The bad guys were all over the barren boulder-strewn desert battlefield. It was so dry that you could see the dust kick up off the ground from the shots that hadn’t found their bloody mark. Beads of sweat popped out on my forehead in the heat of the mid-day. With no breeze, the air was stifling. Just breathing was hard. But the adrenaline pumping through my body let me go on.
The enemy was coming for us and they had the numbers. They had about 40 guys. We were down to five. We would have been six but Chuck was gone. The initial shots from the enemy had taken him down. His crumpled and bleeding body lay on the ground in front of the boulders we had run to for cover.
The enemy knew what they were doing. Their advance was text book. One person would shoot a burst of fire in our direction just before a few of them would quickly move up and take cover behind a boulder closer to our position. They were making steady progress.
Even more alarming, I could see some of the enemy making a flanking maneuver on either side of us. If the enemy got all the way to our sides we were dead men. We would have nowhere to hide.
With nothing to lose I hatched a plan. I’d put myself at extreme risk. Sure, I wanted to save my fellow soldiers, my buddies. But I also wanted the glory: I wanted to be somebody. If my boldness got us through this mess I’d become a legend. And the more of the enemy I could kill the better. Kill counts matter.
So I nodded to Pat and Eric, my two buddies who were behind the same boulder with me. I told them to give me cover. I was going to bring the fight to the enemy. They gave a grimace of understanding, switched their guns to rapid fire, and laid down cover. The noise was deafening.
Just as the covering fire started, I took off at a sprint towards a rock outcropping that slanted upwards. As I ran up the incline I leaped at the top for extra height and pivoted toward the enemy’s position. They were now in clear sight. In rapid succession I picked off the man nearest us. You could see the blood splatter from his body as he went down. I managed to hit three more of the enemy before I landed. I bent my knees to cushion the fall and rolled with the impact.
But when I looked up I saw that I was in mortal danger. One of the flanking enemy was right in front of me with his gun swinging up into firing position to blow me away. Instinctively, I jumped to my left and swung my own gun into position. I had time for just one shot.
And then the worst possible thing happened.
“Alan, can you come down for supper now?” called out the woman’s voice. Crap! My mom’s question took my attention away for just a fraction of a second. But that was enough time for the bad guy to get the drop on me and riddle my body with machine gun fire. Dammit! Killed!
So I typed my new buddies a quick message: “Gotta go”. I was dead anyway. My Call of Duty game was over for now. I then yelled down to my mom: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m coming.” I didn’t even bother to hide the irritation in my voice. She had just ruined my chance to become a legend.
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Note: I wrote the above as an exercise in trying to get in the mind of a teenage boy who is hooked on video games. As for myself, I don’t play video games. But part of the reason I don’t play is I think I could easily get hooked.