Friday Fictioneers challenges us to write micro-fiction (<101 words) prompted by a photograph supplied by one of our colleagues. It’s all teed up by our friend, extraordinary artist, and fabulous leader, Rochelle. Click the prompt photo to see her blog page with all the skinny. It’s fun.
Today’s picture has a two-level outhouse indicating politicians up top and voters below. I recall seeing this arrangement in a military cartoon with officers on top and enlisted below.
In the Viet Nam War, officers and radiomen were preferred targets of the North Vietnam Army and the Viet Cong, which is why soldiers did not salute officers in the field.
Genre: Military Fiction (War Story)
Word Count: 100
Title: FNG* Down
The new Lieutenant ordered me to be his radio man. Our platoon leader was callow, yet confident and eager. A stickler for rules, he risked soldiers’ lives needlessly. A poor listener with a gung-ho, know-it-all attitude.
He chewed me out in front of my squad and gave me extra guard duty. Bad enough I had to hump the motherfucker’s goddamn radio.
In the jungle one day the lieutenant ordered me to step back, I yelled, “Yes, Sir,” stepped back and saluted him. The crack sound of the AK-47 made me dive for cover.
Our next lieutenant was a big improvement.
Be aware of enemy presence and men with guns.
Mind the gaps, make more friends than enemies, and keep your powder dry.
Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.
*FNG is military initialism and jargon for fucking new guy.
Another Wednesday as marvelous Rochelle inspires us for Friday Fictioneers. We write micro-stories given ideas by a new photo each week, provided by creative and imaginative compatriots. You can read the rules over on Rochelle’s blog and join in the fun. Here is the photo and my story for this week.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 100
Title: Blind Man’s Bluff*
If Russians discovered us, we’d be captured or killed as spies. The last we saw before submerging to the bottom of the fjord were escarpments and mountains.
Life in a submarine a thousand feet down on the ocean floor is tense with fear and physically miserable. A whisper meant discovery and death. We sat for days entombed in dark silence.
Our air gone foul; our batteries low; we decided to escape. We started. Slowly, we crawled between underwater mountains.
Then, the skipper’s voice, “We’re clear. Surfacing in international waters. Another day at the office for Cold War bubbleheads, eh mates?
Look both ways as you run silent and deep.
Mind the safety of gaps between glacial mountains.
Learn the endurance capabilities of human life.
*Title from the Book, Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew.
Abbottomy the bot,
planned four Guard brigades
of water boy warriors
to battle back
Obama’s invisible invading
legions, thirty already here.
from such morons.
Look both ways for details and the big picture.
Mind the gaps and trust none of them.
An army of one
Proud Field Marshal for
Pearl of the Orient Seas
Baroque of dress
Greater than grace
In defeat or dismissal
Pride over human life, yet
Human to the core, to the corps
Look both ways. History is prophecy.
Mind the gaps and seek the truth that may never be told.
Only one American has held the title of “Field Marshal.” Douglas MacArthur was appointed Field Marshal of the Army of the Philippines in 1936 when the island nation achieved a semi-independent status. MacArthur was to create an army for the fledgling country. He wore a special uniform, complete with a Field Marshal’s baton.
Many beautiful lyrical poems pine after the Philippines. Here, “Pearl of the Orient Seas” alludes to the phrase coined by Juan J. Delgado, a Spanish Jesuit missionary, in 1751, and to a poem by Jose Rizal (Mi ultimo adios), wherein he refers to the Philippines with that name.
American men and women at war,
fighters. May I call them warriors?
For their military service
we want to thank them.
only they understand.
Only they feel it.
Requisites are hated enemies,
courage, weapons, desire for glory, fear,
comrades, pride; and a cause
to die for, one worth killing for.
They carry much.
To fear death, or not? To love
and despise simultaneously?
Is war forever part of humanity?
Are we the only creatures
that kill our own for no reason? Just to kill.
To cause death unnecessarily?
Is that combat?
Look both ways for glory and dishonor.
Mind the gaps between mind, heart, and soul.