It is with my kindest and dearest regards I bid you you farewell, my love. For how long, I know not.
Until next we meet, my thoughts will be of you. I dare not utter your name, for it fills me with melancholy and softens my spirit. You are my the wound the hobbles me and the cane that lets me walk.
With love and longing,
>who is Cletus
You are Cletus, a lowly private. Thinking about what you have had to leave behind fills you with anxiety. You prefer to focus on your job, which is to obey your commanding officer and kill as many of the boys in blue as you possibly can. Today is your first day out of basic training, and you are a LINE INFANTRYMAN.
It is late in the evening and you’ve had nothing but a bowl of plain oats to eat. A battle was pitched in the field just east of your camp, but the enemy’s army has not shown up. Whispers of ambush are floating around your company.
Commander Wright: “Platoons, form up at the fire to receive orders: EIGHT! ELEVEN! TWELVE! FIFTEEN!”
The commander blows a whistle.
Twelfth. That’s you…
You form up.
Commander Wright: “A small enemy battalion has been spotted north comin’ southbound. It’s an ambush alright.”
Your insides knot up.
Commander Wright: “Twelfth, make a wide circle around the back of the oncoming battalion and fire at your officer’s signal. Fifteenth, wait for the first exchange and charge on my mark. Eighth and eleventh, follow the cavalry in. Is that CLEAR.”
“SIR, YES SIR.”
Commander Wright: “God be with you boys.”
You dropped the letter in the wooden letterbox back at camp. The courier get there ‘til the morning. You crack a smile at the strangest time. You s’pose it was a little maudlin.
She’s so sweet on you, though, that she won’t care. She’ll smile, too, and you can see it now. You’ve always been shy about looking the fool, but something about her takes away your fear. You straighten up and MARCH.
The woods are dark, but you can see the back of the orienteer’s coat as you follow.
The CO stops the platoon at the crest of a small bluff in the woods and looks on with his spyglass. You can just make out the tails of blue-coated soldiers vinestepping away from you in the distance.
CO: “Form up. By two, by two. Cadets!”
Yous CO swings out his arm.
Your platoon forms up, takes aim, erupts in smoke and thunder.
The bluecoats ahead panic and begin to scatter. The private next to you falls on his face.
CO: “Abooooooouuuut face! Aboouuuuuut!”
About face? What?! WHAT?! That wasn’t part of the plan!
Two more men in your line fall. You panic.
You drop to the down instinctively.
CO: “GET UP! GET UP!”
The noise around you is a confusing slur, and you find it nearly impossible to reload on the ground.
The ambush is well hidden behind a fallen maple tree. They fire once more before your platoon can finish reloading, killing many of them.
The enemy officer orders a charge, and your efforts divert to not ******** your pants. WHY
WHY MUST YOU BE SUCH A COWARD
No, now isn't the time for cowardice. Your life has just gained meaning. You have said time and again that you would die for your bonnie love, and now it is time to live up to your word, so
down with the eagle...
AND UP WITH THE CROSS
You couldn’t run if you wanted to. The battle is in full swing, and the platoon that your folk tried to ambush has joined the fray. The cavalry is nowhere to be seen. You still didn’t think you would get this far.
Ok there’s that guy
You barely notice that you had been stabbed. You jerk forward off of the blade and return the gesture to your assailant.
It is getting hard to breathe, and you can no longer feel your arms, but you’re not dead yet. The skirmish has gravitated into the open, so you take cover behind the fallen maple. Your shirt is so soaked. that you feel like you’ve fallen in the river.
You begin to reload your rifle, but slowly with your shaking hands. You may just be delirious, but you think you hear hooves.
You do suddenly feel like taking a quick nap, but there’s no time for that. You’ll miss the battle! You have found a save spot since the cavalry is coming from the south, and you are north of the battle.
Your rifle is loaded.
You: “Huh? Who’s… who’s this?”
You: “Oh… hello. How are you”
God: “How am I? Wh-”
God: “What kind of question is that?”
God: “Ugh… never mind. Look out into the battle, Cletus.”
God: “See the guy there? With the stupid red belt and the saber?”
You: “yeah I sees ‘em, lord…”
God: “Shoot him”
You: “Why would I shoot him, lord?”
God: “He’s your enemy’s infantry officer, you idiot!”
You: “But… what if he’s my CO?”
God: “Look over there, your CO is dead!”
You: “Oh, right…”
Well, here goes nothin’. Your hands are shaking, your vision is blurred, and you can barely steady yourself.
You fire, and by some miracle… the officer topples onto his side. The enemy formation loosens momentarily as their chain of command is interrupted… just in time for Commander Wright to arrive with the cavalry. They ram through the enemy line and scatter the blue-coats.
You thank God for the freebie, then lie back to relax. The ground is nice and cool. In fact, everything is cool. Ice cold.
You [whispering]: “Alright! We did it, boys! We did it! Let’s have some beer…”
Your eyes drift shut, and your mind becomes distracted by pleasant thoughts of a night beneath a young oak tree in a little town called Coxwette…
You: “Wow, you look… eh… real nice, Ramona.”
You don’t know of anyone named Cletus.
You: “I take it Sally isn’t home?”
Ramona: “She isn’t. She has to work late today since they received a large shipment of new books. I’m so proud of her work ethic.”
A silence follows, and Ramona wrings her hands a bit.
You: “It sounds like we have a little time to ourselves then, doesn’t it?”
You: “Say, have you dusted my bedroom, yet?”
Ramona: “I don’t believe I have.”
Ramona: “Did you want to make sure I do a thorough job?”
You look toward the foyer as if Sally could burst through at any moment. She doesn’t, so you follow Ramona upstairs.
[END OF PAGE 1]
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