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Only Heroes

Over the fields of Afghanistan where the red poppies flower, Bazooka Joy, former Girl Guide, rides a chopper into battle. Distant explosions rock the air but are dimmed by the sound of the rotor blades. Bazooka Joy, the All-American Girl Hero, runs her hand through her short-cropped hair and stares down where a virtual map enforces itself over the landscape.
Who is she hunting? A rogue Taliban? An Al-Qaeda operative? Or perhaps an evil drug lord intent on, if not world domination, at least the opening of profitable new markets for heroin in the land of the free and the home of the brave? It is possible even Bazooka Joy doesn't know. Music plays in the background. Something classical and German with a beat--not bad. The chopper heads lower in a graceful arc. Bazooka Joy drops some napalm on the poppy fields. Anti-aircraft machine guns open fire. The chopper rises, swift as a bird.
She should be jazzed up, full of adrenaline, happy--for this is what heroes do, they ride to battle in the name of freedom, in pursuit of happiness--but to tell the truth she feels a little depressed. There was a marine in Kabul with tanned hands and she only saw the pale band where a ring was missing later, and besides her mother's been e-mailing her recently and asking when she was going to get a proper job. Her best friend back home is a hair technician, and just won an award for it, and was considering (so she said) moving to L.A, where she will work with the stars.
Bazooka Joy looks up and sees the Hindu Kush, the mountains rising impossibly high overhead. She fires a couple of missiles at a convoy of trucks and watches them explode but it doesn't really help. She'd like to get her hair done, but there are no hair technicians in Afghanistan, only heroes.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, May 7th, 2015

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