The Messenger (2009)
written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
Will: Our LT was taking fire two blocks down. So I made a decision to move up an alleyway so we could get into this haji market that I knew had roof access. Sniper fire came down on us from everywhere: pop, pop, pop, pop. We’re all scrambling around to get some cover when an IED goes off... It knocks us back. But I see that- Timmerman is still standing, and there’s this... this flap... hanging off his head. When he turns my way, I can see it’s the side of his face. Two of my guys behind us are hit and I'm yelling at them, yelling to get out of the street but they’re screaming so loud they can’t hear me. So I take off and pick one of them up, he was just a kid, 18 or 19, his third month. I throw him over my shoulder and I pull the other one with my free hand and drop them behind some truck tires. We're all catching our breath, trying to radio the bird, and I see Derek bleeding out in the middle of the street. Now sniper fire had slowed. He’s on his back and he’s got his hands up like this-- looks like he’s praying. Nothing but noise on the radio- I make a mad dash to him. Pop, pop, pop, grab his wrist, and drag him to the other side of the street behind this burned out old car. He was still looking down at his damn hands. Opening and closing them, he kept saying “I can’t feel my hands” “I can’t feel my hands”--staring at his hands. His hands were fine, not a spot on ‘em, when his left leg...is half a block down. So I start pushing him underneath the car. “Your hands are fine Derek, just sit tight” and he looked at me...like I was lying to him. And then the IED went off under him.
Will: I actually got pieces of him blasted right into me. Flesh shrapnel...when I came to, I had already been to the FOB and was on my way to Ramstein. In the hospital, I’mlaid out and some guy comes in, I can’t see very well, my leg’s on fire, and he drops this little ribbon on my bare chest. I'm all hooked up to IV’s, heart rate monitors, all that shit, shit I don't need. And he tells me... that I'm a hero.
Tony: Damn right you are.
Will: No. I put him there. That was me. I didn't mean to, I didn't plan that, there’s no planning, you can’t plan, you can only rely on the moment. But that's what I did. I loaded him - into the bomb. That’s not a hero in my book. A few weeks later, I'm on crutches. Major surgery. Fox eye shield. Itches like hell. Everything looks gray - flowers, nurses, blood. My ears are ringing. At 4:52 AM, I'm wandering the halls of the hospital. I took the elevator up and climbed the stairs onto the roof. You’re not supposed to be up there but it’s where the doctors take their smoke breaks, so the door was open. It just didn't...just didn’t make sense anymore. The whole living thing... I was standing out there, on the edge for a while, it was cold and it was dark and I felt calm.
Tony: Why didn't you jump?
(Will shakes his head.)
Will: The sun came up.
Tony: The sun came up?
Will: The sun came up. And I didn’t feel like dying anymore.
Credit and many thanks to Zack for this monologue, it is very much appreciated.
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