Friday Fictioneers – Workin’ On It

(A tribute to all writers who struggle through constant writer’s block)

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© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (our Blogmother!)

by Miles H. Rost

Mug of coffee? Check.

Scratch paper and plenty of 0.5 HB lead sharps? Check.

Typewriter ribbon changed? Check.

Circuit breaker off, lamps on? Check.

He was ready. Nothing could distract him, and nothing could get him down. He was going to write and that was that. He put his fingers on the keyboard and breathed.

And he breathed again.

3 hours later, he was still breathing. Not a single word typed.

He removed his hands from the keyboard and sighed.

“There goes my day…”

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Friday Fictioneers – Teardrop

(Author’s note: Things are crazy, and final exams are coming. I won’t likely be coming out with anything new besides Fictioneers stuff until after early November, due to how much energy I have to spend on writing essays. So here’s today’s Fictioneers.)

 

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Teardrop

by Miles H. Rost

Travis stood in the middle of the parking lot. He looked up, as drops started to fall onto his face.

The phone in his hand started ringing, as the rain started to pour down quickly.

“Hello?”
“Travis, this is Mike from Allied Textiles. I just wanted to call you and let you know that you have a job. Come in for orientation on Tuesday morning.”
“Thank you.”

He hung up the phone and gave a small smile, then started to cry. He opened the door of his truck, climbed in, and pulled a blanket around him.

As he slept, he cried.

Walking On Ice

Walking On Ice
a story by Miles H. Rost

Pia Nagala was incredible. No one who looked upon her would have doubted it.

Among the world of the urban man, she would have been called “on fleek”, or looking very fine. The air about her was captivating, and she held your gaze constantly. For any man, she would be considered as close to perfect as one could get.

The guy on her arm, however, would be another story.

Charles Trainor would not be considered “on fleek”. He was a good looking man, but unremarkable compared to Pia. A lot of people wondered why they ended up together, first in a touch-and-go relationship, then much more steady. Some even warned Charles to be careful, that he wouldn’t rush too far and be too focused.

“So, what do you plan to do now?”

The question from Darryl, one of Charles’s good friends, was pointed. It cut home quickly, without much of a fuss, and Charles shrinked down in his chair at it.

“Plan to do about what?” he responded.
“About Pia. You two have been dating for a while, and now there is full on, undisputed evidence that she’s been involved in some really nasty behaviors.”
“Yeah, but you’re the one who gave me that evidence.”

Darryl’s olive green eyes narrowed as he looked at Charles. He was correct, it was his investigation of Pia that brought up the evidence of her dalliances with tarot readers and illicit sex acts in places that Charles would never go to. He looked over at the manila envelope, sitting lazily on an end table, the contents of the package spilling out onto the floor.

The color photos that were visible had showed the chestnut haired woman with a blissful look on her face as she was leaving a tarot parlor. Another photo, laying on the floor and facing towards the ceiling, had the oblivious woman walking towards a warehouse door. She was wearing skintight clothing that showed off her endowments, uncharacteristic of the normally demure young lady commonly found on Charles’s arm.

“Pictures don’t lie, Chuck. She’s been playing you this whole time.”
“But, how can it be that she would do this? I mean, she was the one who helped get me straight with my father. She was the one who helped me get in touch with guys who were able to keep me accountable about my binge drinking. Heck, she was able to help me find you!”

Darryl’s face grew a slight bit more red, more from embarrassment  than anger. Again, a true statement, as Pia introduced Darryl and Charles at a dinner party a few months back. They had become very close, due to their higher age and their similar tastes in music and food.

“C’mon, Chuck, you know me. You know my record, and you know that I wouldn’t lie about Pia.”

Charles ran his hands up his face and through his straight, thick black hair. The expression on his face was like a man who was about to crack up. His neck muscles tensed as the factoid bounced through his head like a small bouncy ball.

He sighed, his shoulders slumping down in defeat.

“You’re right. You wouldn’t lie about her.”
“I don’t like saying things like that, man. I know she was something very special and she made you feel really good.”
“You’re right. She did. But, I know that she has other…”

He stopped for a moment, shaking his head as he thought about the depravity of it all.

“Seriously? That warehouse was a sex club?”
“Yeah. The PI that went in there came back and showed me the video that was in there. I had to tell him to turn it off after the first minute…”
“Yeah, yeah. No need to recount those details.”
“So, as I asked, what now?”
“I am not sure what exactly to do about it.”

Charles looked around the beautiful living room that was part of his new place. He gazed at the crystal light that hung over the living room table, remarking in his mind about how beautiful it made the rest of the living room.

