Mike and I had become good friends in the time we had served together. He was always going on about his beautiful wife and how lucky he was to have her and what he planned to do after he finished his current hitch.
We had just returned to the fire-base after being on a patrol for three and a half days. As usual he had mail waiting for him on his rack as we entered our tent.
And as usual, I had none. So I was looking forward to living vicariously through whatever Mike’s missus had written.
We were nearly knee to knee at the end of our racks, when he opened the envelope. I took notice that it didn’t have the same sweet aroma of perfume that many of the other had.
Without saying a word, Mike’s face took on the pallor of severe shock. I watched as the letter dropped from his hand and hit the wood-slat flooring of our Hooch.
Curious, I reached down to pick it up when I heard a double-kick. Before I could reach Mike’s hand, he shot himself under the chin.
Blood and matter sprayed everywhere. I sat in shock as he lay on his back, atop his rack, dead.
Finally, I looked down at the letter still my hand. Through the drops of crimson and flesh, I read the words: “Dear Mike…”