The Border Guard by SeanMartin ()
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He gently dusted off the light patina of dust, then sat and opened his book. He'd read it before, of course, but it was still one of his favourites… and he hope to finish through at least Chapter 3 before taking his lunch.
He'd been a guard on this border for almost forty years. Hardly anyone ever came through, because hardly anyone ever cared to come to their little country. Not many people lived there. It had no real industry. There was nothing under the ground worth mining. There was only one road through it: the very dirt road where he dutifully sat, every day, as he read his books and ate his lunch and protected their land from potential — if highly unlikely — invasion.
Other countries were invaded, of course. Even now, the country to the south was threatening to invade the country to the north. No one knew why, exactly. Something the country to the north had done, apparently… but what it was, no one could say. The politicians in the country to the south claimed that the country to the north was planning to invade first, but how much credence could you give to that?
Still, he was halfway through Chapter 2 when he first saw it: a long, long parade of military trucks and tanks and platoons of men on foot, all marching decisively towards his border station. At the front of this military might was an especially large truck, with a huge missile loaded on its back. The truck roared and rumbled and its brakes squealed as the mighty machine came to a stop.
A man in uniform got out. "You there!" he called out to the border guard. "Open that gate!"
The border guard looked at him with a pleasant smile. "Of course, lieutenant — "
"Captain!" the soldier snapped.
The guard nodded. "Captain. Of course, My error." He looked past the captain and pointed at the large missile. "And what is that, if I may ask?"
"A weapon of unimaginable power, one that will obliterate our enemies to the north, one that has a mission to do and you are standing in the way of getting that mission accomplished, so kindly open the gate now!"
"I see. So you're… importing this into our county?"
The captain stared at him. "What?"
"This... weapon. You're bringing this into our country?"
"And you will not be taking it with you when you leave?"
The captain laughed. "I don't think so!"
"Ah. So it is meant as a gift of some kind."
"The captain laughed some more. "You might say that, yes."
"Good. May I see your paperwork, please?"
"Your paperwork that authorizes you to bring a gift into our country. Surely you have it."
"Well… no! Of course not!"
"Then I'm afraid you must leave your gift here and reclaim it when you return."
The guard put up his hand. "Kindly do not take that tone with me. The import and export laws between your country and ours are quite clear. If you are importing that, you must have a declaration of use before I can allow it on our territory. If you do not have one, I'm afraid you'll just have to turn around and get one. Good day." And with that, he returned to Chapter 2.
The captain stared at him, incredulous. "I am not about to turn this around! I am going to fire this missile at our enemies to the north!"
The guard looked up from his book. "Then do it from your own country."
"It wont reach that far! It'll just fall in the ocean!"
"I'm afraid that's not my problem. Unless you have the proper paperwork, I cannot allow you to bring that in… Speaking of which, I neglected to ask: do you have your passport?"
Before the captain could respond with a suitable epithet, a large jeep roared up and ground to a sudden halt only inches from the gate. From the back, a large man, a general whose uniform was covered with several medals for valor, angrily stood up. "What the hell is going on up here, Captain? Why have we stopped?"
"Ah," the guard smiled brightly. "Welcome. May I see your passport, please?"
"Your passport. You do have one, do you not?"
"Of course not!" the general shouted.
"Oh. Well, I'm afraid I cant let you in. Good day."
The general leapt (as much as large men bearing the weight of many medals can) and stormed up to the gate. "Mister, we have a war to fight!"
"And I have a job to uphold. If I were to just allow you to waltz in without a passport, why… then everyone would want to do that."
The general smirked. "And why would anyone want to come to your crummy little country?"
The guard shrugged. "You do. Now, unless you can produce a passport and paperwork for your gift there, I'm afraid the border is closed. Good day."
"You realize I could just order this truck to run right over your pathetic little gate."
"Oh, of course," the guard smiled. "And if you do, then countries to the east and the west will look on your actions and say to themselves, my, If the country to the south would invade such a tiny place as this, it might invade us as well! And I don't think you need to reflect on the possibility of what would happen as a result of that."
The general glared at him. "They wouldn't dare."
"I suppose you can always go ahead and see. Otherwise, I suggest you turn around, retrieve the proper documentation, then return. Good day."
The general sputtered. "But — "
"Good day," the guard repeated firmly.
The general glared some more, then looked at the captain. "Fine. Turn this all around."
"But — "
So with a great deal of effort (since this was only a one-lane road), the mighty army turned around and went home to get the necessary paperwork for bringing a gift into the country in the middle. And as it did, the country to the north looked at this event and decided that perhaps the country to the south was reconsidering the whole war thing and that perhaps it should rethink the idea as well. Diplomats were shuttled back and forth across the country in the middle, which allowed all to pass as long as they could show their passports. A grand and glorious meeting was held between the leaders of the country to the north and country to the south with much cheering from all sides and especially composed oratorios championing joy and happiness for everyone. Ultimately, a magnificently lettered and bound treaty was signed with pens of the finest feathering. And before long, an equitable and satisfying peace was upon the land.
And the border guard started a brand new book and managed to get to Chapter 4 before lunch.
Image Comments (4)
A_Sunbeam () Online Now! 3:31PM | Wed, 25 March 2020
Ah me, if it could only be so ... Splendid story.