War games is a battle scene set on an imagined battlefield between two long enemies: the plastic green army men and the plastic yellow Native American Braves. Locked in a never-ending cycle, we see how one soldier feels about his current predicament.

David Lingard

War Games

To my left I could hear the distant rumble of heavy artillery as the weapons peppered the battlefield with their large and heavy, devastating ammunition. The skies above had turned a deep shade of grey as though they had foretold the horrors of war before it had even begun. Before me I knew my enemy stood in a single, straight line as always, though it was too much a distance for me to discern.

My own troops to my immediate left and right were similarly lined up in one long, single file row and we all awaited the order to make the final push forward, into the unknown, into darkness and possibly death. There would be no glory for us this day. There was never any glory in war.

A soldier to my left held a grenade out behind him, an arm’s length away from his body ready to be thrown, but I didn’t envy him clutching the powerful explosive. Anything that could make you stand out from the rest usually just meant that you were picked on first: a target to be dealt with before any other.

Then the lines moved forward as one and my heart pounded. I was sure that the muzzle of my rifle was bent, and I wondered if that would affect its accuracy or rate of fire, but there would be no way to tell until I was to take my first shot. The only thing that I could do was grit my teeth and fight, praying that today would spell victory for the good guys.

“The good guys always won in the end though, right?” I thought as I raised the iron sights of my rifle to eye level awaiting the first sign of my enemy through the fog of war.

A trio of war planes flew loudly overhead to survey the battlefield and I watched as they unleashed a volley of machine gun fire onto an unseen enemy before disappearing themselves into the darkness. Then the grenadier to my left lurched forward and streaked ahead of our line of soldiers. I knew he’d be one of the first. Anyone who stood out always went first.

The soldier that remained to my left suddenly fell face down to the ground and remained unmoving, and then the man to my right followed. There were no sounds of gunshots that I could make out nearby and no thuds of impact, simply the deafening silence of death all around me. Sometimes I wished that I had gotten to know the men around me before they fell, though other times I was grateful for the fact that the pain of loss was dulled when my brothers in arms were strangers.

Suddenly, as though imbued with some divine speed, in front of me appeared one of my sworn enemies, a Native American Brave, a huge plumage of feathers atop his head and a tomahawk in each hand. My heart sank as I regarded the mighty warrior. I had seen this man fight before and it had seldom ended well for those who stood against him.

“The good guys always win,” I repeated the mantra a few times in my head before I gathered myself enough to raise my rifle. The green men were always the good guys.

The Brave stood before me for a split second and I could see my own expression mirrored in his yellow eyes; he wanted to be away from this conflict too - neither of us knew the real reason that green army men and yellow Native Americans were forced to fight each other, it was simply the way that it was… and when the battle was done for the day we would all await that fateful time when we would once again appear on the battlefield, lined up and awaiting our instruction to press onward. Such was the way that our lives would be led, sentenced to eternity to fight in a battle that never ended and against a foe that we had no quarrel with. Such was the raison d'être, the reason for being of the toy soldiers.

The Brave swung a brutal tomahawk in a downwards arc to end my life, though I managed to raise my rifle just in time to deflect the blow. I squeezed the trigger twice in an attempt to end my enemy, though as the shots rang out and echoed off into the distance, I knew that there was no way they would be hitting true from this proximity, but I had to try.

A second tomahawk swung viciously at me and this time it made contact, knocking me back and to the ground. I howled in pain as the Brave stood over me menacingly, ready to enact his final and killing blow.

It didn’t matter. If he killed me, I would return again to the next battle, then the next and the next for all eternity. It didn’t matter. It would only hurt for a second. I’d died enough times before to know that and I had always returned to the battlefield to fight again.

The Brave though, having taken his time to lord over me was suddenly surrounded by my green compatriots and held back from his fatal action.

“Take him away!” One of the green men shouted as my enemy was forcibly dragged from before me.

The bundle of men swiftly disappeared and left me on the ground, injured and alone and I wondered if today was going to be another early death for me. Thankfully though, as I had received personal attention from the enemy chief and survived - which was generally a good thing - as expected, a medic arrived to kneel down beside me, bringing me back up to my feet in an instant.

“On your feet soldier!” He commanded loudly and robotically, and I nodded officially before re-readying my rifle for the next challenge that would come our way.

Our line of green army men then moved forwards again as a single unit, and I could see across the battlefield and waning fog of war that the enemy troops, the bright yellow Native American Braves were doing exactly the same thing.

Arrows and spears rained down from above as loud gunfire rang out from the men on my side of the field. Soldiers on both sides fell in waves as the barrage of ammunition engulfed the field of battle.

I fired my rifle aimlessly. There was little else I could do against an enemy that stood positioned so that almost any shot would impact a target.

Then I felt it: The sting of a spear tip as the long offensive weapon impacted my chest, penetrating all the way through my trunk and into the ground to pin me into position.

Today was another day that I died, and another day that I had to watch as all of the troops on both sides would be destroyed to a man.

Nobody won in war games. The only way anyone could ever win was to simply stop playing, but to stop playing was to stop fighting and I, along with the rest of the green army men would fight until our last breath, even if that last breath was never final.