Just A Job

She watched the display on her PC
as the jet bomber soared in the stratisphere.
She was steady and attentive --
good at her job.
She had told her 7 year old daughter:
Mom's job requires her to be away awhile.
But she'll be back ...
Daddy'll take care of you ...
She looked up, startled at the distant roar.
Air sirens wailed and wailed ...
Where's her son!
He was just here!
Where is he?
Her target moved onto her display --
a 3d electronic map, accurate down to the foot.
She moved her mouse and clicked on the target.
Now the missle can precisely find the building.
This one's for her daughter's safety --
Mom's job's to keep you safe
To make the children of the world safe ...
from terrorists ...
She saw the jets in the distance
In formation -- overwhelming power ...
And the wailing ... the wailing!
She was running through the alleys from hut to hut.
Where's her son!
Where is he?
She set the sensor and flip the switch ...
missle away!
She watched it streak across the display --
a red trail racing to the targeted coordinates.
The building's icon lit up in a flash ...
and winked out.
A hit! A job well done --
its been a good day.
She turned, rushed across the street.
Maybe he's playing around that factory.
She heard a whine and ...
She felt a push and
the ground left her feet and then darkness --
Where's my son!
She felt the jet bank towards base.
She relaxed, time for a break.
on her display she saw
another trail appear.
Just for an instant ...
just for a second ...
And the jet rocked and rolled ...
and became a roaring sun ...
Mom's coming home.
She stirred on the street ...
Her arm ached and ached ...
The wailing was over.
She limped to the blasted and flaming factory --
Where's her son ...
There's her son ...
And she wailed and wailed ...
Damn us, when killin' and dyin' is just a job!
The nihilists say we go to Paradise if we kill our enemies.
I say we go to Paradise when we love them --
even if we die doing it.

©2003 John A. MIlls
Published in When The Going Gets Tough; Chiara Cervasio, ed.