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“Hey!” Joe pushed the man standing in front of him.
“Sorry, buddy.” The man turned around. “There’s no space.” He shrugged indicating the crowd.
“Why the hurry? We can’t go in until they open the doors, anyway.” Joe shouldered his way back past the man, inserting himself back in the queue just behind an overweight woman with brown, curly hair.
The man took hold of the back of Joe’s jacket and started to pull him, but before Joe had a chance to protest, one of the many armed soldiers stepped towards the pair.
“Are we going to have a problem, gentlemen?” He kept his pistol securely fastened in its holster, but Joe noticed his hand reflexively reach for it. Joe had no doubt that he had used it before, and no doubt that he would use it again if necessary.
“No sir, we’re not.” The man let go of Joe’s jacket and sank his hands into his pockets. “Can we just fucking hurry up?”
The soldier flicked the strap on his holster and it sprang open. The gun remained in place, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. “Will you please watch your language, sir? There are women and children here.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re about to send some of us to our deaths and you’re worried about some bad language?
The soldier stood his ground but said nothing. He left his pistol strap unattached.
“And besides, who the hell brings children to this shit-show?” The man motioned to the crowds, secured behind the barriers. There were several children pushed up, face-first against the barrier. Several children, further back in the crowd, had been lifted onto their parent’s shoulders.
“Again sir, please refrain from cursing where you can be heard by children.”
The man leaned over the barrier and brought his mouth close to the soldier’s ear. “Fuck this.” He whispered before standing back. “How was that?”
The soldier took a moment to draw in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. The speed he covered the ground to where the man stood startled Joe and some of the others standing in line with him, and they moved away, or at least as...