Como said the man had been in the army and had hit the streets around a year ago. Tyler was saddened that the system hadn’t done something to help him over the rough patch that had put him on the street. His bearded face was scruffy, with weathered and dirty skin. He wore several layers of clothing, likely most of what he owned, but he still looked vastly underweight. His boots were well worn, but the kind a combatant wore. When they’d found him, he’d been cleaning his boots with an old rag.
“Sarge, how are you, buddy?” Como stuck out his hand as if to a friend. “I haven’t seen you for the last couple of weeks, so I was worried.”
Sarge shook hands and looked over at Tyler with a bit of doubt crossing his face. “Como, I’m doing alright. Who is this? You aren’t trying to get me to go back to the VA, are you? They just want me to take some drugs and sign myself up for the shrinks. I can’t stand the confinement, you know.”
‘Nah, Sarge, I know better. This here is Tyler. He and I are working on finding some bad guys. We think that several out-of-town-misfits committed a series of robberies over several days within the last couple of weeks.”
Tyler held out his hand and said, “Hi, Sarge. I know what you mean about the confinement stuff. I find I too am more suited to the outdoors. That way I can keep my eye on folks. I bet you don’t miss much, do you, Sarge? What was your job in the service, man?”
Sarge looked a bit surprised as he reached out and shook the man’s hand. No one had asked him about his job in a long time. He cleared his throat a bit then stated, “Well, sir, I was a spotter, and it was my job to make certain that my team didn’t get surprised by the enemy. I was pretty good at it, and most of my guys got out. Two years of I don’t know how many missions and how many close calls.” Then Sarge stared off into the space beyond Tyler’s head as if he were watching a movie in his mind. After a bit, he gathered himself back to the present and added, “It’s a damn shame they all couldn’t come home. War sucks!”
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