by Michael Chappell
I spent 2008 with the US Army in Kabul, Afghanistan. I was a Lieutenant assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade, and Platoon Leader to 28 soldiers.
Now that it’s ten years later, I’ve been reflecting quite often on my time overseas. The good, the bad, the funny, and everything in between. We rotated between three different missions every three days. Two of those missions were pretty relaxed while the third, patrols and convoy operations, had the potential to get very intense. During our patrol rotation we were attacked several times,
but thanks to our training and the bravery of the soldiers that I was serving with, we all made it back home safely.
With the other two missions we were given plenty of time to rest for our own mental health, and as a result we filled that time with various activities so we didn't go crazy. I did a lot of running, I learned how to speak Dari, and I dabbled in art. Being a 23 year old, not too long out of college, I created a couple beer pong tables (even though we weren't allowed to drink alcohol). I designed the first table to resemble what we affectionately called “Jingle Trucks,” Central Asia’s very colorful version of a tractor trailer.
The second table you see I created for an Air Force friend for her birthday, and had my interpreters get me some shellac to seal in the design I drew with sharpie. I left it outside to dry overnight because it smelled so badly, and
when I went out to check on it the
next morning the table was gone.
Camp Phoenix, where we lived, was shared with several other countries. Since we lived right next to the French, I thought they had stolen the table as a prank. I was so angry, I walked up and down the rows of b-huts looking for the table, ready to start a fight. After about 20 minutes of searching with no success I returned to my own b-hut, fuming, and saw one of our Platoon Sergeants walking by. I asked if he had seen who took my table and he simply pointed above my head. Some of the Soldiers from my company had placed the table on top of the roof of my b-hut.
Relieved that the French hadn’t stolen it, I laughed out loud when I saw it and replied, "I'm not even mad anymore, that's pretty funny!" For ten years, I was never, truly certain of who put it up there. I shared this story on social media recently as I was reminiscing, and the jokesters admitted to the prank.
Along with our training,
and the traumatic events that we
lived through together, the downtime
we shared helped us to cope mentally. We formed a brotherhood that was able to withstand a war, and the past 10 years.
I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
IN THIS ISSUE–––
• DAVID S. WARREN
• MICHAEL CHAPPELL
• GEORGIA E. WARREN
The Woman Who Wore My Hat
• DAVID S. WARREN
The Third Leg
• FRANKLIN CRAWFORD
Dear Diary, 10,000 B.C.
• DANIEL LOVELL
• DAVID ROLLOW
Glad To Be Unhappy
• RHIAN ELLIS
•NANCY VIEIRA COUTO
Lily, Mister Bluebird, and the Beginning and End of My Singing Career
• GABRIEL ORGREASE
Stormy Daniels, Full Disclosure
• DYLAN THOMAS Before I Knocked
• MARY GILLILAND Vertical Before Dawn Strips the East
• FRANKLIN CRAWFORD
Burn the Timeline
• CHRIS MACCORMICK Disremembrances of the Russian Twilight
• PETER FORTUNATO
• MEMORY NUTS
OREN PIERCE Memory Nuts
R. Saminora, - Paris
Before I knocked and flesh let enter,
With liquid hands tapped on the womb,
I who was as shapeless as the water
That shaped the Jordan near my home
Was brother to Mnetha's daughter
And sister to the fathering worm.
I who was deaf to spring and summer,
Who knew not sun nor moon by name,
Felt thud beneath my flesh's armour,
As yet was in a molten form
The leaden stars, the rainy hammer
Swung by my father from his dome.
(the entire poem)
by Nancy Vieira Couto
"Nancy, I want to ask you something," my cousin Lily said. By the look on her face, I could tell it was important. "How would you like to be a flower girl at my wedding?" she continued. I didn't know what a flower girl was. I had heard people talking about sweater girls, and I sort of knew what they looked like, but I didn't think I could look like that. I was only four years old. "You would wear a pretty gown," Lily said, as if she were reading my mind, "and you would carry a bouquet of flowers." I was still worried about the sweater, but I liked Lily. So I said OK.
(go to story)
by Steve Katz
I was fifteen when my father died. He’d been sick for seven years already, was rarely home, usually bed-ridden in some dreary hospital in the Bronx, or upstate at some rest home. That was treatment for a heart condition at the time — stay in bed! Had my father been around, my fate might have been different. Without a father to slap me into the future I felt like upcoming life had been placed on the far side of a high slick wall. I couldn’t bust through it, nor could I scale it, but against its unyielding concrete I constantly slammed the enigmas of my adolescence.
(go to story)
by David Rollow
The writer sulked. She wasn’t wrong. In the flush of inspiration he’d typed up a report of her most recent visit, while still at the office (he had a day job to support himself), and he had unthinkingly left by the typewriter a second sheet for all to see. He didn’t use a carbon, so to anyone not overwhelmed by curiosity it would have seemed to be only a blank sheet of rough yellow paper. (go to story)
by Annie Campbell
I had gained only five pounds during my pregnancy, but walking in that oven-like heat made me feel like I had gained two hundred. My toes were so hot and swollen they looked like red potatoes and felt like they might explode. I could hardly wait for the heat wave to be over and my mysterious baby top reveal itself.
(go to story)
Review by Gabreal Orgrease
(go to review)
Before I Knocked (go to)
Vertical Before Dawn
Strips the East (go to)
Burn the Timeline (go to)
CHRIS MACCORMICK Disremembrances of the
Russian Twilight (go to)
1984 (go to)
I’d already been in bed four hours before I found out what the mattress pad was for. You don’t ask too many questions about hospital beds, in general, and I didn’t ask any about this one. They let me have a laptop, and the hospital has free wifi. My assumption is those things are supposed to make up for the horror I’m sitting on right now, just barely covered by the ratty mattress pad. (go to story)
The focus of our next Metaphysical Times will be
"Weird Tales" (see full size)
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