Chris Newman held his position whilst the battle raged around him. He knew the enemy was within the building but, without backup, it would be suicide to go in. He stood with his back against the wall, holding his rifle in readiness.
“Hey you! I know you’re out there. Scared to come and get me?” a lone voice taunted from within the bunker.
“Don’t worry,” Chris yelled back. “They’ll be along shortly and then you’re finished. Anyway, I don’t hear many of your comrades in there with you.”
“Yeah, it’s just me in here on my lonesome as all my amigos upped and left me,” the voice replied.
“Just as well,” Chris retorts, wiping perspiration from his face with one of his sleeves. “No-one will hear you cry like a girl when we blow you to Kingdom Come.”
“Now then, that’s not very nice,” the voice replied in a mock hurt tone. “I thought we were getting along famously then you go and say something horrible like that.”
“Sorry to burst your bubble but we’re on opposing sides so this won’t end well for one of us… preferably you.” Chris heard shuffling sounds and wondered what was going on inside the bunker.
The sound of gunfire was getting closer and Chris sincerely hoped the screaming that followed wasn’t his backup being dispatched.
“It doesn’t sound like we’ve got long so let me tell you a little story,” the voice said.
“Once upon a time there was a little boy who only ever wanted to be an accountant. His father came from a military family and wanted the boy to become a brave soldier like him and his father before him. The boy didn’t like playing war games and just wanted to do sums and work with spreadsheets.
“The little boy grew older and was sent to military school, which he detested, so that he could learn how to be a man. He ran away on countless occasions but was always caught and disciplined, with the punishments getting increasingly more barbaric. Standing to attention in the rain for hours on end, running laps of the snowy sports pitch in his gym kit, holding weights with outstretched arms until his muscles screamed in agony.
“The school finally asked him to leave as his behaviour was affecting the morale of the other students. The words “expel” and “excluded” were never used, as that might have caused a scandal, but he was politely asked to go home and never come back.
“His father was furious and sent his son to the local comprehensive as a perceived punishment. However the boy loved it, made loads of friends and studied subjects such as computing rather than military strategy. The best thing was that he felt like he fitted in for the first time in his life and really liked it.
“The boy ignored his father’s wishes and enrolled in accountancy college, got a distinction in his final exams and secured a good job with a respectable firm of accountants. This allowed him to finally move out from under his father’s shadow, become the man he wanted to be and everyone lived happily ever after. The End.”
“That’s a very moving story, but what’s it got to do with me?” queried Chris.
A figure ran out of the bunker, screaming and firing his gun but Chris was too surprised to lift his rifle in time. Chris was shot and landed heavily on his back, the breath knocked out of him. He lay gasping as yellow paint dribbled down the sides of his camouflage jacket.
“I told you that story so you’d know how much I hate paintball,” the figure said. “Especially when it’s a pointless team building exercise devised by the accountancy firm I work for.” The lone figure shot Chris again for good measure and walked away from the sound of gunfire.