A Healthy Cigarette

in Culture

Sometimes I wonder how many of the people I know have ever killed someone. I’m not talking about murder. I mean, how many of them have run someone over, or left a baby in a car, or accidentally given Grandma the wrong medication. It must be a big number. After all, heaps of people die all the time. And someone’s killing them. Not all of them, but at least a few. And yet when I think about everyone I’ve known in my forty-odd years on this planet, I can’t come up with a single one besides myself who’s killed someone. Maybe the killers keep it under wraps, or they just don’t think about it all the time like I do. Maybe for them, the whole episode was just something that happened a long time ago and it’s not on their mind anymore—like a stag party, or hernia surgery, or a mediocre backpacking trip to the Far East.

I don’t know the name of the man I killed. He was a Syrian soldier and I was an Israeli soldier and we were at war. I’m not saying that to excuse what I did, just to explain the situation. It happened in Southern Lebanon, at night. We were standing about twenty feet apart. He tried to shoot me first, but his AK-47 jammed. Then I tried to shoot him, and my rifle jammed too. I took the magazine out, cocked twice—and the chamber discharged a bullet. I put the magazine back in. All this time I was looking at the Syrian soldier, who was doing exactly the same thing. It was obvious that under the circumstances, with him so close to me, what I should have done is charge ferociously and …

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Author: Etgar Keret / High Times

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