This piece was written as the original submission for the second challenge in youroctober's "Write the Wrong" competition. The challenge was to write a 500-word drabble with a mystery focus. After writing this, however, I decided that there wasn't enough 'mystery' in it to be good enough for the competition, so I set it aside and did something else. I might take it later and add a proper sequel to 'Sweet Water' with this as a starting point (and in script format like the original), but for now this will do.

"Shut up, Kyle."

Kyle stopped digging. "Come on, why won't you tell me?"

"Not now," Roman grumbled. "Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Keep shoveling."

"Come on, guys," Itch begged, covered to his knees, "I am not the one who needs burying!"

"You're a Golan, we're Soiks," Roman corrected. "That means you need burying."

"What about him?" Itch asked, gesturing to his side. There was a wide-eyed man buried to his chest, mouth covered in duct tape. "Isn't he on your team?"


"Singer's just annoying," Roman added.

"Don't change the subject!" Kyle grumped. "Come on, tell me your name! I promise I won't tell the guys."

"Isn't 'Roman' good enough for you?"

"Well, I suppose…"

Itch interrupted again. "I stopped Goose from blowing up your base! Don't I get some compensation for that?"

Roman's voice was wicked. "We could have put you on the Judas Cradle."

Itch was actually impressed. "You have one of those?"

"…don't think so," Kyle answered. "What are you talking about, Roman?"



"Oh…never mind! Just bury the son of a bitch! Why didn't I join the damn air force?"


Itch added dully, "The pleasure of his company?"

"Hey," Kyle shouted suddenly, "you can't call me Kyle anymore!"

Roman's eyes rolled. "What are you going on about now?"

"I can't call you by your first name, so you can't call me by mine!"

"Well," Roman countered, "I guess I'll just stick to calling you 'stupid.'"

"Sounds good to me," Itch added.

"Stay out of this!" Kyle snapped. "You've got to call me…"

"For the last time, I am not calling you Echo!"

"Butter and Issac do."

"Butter designs girly men's clothes and Issac cuddles with his rifle. I don't give a rat's ass what they call you."

Itch stared at them. "Your commander designs clothes? And I thought Fruity was a wuss."

Kyle wasn't about to give up. "Tell me your name and I'll let you call me Kyle!"

"No, Kyle." Roman looked down at Itch. "Shouldn't you be, y'know, panicky?"

"You'll let me out soon enough."

"I bet it's a girly name," Kyle interrupted. "Like Susan or Alexis."

"It is not a girly name!"

Itch grinned. "Ooh, touched a nerve?" Roman threw dirt in his face.

"Nothing to be ashamed of, Roman," Kyle went on. "My uncle had a voice that…"

"You cannot fathom just how little I care."

Kyle looked hurt. "Just because you've got a girly name, you don't' have to…"

"I do not have a girly name!"

Itch spit dirt. "It is an odd name, though."

Both soldiers spoke at once. "How would you know?"

Itch grinned. "Come here."

Roman knelt down, and Itch whispered into his ear. He arose pallid.

"Let the man out."

"What!? But Roman, we can't…"

"Let him out, stupid!"

"Okay, okay…"

Itch pulled himself out of the dirt and grinned at them. "I'm going that way, now."

The two watched him walk off. "Roman… we can't just let him go! Can we?"

"Shut up, Kyle."