The other morning I had been sitting at the coffee shop drinking coffee. I left to go home. As I left, I stopped to greet Michael, a troubled soul. Earlier he had been speaking of being treated for PTSD at the VA.
Michael was talking with the local Green Party candidate for mayor. The Green Party candidate had been walking his dog along the sidewalk. The Green Party candidate was touting the Green Party agenda. The Green Party candidate asked Michael which branch of the military he had been in.
Michael replied “The Marines. I’m a trained killer.”
The Green Party candidate said “Thank you for your service to our country.” and he continued walking his dog down the sidewalk.
This morning I was having coffee with Pat. Michael walked into the coffee shop, put-together as usual. However, today he has bloody marks on his neck and face as if he had cut himself shaving. [Oops, he has a full beard.] But I won’t ask him about it. If he comes my way I will greet him as any other day.
He was wearing a green T-shirt with a Harley-like skull-like Marine logo with lettering that said Marine Recon.
Apparently Pat and Michael have started a conversation about this before. Pat asked Michael where he got his training.
Michael: Fort Bragg, North Carolina. [So far, so good]
Pat: What did you do?
Michael: [His mood darkens.] I don’t like to talk about it. It triggers my PTSD. I don’t like being questioned about that. I told a woman at the VA not to question me. “Call the police if you are going to question me.”
Pat: I wasn’t questioning you.
Michael: [Tone of voice gets deeper and more ominous.] Yes, you were.
A friend that he was with asked Michael to come up to the counter to order his breakfast. Michael and friends got their food and went outside. Disaster averted. I remarked to Pat that the conversation was uncomfortable. Just after our conversation took a natural turn to something else, in walked Michael. He walked over to Pat.
Michael: I am totally disabled, have been for 25 years. Prisoner of War camps do that to you.
Michael took out his wallet, and took out a card. I couldn’t see the card clearly, but it wasn’t a normal business card. It looked to be more like a credit card, complete with a magnetic strip.
Michael: [to Pat] Here, take this.
Pat: No. I believe you.
Michael put the card back into his wallet. Without another word he leaves the coffee shop.