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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Traces of Love - A Story of Viet Nam

Time for this week's contribution to the flash fiction contest #BlogBattle, hosted by Rachael Ritchey.

The keyword this week is trace.

Traces of Love

"Hey!" Sonny's face lit with a handsomely homely smile. "How y'all doin'?"

His right arm was still adorned with a big white dressing where the NVA ricochet had shredded the bicep, and the surgeon had decided it needed to be immobilized, so our loader was confined to bed.

The Dude leaned over and gently squeezed Sonny's good shoulder. "So how's our celebrity?"

A week before, a news crew with a reported named Dan Rather has come through the BAS, and had singled out Sonny for an interview. It had apparently been quite an event, and they'd needed to pull in a Navy nurse, a Texan, to translate.

"Lookee here!" Sonny pointed to a stack of envelopes by  his cot.  "Ah gots fans!"

Biff  dug into the pile, and began reading off return addresses. "Georgia, Arkansas, Arkansas, Tennessee...Arkansas..."

"I'd detecting  pattern here," said The Dude.

"...Arkansas, Georgia....wow, New York! Oh, that's from my mom."

"She's nahce, and she's purty, too," said Sonny.

"Yeah," replied Biff, "she...wait, how do you know what she looks like?"

"Y'all showed me her picture, raht? And beside...she done sent me one herself." Sonny took the envelope, and awkwardly, with his left hand, extracted a photo of a middle-aged dark-haired woman, Biff's mom.

Biff shook his head, as if trying to shake away Arkansas-sized flies. "Well...okay."

"Yer sister's purty, too, and she wrahts nahce."

Biff turned white. "My...sister...wrote...you...and sent you her picture?"

"Shur did...lookee in the en-vee-lope. Raht there."

"Oh..." Biff held the second picture, and then pulled out a lined sheet of school writing paper, carrying lines of neat script.

""She tol' me that y';all'd talked 'bout me when y'all wraht home, an' how surr-prized she'all was ta see me on th' tee-vee. So she tol' me 'bout her lahf, an' asked if I could raht back."

"Well, that's really nice, but she's just seventeen. She's still in high school." Biff's face was changing colours in an interesting way.

"Well, ah'd really lahk ta wraht her, but ah cain't."Jest cain't do it."

"She'll understand." The relief in Biff's voice was like a cool breeze.

"It's mah arm...I cain't wraht with mah left hand...could ah tell y'all what ta wraht, Biff? Ah bet she'd love ta see yer handwrahttin!" Sonny smiled again, and I wondered that I had seen him as homely.

Biff sighed. "Sure. Let me get some paper from the nurse."

The Dude and I made our farewells, to allow privacy. We waited for our gunner outside, smoking.

When Biff emerged The Dude handed him a lit Marlboro. Biff took a deep drag, and coughed.

"She could do worse," said The Dude.

Biff wasn't a smoker, and his face discovered a new colour, a delicate lime green. He coughed again, but didn't relinquish the cigarette. "It's not that."

"What, then?"

"What if he doesn't make it back? And breaks her heart?"

The Dude put his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Hey...you're jumping way ahead of yourself...I mean..."

It must have been the Marlboro, for there were tears on Biff's cheeks. "I mean, we almost lost him...and how can anyone not love him?"

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


  1. I love this story. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. I'm forwarding all your #blogbattle stories to my brother. He's currently serving in Romania, and has a wife and two small children waiting for him to come home. He was in Ramadi and Fallujah during the Iraq war. I'm so thankful you're able to keep writing, Andrew. I pray for you an Barbara everyday. Sometimes more than once. God brings you to mind, ya know? May you find a measure of peace today, my friend.

    1. June, thank you so much for sharing these...Ramadi and Fallujah...wow.

      We are so grateful for your thoughts and prayers! There is some peace today...at the hands of one of the Service Dogs, who gave me strict orders..."Lie down before you pass out!"

      So I did. Never disobey a Queensland Heeler. They bite.

  3. Love always requires courage. Thanks for reminding us. :)

  4. Love is in the air. Be brave. It's not for the weak :-D <3 <3

    1. Oh, Teresa, you said this perfectly! Thank you!

  5. This one made me cry (and I'm not just saying that either). I love these guys so much. They aren't just characters. I just. Love.