The Sniper Memoirs
by Wellington T. Sniperbarrow
From my vantage point I scan the battleground before me, searching for the thief who stole my precious flag. You see, there is not much time left on the clock, and if the enemies get the flag back to their base, they will win. I cannot let that happen. This is my duty, and the role I signed up for. I see a few members of the opposing team trying to defend the thief’s escape and call them out to my allies. They engage the small squad, but the flag is still nowhere in sight and the clock is ticking, closer and closer to zero. The adrenaline starts pumping through my lean, well-endowed body. I can feel my heartbeat in my temples as I clench my jaw. Then, in the distance, I spot the top of the stolen flag bobbing nervously like the prey that holds it. I have him now. I call out the location to my team but they are still held up by the enemy. Although I feign frustration to my friends, truly I am glad. The glory will be mine.
I set my sights in front of the thief’s position. Unbeknownst to him, he will have to walk right through my crosshairs. After a moment he obliges. In an instant, the flag and the thief drop to the ground and the game is over. We have won, and the team cheers my heroics with praise and glory not unfamiliar to the Sniperbarrows. This is the high that encourages one to pursue the life of the sniper. The reality, however, is that the lows can come with far more frequency and with a greater impact.
Not everyone has what it takes to be like me. I mean that not as boast, but strictly as an analysis. I am a patient individual and am willing to wait for the perfect moment to strike. A worthy sniper must keep his attention on the objective, while also maintaining awareness of his surroundings – lest he be snuck upon and erased. One has to be conscious of resources – being at a distant vantage point and running low on ammo can be life threatening.
I’ve spent hours and days honing my craft, learning each weapon and how they respond and react. I have to make quick calculations on how far a target is and how much I will need to lead them, while taking into consideration bullet drop or damage degradation. Every day on the battlefield I will sacrifice my own enjoyment for the good of the team.
I view the world around me through the literal scope of my rifle. The goal is focused between my crosshairs and the target is clear, win by any means necessary. I do not play a game because the game itself is fun, fun comes from winning.
Dear reader, are you not the same? You probably aren’t, and that is understandable. But allow me to be frank – do not steal the rifle or vantage point if you are not prepared to act in a manner befitting of those valuable elements, or I swear on the grave of my great grandfather Esteban O. Sniperbarrow that I will stuff the loss you have caused full of the rounds that you wasted and… Forgive me, I digress.
There are few things worse for the everyday marksman than racing to the sniper spawn only to witness a tourist grab it first and proceed to fire off the entire magazine with reckless abandon, likely without hitting anything but walls, sky, and dirt.. It can be just as frustrating when arriving at your favorite sniping location to find someone already there. It would be fine if they committed, but you look back and see the position abandoned as the enemy waltzes through the now unprotected choke point. We all have our skills, but if you are not a sniper lifer don’t try to move into my home. You can not just dabble and expect the glory, you must suffer for it as I have. As all true snipers have.
Despite the common belief that snipers have it easy, we do not. Most opponents would rather blame me for their shortcomings than face the facts. Yes, I killed you many times in that game. Yes, it was partly because I stayed in the same spot the whole time. Do you know how large this battleground is? Why did you keep running at me like that? Are you insane?
And it is not just the enemies that have complaints for me. No, I will not leave my perch to come help you steal the flag, take the control point, or revive you. Why would I do that? Have you seen how good my post is? I am not some close quarters meathead and I refuse to throw away my life to speed up your progress. I will stay here so that when you inevitably take a rocket to your overused hiding spot, I will remain to neutralize the coming offensive charge. Or I will continue to sit here and cover you while you lay there waiting for someone to come revive you so that you don’t just get picked off again. In fact, while you have this moment of time to reflect, you should think about why you’re laying there dying and try to learn from it instead of yelling at me to fix your problems. I am not a magic space warlock sent here to make your life easier. I am a person too. I have my own wants and dreams. You don’t realize how difficult this job can be.
Of course, some battles have me constantly active and topping the scoreboard. The objective (flag, base, or control point) that I am guarding is the popular one and the other team is willing to trade their lives to try to take it from me. More often, though, I am by myself with my thoughts. I sit staring at the sameness, wishing for excitement. I hear my team over the comms – they are doing great things on a grand adventure. It is one that I want to be able to experience one day.
Sometimes while in my concealed location, I will spot a bad guy trying to take what is mine. It’s his job to try, and mine to stop him. But perhaps I will hold my fire. I watch him from the greatest distance my high-powered scope will allow. He is so far away but it seems I can reach out and touch him. In this moment, I drift into fantasy.
I have thrown down my rifle and instead equipped a shotgun (or some other ridiculously silly and juvenile firearm). I charge towards the opponent, and release a battle cry that has been building inside for what seems like years. We shall engage in epic combat! Jump, fire, roll, and evade. More enemies come, but so do my reinforcements. The stakes of our deadly dance increase with more participants. We dodge fantastical things; rockets, machine gun fire, a sky raining grenades and hammering flame while invisible predators stalk the skirts of storms made manifest.
And finally we find ourselves face to face. I am out of bullets and know he is not, but I am not without my tricks. He raises a sidearm to finish me off, but at the last moment I gather myself and launch at him with with a force so titanic it shatters the sound barrier. I see his hand tightening on the trigger, right before I see realization dawn… His bullets deflect off the force of the air torn open by the violence of my fist. He desperately squeezes the trigger of his last hope, twice, three times, all headshots – he’s good. But I am an insatiable force of raw speed and might…
Alas, that is not reality. I blink and return to the present, watching the far-off enemy for a moment more and wonder; does he know I am here? Does he know that I sometimes hate myself as much as he hates me? That when he sends me a message after it’s all over proclaiming me a camper that I agree with him? Does he ever wonder who this man is behind the gun, or that I want, one day, to go out and explore the rest of this world that I only hear about from my teammates? Does he know that sometimes I leave my “camping spot” and venture out, only to fear losing and immediately return? They never do. So I line up my shot, think one last time about what could have been, and with the slightest squeeze he is gone and I am once again left to my thoughts.
Don’t you see? I am Atlas and I must hold the game upon my shoulders lest my team fall and fail. If I threw off my shackles and denied my responsibility who would take my place? How many losses would it take before my once adoring teammates turn on me and force me back to the confines of snipership? It is surely not many. So I will leave you with a warning and some advice potential sniper padawan: People will praise you, and they will tell and retell stories of your illustrious feats. But if they see you bleed they will tear you down and replace you without hesitation. Hone your skills, master your craft and stay alert. The sniper will always be needed. There is always someone out there that will desire your mind, eye and rifle. The glory is worth it, but most reaching hands won’t grasp it. If you are willing to walk this road I welcome you, but remember – not everyone can be like me.
About the Author
Wellington T. Sniperbarrow was the black sheep of his family. Being the youngest in a line of long distance killers, Wellington rebelled from his forefathers traditional craft and instead dreamed of becoming a vehicle driver or close range bruiser. However, after a tragic incident resulting in his older siblings losing all of their trigger fingers simultaneously, Wellington begrudgingly took up the rifle. He immediately showed promise, and from that point forward his path was decided.
Wellington has many hobbies such as “being very good at sudoku” and “playing most instruments except the banjo.” He enjoys watching people walk on the beach from long distances and listening to classical infused dubstep.
When asked why he chose to write “The Sniper Memoirs” Wellington replied, “I simply enjoy helping others, and my sniper’s brain is a gift that must be shared.”