Literacy Week: Navane Naivety

The date is April 30th, 1979, I wake up and mute the high pitched shouting radiating from my alarm, I stand up and begin my morning routine. I approach the case divided by the days of the week that contain my medicine and vitamins, a note sits upon the Monday lid it reads “stock up on Toothpaste, refill your medication, buy B12 and Fish Oil!”

No time for any of that now I thought, for today I get to see my friends, I hadn’t seen them since the war back in ‘77, An Aviator’s Reunion with his ol’ Flyboys! I miss those boys, we used to fight outta the B-52 Stratofortress, with its Basil green nose cone, long swept wings cutting through tha air like uh hot knife through margarine, speaking of hot, the underbelly oh my lord! The underbelly silver white gleaming like a werewolves bane flyin’ through the air afta leavin’ the barrel of a .38 special, not unlike the napalm clusters and 4 hunnid pound bombs we delivered onto unsuspecting Vietnam fightin’ forces, oh how those were the days! Quickly my rose colored memories fleeted as the doorbell sung a tune, “that must be them”. I open the door and there they stand, Micheal “The Man” Smith our tail-turret gunner, David  “Bon Voyage” Miller our bomb bay operative, and last but not least, Henry “Right hand man” Brown my copilot. I walked the lads inside and we headed’ on down to the basement for some cards, talking about the old days and what not. So there we was sittin’ at the table, I went and poured the guys a coupla’ drinks and dealed em’ in.

It was quiet at first, small talk and banter leading’ the night an occasional joke and just focusin’ on our card games’, we got around to playin poker, I took a lookin’ at my cards, I had a royal flush and I pressed the boys witha “I’m all in, all or nothin’” the boys folded their hands, that had been fifth consecutive win of mine, It’s like these boys weren’t even playin’ at all, hell they might as well shouldn’t of been, regardless I take my spoils, some pocket change the boys threw in the pot and just then after we got to talkin’ . Miller kicked off conversation, up until this point I had been the only one talking, it was like speaking to a set of brick walls or sum kinda empty table, but after all it’s been two and a quarter years since I seen the boys, we wasn’t friends before the war and we ended up losin’ contact for quite some time after it, but regardless Miller began to talk about the day that brought us all together, Operation Falling Freedom. He had been talkin’ and laughing’ about how we nearly didn’t make it, Micheal as our tail-gunner didn’t find it so funny as he’d really fought to keep us a flight, and when you’re in a position such as a cramped lil glass cage with a set of twin machine guns on the ass end of a tin can, boy did you have to fight. Henry chimed in reminding me of what had really happened on that faithful’ day, we had been doin’ a bombing run over a dense topography of a Vietnamese rain forest, we were droppin’ napalm, large heavy weight bomb and just about anything else we had. David had been loadin’ up more napalm clusters while Micheal was keepin’ them Soviet Migs at a distance.. The folks on the ground though, them was the real problems, they was  shootin’ all kinds of things at us like 7.62 from AK47s and 5.56 from AKMs all of which were courtesy of the Soviet’s and the weapons they had been handin’ out and when they ran outta the good stuff, they’d fire they’re sidearms and whatever else they’d think could get up high enough to ring off our hull. But it was when just one well placed rocket from a Strela-2 surface to air Soviet rocket launcher found its mark on one the two propellers on our left wing that the problems really started. Immediately a fire broke out and engulfed the entire left wing, we were losing altitude and quickly at that. We had initiated evasive maneuvers, but we was real low to the ground and as fate would have a well placed rocket from that same Strela on the same wing and the damn thing snaps right off falling from grace like Lucifer himself casted down with flames and smoke onto the village folk below. The plane without much input from me or Henry initiated a roll and within bout’ twenty five- thirty five seconds we’d come to a graceful halt, nose cone buried like a dead man 6 feet into the earth, our tail end snapped off from our chassis like uh’ pine branch off the tree in uh’ cat’ 4 hurricane and the chassis was crushed like uh soda can under a marines boot.

I don’t remember much after that but wakin’ up in a hospital, I called out to Henry and David who had been lyin’ next to me and the nurses had given me the strangest looks, but pshhhh, what do you they know? They hadn’t seen it quite like we did. Me and the Lads were honorably discharged soon after that and I hadn’t heard from em since, course’ till  today. I interrupt all this story tellin’ stuff to go take a leak.  When I came back from drainin’ the ol’ swamp snake all the chairs had been pulled out null and void of all my friends who had been previously sittin’ there, I grew worried, “Did they leave without saying goodbye?!?” I searched the whole basement, the upstairs and the kitchen, the whole damn house and then I began to panic, “l-lads? LADS?!?” I called out, but alas no response. “You can’t- you can’t do this to me, come on out it’s not funny!” Where- where did they go? They can’t just leave me, not again, not like last time. I tried my best, I did really- I really did. My eyes began to well up and not much later than that tears began pouring down my face, “LADS?!?!?, LADS?!?!?” Not again not again, it wasn’t my fault Henry, t-t-t-there was nothing more I coulda done  I swear to ya- I says I swear to ya. “M-M-Micheal?!?” I called out, “I tried to keep us in the air Micheal, I-I-I really did!” But alas, it was just as quiet as when they first sat down at the table, just as quiet as the game of cards we had played, the silence was screaming at me but a familiar voice had shouted right over it, it was David’s voice and it commanded me downstairs.

“IT WAS AN ACCIDENT DAVID IM-IM-IM SORRY, THERE WAS NOTHIN’ MORE I COULDA’ DONE REALLY IM TELLIN YA THE TRUTH I SWEAR TO YA’Z I AM!”. David’s voice persisted and brings me to the table where we had been playing’. I move his seat outta the way and find an empty bottle of pills sitting right where his deck had been the label on the bottle reads  “PRESCRIPTION: