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16 October 2014
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Neil Sweetman
Neil Sweetman

I was born and raised in Omagh before I went on to graduate from a film school in England and work on short films in London. I currently live in Oslo, Norway and have been writing fiction for the last four years with minimal success. I enjoy stories that lean towards the darker side of life and my passions are Pantera and beer.

King Cong by Neil Sweetman

It was hot that day; it had been hot every day for a long time. Khien, Dung and Minh were up in the tree, as had become usual over the last ten years or so, but it wasn’t always Khien, Dung and Minh who occupied the tree, hundreds of men had sat in the same tree before them. It was a grand tree in a jungle of grand trees, one of many jungles through out the country. It was situated somewhere between Dalet and the south coast but that’s not really important. Khien, Dung and Minh didn’t mind the heat, they were used to it, they all grew up in nearby villages. If it ever got too hot for them as children their parents would take them to one of the beautiful beaches on the south coast where they could paddle and surf in the clear blue water. That was a while ago though. Teenage years of hunting had turned the trio into excellent marksmen and at said time all three of the men were pointing their rifles in the same direction and watching the distance through their aimers. Khien had been in the tree the longest so he was obviously highest up the branches. Khien was forty-five years old and a respected man. He had been living the quiet life of a farmer up until his wife’s murder and his home burning down. Now he was just tired all time. Dung was younger than Minh but not by many years, it made Minh a little jealous to sit below Dung, who was about six feet below Khien. Dung and Minh had known each other when they were younger, it was just a coincidence that they were both now in the same tree. It made them happy tough, they had been friends once. They were young, ‘too young’ thought Khien, and angry. They wanted their kicks. The trio hadn’t flinched for over five minutes. They were camouflaged statues. “New York!” Said Khien. “Los Angles!” Said Dung. “Texas!” Said Minh. None of them looked away from their sights and none of them moved. Khien let a bullet rip through the air with a light squeeze and a loud crack of ‘Ami’, which is what he named his rifle, after his dead wife. The trio put their rifles to ease and Minh dropped out of the tree to the jungle floor. After about ten minutes of silence Minh game scuttling back up the tree holding a bloody dog tag in one hand and looking smug. “Texas! Texas!” Shouted Minh excitedly as he waved the dog tag in the air. Khien and Dung looked disappointed and cursed as they forked out some cigarettes from their pockets and tossed them to a smiling Minh. Minh giggled as he put the bloody dog tag around his neck with the others. He smelled his winnings with pride and sparked one up with a bloody Zippo lighter sporting the American stars and stripes. He smoked happy. Khien and Dung got back to staring into the distance.


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