We were on the Jordan's border. It is close to Jericho (if you remember the trumpets of Jericho which have destroyed walls of Jericho). The border is quiet in comparison with Lebanon or Gaza borders. Just, a small check point - five people. The military unit is: two Russians, one Yemenite and two Moroccans. Actually all Jews, but just we are native to different countries. It is hot, boringly...
Will pass sometime any car, well, there you check documents, IDs, a luggage carrier, the weapon etc. Routine... Religious guys, from Africa, at least may pray and read Torah. Elias (from Moldavia) and I learn Hebrew. More truly I teach him, because he arrived in Israel recently. He loves to tell me different stories about his small Moldavian city. How it was good there. There is no Israeli bureaucracy, loans in bank and Arabs. And how he was smart there, but here, in Israel, everyone is Jew and usually much smarter then him.
Heat, as it is usual in desert, +40C in a shadow. We sweat. It is absolutely awful in the bulletproof jackets! Often we especially not put it on, in order somehow the body has breathed.
Suddenly late at night car with Israeli numbers coming. From the car is coming out pretty nice woman about 30-35 years old. Asks call the commander. Shalom (who was from Yemen) with the woman go aside and in three minutes returns.
-Guys, it is a prostitute. The usual rate 30 $ for one time, but if all of us will agree then the discount would be substantial - 20 $! Excellent price!
Everyone, after two weeks of abstention was agreed, only Elias has persisted.
-What is that?! I have to work half-day for this money, and she will lie down 10 minutes on the back and earned 20 $!!! And in general, we all here so horny, therefore everybody of us will perform two times. Let for 10 times ask for better discount.
Shalom went back to bargain and returns happy.
-Bravo Elias! - Shalom had laughed, - One time for 15 $. And girl looks not so bad and price includes a condom!
Despite of the reached arrangement, Elias still wasn't happy, and appeals basically to me.
-Alex, what do you think? Look, for 15 dollars I can buy for my daughter Barbie doll or radio-controlled car to my son. They just dream about it!
-OK, relax, - I always enraged his Moldavian stinginess, - You can refuse in general. You got the discount, this is most important part of your game. Basically this is your final pleasure!
The prostitute was really good! Each of us on the first call has come in ~3 minutes. Elias went the last. We sit and share impressions... Time goes, minutes 20 had already passed, but Elias is still not present. And suddenly heart-rending shout of the prostitute had come:
-Look at me, you piece of sheet!
All of us have rushed there (defenders of the homeland). Elias screws the prostitute and looks somewhere aside, as he explained later, in order don't get overexcited. Eventually appeared that he wished to save money and spend only 15 $. We all have spent 30 $.
Next morning, during the routine cars check, I generously scoffed at Elias, deriding his greed. He just laughed and objected: spender will teach me to live?!
Behind conversations we didn't paid attention to a rushed jeep on the road with a dirt numbers. By rules the machine should stop for 50-60м in advance (there was special sign), and then under the soldier's order (i.e. us) slowly to continue movement. According the jeep's speed, it was clear, that it has no intention to stop. Elias has shot precautionary at the air and has directed the automatic gun on the car. I removed my М16 from a safety lock as well. From the jeep had started to shoot. I have automatically fallen to the ground and had opened reciprocal fire. All it happened during 10seconds. The jeep began to brake down and turn around. It crashed in to the big stone beside the road and with a roar has stopped. Two have jumped out of the machine and have run in a direction to the Jordanian border. I have started to shoot and it seems have wounded one of them in a shoulder. I wanted to start already to run after them, but here had seen Elias. He was laid down in a dark spot of blood. Blood was instantly absorbed in dry dusty clay and it was impossible to understand how strongly is bleeding. From the trailer, where we lived, already ran the others. The bullet has got to Elias stomach. Shalom has tied him up and we have carefully shifted him on a stretcher. Ambulance has arrived in 20 minutes.
-Go with him, - has shortly thrown Shalom and turned his eyes aside, trying even do not glance on me, - Elias badly knows Hebrew. And speak, speak with him. He shouldn't lose consciousness up to the hospital, otherwise it death...Maybe you will be in time...
Scrolling in a head for many years what happens that time, it seems to me as a dream. What logic was in jeep action? In fact, they knew that it will be a check point ahead. They could sneak at night or shoot from the nearest rocks.
... I sat near to Elias, holding his hand and trying to say something. But tears as a stream flew from my eyes. Elias became weakened and weakened. His face became grey. In brown Jewish eyes it was no regular energy sparks.
-Hey, what happen? - Elias tried to make a joke, - Alex, it's me have wounded instead of you. I should cry.
-I'm not crying, just eyes water.
-You know, Alex, what I'm thinking about?
-I shouldn't be save these 15 dollars. When the next time I will have sex...
-True. Honestly, I would like to go for the third call, but was greedy too.
I have tried to smile... But it has turned out not so natural... It became difficult to Elias to speak. He only silently moved with lips.
In hospital personal had waited for us. Elias already was without consciousness. They immediately took him to the surgery room. I sat near a surgery room and wiping a mix of a dust, sweat, blood and tears. Who knew that it will turn out like this.
In two weeks I was in Tel Aviv and dropped in to see Elias widow.
The door was opened by young, but slightly chubby woman.
-Hi, I'm Alex. We served with Elias... - I have vigorously begun.
-Olga, - she has simply answered, - Elias told me about you...
-Here, - I handed her Barbie doll and the radio-controlled machine.
-And you too, - she openly smiled, and her sad eyes have cleared up for a moment.
-Am I too late? The guys already visited you?
-Yes, and everyone has brought Barbie and the radio-controlled machine. Is this some kind of tradition?
-No, simply Elias day before his death had told that he is going to buy it to the children...
-I see... Please come in. Do not stand in a corridor.
-Thanks, but I have to go. I have two more hours to drive home. If you need any help... Any time... Here the phone... Only tell.
- Thank you. We have a lot of relatives, and army helps a lot. Money and social workers... Anyway, thanks for drop in, - Olga has quickly extended her hand, having looked down. I tried to avoid eye contact as well.
I never had seen her again. She didn't call, and I simply was afraid to stir the past. And what we would change? Elias dead and I still alive... This 'blind' bullet could fly just three feet on the left of him...
... On my way home, thinking about past event, I for the first time have deduced for myself the simple formula, which I use till today: Do not regret about what you had done, regret about what you has not made! In fact the second chance couldn't come, and your life may be over in any second...