Dani turned his transistor on even though a gale from the north was banging on the Perspex windows of the guard post like the ghost of Keith Moon on storm-cloud percussion. The rays of the sun setting over an unseen Mediterranean occasionally broke through, outlining in deep orange the umbras of clouds lying just below and just above the nearby peak of Jebel Baruk. A ray caught the wind-ragged, frost-crusted Israeli flag as if to say that the outpost and its soldiers, so far from home, were trapped between the empyrean above and the hell of the war below. Setting the radio down on the metal ledge on which the MAG was mounted, he glanced over at Adam. Somehow, between the drumming of the sky and the drumming of the Lebanese progressive rock station, he heard that his companion for the coming six-hour shift was crying.
Considering his response, he unbuckled his vest so that he could settle comfortably into the high chair from which he was to survey the inscrutable landscape for alpine attackers.
“What was that?” Dani shouted over the pandemonium.
“It’s against the rules. Taking off your vest.” A shrieking squall filtered out whatever emotion there might have been in Adam’s voice.
“So’s the radio,” Adam went on. “Turn it off.” And then Dani thought he heard a choking sound, although he couldn’t be sure.