Pierre Finds The Rebels
When the bullet ripped through Pierre’s chest and out his back, it caused him to lose control of the jeep and crash it into a ditch. This was when Pierre knew he had found the rebels.
With the jeep turned over on top of him, Pierre was able to position his feet so that he could lift the vehicle up with his legs bracing his back against the ground. He tried to scoot out from underneath the jeep but found it impossible to do while bracing it up with his legs. Bending his knees, Pierre lowered the vehicle, and with a loud grunt, pushed it back up with enough force that it teetered on its side as if it were trying to decide if it should turn over or not. It decided against it and came back down sure to smash Pierre had he not taken the opportunity to get out from under it.
“Madre De Dios!” said Comandante Solís, the rebel’s interim commander when he saw the bloody giant crawl out from under the jeep and come to his feet. “He’s still alive!”
“I put one in his chest, Comandante,” said Sergeant Gomez. “He won’t be for long.”
Pierre stood next to the jeep in a bit of a daze. His confusion did not come from being shot or just having been in a terrible accident but from the fact that he was still drunk. The effects of the countless number of shots of sugarcane liquor he consumed just a few hours ago had yet to wear off.
Pierre seemed to be looking at something on the ground or at least trying to. His vision was blurred, and his head was throbbing. The front of his new uniform saturated with blood pouring out of both his nose and the hole in his chest. To the rebel soldiers, Pierre looked like a demon that came from hell to fight on the side of the Panamanian army.
The comandante could sense his rebels’ fear start to rise. “Otra,” he told Gómez, his best marksman. “This time in the head.”
The sergeant took aim at the easy target and pulled the trigger. Pierre’s vision cleared up and he was able to see what it was he was trying to focus on—his beret. As Sergeant Gomez’s bullet traveled through the air, Pierre bent over to pick up the hat, and the projectile whizzed over his head.
“Stop shooting at me,” he shouted into the jungle. “I just killed two officers. I am on your side!”
“Hold your fire,” Comandante Solís told Sergeant Gomez. “Let’s go see what this fool is talking about.”
The rebels approached Pierre carefully. Every single barrel of every gun pointed at him the entire way.
The first thing Pierre said to the group was, “Does anyone have a drink?”
The first thing Comandante Solís said to Pierre was, “Who are the two officers you killed?”
“A captain, I don’t know his name.” Pierre answered. “And a Lieutenant Valdez… I think.”
“If he killed Lieutenant Valdez, then the captain must have been Garcia,” Sergeant Gomez reported to Comandante Solís.
“Captain Garcia is not an easy man to kill,” Comandante Solís said to Pierre.
“He was for me,” Pierre responded as he peeled off his bloody uniform top. “This was new, you know?” speaking of the uniform.
“You should be dead,” Gomez said, referring to the very visible hole in Pierre’s chest.
“Are you the one who shot me?” Pierre asked the sergeant. “You, sir are an excellent shot–a moving target like that…”
“How do we know you killed those men?” Comandante Solís spoke up.
After wiping the blood from his nose with the sleeve to the uniform top, Pierre threw it firmly to Solís who caught it with one hand. “Explain that.”
The comandante held the shirt up by the soldiers with both of his hands. “This proves nothing, my friend. Neither of those men is this large.”
“I know. It doesn’t belong to either of them.” Pierre said. “Does anyone have an aspirin? I think I have a hangover my head is killing me.”
“That’s because your skull is split open,” Gomez responded.
“How does this prove that you killed those men?” Comandante Solís insisted.
“Who do you know who wears a uniform that big?” Pierre said.
“Son of a bitch,” Gomez said to Solís. “Calderón!”
“You killed Colonel Calderón?’ Comandante Solís asks Pierre.
“No!” Pierre answered quickly. “Not yet. I did strike him upside his head with his own revolver before I made him strip off his uniform. Then, for good measure, I broke his jaw. He is probably pretty pissed. He will come after me for sure. That’s when I’ll kill him.”
“Why did you do it?” Comandante Solís asked.
“Because I told you, I am on your side. Plus I wanted his uniform. Do you know how hard it is to come across one in my size?”
Pierre explained the rest of his story to the rebels as they walked back to their camp. Upon their arrival, a medic tended to Pierre wounds and concluded that the bullet must have just barely missed Pierre’s heart. There was no explanation for it. Based on the location of the entry wound, Gomez’s bullet should have gone straight through Pierre’s heart.