Childhood Memories

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I remember picking up the spewn out gum out of the gutter. A rich man’s castoff after the flavor was all gone. No matter to me, it still had substance. I needed something with volume in my mouth and my stomach. The little blob of chewiness was a dusty grey. It was no wonder with the sidewalk caked with crumbled stone and layers of soot.  I popped it in my mouth after trying to scrape off as much debris as possible. Even with little chips of god-knows-what in it, that was my reward that day! The growling in my stomach kept at bay a bit longer. At least I hoped it would. I leaned up against the side of the building, chewing to my heart’s content, waiting for my mother to call me back in for lunch.

Being somewhat of a handful in my youth, getting sent outside was a common thing for me. It didn’t matter that the war was going on. Somehow, my mother thought the crisis in our city was easier to deal with than I was. On this day, my mama sent me out while she prepared our lunch. She yelled at me to stop being underfoot and in her way. Her scowl was feisty this day and her face cracked with lines I hadn’t seen before. I was almost thankful that she told me to get out and stay there until she called for me to come back in.

Lunch was our one filling meal for the day — the other meals, enough to keep us alive. Breakfast was usually schmalz on some bread. The creamy, greasy spread – rendered fat from pork. Looking back now, it resembled lard. If we were lucky, we got griebenschmalz which had cracklings added to it. The spread was chewy plus more filling. We never had to worry about the bread being stale or rotten as it never lasted long. And we had a connection to a local bakery that supplied the soldiers. We were so very fortunate in that respect. I often wondered about others who didn’t have that resource. I thought I was starving all the time, but what about them?

Of course, the soldiers ate well during the war. Because of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) regulation, troops got plenty of food. They had to be fit to carry out their duties. The average German soldier’s diet amounted to roughly 4500 calories a day. They fared much better at that time than the citizens in Berlin, late 1944.  We were fortunate. My father had a friend named Dieter, who favored us. He was a soldier. What a blessing, as he shared his rations with us some. Not that it stretched far for a family of six, but it sure was a nice bonus to what we ate regularly. Dad felt lucky to enjoy some of his rationed cigarettes too.

I heard mama’s voice in German as she yelled from the window – “Petra, komm hoch! Das Mittagessen ist fertig!” I was happy she had finally called me; I was so hungry! I walked back to the house with a long stick weaving behind me, etching a wavy pattern in the dirt with my quick stride.

I sat down and inhaled the Eintopf she had prepared. Sweet carrots, celery, potatoes, and big chunks of beef floated in the thick broth. She had seasoned it to perfection. I’ll never forget it.

But it will also go down as the worst meal I’ve ever had. Mama sat down next to me after I finished. To this day, I can see her tear-stained face sitting before me. She reached for me with her shaking hands saying, “Your father is dead, and so is Dieter. As we will be too.”

Finish the Story 11 – The Recruit – Part 11 #fts #THWS

Welcome to another one of Teresa’s Finish the Story prompts. The idea is that Teresa gets things started and then tags another blogger to write the next section. Dorinda at Night Owl Poetry, tagged me to run with part 11.

Part 1 by Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith

Adam was like any other eighteen-year-old boy and soon found himself standing in the middle of the training bay being subjected to the drill instructor’s ridicule. It wasn’t his fault the quarter didn’t flip on the old mattress, but he accepted his punishment anyway. He didn’t have another choice.

Ever since the revolution began, more and more troops were needed. There were even whispered rumors of lowering the age to thirteen if you were from a poor family. The government paid dearly for your life. That money could help support the family.

After completing fifty push-ups and parading around the bay in his underwear, Adam and the other recruits headed outside for training. The morning was dedicated to basic weapons and enemy language skills. Many of the recruits were already fluent, but the training was the same. Adam excelled and only realized his mistake when he was called into the commander’s office that afternoon.

“Take a seat,” Commander Flint said, pointing toward a chair in the corner of the room.

Adam did as he was told and caught his breath as two governmental agents entered Flint’s office. One look from them and Adam knew he was in danger.

“That him?”

“That is Private Adam Ripple, yes.”

“Come with us,” an agent ordered, flashing his sidearm and a warning glance.

