Dear Planet Earth,
The troops have been back for a few days now, so I felt a little neglected when General Talpa didn’t show up before. I guess I should be glad he honored me with a visit at all since he’s presumably focused on trying to save our entire civilization from mole people. Of course, that thought didn’t stop me from complaining.
“I was sure you forgot about me.”
He walked to the foot of my bed and inspected an apple in his hands. “How you feeling?”
“Better,” I said. “Much better, actually.”
I tried to sit up straighter in my bed without wincing. Talpa looked me in the eyes — I mean, really looked me in the eyes — and tossed that damn apple right at ground zero of my pulsing, stinging wound.
I don’t know where that came from, but it was enough to make the general flash one of his rare smiles. I quickly wiped away the pools of tears that seemed to have materialized from nowhere.
“You gotta take me with you. I know you’re recruiting civilians now. Take me. It hurts like a bitch, but I can still pull a trigger if you give me a gun.”
“You watch too many war movies,” he said. “All you kids do. Christiansen, Mendoza, Leone, Bitoni. They’re all dead now, you know.” I could hear him release a long exhale. “They were all so eager.”
“I’ve lost too many friends to just sit here and rot while those bastards –”
He raised his hand to cut me off.
“We brought back some more supplies — food, weapons, medicine.” He walked over to my left side, picked up the apple, brushed it off, and put it on the hospital bed tray in front of me.
“Get better, Mr. Panus. And stay eager.”