Private Early stood on the dirt patch outside of his unit’s quarters. He was dressed in his PT uniform and sandals, clearly off duty. The summer night in Iraq left him soaked with sweat as he paced back and forth in a cloud of dust. His left shoulder held a slung assault rifle and his right arm held a newly purchased satellite phone up to his twitching face. A cigarette had long since burned out in his left hand. The person he was talking to was still legally his wife, even all the way back in the United States, but you wouldn’t know it.

“What do you mean it’s over?” Early asked with slack jawed shock.
“It’s over, Steven. Time to move on.” his wife responded.
“Over? I’m here because of you. I joined the Army to support my family!”
“Fuck you, Steven, don’t try and make me feel guilty. I didn’t MAKE you join up.”
“You sure suggested and encouraged it.”
“I never encouraged it! I hated it!”
“Look, I told Kaylee that you died in the war and this Marine is her new Daddy. . . so, just stop calling, okay?”

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