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Old 11-26-2005, 11:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: SLC
A Happy Place

Here is something I wrote awhile ago let me know what you think good or bad.


The Atlantic Sea water splashed up the side of the boat, sprinkling tiny droplets of water on my face. The boat was bobbing front to back and side to side by two foot waves that were being lifted up by a westerly wind. It was a nice day, the sun had just come up and chased out the fog that had settled overnight. The air was thick with salt so much you could taste it.
“Pull in that line, John.” Uncle Lee said. Uncle Lee was my mother’s brother. My mother could not afford to take care of me after my drunkard father left her for some bar maid in New Orleans. Uncle Lee had agreed to take me in as long as I helped him with his restaurant, which included trapping lobster.
“The popularity of lobster has started to rise along with its price,” Lee explained.
“Most restaurants will hire some one to catch their lobster, not me!”
“I’ve been trapping since I was a kid, your grand father taught me and his dad taught him and now you’ll learn” he told me.
“Did you know that lobster used to be considered poverty food? And that they use to feed it to prisoners and indentured servants, the servants became so tired of eating lobster they rebelled and had it put in their contracts that they wouldn’t be forced to eat lobster more than three times per week, now some one would be considered fortunate to have lobster three times a week”
“It’s funny how things change” he laughed.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
He could tell I wasn’t interested in the history of lobster.
“The war,” I replied.
“They are going to be asking for recruits soon,” he said. “Are you thinking about joining?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
“You know your grandfather was in the military, He was a Marine and fought against the Germans in the First World War, those damn Krauts,” he mumbled.
“No surprise there the ones stirring things up again”
“Didn’t he fight in the battle of Belleau Wood?” I asked.
“Yeah, he didn’t talk much about the war, but I do remember him talking about Belleau Wood, He told me something interesting one time when I asked him how he managed to deal with the horrors of war”.
“What?” I asked.
“He said when things got really bad over there, when he was really scared he would go to his happy place”. I gave him a confused and unsatisfied look. “You think back to a time in your life when you were really happy,” he explained.
It became quiet after that; neither of us said much throughout the remainder of the morning. The sun began to beat down hard, bouncing its rays off every flat surface of water, forming clusters of blinding light. After I finished baiting the last trap we headed back.


“Wake the fuck up Maloney!” Sergeant Stankowski screamed. Maloney is my last name. “Do you remember your job?” he asked.
“Yes, Sergeant” I replied. My job was to run up the beach with what felt like a ton of Bangalore torpedoes and blow a hole through any strand of wire that would bog down our advance.
“Good, get up front with me!” he ordered. “Listen, Maloney, the company needs you. When this ramp drops, run like hell, don’t stop and don’t get shot.”
“Yes, Sergeant!” I said.
“Two minutes out!” the boat driver shouted. At that moment sporadic artillery and machine gun fire started to escalate. The artillery rounds were landing all around, close enough to splash water over the top but not to hit us. Suddenly a plume of smoke went up to our right; it was another boat, it had been hit. I looked behind me, wondering if we could be next. I quickly glanced over each face, thinking of all the different places they came from. Private Smith, from Ohio, was staring straight to the front in some sort of trance; a happy place I thought to myself. I wonder what his might be; perhaps some beautiful place in Ohio, a place I’ve never seen.
“Thirty seconds standby!” the boat driver bellowed over the noise. Machine gun fire was ricocheting off the ramp of the boat, making high pitch plinking sounds. Suddenly a dragging vibration came up from the bottom of the boat; we came to an instant halt. I stepped forward with my left foot to catch my self. There was a slight pause, the ramp dropped and a volley of machine gun fire tore through the middle, randomly killing. Sergeant Stankowski fell on top of me, bleeding.
Looking at his face, I yelled “Sergeant”! His gaze shot right through me. At that moment I was back home in my uncles’ boat staring at the sun’s reflection on the water. Uncle Lee was explaining something about business; I wasn’t listening, I was happy.
“Go Maloney! Move!” It was Private Smith nudging me to get up. I was back from my happy place and deep in the reality of war. Remembering what Sergeant Stankowski had told me, I picked up the Bangalore torpedoes and ran like hell.
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