Friday, May 15, 2009
What You Don't Know - John Fetto
They’ve dropped you behind in Indian Country, a hundred clicks from anything that might be called a safe zone, and you’re on your belly, lying very still, pondering the same question, with every inch forward. It’s a simple question, a question you could answer if someone could step beside you with a ruler, and note the height of your body as you pull yourself forward. The question is how small can you make yourself when you crawl? If you push down hard enough, can you melt into earth, after dying of course, but before, making yourself so little no one standing behind the sandbags would consider killing you. You listen and don’t hear a bullet spinning by you, so you must have succeeded so far. But still you just imagine it, imagining someone with a pith helmet seeing you through ancient Asian eyes squinting through the sights of one of those ugly rifles, seeing the ruffle in the grass, then squeezing the trigger that will empty a clip in your back, head, legs, supersonic metal fingers ripping your flesh. You think about it, and your arms won’t move, your legs are attached to the ground, face eating, dirt. You think all that, but man ahead moves, but you stay listening, all the time listening, voices? Human or birds, or the wind rustling the tress? Crackle and pop, twigs breaking? Weapons chambering, or just the landscape shifting, growing, transformed by time as it has a zillion years before men came and played their impossible games. You listen but what do you hear? Enemy soldiers? Or you own fears magnified a thousand fold, pulling your muscles so taut that each inch, each arm lifted and pushed forward, moves as if against a great weight, the weight of smiling death. Will you make it? I don’t know. No one does. Least of all any sane God.