Monday, July 02, 2007


The crack squad of philosophers paused after a violent dispute with the enemy. They'd discussed the meaning of life and war, but no one could agree to die. So they withdrew in a stalemate and waited while their sergeant consulted the magic 8 ball. "Does war have a meaning?" he asked. "Maybe" the 8 ball said. The sergeant tossed the black sphere wide into the air. It landed in a ditch some hundred yards away, exploding in a cloud of inconsequence and colored confetti. The philosopher-soldiers rested cross-legged on the ground, waiting for abstract orders. None came, but the enemy marched forwards now, carrying a banner bearing the large letters and digits: "Error 401"

"Now what does that mean?" one of the soldier-thinkers asked the soldier-thinker next to him.

"Damn! Why did you interrupt me?" the soldier-thinker answered, "I almost had what war meant!"

"It's all making nonsense to me too!"

They watched as the banner bobbed in nearer to their position. The enemy soldiers halted and bowed slightly in a show of respect, then brought out the t-shirts they were selling, complete with date and time of the battle ironed on in red, white and blue, a wonderful souvenir to take home to the family. And that was the revelation they'd waited for: There's no place like home, especially during a war. Now they could all go home and celebrate Independence Day.

Story #401

Happy Fourth of July! And thanks for all the stories you guys posted. I'll comment on them tomorrow. Ready to sleep now.

19 comments:

RICK TERROR said...

War is love. I mean, I love War.From my childhood, when I played Ghost Recon all night long in my crackling pc. I promplty enlisted in the glorious army when I was in war age. Yeaahh, the Third Gulf War against Persia. Fuck Clausewitz, we were techno grunts. I had as brothers in arms the dodgiest dogs of war from Nicaragua, Nepal, Laos and El Salvador.Blood, blood, I like blood.

But the nuke was cheat.

Now we try to reorganize after retreat. Old technology, no mo' nukes.All the kids united against those nasty mutants. For Humankind. For Love.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song said...

"WAITING TO EXHALE."

My World said...

Our friend earlier, said, war is love, war is good... my god man, I was involved in Nam... there's nothing good about WAR... unless your the fucking goverment pushing
it... sorry... for my english...

PEACE..... LOVE....... :)

My World....

The Grocer said...

In best pantomime fashion can we all shout "HE'S BEHIND YOU".

The Mushroom said...

In the spirit of "Where's Waldo?" we have a new game:

Spot The Embedded Journalist

hint: he's wearing blue, not green

You have five minutes... good luck!

Lorena's Blogbilingüe said...

Director: Cut! You, GI Joe, you’re too clean. Go to make-up and tell them you’ve been crawling in mud for three days. This is a picture about war, war is dirty, we’re doin’ realism here, not some pansy romantic comedy, tell make-up I want grit, dirt and grit, got it? Hey, who’s the blue sweater dude? Jesus Christ! What is this, a f---ing golf course?!

Monica said...

I've noticed how difficult it can be to hold your breath in the middle of panic. I've also noticed that love can find its way to you in the most unexpected places.
How do you tell someone you love them, when it is clear that your feelings are not only forbidden, but clearly not reciprocated?
How am I supposed to live the rest of my life, after this war is over, without sharing my feelings?
The smell of the mud and sweat brings me back from my thoughts. And the hardness of the ground beneath me reminds me that I should stand a be ready to march again. But I sit and watch his hands rolling the cigarette that we will share in a moment. Maybe my memories will be enough to live on...

M.P. said...

They were staring at the skyline but not seeing anything! They knew the attack command was near but their bodies refused to obey orders. They knew they were there to fight. To fight. To kill and to die. All of a sudden a high-pitched voice shouted"GO! .. GO!! ... GOOOO!!" They went ... but ... how many came back???

darkwraithafter9 said...

we wear standard issue green pants and sit on mud. it's not an everyday job but somebody's gotta do it.

i'm sexy on a molecular level.

bb said...

"What?"

"Are you serious?"

"Shit, son, this is not what I signed up for."

Riri said...

- "Get yer bums off the floor ye morons! The enemy is upon us!"
- "Yes Sir! Some traitor must have spanked our trousers with superglue Sir! Oops Sir!"

