Author Topic: S.O.R.T.E.D.  (Read 1210 times)

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thatp1g

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S.O.R.T.E.D.
« on: April 07, 2007, 08:44:30 PM »
[size=18]S.O.R.T.E.D.[/size]


Jack stood holding the kettle, frozen in a world so suddenly empty it sounded hollow. Suburban sound came flat and lifeless echoing his grief.  Mowers hummed and cars drove past but all of this took place behind a thick opaque curtain that stood between him and the world outside.  His feet tingled and the floor felt like it would crumble away underneath him at any moment.  He reached a hand towards the bench top to steady himself against the tilting room and wondered if he was going to actually feel something solid beneath his palm.  Was anything real.

'This is so foolish' he thought briefly and then his red flushed face began to twist with tears torn from eyes that he knew to be much tougher.  The kettle began to wobble in his failing grip and he thumped it to the counter.  Angry came and went so quickly it had hardly made it's presence known.

"It's just a goddamn cup of coffee..." he lied to noone. "What's wrong with me for god's sake. I've seen 3 wars.  I'm stronger than this."

"Your wife of 40 years is lying dead on the lawn, thats whats wrong mate."

The other voice continued, "She was going to get the paper off the lawn and you were going to sit and have coffee, just like you have done every morning for the last 6 years since you retired.  Her cups still on the bench.  Do I need to continue?  You think if you make that one cup,  only one cup,  of coffee that it will make it suddenly real."

"Oh fuck off," and Jack hurls the cup at the floor.  It bounces and the handle comes off.  He so much wanted it to smash.  He feels so impotent.  

Walking to the window he looks down at the yard and sees the police and ambulance people looking back.  They look away, embarassed almost.

"Suck it up man." says that persistant voice, the Sergeant back in basic who had warned them all that he would be the voice in their heads for the rest of their lives, "in the heat of battle you will hear me, in the quiet of your dreams, in the silence before a shit fight and even when you are in the arms of your girls back home it will be me whispering, 'put it in her arse'."

Jack breathes in deep and calls himself back from all of the wanderings of his mind down different memories of her.  Gathering as much 'Jack' as he can, he follows the rules again.  

"Situation?" says the little voice.

"Betz is dead," he replies.

"Objectives?"

"Get through today... (Deep breath) Okay, Undertakers, the kids need to be told, get those cunts downstairs out my yard."

"They are just doing what they have to."

"Fuck off"

"Resources?"

"Um, the funeral is organised - she insisted we do that a while ago when she had the first lot of chemo.  The rest is just phone calls and... guts I guess."

"Time Frame?"

"Looking at 2-3 days till the funeral, the undertakers will be here within a half hour of the call, soon as they've been the cops and co will fuck off...  time... " and he is frightened again thinking of all the time he will have alone now.

"Environment?"

"Death has come to my home this time fuck it. I'm not in some desert or the jungle where people are supposed to die.  My front yard man!"  

"I hear you mate, now 'DO IT' and it's 'SORTED'."


Picking the handleless mug off the kitchen floor he says to the empty room, "'Sorted' I don't think this will ever be 'sorted'."  He makes the coffee he began earlier and sipping it he picks up the phone.  

The calls are made and he rises stiffly from his favourite chair.

Jason, his eldest answered the phone first and was going to let the others know. They all live so far away now.  All grown up with kids of their own.  Wasnt that long ago they were playing sword fights on the lawn where their dead mother lay.  

The undertakers were helpful and they weren't going to be long either, half an hour or so they said.

He stops at the study on his way to the door and looks at all his photos.  The walls are lined with faded pictures.  He looks at old black and white photos and vivid colour memories fill his vision.  He picks up a dark framed photo that stands on the desk and studies it.  

A young man in uniform smiles back at him with his arm around the waist of a striking dark haired woman.  She looks so small next to him and even a stranger holding this photograph would know they were in love.  The couple seem so bold compared to the field canteen behind them and the dirty tired soldiers almost don't exist. He'd known Betz 36 hours when that photograph was taken. His throat swells and his eyes fill then he notices his pyjamas.

