Doing the unthinkable


Pa asks me where my uniform is the minute he sees me on the walk to the house on Delta Seven.

The old man looks older than I remembered and Iíve only been away a year.

I tell him I dumped it in the trash after I got off the base.

Iím huffing a little from the thin air.

A year living on a planet with thicker air, I feel like an off-worlder now, one of those foolish tourist I used to mock as they gasped all the time.

Pa tells me Iíll get shot as a deserter for taking the uniform off. But had a left it on, I wouldnít have gotten this far, and tell him as much.

He says I ought to get shock, and that he didnít raise me to be no coward, and when they come to get me, heís going to turn me in.

I tell him Iím no coward, I just donít see a point in dying for something I donít believe in.

Pa gets mad and tells me the bugs attacked us, we didnít ask for it.

But Iím not so sure and I want to know the truth before I got blasting them out of existence, and Pa says I ought to find some place else to hide, he wonít hide me.

I tell him I have no intention of staying and that I just came back to collect my things.

He asks if Iím intending to take my old gun with me, and whether I intend to go shooting up my own kind?

I tell him the gun is for hunting so I can survive when I get up into the mountains, and he laughs, saying that with winter coming and me breathing like a tourist, I wonít last whether or not the government gets me.

I tell him Iíll get used to it again. I was born and raised on this planet, it shouldnít be too hard.

And when the government men come to get me, he asks?

I tell Pa they wonít find me. I know those mountains and they donít. Theyíll look, and then theyíll give up.

Maybe, my old man mumbles, but the government will keep watch, and if I go up there, I wonít be coming back Ė even if I survive.

It wonít be forever, I tell him.

But long enough, he says.

I pass Pa and go into the house, thinking maybe time will show the government is wrong after all, and maybe they wonít care about people like me eventually.

But I grab up every piece of ammunition I can, knowing that I might be wrong, and they wonít learn anything and wonít give up, and maybe I might have to do the unthinkable, even though I hope I wonít.


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