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Monday, February 3, 2014

Fitting in. By John von Daler

                       They pick me up at the station in Connecticut, the part populated with people who work in New York and have an apartment there that they use four days a week. The other three days they live here. It's too far away to waste time commuting.



                We drive through woods, the two young men and I. We go to college together, yet I hardly know them. I am muffled and awed by the gaudiness of what to them is normal.  Even this car is one of four or five, Hey, Dad, can I borrow the LG7? My StarWhammer is at the garage. Hey, Mom, can't Spiker and I just stay over at the townhouse. I mean Oleana has the day off anyway, right?
                We drive past a mailbox, off the little country road and onto a gravel driveway that stretches through some green hills and then a woods. On the other side of the woods there is a field.
                "This is where we have our war games," says the older one. He brakes the car and I try to focus on the huge field. Among the grass and shrubs and leaves I finally register thousands of toy soldiers all lined up. As far as you can see there are soldiers in rows, tanks, cannons, planes. Everything is minute.
                "We sneak out at night and reposition our troops," says the younger one, "You know, take prisoners and such...like last night, heh, heh, heh, if you'll notice hill 21!"
                The older brother slams on the brakes and smashes both hands down on the steering wheel. As the car skids through the gravel and stops, a hare behind a row of fortifications jumps up and tipping over a small stockade bounds off towards the woods.
                The younger brother reaches down to his right, pulls a rifle out of a strap on the front door and throws open the door. Resting the rifle quickly on the top of the car he quietly and slowly squeezes the trigger and shoots one shot. I see the hare change directions in midair, from forward to down. Then something sucks all sound out of the air.
                We wait a moment. Nothing moves. Thousands of soldiers await orders to no avail.
                "See if its dead," says the older brother. "We'll wait here. It's the only humane thing to do."




My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through Amazon.com, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click to buy Pieces at the top of the blog. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at Amazon.com or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!



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