There were these big blue butterflies in the jungle, as big as your head. My mate Cuddles would try to shoot them, but you can’t shoot butterflies, its the air pressure the round creates, it just sends them into a spin. Cuddles used to wonder if you could take one out with a grenade but that seemed like overkill to me, to grenade a butterfly.
The corporal was pissed with me because I hadn’t taken a dump that morning and said if I stopped now then I would just have to catch up with them. I hated shitting in the jungle, the smell would attract all kinds of creepy crawlies, scorpions and big hairy spiders and the like. I felt vulnerable squatting with my pants down, afraid of getting my butt or nuts bitten. I jogged to catch up with them and realised I was lost when the trail faded out. It is not smart to get lost in the jungle, and I was relived to hear the gunfire, I assumed it was Cuddles having another pop at a butterfly, I didn’t realise that they were under attack.
You can stand very close to someone in the jungle and not be seen, and I was only a few feet from him. I could make out the shouts of the boys off to my left, in between the bursts of his automatic. He couldn’t see them and was firing wildly, spraying rounds in their general direction. If he had turned his head to the left he would have seen me.
I fired three rounds into his arm and chest. Those ArmaLites were puny, we used them because they could handle the high humidity, his body barely rocked. He stopped firing and looked down at his boots, puzzled by the blood dripping onto them and then he collapsed.
His name was Paulo. He was 17. In one of his pockets was a picture of his sweetheart, she was absolutely gorgeous. Cuddles wanted the picture to jack off to. I told him he was sick but it didn’t stop him.