The relief guard approached the other guard as he was on his watch. As usual Cecil’s mind was fixed on some inner scene; his eyes half closed and blank, his face dumb and peaceful like a cow in a field of abundant clover. It struck a chord of anger in Myron to see him this way and there arose in him the desire to smash him in the chest with the butt of his gun.
“Cecil!” he stated in a half voice, hoping that he wouldn’t have to raise it higher. No response. Myron took it up half an octave. Cecil stirred a bit, his moon-shaped eyes opened a bit. “Cecil!” he finally half screamed louder than he really liked.
“What is it?” Cecil slurly asked, irritated at being dragged out of his dream world.
“We’ve got to talk about this constant business you have with drugs.”
“Oh, don’t bother me! You are so straight! There is nothing wrong with drugs.”
Angered, Myron shook his friend awake. “Oh, yes there is! All of these things alter your mind.”
“Of course they do! That is why I take them!” said Cecil proudly, smiling widely at his own joke.
“Real funny. But they are to your detriment.”
“There is nothing wrong with getting a little high.”
“You don’t get a little high, you are high all the time. If it isn’t cocaine, it’s pot or crack.”
“They affect your mind in ways you can’t see. You might get high for a while, but they leave a residue on your consciousness that is like a chain. They aberrate your mind in subtle ways that you cannot even see.”
“Pot doesn’t hurt anyone.”
“So they say. But there are little things it does to your mind, body and spirit that are not so ‘enlightening’. For one thing, it retards your perception.”
“Phooey! For one thing it expands your consciousness.”
“Wrong. It perhaps widens your perception of your own mind, but aberrates your consciousness from the world you live in.”
“Everyone thinks it is OK and cool.”
“And all these ‘everyones’ are themselves under its influence. It locks your attention on phony inner ‘conceptions’ and images and makes you less able to deal with the day-to-day world. In China, the government thinks drugs are so dangerous that they shoot drug dealers and hard- core users and make the family pay for the bullets.”
“Oh, I don’t care what you say. It doesn’t hurt me or anyone around me.”
Myron snorted a short, sardonic laugh. “Oh yes it does.” He then glared at Cecil with strangely intense eyes that made Cecil feel uncomfortable. Suddenly he looked around himself and said, “Hey, why isn’t it dawn yet? Why isn’t the sun coming up?”
“Why Cecil? Why isn’t the sun coming up?” Myron’s ironic smile had become more sinister. “Because, dear Cecil,” he paused for effect, “we are dead.”
Cecil looked intently at his friend, more intently than he had been able to in the many months of purple haze that he lived in. “What?” he asked hesitantly, instinctively fearing the answer that he knew was coming.
Myron’s face dropped the ironic smile and now looked at his colleague with the purest hatred that he had ever had directed at him. “Yes, Cecil, last night while you were on your so called ‘guard duty’ the Red Chinese overran our lines. Ours was the first section they took.”