The Soldier and the naked woman by Christopher Reel

Calvin, in full army gear, sat on the floor resting his back against the wall. Blood ran down the left side of his face. In his gloved hands he clutched a marine issued machine gun; dusty with sand and still hot from recently being fired. The room was small, gray, and bare, smelling of blood, gunpowder, and death. There were no doors. On the wall across from were he sat was a vertical slit of window; metal framed. A thin blind hung lazy in front of the window rolled down barely, only enough to become aware of its purpose. The view behind the window was of naked men, women, and children with machine guns running chaotically shooting each other. Screams, explosions, and rapid gun firing produced the clashing melody of war’s music played sound track to the view.

Calvin didn’t like what he seen or heard but could not stop paying attention to it for long. When ever he did manage to pull his eyes a way from the window he would stare at the naked woman who sat directly below it. The naked woman sat on top of a bed of roses staring at Calvin, while she puffed on a joint. Her dark hair sat in an unkempt flow down her back. Her brown eyes were quietly smiling. Occasionally she would laugh. Her glee would make him cringe. It amazed him that she seemed so at ease while outside of the window humanity was once again trying to destroy itself.

‘I had no choice.’ Calvin had mumbled this sentence 10 minutes or so. The naked woman would respond every time with ‘They chose for me.’

Finally Calvin said ‘I had to enlist in the marines or I’d . . .’

‘You’d what?’ The naked woman asked as a gray steam of smoke exited her mouth and nostrils.

‘I’d be dead.’

‘Why Dead?’ The woman’s face flashed quickly with a sadness that switched so fast into her normal expression Calvin wasn’t sure if he had seen the sadness or not. Calvin wasn’t sure of much at that moment. And he wasn’t sure why he understood every word that the naked woman spoke but knew she wasn’t speaking English.

‘Because the marines saved my life. I was average in everything from childhood up until I joined the marines and came to this war. But I’m still only an average soldier. If I didn’t come here, I would have been just like my pop in jail or like my dead brother or found a woman like my mom strung out on some drug that would just had sucked my life away. But what’s the point of life anyhow? Does it matter if our life is good or not? Don’t we all die anyway? What’s love? Well, I know what love is, but what’s it’s point?

‘You sound upset at your life.’

Calvin tried to think over what she had just said but his mind was too dazed and confused to think things over and simply opened his mouth and let out ‘I don’t know if I am upset at my life or just upset at life period. More or less upset at existence.’

‘Do you love your family?’ The naked woman asked.

‘Sure, I guess . . . I don’t know.’ He shrugged.

‘Everyone loves their family.’ The woman said.

‘’I guess you’re right. Family love is an obligation.’ He said.

‘Obligation?’ She laughed. ‘Wow, that’s so depressing.’

‘It’s easier to look at it that way. I don’t understand love.’

Smiling, the naked woman said. ‘Have you ever been in love romantically?’


‘If you don’t understand love, then how do you know you love her?’

‘I don’t know.’ He said. ‘What else could it be? It’s this feeling when I see her. It’s deep in my gut.’

‘Maybe it’s an ulcer.’ She laughed.

‘Were you ever in love?’ Calvin asked.

Her face grew somber and her eyes had begun to water. ‘I never had the change.’ A tear slowly escaped.

‘At all?’

‘At all.’ The naked woman stood and then paced on top of the bed of roses, crushing none, before turning to him with a wide smile. ‘Do you believe in coincidence or things happens for a reason?’

‘Sometimes I believe in one and not the ever. But I have no idea which is right.’

‘I use to have a dream where this soldier would come and save me from a pack of monsters. And the soldi

er and I would live happily ever after.’ She allowed that to sit on the air for a moment before continuing with ‘I thought you were that ssoldier.’

‘Sorry for disappointing you.’

‘You didn’t, you are the soldier. You destroyed my future.’ Tears rolled down her face freely, although she smiled. ‘But you saved my me.’

Calvin was lost and stuck in confusion with the naked lady playing the tour guide. ‘I don’t get it.’

‘I was a child prostitute.’ She sighed. ‘I was took from my parents a few years ago. To be honest, I never thought that I’d live as long as I did. And I didn’t want to. I seen girls get killed for refusing to have sex with customers, so I would say no too so that they would kill me. But they wouldn’t kill me. They would just beat me and rape me and say that I was too beautiful to die. They said that they would break me.’ She paused. ‘I was breaking.’  She paused again. ‘Then your unit came into the village. My captures tried to gather all us girls up but I snuck away and gathered up my flowers that I was growing in a box. I had begun to grow them because in every dream you would tell me that you liked roses. I went out the back door to find you. I knew it was you who came to save me from the monsters. A damaged child’s fantasy, I know. But you saved me and I love you.’

The naked woman was no longer naked or a woman but a young girl no older than 14 years old with a young beautiful face. Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She wore a yellow sundress. The chest area of the dress was black and red with blood. She sat against a wall. A box of flowers sat upside down beside her. The light breeze caused the roses to dance and scatter across the sand.

The music of war flooded Calvin’s hearing. He stood about 20 feet from the little girl. His heart cringed and broke. He didn’t see her coming. His focus was set on the man with a gun creeping pass a window from inside. When the building’s door opened Calvin fired. Next thing he saw was a bed of roses in the air and a little girl’s body collapsing. He stood stuck, in shock, in disbelieve. That was his first kill. The little girl’s beautiful dying face stared smiling, familiar, allowing him not to be aware of the guy with the gun. The bullet crashed against the left side of his forehead. He fell.

When Calvin reopened his eyes the naked women was dancing on top of the bed of rose.


About thebabbler

The Babbler is social commentary and literature by Christopher Reel

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