Flare-Up

Just over Aoga Shima, a small volcanic island about 175 miles, or 45 minutes, out of Koriyama, Simeral’s right arm rises.

Without looking or thinking, I release the green flare down the chute.

“Away,” I report.

Immediately, I bend down to pick up the phosphorous canister waiting next to my left foot.

Simeral will signal for the release of this one at any moment.

My eyes lock with his right arm again. I stand ready to do my job.

It’s the eternity in between action I love, not the action itself. Anticipation for action; this is where the life of a moment resides.

Simeral’s arm rises once more. “Now, Sergeant,” he calls out.

Again, without thinking, I pull the pin on the phosphorous smoke bomb canister, starting its six-second fuse, before releasing it down the narrow chute.

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