Here’s another one of my works for my creative writing class I wrote a while back, and is basically what served as the inspiration for this blog. Enjoy!
“Jesus, would you look at this place?” I panted as the three of us each seated ourselves at a demolished café, setting our rifles to our sides. There wasn’t much left of the city to put in a post card, or at all for that matter; hell, it was starting to look a lot like those old photos of Normandy my grandfather used to show me as a kid. Not a soul stirred in those desolate streets-either the shelling had left no survivors or everybody had up, turned tail, and gotten out before or during the bombardment.
“Used to be real pretty here,” Private Anthony Davis grunted. “I remember I’d spend my summers down by the lake two klicks from this café,”
“You too?” I began somewhat eagerly. “Shit, do you remember that-?”
“That outdoor cinema right by it! Yeah! I used to go there every other night!” Benson said with a nostalgic smile. Our other companion, a private Brent Higgs, looked around as if it were his first time in the city.
“Can’t say I’ve ever been here before,” He said, confirming my suspicions. Davis raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Seriously, dude? There’s no way you could’ve missed this place growing up. Forget Disney Land, this was the happiest place on Earth,” he scanned the ruins once more and then turned his gaze to the ground.
“Was,” he sighed. “How did this happen, man? How the hell did a town this beautiful get caught up in this shitstorm of a war?”
“Beats me,” I answered with a shrug.
For several minutes silence, despite being aware that it was an unwelcome guest, decided to try and make himself at home amongst us. Realizing that our guest was taking up more space than we’d liked, I decided to kick him out.
“I remember this one time.” I began. “I was staying at our cabin by the lake one summer, and these two friends of mine, Mathias Mendelssohn and Jack Smith, they just popped up out of nowhere and brought me cruising along with them,” I chuckled as that weekend reassembled itself in my head. “So we went up to the forest east of the lake, and these guys had doobs on them, right? So naturally, we go and smoke it. Things are fine for about an hour, hour and a half. Then, we here this car rolling up from a distance, so we go and hide in this nearby cave thinking it’s the cops or something,” The grin on my face widened with the story’s progression. “Out of the car step these two dudes, right? They disembark and start taking a look around and then notice our car. My first guess is that they’re hunters, given the shotguns they had on them.”
“Hold up,” Davis interrupted. “I think I was there that day, or was I with Greene?”
“Nope, you were there, you prick!” Davis and I started laughing while Higgs just smiled to go with the flow. Not wanting to leave him out, Davis continued,
“So anyway, they’re hiding in this small cave, and suddenly out comes Glass here, shivering like he stumbled towards us like some damn bum. We-haha-turn ‘round and start interrogating him, but he’s too high to get what’s going on that he just stands there and stares at us! Meanwhile the other two clowns are busy snickering away in the cave.” By now Davis could barely contain himself. “Glass, take over!”
“So, I turn around and, and hear-haha! Sorry, Higgs! I-I turn around and shout, ‘Fuck you, guys! Get on out of there!’” One of them notices this and tells the others to call the police. Then, he turns to me and asks, ‘Where’s your wallet?’”
“What?!” Higgs exclaimed, the polite smile now replaced with an intense grin. “Are you fuckin’ serious? What did you do? Hell, what could you have done?”
“I just pointed at my pocket like a fuckin’ retard is what I did!” I answered. Davis was fighting tooth and nail to stay seated in the rickety, shrapnel-damaged chair; it looked like it was going to break from all the movement.
“Next thing you know, Mendelssohn and Smith come tumbling out of the cave laughing their asses off. It turns out those hunters were Matt’s two cousins from here, and this asshole was in on the joke as well!” I laughed.
“Clearly,” Higgs stated, now overcome with laughter. “What happened next?”
“We lit up a couple more jays,” Davis began, now slightly more sedate. “Shot the shit, messed around by the lake, and then we went to the bar right over,” he guided his finger past a series of demolished shops and homes until he settled on a wrecked, four-story building with a rusty and perforated sign that read “The Slab” still dangling over it. How the hell is that sign still there? I thought, eyeing it with curiosity.
“There. We went over to the Slab there and drank ourselves stupid later that night,”
“Don’t forget the food! And those people!” I cut in.
“Oh, yeah! The food there was amazing, and reasonably priced, too. Anyway, there were always a lotta foreigners here during the summers, especially. Anyway, we met all these people from, I think Pakistan, Germany, Russia, Poland, Greece, Vietnam, Argentina, Lebanon, Syria, Romania, and who the hell knows where else!”
“Kinda funny for a town all the way out here to attract that many foreigners,” Higgs remarked.
“Yep. Like I said, forget Disney World. This town was the happiest place on Earth,” Davis’ smile slowly faded at those words. “Was,” Silence made his way back to our table sat back down.
It felt like we’d been sitting at the café for hours, but a glance at my watch revealed that it only half an hour had elapsed.
“Time used to move by much faster here,” I said, trying to break the silence.
“I can imagine,” said Higgs with a hue of wonder upon his face. “Was there an arcade here?”
“Oh, yeah, right over there they had a Dave and Buster’s,” Davis replied. “There was this one game I loved, I can’t remember the name. It was like some sort of racing sim, but you shot up other cars. Anyway, I remember we went to your birthday, Andrew, when we were about eight, remember?” He asked me.
“Yeah, it’s vague, but something happened that day…” I answered.
“Did it involve publicly pissing oneself, or someone getting pantsed?” Higgs probed mischievously.
“I think pantsed. That’s right! I pantsed this girl-Pamela Brown-right as ‘Drew blew out the cake’s candles.” Davis resumed the laughter, but this time it was softer.
“I remember you felt so bad after that and couldn’t stop trying to make it up to her for years. Jesus, that was weak of you.” I chuckled. “But you grew out of it.”
“I did, I did.” He sighed.
“Fireteam Kojak, Cobra actual. What’s the status on that town? Over,” Higgs’ radio squawked.
“Copy, Cobra actual, this is 3-2. Town looks clear so far but still needs additional reconnoiter, over” Higgs spoke.
“Copy that, Kojak. Grizzly’s on the east side of town, same status. Mop up on recon and link up with them. Cobra, out.” Ordered our CO-I’m sorry, civvies-Commanding Officer.
“Copy that, actual. Kojak, out.” Higgs acknowledged. “You heard the man,” He groaned as he rose. “Let’s explore the rest of this town. Maybe you’ll have more stories to tell of this bygone paradise,”
“Sure thing, man!” I answered with a hint of excitement. The three of us resumed our patrol, marching eastward back into our former summer haven, seeking nostalgic solace in the bits and pieces that lay scattered about.