"Weird dream," he thought as he rubbed his eyes and sat up in bed. A cammo-print, nylon blanket hung from the bunk above him providing a wall of normally scarce privacy. Staring into space for a few seconds the soldier allowed his mind to wander and awaken.
He picked up his laptop, which always slept beside him on the bunk, and opened it. That Mac sound would let his room-mate and work partner know he was awake... if the guy were around. Lately he'd been out when midnight rolled up. The schedule was weird and after a couple of months it was still hard to sleep through the afternoon and wake up in the middle of the night. Afternoon workouts were good, but getting to sleep after was sometimes a trick.
Hitting enter, the soldier sent off two text messages to get in touch with his reality. This Instant Message mobile thing on his wife's phone was so awesome. He got up and changed into uniform. "Whew! Dang, I wish the laundry was back."
He sat down at the desk and began to take stock of the situation. His partner was gone, probably to pick up their midnight meal. That was the system since they couldn't leave at the same time; at noon the soldier got chow and brought it back, midnight the other guy did the same. It worked.
Just as he was getting settled behind the desk, his partner brought in the food and sat down. A couple minutes later the soldier's wife answered his texts and got online for a little bit. It was Sunday at home, a good Sunday for an old movie and a long nap. It sounded really good.
After his wife got off, the soldier's dad popped up: "Hey, it's Dad, just doing some bookwork, how are ya?" It was good to hear from him.
Things settled down into the normal monotony of a regular work day... er, night... er, shift.
Because the soldier had been drinking coffee since coming on shift, it was only a little while before he needed to visit the restroom. An annoying task in a place where the facilities were unlit porta-johns that lay down two flights of stairs and about forty feet from the building in which the soldier lived. This was a daily adventure which he was glad most people were spared.
In fact, he was walking back to the building and thinking about how strange this daily... er, shiftly experience was when he decided to write about it. Looking up at a sky with no moon and just a few stars he hit upon a title... "Reflections On a Merely Starlit Night".