As the last echoes died out of those who cried "I'm mad as hell", things turned back to normal save for the above-average number of sirens wailing in
the streets below. Chad looked at his brother and wondered why he was grinning with such a menacing look. "Hey little bro" he said in return, "I have
something you'll want to check out".
Reaching in his shoulder bag Marcus pulled out a jewel case and tossed it into Chad's waiting hands. On the cover were pictures of US Marines and
Muslim extremists fighting it out among ruined building. OBL Hideout was the title of this new video game he'd never heard of before.
"Where the [bleep] did you get this?" Chad demanded. " You gotta hang with the right crowd" Marcus retorted with a snicker. Chad didn't care much for
the guys his older brother had been hanging out with lately. A couple of them were Armed Forces recruiters and on more than one occasion he'd returned
after a night out with cuts from fights and stinking of beer. "Yeah, like those thug friends that enjoy punking immigrants and flash mobbing their
stores" Chad said coldly.
Marcus' scarred hand was on his shoulder now and he stared deep into Chad's eyes. "Yup, those
friends" he stated flatly. "They can get stuff
nobody else even knows
about". Chad couldn't argue that point, he'd never even heard of OBL Hideout even though he reads all the game industry
mags. "Probably some cheap Asian knock-off" he thought to himself as he examined the game package thoroughly.
Suddenly Marcus snatched the game from his hands and shoved it in the console. "You want to play this or just keep playing with yourself?" Marcus
chided. Chad loved his brother but hated him at times too, the one thing he couldn't turn from was a challenge and a chance to prove himself better
at something, anything
to get one up on Marcus.
The monitor flickered to life with a character select screen while a voice commanded "Choose or lose chump. this is War
! Are you ready for your
first mission?" Chad selected Sgt. Tom Rock. "I'm taking Gunney Masters" said Marcus. "He's got the mini".
Riding in a chopper over a battle zone their characters quickly slithered down ropes and in to a town made of dried mud bricks while a skinny dog ran
across the screen. "Get ready" said Marcus. "The ragheads are going to start shooting from the left". The rattle of several AK's sent rounds into the
wall next to Rock and Gunney. "Shoot the bastards!" Marcus thundered. Rock's AR began spraying the building where the shots were coming from and
shadowy figures ran by window openings. "We cant get them this way, keep me covered" Marcus said as Gunney ran in zig zag fashion towards the enemy.
"Eat this!" he cried as he deftly tossed 3 grenades, one in each window. "Better duck!" he warned his little brother.
The resulting blast shook the controllers and blew the walls in, collapsing on top of the defenders. Meanwhile more enemies were sniping from rooftops
and an abandoned car. "I got this!" Chad cried as his automatic fire dropped 4 defenders in quick succession. "Dayaaammm!" Marcus sputtered. "We are
kicking some major ass now!". After a few more enemies were cleared they found themselves standing next to an airfield. "This is where the real fun
starts" crowed Marcus.
"You should take the little bird on the right there, let's see if you can fly as good as you cry" he taunted.
Each character then climbed aboard waiting attack choppers, both armed with hellfire missiles and rotating canon. The thump of the rotors made Chad's
heart race as the next targets loomed in the distance. "Alright, this is where you have to fly between
the minarets and aim for the AA gun on
the left" Marcus intoned. "No sweat" Chad shot back "I'm the Starfox Pro, remember
"Yeah, yeah, but this is even harder than stage 9" said Marcus. "We'll see what you got". The way Marcus said "we'll"
sounded strange to him
even though the game had his full concentration. His trigger finger loosed the missile which struck the gun emplacement with a satisfying
The silhouette of the next target seemed oddly familiar to Chad. As it drew closer he remembered he'd learned about it in school.
"That's the Taj Mahal! "Mmmkay, if you say so" Marcus said imperiously. "It doesn't matter, we have a mission to finish".
Anti-aircraft missiles streamed from the ground and came straight for their choppers. BOOM! a bright flash told Chad instantly that his brothers'
craft was hit. "G'dammmit!!" shouted Marcus as he threw the controller to the floor. "Keep going and kill those bastards for me!". Sweat collected on
Chad's hands as he dodged first one then another missile. "Turn hard right then drop your bunker buster on it" Marcus intoned. Chad had an odd
sensation about blasting the Taj Mahal, maybe because he knew it was built as a monument to someone's lost love or because it was just a beautiful
"Drop it, NOW!!" Marcus commanded.
Chad's thumb pressed the drop button releasing the kinetic energy weapon though he felt as if he were detached from his body as he did it.
A mushroom cloud appeared where the building and minarets once stood while fragments pelted the windscreen of the chopper. Chad could almost feel the
heat of the blast in his face.
"You are awesome
little bro, you freakin' rock!" Marcus said while he extended his hand in a high-five. The moment Chad had longed for had
besting his older brother yet he felt hollow inside. This was not how he thought his exultant moment of glory would feel.
"I want you to meet my friends Chad, you want to go with me tomorrow and hang out?" asked Marcus. Chad was unsure about it, even though it was
something he'd always wanted. "I dunno" Chad droned."ask me tomorrow".
He looked at the clock. 3 hours had passed since they began playing and he was tired, his eyes ached and his head was swimming. "I'm going to bed"
Next morning he awoke to the smells of coffee and bacon wafting upstairs to his room. Chad threw on his favorite jeans and plodded sleepily down the
"Good Morning Chappy!" his mother sang out using her pet name for her youngest son.
"What's so good about it?" his father snorted looking up from his newspaper. "How could anybody do this!?" he added dryly while shaking the paper.
?" Chad inquired.
"Blow up one of the most beautiful buildings on Earth, is what!"
A lump appeared in Chad's throat. He was too afraid to ask.
"Look at this picture" Chad's father said as he turned the paper towards him.
The picture was just a ruin of a building but the headline made his heart stop.
It read; TAJ MAHAL DESTROYED BY US DRONE STRIKE.
Marcus stood in the front doorway eyeing his brother.
"Good game last night, Chad. I'm off to work" he said with a smile.
edit on 30-5-2012 by Asktheanimals because: corrections