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Eeven though society is attempting to diminish the line between men and women there are certain parts of our society that will forever distinguish between the sexes.

The most obvious is how each group shops. Women are and have always been the best shoppers. I assume it is in their genes. Men don’t shop; they pick. When they are forced into the stores they get out of there as soon as possible by finding what they need and evacuate the store and parking lot as soon as possible.

The other day my wife and I went out to pick up a few things we needed around our house. Like all women, she made up a list as to what we needed. She also scheduled out what stores we would travel to. Looking over her shoulder I noticed a very neat and specific list. I, on the other hand, found a crumpled up sticky note in my wallet that was supposed to remind me to pick up some sand for our walkway. I’m not sure but I think that was for last year.

We just made it through our first store when I noticed my wife veer off into a department that had little to do with what we had on our list. I figured something caught her eye and followed her into a labyrinth of merchandize I did not know existed. This is where the demarcation line exists between a man and a woman.

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Aas the war raged on around him, Jack closed his eyes tightly and prayed for it to end. His gun suddenly felt like lead in the lifeless stubs that once passed for fingers. He tried to leave this barren world, tried to let the battle go on without him, but found that lacking.

He had been told stories of war by his grandfather but never believed that he would find himself fighting for something that had never even mattered to him. Something that he didn’t want to believe in, but, even now, as he heard the bullets zip around and the bombs explode, had started to realize that he didn’t have to believe in it, only had to fight for it and protect the mere idea of it.

His eyes flew open as his squad raced by him, guns smoking. A hazy fog had begun to pollute the air and he blindly followed his friends, family, and still others, who were merely in this war to get away from the abuse of home. When he had first heard of the war he thought it was like a disease, infecting the very air around him, killing off any and all that he cared about.

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         Join us now; we’re on a marathon.
        We’re always dancing when the music plays.
        Join us now; we’re on a marathon.
         Dancing, dancing through the nights and days.  

Jjacques Brell began his world famous lyrics with this description of lives of our past, present, and future. In his musical compilation he laughs and cries about our history and how we never are bothered about learning from our past.

Another famous quotation comes from George Santayana. He wrote:Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. The United States is famous for forgetting the mistakes of its past. The classic modern example is the Viet Nam War that promised to remind all Americans that involving themselves in foreign adventures leads to disaster and too much death. I guess we forgot this because we ended up in two more wars that had the same consequences.

The world is proving to have little memory of its own history that led to World War II. The actors have changed but the plot remains the same.    On September 12, 1938, Hitler made a speech saying he would come to the assistance of the oppressed Sudeten Germans, and that he was constructing in the west the strongest defenses ever made by man.  If one exchanges the name Hitler with Putin and the areas of Sudetenland with Ukraine the concept of one part of our history plagiarizing another seems quite rational.

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Foreword.
As a boy, my home life was not the happiest it could have been. My mother married five times and for the most part married losers and alcoholics. My real dad left us when I was a lad of six and I was the oldest of four boys and one girl. It was pretty much up to me to watch over them. I have always envied “Perfect Families,” if such a thing exists! I envied them so much so that I swore to myself I would always be there for my children.

Sometimes I have made mistakes but so far I have at least been there for them. My oldest just graduated and my youngest will, in 3 years. Most of my life, I have dealt with depression in some form or another. I think perhaps I am overly critical of myself. Outside I apply humor a lot, to mask “The Me” inside.

‘Learning To Fly’ is the part of me that longs to be free and happy for a change. If I could make a wish, it would be that all of us never suffer from a lack of love in our hearts! Having children gave me a part of that. I only hope I have taught them correctly.
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Ddust! It was everywhere and in everything: in our eyes, mouths, hair, clothes, food, and water. It was from the medevac helicopters. As the Tet offensive raged on, the choppers just kept coming in, one right after the other: many times all day long, bringing in the dead and wounded from everywhere.

Sometimes three or four helicopters would be waiting their turn to land, so they could go back and tempt fate again, to go get more. They were a constant reminder of what could happen to any of us, at any time. There had always been medevacs coming in, but never anything like this; it never stopped. Whether we were building bunkers, eating chow, or trying to catch a little sleep, the unending river of pain, agony, and death kept right on coming.

The wounded were quickly helped or carried off the choppers in their bloody bandages and shredded fatigues, some quiet, some moaning, some screaming, most just curled up and lost in an agony of pain and morphine; so many of them were handicapped and disfigured for the rest of their lives. Then there was the never-ending train of body-bags. Bags and bags full of dead men, sometimes only parts of dead men. They were hauled off the choppers, dragged out of the way, and laid in a row at first, then stacked as room ran out.