He opens a mahogany door and takes his fresh pressed clothes from the hanger. Dressing quietly, he tucks the photograph in a pocket of his coat. The laces on his boots are strangely stiff today.  Parade gloss smells rise from the leather and he finally feels prepared to meet the vultures in his yard.

Walking towards the door he stops abruptly and returns to the study fetching some afterthought from the drawer of his desk and placing it absently in his trouser pocket.  

At the top of the stairs he stops dizzied by the bright of day.  He grabs a rail and sees a dark station wagon pull up in the driveway.  Two men in suits get out and start walking toward the police.  Hands are shook and nods are nodded and heads are turned to Jack.  Jack nods back and continues down the stairs.  

Betz is alone now.  A plain sheet covers her against the eyes of neighbours and the vultures seem to have forgotten her for a moment.  He kneels down beside her and gently draws the sheet from her face.  She looks 19 again.  So peaceful.  So pretty. So - asleep.

Jack becomes aware that he is watched and looking up he's a little surprised to see his best mate Andy.

"Gidday Mate, Betz is gone."

"Thats Sergeant Mate, you rude bugger" Andy laughs and Jack manages half a smile.

"She's not gone mate, she's here with us.  Even got a scotch waiting to warm you up."

They are almost interupted by some urgent mumbling from the crowd near the ambulance. "Two?"

"See you in a while then mate." says Andy and snaps off a crisp salute to his old Captain.


Jack returns the salute...




Two tired police officers watch the old man as he comes down the stairs. They are too polite to let their mouths drop open but nonetheless they are openly surprised to see the old bloke in full uniform.  He had said he was in the army...   Must have kept a uniform or two... Grief does funny things to people.

They watched him steady himself on the rail then descend the stairs and walk across to kneel beside his wife.  

The undertakers arrive and introduce themselves. Hands are shook, names exhcanged, details noted.

"Where's the second body?"

"Second body?"

"Our caller said that there were two deceased, Mr and Mrs Thompson."

"Two..."


And turning they see retired Captain Jack Thompson stand up beside the body of his wife and pull himself to attention.  His right hand rises from his trouser pocket in a crisp prolonged salute...   BLAM.  His knees bend, his hand drops out of salute and the browning falls in slow motion to the grass. The old man in the uniform seems to hover there mid fall for just a bit too long then he folds gently down beside his wife.  

Purple morning light finds them through a gap in the trees and plays games of shadows around their bodies. It looks for all the world like their spirits dancing on the precisely kept lawn.


blackf1ng3r

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007, 10:16:38 PM »


                

                      Another cracker.   :-?


admin

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 10:58:43 AM »


Man I'm sitting here totally stunned... that was incredible !


There are people in my life who never cease to both amaze and inspire me on a regular basis and in fact there is a really disproportionate amount of those people right here in the knuck.


You Mr P1g are definitely, definitely one of them.


Ultra high class piece my friend and one which will shine on the site if you'd allow me to post it up.

Doc

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 12:23:49 PM »
brillant

thatp1g

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 02:03:44 PM »
thanks heaps dudes.

all yours Richo.



Was sort of inpsired by a job I did on friday.  Didn't go down like that but food for thought.

admin

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2007, 09:38:29 AM »

3ncryptd

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2007, 04:10:23 PM »
Very piece nice P1g.  :D

You wouldnt be short of inspiration having your job would you.

thatp1g

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2007, 06:33:29 PM »
one thing Richo, the undertakers car is a wagon in Jacks version and at the end in the cop version it is a 'dark sedan'.  


Another thing....  

Man  :D.  

It never ceases to amaze me how you can polish things up.   I don't know if it's just cause when I write something I'mtrapped in the creative mode and cant step outside to proof read it or whether you were abducted by aliens and gifted via anal probe with a fucking literary brilliance.  

I'm a goddamn 7's student for english (20 years ago).  Always topped the class.  But I can never get my stuff to polish up as 'readable', fluent and correct as you get it.  (You even got all my tenses straightened out.) Failed chemistry tho...  Maybe thats it.

