Siggy, a teenager who escaped from Bosnia (or wherever is suitable), tells the story of his escape in a moment out of real time as he and his American friends prepare to go on a "raid" against their rivals from the local prep school.
(Warning: Using this monologue without permission is illegal, as is reproducing it on a website or in print in any way.)
When the war happened, they came through the village, and if the people already killed had anything worth money, the soldiers would take it. They'd strip the bodies. The men and boys that were alive they'd bring together, and in some villages shoot them. That's what we heard from people running from the army, people who came through our village. Naked dead bodies, clothes in a pile.
When we found out the soldiers were coming, my father told me take off all my clothes and put them in a pile. He and some of the other men did the same, and my mother and the other women told the soldiers that their army had already been through.
We thought if they saw the bodies with no clothes, they'd think we were dead and they wouldn't bother with us. I had my eyes open, like I died with my eyes open, 'cause it was the only way I could see if they were looking at me. To breathe. I tried to hold my breath, and when I had to breathe, only do it when I was sure nobody was looking.
My father—something, a butterfly—landed under his nose. He sneezed. A soldier thought he just wasn't quite dead and put a bullet in his head. A butterfly killed my father. And my mother tried not to, but she got so . . . so much crying, that they shot her. I laid—lied—lied there naked until the soldiers left.
In a month, they snuck me out.
(Siggy finds some salt in his pants pocket and throws it over his shoulder.)
Being naked . . . it's like being quiet . . . it makes you invisible . . . it makes you safe.