The Bride


The makeup artist paused, brush in hand, while she looked at the bride. It was an unusual request, she thought to herself, but, whatever pays the bills.  The bride was good at keeping still, so this would be over soon.


“She always did have a great sense of humor,” Bill sighed.

“Wicked, you might say,” Steve replied.

They gazed at Sgt. Stephanie Smith. She had come back on her shield this time, and wore two more on each shoulder. They weren’t the red, white and blue, but the subdued green and black flags of her camouflage fatigues. Her face had been painted to match by the makeup artist, and her hair neatly tucked into a bun.

“I don’t get it. Why this?” Lisa gestured at the woman in the casket. Lisa was Steve’s new wife and Stephanie’s sister in law.

“Steph liked the old Irish saying, ‘May you be in Heaven a full hour before the Devil knows your dead.’  In her letter, Steph joked she was late for everything, but that the camo was her insurance against getting caught by the Devil. Or ‘evade and escape’ as she might say.”

Bill, her father, continued: “She also wasn’t too sure she could get into the other place either. She wrote it might help her ‘infiltrate’ heaven.”

I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. She won’t mind getting caught,” Steve said.

“She won’t. I was always here to welcome her home. Next time I see her, she’ll be welcoming me home,” Bill replied.

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