Friday Fictioneers – Guilty

(Author’s Note: My job is a tough one. It doesn’t leave me with much time to actually spend writing more things. I come home from work, and I am really tired. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, here’s today’s fictioneers.)

frost-on-the-tombstone-liz

© Liz Young

Grandpa was never the same after we discovered the faded tombstone out back.

“I loved her. Love was the only crime I was guilty of. They can’t take that!”

We didn’t know what happened, but the words “throat cancer” and “1965” were constantly on his breath.

For weeks, he wouldn’t do anything except sit on the bench near the makeshift grave he made all those years ago.

One morning, we walked outside to see him hugging the gravestone.

“Grandpa, breakfast is ready!”

We walked over to shake him. He was cold, and he was gone.

Guilty.

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Friday Fictioneers – I’ll Still Be Loving You

© Sandra Crook

I’ll Still Be Loving You

by Miles H. Rost

The clock stayed at 9:15 for 15 years. Never moved an inch.

We held hands under that clock. Pledged our love undying.

We held hands, said forever, and gave our first kiss under that clock.

Under that clock, you told me we were having a baby. And when you told me that you miscarried.

I waited for you under that clock, for half the day.

I received the news. You were gone. Instantaneous.

What am I to do now? I cry, I wail, I weep. What do I do?

I heard a click, and looked up.

The hands moved.

9:16.


 

Friday Fictioneers – I’m Not Home

(Author’s notes: Sorry for not being as productive lately. It’s been a really tough time here in the land down under, and because of all that’s going on, my attention has been on getting myself stable, then getting myself out of here. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my stories the last two weeks and giving me great feedback. You all make me so proud. Here is today’s fictioneers story.) 

 

I’m Not Home

by Miles H. Rost

Heidi Markham glared at her mother.

“We’ve been coming to Dad’s grave for 14 years. I’m about to graduate. You never told me what happened to him.”
“I guess it is that time,” her mother sighed, sitting down next to the flat gravestone, “Your dad came back from the Gulf, and he wasn’t right. But he always told me he was, so I didn’t say much about it.”

Heidi slowly knelt down by her Mom.

“He never told anyone. He never told me!”

She started to sob. Heidi hugged her, tears flowing down her face.

“He was too stubborn to ask for help, and he took his life. He never truly made it home.”

Friday Fictioneers – I Will Remember You

(Author’s note: Well, exams are coming to an end. I will be able to do some new fiction in the very near future, and am preparing a few stories for publication on this blog. In the meantime, I am attempting to fundraise to start my full Master’s program here at the University of Melbourne. If anyone is interested, go ahead and visit my GoFundMe page, so you can contribute. Here’s today’s offering for Friday Fictioneers.)

I Will Remember You

by Miles H. Rost

Pete Meyer shut down the fan boat, as he traveled through the Everglades.
“Hey, Berkeley! Look over here.”
Berkeley Bryant turned his head to the swampland and stared.
“That’s a pipe. And it’s not an irrigation one.”
They slowly moved the boat over to the pipe, and attempted to pull it up. Taking 20 minutes to do so, they finally wrenched it out of the slop.
“What type of pipe?”
Berkeley looked down, blinked, and looked out amongst the swamp.
“Fuel intake for a DC-9.”
“DC-9? Wasn’t that…”
Berkeley took off his hat, and put it on his heart.
“It was.”

Valujet Flight 592 – Crashed May 11, 1996

Reflections (aka How I Survived…)

Reflections
(How I Survived…)
by Miles H. Rost

(Author’s note: This is a fictional account based on stories relayed to the author by a third party.)

PFC Rocky Andersen was not a happy camper.

He was laying on the ground, grumbling in pain as he waited for help to arrive. The stocky marine had problems with his legs in recent days, and having to climb telephone poles at his base was not a good thing for him to do. Camp Pendleton was the Marines’ West Coast base, and it was also known for being remote in some parts. This meant that help may not arrive for a half an hour or so.

At the medical truck approached his position, his gunny, Gunnery Sergeant Charles “Brick” Brigman, leaped out.

“Andersen! What in the blue hell happened to you?”

“I was climbing the telephone poles, Gunny Brick, and I got blindsided by a bird,” he said, crisp yet with a strip of pain.

“Well, what are you laying there for?! Get up and walk!”

“Gunny, I can’t move.”

Hospital Corpsman Roger Baltrick had run over from the main truck and took a look at the PFC’s splayed legs. After a cursory exam, he looked up at Gunny Brick

“I can tell already that his right leg is broken in two places. We’ll have to look at his left leg back at the infirmary, but I have a feeling we may have a double break.”

Gunny Brick furrowed his brow.

“Well, this is just fan-freaking-tastic, isn’t it?! Andersen, you may have just lucked out. Your platoon is being called to Vietnam! They’re outta here in 2 weeks, and I hope to see you on that flight out.”

Rocky just grimaced, as the threat from the imposing Gunny reverberated through his head.

Two weeks after he arrived back at the base hospital, Rocky looked out the window of the room, his leg still elevated and bound in casts and slings. He looked down at the field, where he saw his fellow platoon mates lining up to head to the airfield at El Toro to fly out.

Over the previous two weeks, various platoon mates with the nicknames of “Grunt”, “Pickle”, “Big Zeb”, and “Sticky” all came by to say their goodbyes and swap stories of what’s been going on. Even on that last day, Gunny Brick even came in to say goodbye, though no one would call it a “goodbye”, formally.

