So I'll ask your indulgence, and hope you might enjoy a bit of flash fiction (written a couple of days ago under the influence of a temperature above 104).
And so...welcome to a story called Hairball.
And it does fit in with the FMF prompt of SHARE...as in 'sharing a poncho'. Kate, you saved me.)
Time for #BlogBattle, the keyword-driven weekly flash-fiction contest hosted by Rachael Ritchey.
The keyword this week is HAIR.
The story,s going to be short, because I have the flu...but I didn't want to miss what is a really perfect keyword.
"Hairball's coming," said The Dude, drawing the poncho closer over us.
"Uhhh?" My teeth were chattering, and I was shaking so hard the words didn't register.
"Hairball," said Biff from my other side. "The reporter. With the ponytail."
"Uhhh," I said. "Wha-a-a rep-p-p..."
"The one we're supposed to be nice to," said Biff.
A shadow fell on us. It made things seem cooler, which made the chills worse.
"Hi," said a voice.
The Dude answered for us. "Hello."
"Mind if I talk with you guys for a few minutes?"
The voices came from a long, long distance.
"I guess," said Biff.
I could sense the reporter sitting down. "First...uh, what are you guys doing?"
It was a reasonable enough question; not every day in the tropics did you see three marines huddled together under a poncho on a cloudless day.
"TC here's got malaria. His fever's spiking, so we're trying to keep him warm." The Dude's tone was quiet and reasonable, as if it'was something that happened every day.Which it did, somewhere in Viet Nam. Every day.
"Why don't you just take him to the BAS?" The acronym sounded still in his mouth, a newly-learned word of which he was proud.
"Oh, we couldn't do that," said Biff. "He's ours. They might misplace him."
The Dude picked up the conversational ball. "Yep. I heard that a guy went in with tonsillitis, and they ended up shipping him back to The Word. Can't have that. I mean, he might go to college...become a hippie...wear a ponytail."
"That's right," said Biff. "We don't want to have top break in a new TC."
"Wait...I thought TC was his name? I mean, his initials?"
"It is his name."
"So you'd have to break in a new one? What, do you guys give each other new names here?"
The Dude laughed. "No...TC is Tank Commander. I don't even know what this guy's real name is."
"Uh, huh...well." I heard the reporter ruffling his notebook, and said, "Uhhh." I wanted to be part of the conversation.
"So, OK...how do you guys feel about being drafted, and sent over here?"
The temperature dropped about twenty degrees, and I felt new chills coming on.
"We weren't drafted," said The Dude. The ice in his voice was palpable, but I could have done without it.
"Nope." I could feel Biff nodding, huddled next to me.
"OK...look, I'm sorry. It's a question I'm supposed to ask...my editor..."
"Is a jerk," said The Dude.
"Yeah. He is. But look...why are you here?"
Biff moved his arm around my shoulders, and squeezed. "For him."
"Why? No, wait...I mean, you didn't know when you volunteered that you'd be together...so how can you say, for him?"
" 'Cause he's here for us."
If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.
Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links (they're 99 cents each). And if you'd like a free PDF, please email me at tempusfugit02 (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll gladly send them