Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Short Korean War Fiction

I'm working on a short (fictional) story based on my Pap-pap's experience in the Korean War. He never spoke much about it but had lingering issues from it all the way up until his death. The story is an accumulation of what we know about him, the servicemen he was with, and general knowledge of the war. I hope to have it finished by Veteran's Day, but here is the opening passage:

"Super Bowl Sunday, an American past time, generally has not been privy to my cloistered terror. But this year the shocked faces of my family are frozen indefinitely in this torturous moment, filling the operating theater that surrounds my living room, comprised of an old sectional sofa and three lazy-boys. Their seats and nachos became an elevated horseshoe, surrounding me at my most vulnerable, unconscious state. My kin peers hopelessly beyond the sterile guardrail at a procedure that they do not understand, only having prayers that their father, their grandfather, can be fixed.

It all happened so quickly that I cannot recall the action. It’s as though the first and last frames of a movie had been taped together; all of the other superfluous frames had been cut out and discarded. There remained only a still shot of me- sitting in my recliner, left hand clutched around the front of the armrest, finger tips drilling for peace through the leather exterior, denting and cracking the wood below- then a terminating shot of me on my feet, still lurching, chest heaving from the follow through. With the remote control, I had thrown up my own hail-Mary– a cry of despiration, in a corner, clawing for escape– but Mary did not heed. The device lay stiff, terrified and in shock, enveloped by the shattered shell of the television’s tube. There was no pretending anymore. The unspoken truth they had sensed their whole lives– the truth– had manifest itself onto that unsuspecting, fated remote that now screamed with its shivering silence inside of its sharded sacrifice; its martyrdom to expose my midnight tenor. The intangible wedge that had adhered to my chest that I had always prayed would die with its host had now been given a face; a circle of serrated glass that once displayed armadas of mosaicked colors intended as a diversion, now a weeping invalid, a forceful reminder of the realities it once distracted from. It isn't long after something is given a face that it is given a voice. After a voice, immortality.

This room, full of my blood, could now see the evidence, so un-ignorable. I had not yet turned to meet their eyes, but I could feel the stillness of the air resulting from their held breath. They were waiting for my commands, my confessions. Or perhaps, in spite of my disillusioned hope for a pyrrhic catharsis- they were deciding whose house was closest so they could return to the game in the timeliest manner."

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