Monthly Archives: April 2013

Excerpt from “Chickenhawk” by Robert Mason ~~Wrong medal~~

picture-Chickenhawk-MasonKaiser stared ahead, his shoulders sagging. He could’ve been a player on a losing football team, but he was a tired pilot flying a helicopter.
I smoked a Pall Mall and leaned against the door to rest my aching back. We had been flying assaults for more than eight hours, no breaks, and were headed back to the Rifle Range.
‘Yellow Two, Preacher Six.’
‘Roger, Preacher Six. Go ahead.’
‘Roger. Come up on two-six-niner and do whatever you can for the man.’
‘Roger,’ I replied. Kaiser shook his head while I tuned in the grunts.
‘Yellow Two, Wolverine One-Six. We’re under heavy mortar attack and we’ve got some serious wounded to get out.’
‘Roger, we’ll be there soon. What’re the coordinates?’ The lieutenant read off six digits, and I plotted him on my map. He was only two miles away. I pointed to the map, and Kaiser changed course without saying a word. I leaned against the door and flipped my cigarette out the window. Maybe it would clear the jungle.
It was easy to find the guy for all the smoke that filled his clearing. Other than the smoke, I couldn’t see any action.
‘Yellow Two, we are clear. I repeat, we are clear. The mortars have stopped.’
‘Roger, we’re coming in.’
Just like that. Neither of us thought about the fact that the unit was trapped, encircled. The mortars could start again any time. Neither of us cared.
We approached the clearing the shadows and pall, with the setting sun ahead of us. Even while Kaiser brought us over the tall trees, I felt no adrenaline. I sat up and squared my shoulders, put my hands on the controls, but I felt no anxiety.
Rubenski fired suddenly into the trees to our right.
‘Get him?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know for sure.’
‘That’s nice.’
Kaiser brought us to the ground with scarcely a bounce. The clearing was a miniature meadow surrounded by tall trees. The grass was short – like it had been mowed. I stared out the canopy. Across the lawn, ten men lay dead in a neat line. One man’s abdominal cavity was emptied around him, his remaining arm buried under his own guts. Another man seemed to be sleeping unscathed in the shady meadow. I stared at him while the grunts scurried toward us carrying five men. Ah, I thought, as I noticed the pale gore behind his head. Not sleeping. Brains blown out.
Two torn men were loaded on the back before the mortars returned. As the mortars struck, the grunts hit the dirt, carrying their wounded with them. Aw shit, I thought, another delay.
I noticed that there was a lot of orange light inside the explosions, silhouetting clumps of black dirt at the bottom of the funnel of expanding gases and shrapnel as mortars exploded a hundred feet away.
The grunts must have been as tired as we were. After the first few rounds, they got up and loaded the three other wounded while the mortars continued bursting ahead of us.
I looked back as the last man was lifted onto the deck. He was missing a leg below his knee. A tourniquet kept the blood mostly stanched. Rubenski blasted the tree line on our right flank. How long had he been doing that?
‘That’s it, Yellow Two. Watch out for a machine gun ahead of you.’
Kaiser lifted the collective. I radioed, ‘Roger.’
A mortar exploded at two o’clock, fifty feet away.
Kaiser pulled the ship’s guts so hard that the rpm warning siren screamed in our ears. He let off enough pressure to silence the alarm and turned left to avoid a machine gun the grunts had warned us about.
As we crossed the edge of the meadow, I heard Rubenski’s gun blasting away, and then tick-tick-tick. Ah, must be another machine gun. I nodded to myself. Three rounds passed harmlessly through the sheet aluminium and lodged in the hell hole.
It was peaceful again. I lit another cigarette and watched the sunset.
‘You guys really impressed that grunt commander,’ said Nate, back at the Rifle Range. ‘I heard he’s putting you in for a DFC.’
‘Wrong medal,’ said Kaiser, already drunk. ‘It should be the “I Don’t Give a Crap” medal with a V device for valor.’

1 Comment

Filed under Literature, Military, Non-Fiction

Excerpt from “The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard” ~~Titanic~~

picture-NoteBook-ElbertHubbardIt is a night of a thousand stars. The date, Sunday April 14, 1912. The time, 11:20 p.m.
The place, off Cape Race – that Cemetery of the sea.
Suddenly a silence comes – the engines have stopped – the great iron heart of the ship has ceased to beat.
Such a silence is always ominous to those who go down to the sea in ships. “The engines have stopped!”
Eyes peer; ears listen; startled minds wait!
A half-minute goes by ššš∞ ∞

Then the great ship groans, as her keel grates and grinds. She reels, rocks, struggles as if to free herself from a titanic grasp, and as she rights herself, people standing lose their center of gravity ∞ ∞

Not a shock – only about the same sensation that one feels when the ferryboat slides into her landing-slip, with a somewhat hasty hand at the wheel.
On board the ferry we know what has happened – here we do not.
“An iceberg!” some one cries. The word is passed along.
“Only an iceberg! Barely grated it – side-swiped it – that is all! Ah, Ha!”

