Old Habits

Kimosa had been a sniper during Vietnam, which on the whole didn’t bother him — he’d gotten out unscathed enough, more than most draftees could say. His conscience and his memory were as untroubled as anyone’s.

He’d been a goose sniper, worming his way close to the villages to pick off the attack geese that protected them. Geese were vicious and cagey, he’d discovered; they’d wait until you were dug deep into the jungle and then they’d let out that honking of theirs and charge at you. Then the villagers would pour from the village, and you were generally dead. Kimosa was lucky, since during his first few goosehunts the villages had emptied out days before. Intel was old, you lived or died with its inaccuracy. He had lived: therefore he was lucky.

But back in the States geese were everywhere. In parks, on lakes, flying overhead, waddling across the street. He wore his pistol when he went out, at first, just as a symbol of what he’d been through, but he had to start leaving it at home after he’d turned a corner, bumped into a goose, and blew its head off in front of a troupe of girl scouts.