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“Ouch! Damn it!”  I cussed, as the truck hit another deep pothole. Years of removing VC mines and filling the holes of the ones that worked had made the dirt roads bumpy beyond belief. My back and arms are killing me and the choking dust has caked around the goggles on my face, and feels gritty and pasty in my mouth.

I feel that I can’t take one more bounce (but of course I’ll take that and more, because there’s no way out). The roar and rattle and banging of my truck, has long since numbed my ears to the outlandish racket around me. Driving long enough puts me into a kind of nightmarish trance. Common sense tells me to keep an eye on my surroundings and watch for patches of dirt, which could be mines, but it’s getting harder to do anything but hang on to the wheel and keep the damn truck on the road.

The sides of the road are usually steep dirt walls, dropping off into rice paddies and cane fields. Losing it for a second or two can spell real disaster, especially when the roads are slick with mud, or a convoy coming the other way forces us over to the edge of the dropoff. Pulling over doesn’t exist, and you don’t “stop” in the middle of a fast moving convoy with trucks in front and rear and potential ambushes always possible. My God, how many more months will I be here? Will it ever end? I guess I’d better watch what I wish for.

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Tthe starter whined and died again. Gordon jumped out and kicked the front tyre, rattling the raised bonnet. He flung a stone at the door of the four-by-four, and was pleased to see a shiny patch appear among the rusty chips. In this endless desert, there was plenty of black shale and he practised target skills on the vehicle, for half an hour.

Surveying the damage, he smiled. It was not a pleasant smile. Westward lay the barren yellow hills, south of Baharia Oasis with their black caps of ironstone, and the sun was already tumbling towards them, through a red sky. In thirty minutes, it would be as dark as the inside of a Berber tent and then the cold would come. Below zero, cold contracted the naked rocks as swiftly as daytime sun expanded them, shattering them into pieces.

His only shelter was this heap of metal; his bedding was a change of light gear and a thin jacket. Momentarily he wished that one of his girlfriends was with him, with the huge case of sweatshirts, so essential for their holidays. He snorted. He was better off without greedy females. All they wanted was sex and the good life, and gossip with their girlie friends about his prowess in both fields. He, meanwhile, worked tough assignments, currently supervising drilling on an offshore rig in the Red Sea. That was real, that was work requiring brawn, mental agility, and fair dealing among the varied nationalities.

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Wwe live in an era of convenience. Whenever we need something done there was someone in The United States who would invent something and then it would be manufactured in China that made what we had to do simple.

I used to think this was a good thing until I discovered that convenience comes with a price. That price is a whole bunch of aggravation. For example, last Christmas my wife bought me a coffee grinder so I could have the freshest of coffees before my day began. The idea seemed functional and I looked forward to the morning when I could begin to taste what coffee is supposed to taste like.

The day after Christmas I woke up a bit early yet not too early because of the festivities of the Christmas day. I set up the grinder and added the fresh beans. Turning the machine on was like walking into a hanger full of jet planes waiting to take off. My head evolved from a hangover to a full fledged aneurism. The sound was something I would never want to wake up to again. Plus the coffee tasted the same as it did when I quietly took it out of the can.

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The backdrop is azure, like a deep blue sea, then slowly
drifting across the stage come gracefully, gowns of white, billowing
and floating light.
That breath of skill in every flight.
But alas, too soon,the line begins to waver and right there
before my eyes, dissolving slowly into strands of silk,
the ballerinas leave the sky.

Gathered Visions by Wendy R. Chapman.

She can be contacted at: thetalewagger@hotmail.com

Copyright reserved. No part(s) of these publications may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of the author.

Iin the cage of the sleeplessness, the nights never breath the same way. Even if the summers’ crickets and the winters’ harsh winds are the same, the nights’ song is always new. Nothing is repeating identically, not even the rare, monotonous tick of the clock, as a sleeping heart carrying along the sleepy blood of the night.

The only noise that seem to be always the same is the one that sounds as a smothered sigh. One could say the imprisoned soul is mourning, of someone that would have been buried alive in the walls. But it is only the restless grave of the words.

Tthe words have been condemned to death one winter night. And since they have not been allowed to be spoken anymore, they have snowed over the bloodless lips, burdening them with a painful silence. And if they sometimes dare to cry the sadness of being killed too early, this happens only at night when there is no one around to hear their sigh with an echo of sea waves and sad distant strings.

And when the dawn comes, they stop again as if they have never spoken, wrapping me in their silent network that grows heavier day by day ….and I will die the day when I can’t be seen anymore through their thick mist, useless silk-worm in the dough of the unspoken words.
The End.

THE WORDS’ GRAVE by The Lonely Shell
Visit my website at: http://roxelmar.cjb.net

Copyright reserved. No part(s) of these publications may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of the author.