The few on deck and some of those in cabins peering out of portholes, see a great white mass go gliding by.
A shower of broken ice has covered the decks. Passengers pick up specimens “for souvenirs to carry home,” they laughingly say.
Five minutes pass – the engines start again – but only for an instant.
Again the steam is shut off ∞ Then the siren-whistles cleave and saw the frosty air ∞ ∞
Silence and the sirens! Alarm, but no tumult – but why blow the whistles when there is no fog! ∞ ∞
The cold is piercing. Some who have come up on deck return to their cabins for wraps and overcoats ∞ ∞
The men laugh – and a few nervously smoke ∞ ∞
It is a cold, clear night of the stars. There is no moon. The sea is smooth as a Summer pond. The great towering iceberg that loomed above the topmost mast has done its work, gone on, disappeared, piloted by its partners, the darkness and the night ∞ ∞
“There was no iceberg – you only imagined it,” a man declares.
“Go back to bed – there is no danger – this ship can not sink anyway!” says the Managing Director of the Company ∞ ∞
In a lull of the screaming siren, a hoarse voice is heard calling through a megaphone from the bridge – “Man the lifeboats! Women and children first!!”

2 Comments

Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction

Excerpt from “The Mystery of the Fiery Eye” by Robert Arthur ~~Ruby~~

Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators

picture-ThreeInvestigatorspicture-ThreeInvestigators-MysteryFieryEye-Arthur“Well, Bob gave me the clue when he told me Gus’s great-uncle lived in Dial Canyon, which was formerly Sundial Canyon,” Jupiter exclaimed. “I should have figured it out for myself. After all, I sat there tied to a chair in the kitchen and saw the shadow of the peak move across the lawn just like the shadow of a sundial.”
“You see, Gus, your great-uncle thought that you’d catch on, knowing how interested he was in different ways of telling time. He had an idea you or your father would put that together with the name of the canyon and the message and understand what he meant, while someone who didn’t know about his hobby wouldn’t.”
“I still don’t understand,” Gus declared.
“Wait a minute!” Bob cried excitedly. “Sundial Canyon – the shadow of the natural sundial on the lawn marks the place where the ruby is buried, and Gus has to delve for it. Is that the answer?”
“Correct, Records,” Jupiter said.
“But it’s a big lawn,” Pete interjected. “How do we know the right spot?”
“The message tells us,” Jupe answered. “Let’s go over it again. May I have it, Gus? Thanks.”
He spread out the message and read parts of it as the truck bounced along.
“ ‘August is your name and August is your fame and In August is your fortune’ – that’s to get Gus’s attention to the word August, while just seeming mysterious to an outsider. Then, ‘Let not the mountain of difficulty in your way stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.’
“That’s a sentence that seems to say one thing, and says another. Gus’s great-uncle figured he would know that the mountain he meant is the peak above Dial Canyon, and that the shadow of his birth meant the shadow of the mountain at the time of his birth – that is, on August sixth at half past two in the afternoon. Correct, Gus?”
“That’s right. I’m beginning to see it now, Jupiter. August – mountain – shadow – time of my birth – it all rather hits you in the eye as soon as you know you’re talking about a giant sundial.”
“The rest of the message is pretty plain,” Jupiter stated. “ ‘Delve deeply’ is clear enough. Most of the rest is just talk to help confuse an outsider. The phrase ‘time is of the essence’, though, means two things. One is to hurry and find the ruby. The other goes back to the sundial idea; the right time is very important.”
“Two-thirty to-day. That gives us hardly an hour!” Pete exclaimed.

