“What if he asks?”
“We’ll say it’s so we can be in a cabin instead of having to be in different barracks.”
“Danny, you’re insane. You’re out of your mind, you know that?”
If I knew English better, Tami thought later on, I could try to dig up that song that Danny was singing about how the guy… “held a knife against her breast as into his arms she pressed….” He loves her and she loves him, but for reasons the song doesn’t go into, “she would… not be his bride” so he does her in. It makes no sense what Danny wants me… wants us to do. Danny, “please… don’t murder me. I’m not prepared… for e-ter-ni-tee…”
Danny didn’t want to do his army stint. He wanted to go abroad and study art.
But there he was, stuck on a farm unit, at an out-of-the-way border settlement, where the thought of spending his days picking apples in the orchard and sorting them in the warehouse only got him down. Night duty was just as bad: revving up the jeeps, riding out to the border — except there was no border, just roving patrols from opposite sides of a makeshift line hoping not to run into each other — then sitting there for hours in the dark with nothing to do but slap mosquitoes ‘til it got light enough to call it quits and head back to the settlement.
It took Rome, the mightiest of empires, 525 years to decline: from Julius Caesar’s coup d’etat in 49 B.C. until the deposition, in the year 476, by Odoacer, a German chieftain, of Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor. Rome’s history spans some 1230 years if 753 B.C. is taken to be the date of Rome’s founding. Rome’s rise accounted for 58% of its existence. Rome’s fall accounted for 42% of its existence, a length of rise before the fall that may be unparalled by any subsequent Western empire. If 1896 is the current mid-point of America’s post-colonial existence and if the final five years of the nineteenth century will have turned out, in history’s reckoning, to have been the transition from American rise to American fall, we’ll have reached the apex precisely at the halfway mark.