By Steven L. Shrewsbury
“Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.”
Timon of Athens
“You must believe me, sir that I am the lord of the dark realms of hideous vanity. I come from beyond the gates of rusted blood. My home is over the surging river Styx and my love is to torment those lost forever.”
The Marine counselor rubbed a rough hand over his sharp, tight cut hair and sighed. “Private Berry, I believe that you have a problem, but nothing my psyche couch can cure.”
The youthful Marine sat forward on the couch and exclaimed, “But you must believe me, Captain Marten. I am demon!”
Marten glowered at him and shot back, “You are demon? If you’re in possession of anything it’s lousy grammar. Why are you a demon? Because you feel scared sleeping in barracks that once housed the Waffen SS? Get a grip, Marine! You aren’t the only one to sleep there since the occupation began.”
Private Berry’s eyes stared at the forearm of the counselor, bearing the Corps logo and a few other tiny tattoos. “But after I visited the ruins of Ravensbruck…”
The Captain stood up and drilled his fists down, nearly toppling the tiny lamp on the desk. “Get your head out of your ass, marine! I didn’t come to Germany to nursemaid little boys who smoke too much Afghan hash.” The Marten then pointed at the emblem on his forearm and barked, “Do your duty, Marine!”
Berry stood up straight, but his bottom lip quivered. “How can I convince you that I am demon--Amazarak?”
Grinding his teeth, the Captain roared, “Being a non-conformist and wetting the bed is no proof of demon possession. Besides, you exhibit none of the silly things associated with OBSESSION behavior. No marks, no speaking in other languages…” Captain Marten pointed his finger in the private’s face quickly, “…and don’t start to try German on me!”
Private Berry turned about, touched the door and looked back. He glared at the Captain, pulled out a short, curved blade and then closed the door.
When the frantic secretary called the MP’s after she heard the screams, it was no time before the door was broken down to Captain Marten’s office. Crudely, they found Captain Marten laid out inside, his legs up on the couch, his arms spread out on the floor, his throat ripped out and his belly flailed open. A mound of intestines almost rivaling the torso of the dead counselor lay heaped on the tan carpet beside him.
The lead MP, gun drawn, felt his gut flip over as he beheld Private Berry trying to wrap a slippery piece of material over the tiny lampshade on the desk. The flaring eyes of the Private locked on him as he turned the crude lampshade addition toward the MP and said, “You see? Another language my ass!”
The MP swallowed as he gawked at the lamp and read the words, “SEMPER FI.”