 :D :D :D :D :D

blackf1ng3r

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 06:47:50 PM »



          Great raw material's always fun to polish, mate.   :D


thatp1g

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2007, 07:14:08 PM »
Thanks BF, little flashes of inspiration that i try to pay tribute to as best i can.  That doesnt make a lot of sense i guess, but mostly I dont own the story, it owns me until i get it out.  That makes even less sense.*shrug  but I'm sure you understand mate.


3, plenty of material, very little inspiration lately.  

Now and then though, I get 'called' to a job. Sometimes there's a story that needs to be told.  

The other day, Good Friday, I did a job where a war vet lost his wife, he missed the 2nd world war by a year or two, (born 1930's) and met his wife when he served in the Korean war. He also served in Vietnam (I don't talk about that SNAFU) and a few other active deployments until 1990 when he retired.  His wife (2 years younger) had battled brain cancer and WON. All scans -ve for any left overs and they were starting to relax a little when she developed some heart trouble.  

They had 3 grown children living in Brisbane, Sydney and "fuck me i cant remember right now overseas" ( his words ).  

She got up for her morning shower and slipped on the lino, striking her head (sans skull surgery and not ever going to join up properly) on the loo.  Dead...  

Normal morning interupted.  Beautiful woman, mother, wife, and fighter of her own right (service in military, beat cancer, raised kids) dead, nude, on the bathroom floor.

What struck me from the whole job was how savage grief is to men.  

This once warrior, this proud and "big" man, this defender, this patriot, this father, this role model, was shaking, lost, humbled, torn apart.

Death is a leveler.


The coffee cup scene from my story I witnessed that morning,  he couldnt do it.  I had to make it for him.  He just could bring himself to make ONE cup of coffee.

I was very worried about leaving him alone, he assured me he would kill another but had no strength to hurt himself.  "Not a fucken coward, kid!" (his words.) "They want me, they better bring guns and a death better have the other horsemen with him."  

He showed me his study, the photos, his old uniform, his first uniform, his medals, his old officers browning (never saw it, no licence, dont know what you are talking about).  

Great bloke.  

My story was just a little bit of a tribute to that fella.

And mostly a "thankyou" for the peace that I grew up in.




3ncryptd

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2007, 08:02:05 PM »
plenty of material, very little inspiration lately.

Material. Thats what I was struggling to think of when I wrote my post. Bah, I go brain dead sometimes, some may even say frequently, this was one such time.

My story was just a little bit of a tribute to that fella.
 And mostly a "thankyou" for the peace that I grew up in.  



Well mate, after reading where the story came from I'm pretty sure you have done both. An excellent thankyou and tribute to him it is.

How you tell both the tale and the follow up of its origins is fukn awesome mate. Keep it up and even a hack like me might pick up enough tips to churn out something 1/2 as moving.






blackf1ng3r

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2007, 10:52:00 PM »
Quote


My story was just a little bit of a tribute to that fella.
 And mostly a "thankyou" for the peace that I grew up in.  



Well mate, after reading where the story came from I'm pretty sure you have done both. An excellent thankyou and tribute to him it is.

How you tell both the tale and the follow up of its origins is fukn awesome mate. Keep it up and even a hack like me might pick up enough tips to churn out something 1/2 as moving.



                    " Moving " was definitely the operative word.  


            I always have to struggle to work out what to say after reading something like that - thanks for helping to crystallise it, 3...     :-*

        
            Not like I've got nothing to say, but rather so many things to say and no way to say them concisely, that sometimes / often I wind up saying nothing, which is an injustice to the brilliance that has just rocked me to the core - yours, P1g's and a good few others here.


             I'm deeply honoured to have been trusted with the awesome works I've been given to polish -  thank you everyone.    :-*














            

admin

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2007, 07:36:15 AM »


argghhhh.. just got home off doggy ... will fix my error when i get out of bed...



do you want a wagon or a dark sedan ?



Literary fluidity comes with practice, nothing more.... with each edit I do from you guys I have to do less work (man thats a good thing.. rofl)

thatp1g

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 11:17:55 AM »
no biggy Richo. Either or. A wagon would probably be best, up here they have a modded ford station wagon so they can roll peoplel in the back.

admin

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Re: S.O.R.T.E.D.
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 01:21:54 PM »


*fixed*