The day Andy Jenkins shot himself
Sat, 04 Feb 2017
We’d been sent across the desert, an urgent mission to fetch an essential package from a camp a hundred miles away.
The mission turned out to be a waste of time, when we arrived we weren’t expected and the package we’d been sent to collect didn’t exist.
Heading back, we passed a burnt-out jeep with two corpses sitting in it, soaking up the sun. We stopped our vehicle to take a look, a jeep is likely to contain useful equipment, maybe even food. Personally, for myself, I’d never take personal valuables from a corpse, but one bar of chocolate from a dead man’s pocked can keep a unit happy for a whole day.
We approached with caution, more by instinct than anything else, gun’s pointing, ready to fire. It was this preparedness that saved Andy Jenkins. He was first to go round to the other side of the jeep, only to discover an enemy soldier hiding underneath the vehicle, brandishing a pistol.
Andy fired first, though only just. It was a good shot and it silenced his opponent the way death does.
“Must have been sheltering from the sun,” said Miller, who always tried to find a reason in things.
Jenkins slouched off after the shooting. I’ve seen him kill three times and his reaction was the same each time, he hid himself, in this case jumped in the back of the truck and just sat there.
Miller searched the dead soldier’s corpse.
“Jenkins,” he shouted in the direction our truck, “You’ve just shot yourself.”
None of us could work out what he meant, ‘til he showed us the documents from the dead man’s pockets. Andrew Jenkins.
“Jesus, it’s even the same middle name,” our Jenkins said when we showed him the documents.
“Tristram?” said Miller, with genuine surprise. “Your middle name’s Tristram?”
“My dad sat reading Tristram Shandy while my mum was in labour.”
“Wonder how the other guy got his name,” Miller said.
None of us replied.