The town folk waited for the maimed war hero to ride by. Small children held red, white, yellow and green helium-filled balloons, ready to release them in his honor. The older boys hung out by the trees, smoking pot and joking about the one-legged hero to cover up their own anxiety about being next. Others, dressed in summery garb, leaned over to watch the horizon.
The lead motorcycle carrying the fallen veteran approached the crowd. The soldier saw a line of enemy troops and grabbed his gun. As they rode past the horde, he sneered and emptied his rifle.