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How to Lie. (standard:drama, 1870 words)
Author: JohnSeegerAdded: Feb 26 2008Views/Reads: 1593/1041Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A solder hears a story from a GI that he knows is untrue but learns the story matters more than the truth.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

The old GI stopped talking for a minute, drew on his beer, then said,
"Since we only built one runway we were careful to build it so that it 
was right for the prevailing winds.  So with Murphy's law working 
wouldn't you know, he couldn't leave the next day because the wind was 
running across it.  It stayed that way for about 3 days then one 
morning there was no wind at all.  I guess they decided to chance it 
then rather than wait for a favorable wind because who knew which way 
it would blow when it came up again.  We pushed the plane into 
position.  There was a bunch of us, everybody wanted to have a part in 
it 'cause there was a guy from HQ taking pictures.  After we got it 
into place they tied it down with a slipknot to help the brakes hold it 
while the pilot revved the engine up.  He got in and cranked it up.  
Such a noise.  We were all standing up close and the racket was 
unbelievable.  I don't know why but when you get behind those engines 
they aren't bad but up front they are loud as all get out.  Anyway, he 
brought it up to top speed and gave us a little wave, nodded to the guy 
at the rope and as the rope slipped out of the loop the plane started 
to move. 

"You know how those temporary runways are built?  The ground is packed
down and then you lay these sheets of metal down that fit together with 
hooks, kinda laying over each other.  The sheets have big holes in them 
spaced out all over.  That way the metal isn't too heavy to handle.  
Well the plane was sitting with each wheel in one of those holes so it 
didn't want to move real bad at first.  I guess those jet engines ain't 
too strong at first but after they get rolling they really pickup.  
Anyway it begun to roll and kinda bumped up and down in the holes at 
first but as it picked up speed it seemed to just fly across the metal. 
 He was really pushing it but with no wind to help it I could see it 
wasn't going to make it.  I could see the end of the runway, just a 
little way ahead of the plane now, where we should have cut more trees 
or at least cut more off the tops of those at the end.  But we hadn't 
so I knew there was going to be one hell of a mess to clean up.  I 
guess if you see these planes take off all the time you would get used 
to how it looks but I was scared to death for the pilot.  Then all of a 
sudden in a ungodly roar he pulls back on the stick and the jet jumps 
off the runway, slides just over the tips of the trees and off he goes 
into the sky.  He was hotfooting it away from there as fast as it would 
go.  We jumped up and down cheering like crazy as we watched it leave. 

Then it was gone.......All that remained was a dirty black trail in the
sky.  Pretty soon we couldn't even hear the engine anymore. 

The old Sergeant stopped again but this time the beer didn't come up to
his lips.  He just looked at the floor and we felt the silence he 
remembered.  He cleared his throat and when he spoke again his voice 
was somehow brighter but with a bitter edge.  He said, "I looked there 
into the sky and as the smoke began to drift away, I felt cheated, 
lonely.  We had worked so hard, together, us and the Air Force guys to 
get it up there and then, just like that it was over, the plane was 
gone and we were left in the mud.  I still had 9 months and 18 days 
left on my tour there in that hole.  Maybe no one felt the way I did 
about it but we all just stood there thinking our own thoughts about 
what we had done and how it had ended.  Pretty quick someone broke it 
up and said 'Ok, lets get started on policing up the area.'  As we 
turned back to the work the air was still quiet, no wind, no sound, 
just the usual grumbling of the guys.  Then someone shouted, "Quiet!"  
And as we looked up he pointed to the North.  We could see it coming; a 
tiny spot in the blue and suddenly overhead there was the plane sailing 
by in a great roar heading South...and he was doing a victory roll.  I 
mean, I had tears in my eyes as I watched him.  I was so proud, I had 
never been proud as of anything in my life.  It was great." 

When He finished, it was quiet.  Several of us were turning our heads to
avoid seeing each other's faces knowing that tears might be in our eyes 
as well. 

Now I know he was lying about the whole thing but I really don't care. 
When he committed himself with feeling and tears the story was 
secondary.  The important thing was that he was telling us something of 
himself, something about the comradery of brothers in a great effort.  
So that's when I learned how to "lie" or at least to act.  It takes 
commitment for a part to get across.  Like the man said "Sincerity, if 
you can fake that you got it made." 


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