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Father and Son (standard:drama, 1825 words)
Author: CalisAdded: Sep 13 2000Views/Reads: 3417/1846Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A boy reads the letters that his dead father sent to his mother during the war.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

this Godforsaken country. The dress today was normal, Class D to be 
exact. The pins that reveal my status as a Private First Class are 
exactly one quarters distance from the edge of my collar, my pen is 
tucked into my left breast pocket, my gloves are in my left cargo 
pocket, my LCE with two full canteens of water and four twenty round 
clips of M16-A1 ammo in two hip holsters hang off of suspenders, and my 
helmet, loosely slung over my left canteen. My brass belt buckle 
flashed in all of its glorious brilliance. They had run out of the 
ordinary issue black and so I, being a PFC, had to have a brass one. 
Last night, I had been yelled at by my platoon sergeant Briggs for 
having too much carbon in the barrel of my M16 and so today, I had to 
be perfect. They keep telling me how mistakes get people killed down 
here and well, I hope the only mistakes I make will eventually kill me. 

With Much Love, 


P.S. Please don't let David read any of my letters. I don't want him to
know why his father is down in some forest, waiting for death to come 
and carry him home. 

March 7, 1969 

Dear Elizabeth: 

It's funny what people will do given a certain situation. Like I always
say, every major reaction a human can make is about pressure... and 
time. Remember when we were sitting on our couch watching that old 
piece of crap TV that we had bought from Hank down on the corner of 5th 
and Main, and we heard that guy on TV say that anything can happen 
given an infinite amount of time? Well I know what that is like now. 

All we do now is try to keep our minds off of the men we've killed.
Sometimes at night I can see the crying faces of the families that I 
have decimated. I no longer think of those who I have killed. They were 
warriors on a field of combat. It is their families I mourn for now, 
for the women and children who are lost. 

We've started a tradition here in the 3rd Infantry, it's a lot like
secret Santa. Each day, before we go out to the field, we draw names 
from a hat. Each person gets a name and if the person whose name is 
picked dies on that day, that person has to write a letter to that 
person's family. They always ask me how my family is, but I never tell 
them. I don't want them to see you on the insides of their eyelids. 
Once I'm gone, I don't want your memory hanging around this place. 

With Love, 


March 31, 1969 

Dear Elizabeth: 

I just wanted to let you know that I am A OK. There are no problems
here. And to answer your question, I don't see the people during the 
day anymore. Now they only come to me in my dreams. They speak to me 
and tell me horrible things. I can't make them stop. They won't let me 
get away. 



January 2, 1969 

Dear Elizabeth: 

Sometimes the leaves are green, sometimes they're brown and twice a
year, they are in between. I remember how, when I was growing up on a 
little street, in a little house, in the little town Fordyce Arkansas, 
the sea of fields would turn from green to brown. Those open pastures 
leading to the murky swamps, slowly fading from a vibrant green, full 
of life, to a drier brown, that seemed so much less alive. But, things 
change, especially down here in the middle of this shithole. With the 
changing of fields comes the changing of the light, and the onset of 
the rain. Darker and darker each day gets. The sky never opens its 
sunshine to us, it only pours its vengeance down from the heavens, 
without mercy. For here, we are the trespassers, invading its land and 
its people. Everything about this place is telling us to go home, as if 
we have a choice. 

Benjamin A. Cummings 

April 1, 1969 

Dear Mrs. Cummings: 

Ma'am, I'm real sorry to have to inform you to the fact that your
husband has been deceased. We was on a routine sweep of the local farm, 
which they tell me cannot be told by me, when he got hit by a sniper's 
bullet. Your husband was hit straight in the head, so he felt less pain 
than a horse being put down on my farm back in Bama. If it makes you 
feel any better, we got the sum'bitch who hit him. 

Sergeant Briggs 

82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Corps 

United States Army 

Visions of war and suffering swooned through the old man's eyes. He
could see the torment and pain that his father had gone through. He saw 
a wounded man, his shinbone protruding from his leg, surrounded by 
dried blood, piercing the skin. He saw the decapitated child lying in a 
pool of its own blood. Finally he saw the mother of the child, 
standing, weeping, like she was mourning the death of the son of God. 

The warm drops of rain that splattered off the man's forehead broke his
concentration. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. His head whipped 
up, his eyes scanning the small park for the boy. The old man had to 
save the child from the horrors of his life. "Ben, Ben where are you?" 
the man cried out. 

But there was no answer, his work could not be done. He could not save
this child, his father, from the world of suffering he knew lay ahead. 
The war, the torture would all still occur. He had failed. He could not 
change the world if it did not want to be changed, even if it meant his 
life. He knew that his life would be the same. A long story of abusive 
stepfathers and boyfriends, the LSD he had taken his freshman year in 
High School, his failed attempt at the College of Marin. It would all 
be the same, as if he had never come. He had come back to commit the 
one selfless act of his entire life, and he had failed. 


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