filled my apartment. The laughter of children and slamming of car doors would be my companion. “Where do I go from here?” Bitterly, I killed off the remaining whiskey and made my way back into the kitchen. Pouring another glass, memories of my marriage ending filled my thoughts.
“I hate you!” Her hate filled voice startled me out of my drunken stupor. I feel the cold steel of my handgun in my hand. Shivering from the cold floor that I had fallen to in my drunkenness, I realized that I was hungry. I push myself up off the cold floor and my head swims. “Stupid, alcohol is not the answer.” My mind clouds as I struggle to remember what caused me to drown my sorrow in the emptiness of the amber fluid. “I have guys lined up around the block waiting to get with me, I want a divorce!” My heart aches upon the remembrance of these words and I stumble into the kitchen for another drink. The empty container drives me to rage. “I will show her, I am going to become the biggest man-whore in Colorado!” Slamming the empty glass down it shatters. “I am going to bring pain to every woman that I date. I am going to destroy their dreams!”Pieces of glass protrude from my hand. Sobbing, I remove the tiny, green shards from my hands with tweezers. Memories of Sunday School enter my head and I quickly brush them aside. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I stumble through the house looking for my wallet and keys. As six a.m. approaches, I go to the bathroom to rehearse my smile. “Time to go see the guys.” I enter the cold, brisk air that is winter in Colorado. Breathing shallowly, I make my way down to McDonalds to visit my fellow veterans.
I push the door open and enter the warm lobby of McDonalds. The counter is unmanned. ‘They must have been shorthanded again.” I belly up to the counter and peruse the morning’s selection. The manager hurriedly comes to the counter and gasps, “What would you like?” Instantly tears fill my eyes, but I angrily blink them away. “Peace, however, since that is not on the menu, I will have a bacon biscuit and coffee please” She laughs and takes my money. I move to the back of the restaurant and wait for my number to be called.