Boot-camp Suicide

In the cinder-block shack of my dormitory room, I sleep to dream and wake up to remember how one of us has failed boot camp, standing like the man his sergeant made him, upright on the obstacle course, then machine-gunned down, flunked out of breath and blood. His death is foursquare fact, cramped as a slot in a basement dorm, but his memory exceeds him as the world inflates their dime-store dolls so the staff shrink on Uncle’s team can sign him off to hell, Case Closed by a penetrating pen, while the local pump of the underground press types him into heaven. Before he failed his mid-terms here on earth and passed his physical, I was his roommate once, and I know nothing except that barracks and reveille would break the twenty hours a day he had to sleep to stay awake at all, and I know from a photograph how bad his khaki fit.

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