Saturday, April 6, 2013

War Is Hell, A Saturday Centus


It’s week 154 of Saturday Centus and time once again to write some mini-fiction as part of this fun and challenging literary meme by the incomparable Jenny Matlock.  So if you have a little time and one hundred words you aren’t using at the moment, you need to write them down along with this week’s prompt “It was the summer of 1974.”  Then post them to Jenny’s blog, off on my tangent, and share them with your fellow Centusians.  I have entitled this week’s post:

War Is Hell

It was the summer of 1974. 

The sun blazed overhead as Stevens and I slogged through the tall grass.

Our mission:  find Charlie and take him out.

The rat-a-tat-a-tat sounds of machine guns echoed through the trees.

Charlie was nearby. 

Smoke wafted by carrying the unmistakable whiff of burnt flesh.

We took positions behind a big rock beside the trail and waited.

Minutes passed like hours.

Finally our waiting was rewarded. 

Adrenaline kicked in.

Leaping from our position we caught Charlie by surprise.

“Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat!  We got you Charlie!!”

“You win.  My mom wants me home now anyway.  Dad’s barbecuing chicken.”

“Okay, same time tomorrow, Charlie!”

In the summer of 1974 I was a mere 12 years of age, playing army, building forts, riding bikes, and having fun like all kids did back then.  I was generally oblivious to the madness surrounding the pointless and inane war in Vietnam and the corrupt abuses of power surrounding Watergate.  Wow, I am sure glad we learned our lessons from that genuinely absurd time in our history!   Who would want to live through that again, eh? 


Jenny Matlock

“Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout "Bang!"”

George F. Will



  1. Long time since I read your work and still it has the sharp edge. Nice twist at the end today! I was older then but not sure I understood the war better than a 12 year old!

  2. How sad when that innocence fades.

  3. Fabulous! You had me right there in the jungles of Vietnam and then pulled me from the real bloodshed with a fun twist. I remember that time well. Yeah, too bad about those lessons.

    Love your new photo in the cap and gown. Congratulations!

  4. You really got me on this one. I thought it was about some war story. Good job.

  5. I was sure you were referring to Viet Nam. Great twist at the end. I truly enjoyed reading this.

  6. Great job on this, Tom. Really clever.


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  8. I know what you mean! I can still remember playing outside and hearing Walter Cronkite on the television, and not really understanding just what all was happening....thinking life was just perfect, everywhere.

  9. I've been away for a while and after reading this, I see that your style is even more crisp and engaging than when I went underground.
    You reeled me in and, "Bang!" came the twist. Great Centus.

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  13. Man.

    Oh man.


    This was really good writing.

    I love the way you twist and turn your stories.

    I bet you're great at Twister.


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