“Andersen! You better get out of those casts and get on the next flight once you do!” he said, looking down with a slight smile on his face.

“Gunny, where are you guys heading for?”

“Our next orders are apparently going to be Khe Sanh. Seems like more of our boys are there right now.”

“Thank you, sir. Drop me a postcard once you arrive.”

Gunny Brick smiled at Andersen, shaking his head as he left.

“Don’t get thrown in the brig while I’m gone, Donut. I don’t want to have to come back to bail you out again.”

Andersen laughed, being reminded of the many times he was thrown in the brig for being UA or being stuck on “weird duty” at Treasure Island.

—-

The middle of February was unusually cool for California. It wasn’t normal for the temperatures to be any lower than the 60s, but it got into the high 40s at night during this period.

Rocky was finally out of his casts, but he was on restricted duty until his legs healed permanently. That means five more weeks of therapy and processing papers, along with such fun jobs as helping in the mess tent or assisting in other tasks. His gunny sergeant for this end, GySgt. Mike Layton, was less abrasive but more of a rules-man. He appreciated Rocky’s work, though wouldn’t always say so.

Rocky was finishing the stamping of important base requisition forms, when Gunny Layton walked in. Rocky saluted.

“Andersen, as you were.”

‘Yes, Gunny.”

“Andersen, I received some news this morning from Cam Ranh. It’s about your platoon.”

“Gunny, sir?”

“Your platoon landed at Khe Sahn. As they were deplaning, they were hit by mortar fire and  snipers. Gunny Brick and about half of your platoon didn’t make it to the terminal.”

Andersen’s blood ran cold.

“What’s left of your platoon is being merged with another in Khe Sanh. You and 5 others who are still here will be assigned to a new platoon.”

“I…understand, sir.”

“Andersen, you can be real with this. You don’t have to hold it in. Ya lost some of your friends, and so have I.”

Andersen used his crutches to move himself a few feet back to his desk, and sighed.

“I was supposed to go, Gunny.”

“Yeah, I know. But, Andersen, you have to realize that things happen for a reason. Gunnery Sergeant Brigman and the others had to go over there. Apparently, someone else had plans for you.”

Rocky blinked, as he sat looking straight at his superior.

“When are they arriving?”

“Within a couple weeks. They will be brought to Oakland from Da Nang, then either families will pick them up there, or we’ll bring them back here for the families to identify and receive. I would like you, if you can, to accompany the ones who will be brought back to Pendleton.”

Rocky sat for just a moment before giving a salute and a “yes, sir.”

“You’re relieved of duty for today. Head on back to the barracks, and you can do what you usually do. Consider this time to grieve.  Be back at this post tomorrow at 0800.”

After a salute, Gunny Layton turned his heels and departed.

Rocky lifted himself on his crutches, and hobbled out the door. The 15 minutes it took him to cover the length from the main base office to his barracks, he though about all of his buddies who were over there…and those who were gone.

He barely made it back to the barracks. Seeing no one around, he collapsed on his bunk. His tears, for part of that evening, were his only companions. And while he felt like he should have gone over with his boys, he yet realized that for him, he was given a gift that many in his platoon did not receive: The gift of being able to live to an older age.

This gift would be borne out in 3 children, who he was able to see grow up and become their own people. He would never forget the contributions of his platoon, as it was his children who were the result of that sacrifice.

(This is your birthday gift, Dad. Semper Fi, and I love you.)

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – Get Here

Author’s note: Busy as per usual. Lots of worries. Here’s to hoping the next week will be much better, especially with a day off on Friday for medical tests. Enjoy today’s selection:

Copyright – Sandra Crook

Get Here

by Miles H. Rost

I remember the day that Travis was called to duty. It was going to be a 6 month tour in Jordan.

He looked at me, a lowly young lady from the wrong side of the tracks, and gave me the most heartfelt kiss that a fiancee could give.

We stood by an old stump as we said our goodbyes. I told him, “I don’t care how you get back here, just get back here if you can.”

He was returning from Jordan as the frost on the fields was slowly retreating. I would never see him again, though.

His C-130 got caught in a downdraft, and crashed at the base. No survivors.

He did get back here, I just can’t hold him anymore.

– From the diary of Charlene MacGinnis

(Story behind the song: During the first Gulf War, the song “Get Here” by Oleta Adams, a remake of a similar song by Brenda Russell, was often played as a call to servicemen from their wives and kids.)

So Far Away – Friday Fictioneers

Welcome back for another Friday Fictioneers set. If you haven’t already read the latest (and according to some, my best) Mayumi story so far, please go check out “We All Sleep Alone

*Author’s Note: Some have been having trouble seeing the video. If you are having trouble, go to Youtube, and look up “So Far Away” by Dire Straits. You’ll get the feelin’.

copyright Jan Wayne Fields

So Far Away

by Miles Rost

Everything was ready on the table.

Danny got home from work, and expertly prepared a beautiful crown roast of lamb, with mint sauce, lightly fried potatoes, and thin-sliced green beans. All of her favorites.

He set the table with the good plates, the excellent glasses, and everything. His crowning achievement of making dinner, a big one, was complete.

He looked out the window towards the street, the patio bereft of life. He looked out the window for a long time.

It was after about 30 minutes of looking that he realized he was eating alone for the night.

His beautiful wife, his love, would not be making it home for dinner.

Ever.