The First Step

The kitchen, warm from too many bodies and cooling cakes on the counter, was blanketed in the sweet smell of cinnamon and chocolate. Two cakes looking as good as gold sat on the island, next to the sub-zero fridge.

Bachary smiled at his mother as she bustled to and fro making sure the anniversary spread was perfect. Nineteen years as a couple was no joke. He had the uttermost respect for his parents.

His sister, Melanie was in a corner making hamburgers with too much cheese. He wanted to remind her that their grandma was lactose- intolerant, but he held his tongue. Cheese was the best thing ever. He’d remind her to make cheese-less burgers after this next batch. He was mulling over the possibility of asking for one of the burgers when his father’s voice roused him.

“Bachary! You busy?”

“No dad.”

He slipped down from his stool and walked to where his father sat watching baseball in the living room.

“You need me for something?”

“I’m going to the bank for some business. Wanna come?”


Bachary loved riding around town in his father’s truck. The four-wheeler was huge and growled like a dark, sexy beast when driven. A V8 engine made the Toyota Tundra a powerful car — not for the faint-hearted, his father always said. Bachary liked the way people stared when they drove past.

The car was expensive and well put together, a by-product of his father’s technical genius. Anderson McGary had a distinct touch for machines or anything at all he laid his fingers on. His maintenance culture was top notch, and he had answers to almost all vehicular problems. This skill had been passed on to his son Bachary.

Minutes later, father and son were on the road listening to jazz served by a local radio station. As they walked into the bank, something caught Bachary’s attention.

It was not the customer yelling at the cashier, or the weirdly dressed guy spotting ripped jeans and dreadlocks. The distraction was a man standing ramrod straight, as perfect as a sculpture.

Armed with a clean shave and spotless from head to toe, the man’s beret was lush green, worn jauntily at a right angle. His outfit, a digital camouflage uniform, fitted like a second skin. With the uniform wrapped around his well-structured physique, anyone looking would be certain the toned body was a result of a strict physical fitness regimen.

From the spot Bachary stood, he could sense the air of authority and confidence oozing from the gentleman. Decorations lined the top of the man’s left breast pocket.

Bachary recognized the man as a Green Beret and judging by the rank he spotted, the gentleman was a Major. His distinctive head dress was inscribed with De Oppresso Liber in silver letters which when translated meant Free the Oppressed.

He envied the many tours the soldier must have undertaken and mentally doffed his hat to the awesome breed of men that joined the military. Bachary loved his country like life itself and in his heart he knew he would take up arms any day to protect the Star — Spangled Banner.

His attention stayed with the soldier till his father touched his arm.

Culled from the novel: A Shadow War by Chukwuma Jonathan.

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