The new place was possible because of her help. A fact that Charles knew could be a big problem if things blew up.

“It might just be good to get it into the open and just break it off with her cleanly,” Darryl said, taking a sip of his dark Colombian roast coffee.
“But, that could mean trouble. Remember, she’s pretty influential among my friends.”
“Duh! I know that! Remember that most of them are my friends, too!”

As Charles started to stand, the screech of tires emanated into the house. Darryl looked at Charles for the briefest of moments, locking eyes with him, before he bolted from the chair to the pictures. As Darryl furiously scrambled to put all the evidence back into the envelope, Charles paced back and forth.

The slam of the car door lightly reverberated into the house. The wrinkles around Charles’s eyes became more pronounced with each second’s passing.

Charles’s heart panicked and quickened as he heard the keys slide into the door to the garage.

The door opened, and Pia walked in. As she closed the door, her green A-line skirt twirled around her, barely showing her knees. She turned around, her fuzzy white sweater covering her torso and arms, holding a bag of groceries.

She smiled as she looked at Charles.

“Charlie! You’re here! Can you help me with these groceries?”

Charles’s face froze in a look of petrified shock. He could not move, could not blink, could not do anything. When Pia looked him in the face, her infectious smile lessened.

“Charlie, are you okay?”

Charles blinked, then smiled bashfully.

“I’m sorry, Pia. I had some bad news come to me today that caused me some issues. I was just talking with Darryl about it when you came in.”

He walked over to her, picked up the bag from her hands, and started to unpack them. Pia just smiled and bit her lip as she walked back to the garage. After a few minutes, and putting the bags away, she put her hands around his waist. She pressed herself into his back.

“So, dear, what was the bad news?”
“Oh, you remember that job I applied for? The one at the newspaper?”
“Yeah, you were happy about that one.”
“I didn’t get it. They called me just before you got here, and told me that I had excellent references and information.”
“And other people were more what they were looking for, right?”
“Exactly.”

Pia turned Charles around with her hands and gazed into his caramel brown eyes. Her own deep, dark eyes showed sincerity.

“Don’t worry. God’s on your side, and you will get that job. He provides.”
“I know he does, Pia. I just hope that something comes soon. It’s really gonna be hard to deal with if I can’t find something here to provide for my living expenses.”
“He’s already come through for you before, right?”
“Yeah, he has. I just really wish there weren’t so many other issues to deal with.”

She laid her head against his chest, as Darryl carefully walked into the kitchen.

“Hey there, Pia.”
“Heya, Darryl. How’s everything been?”
“Eh, not much to say. Rita is doing alright, but she’s mostly home for now.”

Pia looked into his eyes, giving a solemn nod.

“I gotta run, Charlie,” he said, taking one last look at his friend. A friend who was locked in an embrace with a temptress.

He looked at Pia, sweet and innocent Pia, as the images of her in revealing clothing flashed past his eyes. His face became stony, and he quickly walked out of the kitchen. Neither Pia nor Charles did anything until the door slammed.

Pia was the first to break the silence.

“Is it just me, or did it seem like he had something wrong with him?” she asked, as she turned towards the stove.
“Nah. I think he’s just been under stress with the children at school.”
“I thought he liked his job.”
“They take a lot out of him and today was his first real day off.”
“That would explain it. So, what do you want for dinner?”

Charles was about to say something when she turned around and looked at him, with the usual and beautiful smile she always gave him. He worked his hardest not to show anything but an emotion of gratitude.

“Oh, whatever you wish. I am more interested in just resting than watching you cook tonight.”
“Aww,” she pouted, making herself look more enticing than before, “I was hoping you’d help me.”
Charles nervously laughed, looking everywhere for a way out.
“That news really took me hard. I think I’m just going to go into the living room and lie down.”
“Okay!” she beamed, “I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”

As Charles left the room, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“I really don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this up…”

 

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.

 

Friday Fictioneers – The Letter

I’m back, though still at limited action for a short bit of time. I will be up fully this week when I can pull my head away from other things.

copyright- Jan Wayne Fields

The Letter

The young lady looked at the paper in front of her. She sighed, as she pushed the chair away from the old desk. Putting the quill back in the ink well, she stood and grabbed her bag that was sitting off to the side.

She expected that her husband would read the letter and get the message. She wanted to get away from the boring nature of life, and this would give some excitement.

She waited for his phone call. And waited. And waited.

She waited a year, and finally said no more. She entered the house, and walked to the study. Her husband lay on the floor, a pool of blood under his head, dried blood on the corner of the small table.

The letter was untouched.