Indeterminacy said...

Rick: Yup, that sounds like the future of war. Reminds me of the cycle in a set of James Thurber sketches.

Cheryl: What if someone forgets to tell them they can exhale!?!?!

My world: I think it was meant ironically. But however it was meant, I agree with you.

Grocer: Wicked! It's probably a giant blob of jello pudding waiting to roll all over them - and automatic submachine guns don't stop it.

Mush: The question is, who gets shot at first.

Lorena: Hilarious! Really brightened my train ride home (I read this on a printout. So much for paperless Internet).

Monica: That was so perfect and harmonic. I love it!

MP: It's so cool to see your comments again! I missed your stories. You described an uneasy moment before tragedy. Really sad and senseless.

Darkwaithhafter9: Funny! Sounds a bit like caption-noir

BB: Always read the fine print before signing.

Riri: Those damn spies!

-----------

After reading all these, I wonder why I couldn't I have had one of these ideas. It would have saved me so much trouble of thinking.

Kolkhoz said...

Private Rob Nielsen rocked on his haunches, only dimly aware of the conversation going on around him.

“Look, for the last time it’s called an LZ not an LP you muppet.”

“Yeah, come on Nigel, if you want to play the part of Captain the least you could do is get your terminology right.”

“And what’s with the accent Nige? It started off sort of Texan and ended up somewhere in Devon.”

“And who made you the boss in the first place?”

Captain Nigel Bentt, IT engineer from Torquay, stared down the mutinous horde that was the South East England Vietnam Re-enactment Society.

“These ‘ere stripes make me the boss,” he said pointing defiantly at the wrong sleeve.

The assembled company laughed as one.

“Charlie ‘e don’t surf do ‘e?” Someone quipped, mimicking Captain Bentt’s accent.

“He went to kick Ho Chi Minh’s ass armed only with a pound of clotted cream toffee.”

Nigel burned with frustration, then realising he had pretty much been fragged, let out a laugh. “You daft buggers,” he grinned.

Meanwhile, back in his own mind, Private Nielsen was no longer Rob Neilsen – a divorced machine operator for a precision engineering firm – but was now a 19 year old grunt from somewhere in the Mid-West, with no family, no home, no purpose but war; a persona that had started off as a laugh but had come to possess him with its purity and simplicity. He ran his hand lovingly over the M16 assault rifle on his lap.

Reactivation. It is the process by which a deactivated weapon is restored to its original purpose. The instructions are not hard to find. The materials and time to do it present few problems for a man with access to the right machinery.

Private Nielsen grinned. The mission was clear. Before him was a Red Zone, all contact to be treated as hostile. No doubts, no grey areas, everything in the front of the muzzle was enemy.

Nielsen flicked off the safety and stood up.

Cheesemeister said...

I can't keep up!

"Sorry, gentlemen," the Lieutenant said. "The transport bringing the ammunition has a flat and ran off the road into a ditch. So we won't be having war games today. We'd best start walking back to camp. I know it's hot now but the weather report says we'll have a deluge later."
"That drunk sonofabitch Sanderson!" Victor muttered aside to Eldon. "The only reason he gets away with this crap is because he's the damn general's grandson!"
"Something you want to say, Corporal?" the Lieutenant asked.
"Merely that it's a fine day for a walk, Sir," Victor said, looking at the cloudless sky and wondering if the weather reporter might be a relative of the general's too.

Papillon said...

Further to Monica's LMAO story:

But then I threw caution (and a shitoad of rolling tobacco) to the four winds as I lunged at him and declared "Kiss me, you fool!"

Indeterminacy said...

Kolkhoz: Sounds realistic - I never achieve that with my stories. Really gets into the guy's mind. Thanks for such an in-depth story!

Cheesemeister: German word of the day is Vetterwirstschaft

Papillon: Ohoh, I think part three will really be hot ;-)

Kolkhoz said...

Indeterminacy: Cheers. Loved your story, especially the Magic 8-Ball grenade, that is some seriously odd ordnance.

ming said...

the meaning of war? i tot it was sorted out along time ago?..."meaningless, meaningless everything is meaningless"

Indeterminacy said...

Ming: That's right, of course. It's probably what I meant, writing such a meaningless story.