Home » A Wasted Life » Short Stories » Ole’ Tin-tin – Chapter Seven

Ole’ Tin-tin – Chapter Seven

I looked at Grandpa and I could see an agonal look…the kind of look when someone has suffered unimaginable trauma. He couldn’t speak for a few minutes. He just kept shaking his head. Finally, he sighed heavily and began.

“We were desperate to find out if one of the bodies might be George. I asked one of the docs if maybe he had treated an unusually tall man. That medic looked at me and again, I saw that thousand yard stare as he said, ‘I don’t measure those soldiers. I just do the best I can to try to keep them alive and most of the time…I can’t.”

“Staff Sargent Weston had just give us our orders, but I didn’t hear a word he said. I was worried sick about George. I never let the thought of him being killed enter my mind. I told myself that the had just gotten lost. We had been told not to call out if we were lost, and George was a good soldier. He would never have put us in danger.” Grandpa chuckled as he said, “other than subjecting us to that god-forsaken cacophony of howls from ole’ tin-tin.”

“I risked Sargent Westons’ wrath when I asked if we were going to look for George, and I think if looks could kill, I would have dropped dead. He said, ‘your mission is to do as you are told, not go out and try to find a soldier who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and can’t find his way back to his own platoon. He’s probably been fragged anyway’.”

“Sargent Weston could be harsh, and at that particular moment, I wanted to punch him in the face, but I sort of understood. That’s what war does to you. How many times can you see death and not become numb? To him, George was just another soldier. We were all…just another soldier.”

“We gathered up our gear and started humping through the bush. We didn’t know where we were headed or what we were going to encounter. We could have been walking straight into an ambush without warning, but we kept walking. We tried to make jokes about the mosquitoes the size of small cars, the crickets the size of bigger cars, all the while trying not to think of things that were inconceivable.”

“One of the guys yelled, ‘hey. What’s worse than listening to George playing ole’ tin-tin’? Another one yelled back, ‘nothing!’. We all laughed. Anything that could make us laugh was welcome. I think that’s why we were all so fond of George. Even when we were so tired we could hardly move, he could make us laugh.” Grandpa smiled and said, “George made ripples.”

“After we’d been walking a good two or three miles, our point man stopped dead in his tracks, and immediately took a defensive position. He gave us the hand sign that unfriendlies might be ahead. As we carefully walked toward him, ready to fire at anything that moved, we all stood in stunned silence.”

To be continued___________

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