The Real Thing

A Short Story by Arne Sommer

The Real Thing

Beeing a mercenary has it's fair share of occupational hassles, infested manoeuvres beeing one of them.

'See the world', the recruiting officer had said. He hadn't mentioned the rest; 'shoot at it, and get the hell out of there before it shoots back at you'.

I was sitting in a bar somewhere in Africa, drinking my way to executive status with the barman, when a soldier in a similarly non-descript uniform as my own aquired my attention.

'Do you mind if I join you?'

I gave a careless motion with the left hand, mindfull of the glass in the other one.

We chatted about everything, but something nagged me. It finally came back; he had said that he was with the light brigade, but we didn't have one. Perhaps the other lot had one, and he had gotten lost?

'Which army?', I inquired.

'The army of God.'

An empty whisky bottle and politeness don't quite mix. 'Oh, another fanatic?' I didn't know of any religious implications in this particular conflict, but one never knows.


That narrowed it down quite a bit, and left a single - and stupid - solution.

'The Salvation Army, then?' I said with heavy irony.

'No. The real thing.'

And he was gone.