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

Excerpt from “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard ~~Terl~~

picture-BattlefieldEarth-HubbardHe grabbed the hilt of the knife and tried to yank it out of Snith’s heart. It was stuck. He looked at Terl.
The Psychlo, still raving, was clawing at the access plate. Tearing his claw points he was actually cutting into the hard metal to make a circle and remove the core.
It was quieter outside. Dwight’s voice came out of the mine radio at his belt, “Ten seconds to withdraw!”
Jonnie knew he was late.
The wires were still humming.
Jonnie made himself concentrate. He still had a job to do. He could feel his heart revving up.
He got a hand under Sir Robert’s armpit and dragged him through the slush. He got to the console. He knew it had a bomb in it he would have to disarm fast. But he tucked Sir Robert in close to the console so the dome coming down would not amputate his arms or legs.
He glanced at the console. The switch was in the up position. It would have to be in the down position when next this was fired. He wished he had time to tell somebody.
He fumbled for his remote control box. There was broken glass in his pouch. His arm felt like it was on fire. The broken glass was the serum ampule! He had no serum.
The remote shook. No, it was his hand shaking. He threw the switch and swung the crane. No. He had to turn off the armor curtain first. He was getting flashes of blackness. His heart was beating faster and faster.
The armor curtain! He crawled to the bus bar and got it off. Back at the console he looked up at the dome. He operated the remote, positioning the dome exactly above them so it would come down correctly. He threw the switch to lower it. It was coming down too slowly. The cables must be stiff. He could not help that.
He got a hatchet out of his belt for the cables. He would have to be ready to hack them off the instant the humming stopped.
Jonnie lost track of time. He could still hear the humming of the wires.
He looked toward Terl over the platform. The monster seemed to have succeeded in opening the access plate. He was handling the bomb with great care, extracting the heavy metal core.
Suddenly Jonnie knew what Terl was going to do. He would throw that core at him. It would travel like a bullet! It could go straight through him.
Abruptly Jonnie saw something else.
Brown Limper!
He was rushing forward with a Thompson submachine gun in his hands. He had gone through where the armor curtain had been at the far end of the platform. He was trying to get so close to Jonnie he couldn’t miss.
The dome was not yet down.
Terl had the core in his paw now. He was going to throw it at Jonnie.
It was quieter. There was only smoke and falling snow and the creak of the cables lowering the dome. Jonnie pointed at Brown Limper.
“Terl! He is going to shoot!” he shouted.
Terl spun around and saw Brown Limper. He saw him raising the Thompson to aim it. One shot at this moment would shatter the firing.
Terl threw. He threw with all his strength.
The core hit Brown Limper in the side. It ripped through and hit his spine. The Thompson clattered to the ground.
Brown Limper fell in a jerking tangle of arms and legs, screaming: “Damn you, Tyler! Damn you!” He laid still.
The wires were still humming.
Terl yelled at Jonnie, “I still win, rat brain!” He knew better than to move now.
Jonnie’s head was pounding. His heart was going too fast. But he could shout back. And he felt he had to pin Terl there, distract him.
“Those coffins are full of sawdust! They were changed in your bedroom this morning!” shouted Jonnie.
Terl whirled to look at them.
“And the gold never went to Psychlo! We changed those too!” yelled Jonnie.
Terl opened his mouth to shout.
The platform cargo shimmered. The coffins full of sawdust shimmered. The Brigante corpses on the platform shimmered. Terl shimmered. And it was all gone. The platform was empty, clean even of slush.

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

“The Far Side Gallery” by Gary Larson ~~Popeye~~

comic-FarSide-Larson-Popeye

1 Comment

14 April 2013 · 4:31 am

Excerpt from “The Invaders – Dam of Death” by Jack Pearl ~~Finger~~

picture-Invaders-DamOfDeathThe four security guards were paralyzed as the weird fire raged over their bodies. Delacorte and the President uncovered their eyes and looked on in horror as the stricken men melted away into nothing.
“They are devils!” the President whispered in awe. He crossed himself and began to pray in Spanish.
“That’s ridiculous!” the Ambassador scoffed. “They’re foreign agents with some kind of secret weapons!”
He stepped out into the aisle and confronted the pilot and flight engineer belligerently. “You’ll answer for this outrage to the United States government! How dare you!”
“Don’t excite yourself, Ambassador Delacorte,” the pilot said in a pleasant voice. He reached up and placed a hand on Delacorte’s shoulder. “I think you had better sit down. This may be a rough landing.”
The Ambassador grabbed his wrist and pulled it away from his shoulder. “Get your hands off me!” he said angrily. Then the anger drained out of him as he looked at the hand held up before his face. He was shocked at first. The smallest finger was deformed, stunted and twisted in against the palm of the pilot’s hand. It looked like a small claw.
Delacorte shuddered and let go of the man’s wrist. He backed away. A terrible fear seized him but it was not the kind of fear he would have felt at being threatened by plane hijackers, enemy agents, ordinary thugs. This was a deeper, more primitive fear, a fear of the unknown. “Devils” the President had called them. Delacorte believed him now. There was something inhuman about these creatures. He could think of them only as creatures.
The pilot advanced at him with his hand outstretched, the crooked little finger beckoning to him. He was holding out a small disk with a rough, quartzlike texture to its face.

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

“Father and Son” released by Cat Stevens

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

Son
How can I try to explain, cause when I do it turns away again.
It’s always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want, you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.

Son
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

picture-FatherAndSon-Stevens

2 Comments

Filed under Lyrics