The Boy With The Grenade
by Tina O'Rourke
The boy with the grenade stood beneath a tall oak tree. His face grimaced as the photo was taken. One moment. Thirty seconds later he was running after his younger sister as she jumped up and down in front of him. Their mother now held the grenade, carelessly. Tossing it up and down. A toy grenade it posed no threat. The boy ran, the sister jumped, the mother tossed.
The soldiers run across a patch of dry desert. It front of them there is a small shelter. Inside it a teenager waits, watching. He has been sent there to watch and wait. The soldiers draw near, the teenager hides, the door opens. Once all of the soldiers are inside safely, the teenager smiles and pulls the pin from the grenade.
There is a knock at the door. The mother answers it. A soldier stands shadowed by the sun. The mother cannot see his face, but she does not need to, she knows it is not her son. After the ceremony, the flag is folded and given to her. She takes it home, through the front door, up the stairs to the his bedroom and places it next to the toy grenade she absent mindedly tossed one day in a park, as she sat beneath a tree.