Adam stood. “What is this all about?”

The agents stared at him. The one nearest him replied, “…….

Part 2 by Kristian at Tales From the Mind of Kristian

“You’re a bit of an anomaly, you know?”

Adam couldn’t help feeling a bit cynical. He knew he wasn’t anything special. He was just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, sent into the army to get him off the streets and to help fight this war that many now felt was unwinnable.

“Me? Apart from an ability to get myself into trouble, I can’t see what makes me any different from any other shmo around here. I’m pretty ordinary.” Adam laughed nervously.

One of the agents bent down and pushed the dark glasses down his nose, fixing Adam with an icy blue stare. “There’s many a true word spoken in jest, lad. Two things mark you out. Your ability with languages, which is by far the best we’ve seen in some time, and the fact that you could blend in anywhere. You’ve finished at this prestigious military academy.” He paused to glance out of the window at the makeshift camp, to emphasize the sarcasm in his words. “You graduate as of today. Tomorrow you’re going underground.”

The agents grabbed an arm each and practically dragged him out of the commander’s office and into the back of a black van.

Before he knew it he was……

Part 3 by Li at Tao-Talk

…hooded with a dark opaque fabric. Adam gasped for breath and had to gather his calm or he would suffocate in the hood. They drove for about a half hour and then he was led along by two to what sounded like a helicopter. The ‘copter lifted up and started forward. Just as he was about to relax for a minute, he smelled ether and lost consciousness.

Adam woke up with a splitting headache, lying on a cot in a small, spartan room. It had the feel of a hospital about it, and every so often he thought he could hear a voice over an intercom. The air seemed fresh. Filtered. When the government agent said he was going underground, did he mean it literally? There were no windows and no other sounds except the intermittent intercom echoes.

After what seemed like hours, but he wasn’t sure, the door opened and a woman who looked to be about forty came into his room. Her dark hair was in a granny bun, and she was wearing a white lab coat. She was startlingly ugly, with pasty white skin that looked like it hadn’t seen daylight in a long time. She smiled at Adam and he was surprised again to see that her teeth were pure white and even. Her smile brightened her face and was her best feature.

“Hello, Private Adam Ripple. I’m Dr. Bluebell. You’re probably wondering why you’ve been nabbed from basic training, thrown into a van, drugged, and are now being held against your wishes in a small spartan room. I’m going to be frank with you and tell you that the government needs your help. The fate of the planet is hanging in the balance.”

Adam rubbed his ears, then slapped his face over and over again. He did this in dreams when he wanted to wake up, and it worked every time. When nothing happened, Adam knew this was real.

His eyes met Dr. Bluebell’s, who had been watching him. “OK, Doc, I’m no hero, but I’m no coward either. If Earth needs me…”

Part 4 by Mel at Crushed Caramel

Dr. Bluebell flashed that same becoming smile that improved her face and passed Adam a large folder she had been clutching. “Here is your assignment, Private Ripple, please familiarize yourself with it.” With that, Dr. Bluebell spun around and departed the room leaving Adam alone.

Part 5 by Cheryl at The Bag Lady

As she left the room, Adam opened the folder to see what he hoped would be there, an overseas assignment. He hadn’t traveled the earth much and if it was all going to hell, he wanted to see as much of it as he could. Adam thought he would make a good spy if that’s what it took, after all, he had seen all the James Bond movies, all the others he could find, but kept the fantasies to himself. Basic training was hardly a picnic, but if he could endure that and still be chosen for a special assignment, he was excited.

There were forms to fill out, many contract clauses calling for complete secrecy for any mission he completed. Adam signed quickly, felt no need to view “the fine print.” It was his naïveté and abilities that made him the perfect candidate. After filling out every paper, Adam returned to Dr. Bluebell’s office. “Right, then” as she took the folder, “now it’s time to meet the big guy.” Adam was wondering who the “big guy” was, thinking it was a Major or Colonel, and then laughed to himself as “M” came to mind. A huge door slowly cranked open and there he was…

Part 6 by Sadje at Keep It Alive

Staring at an unbelievably handsome, and young man. He felt his jaw dropped to the floor. He felt that something was not right here. It seemed that young man was too perfect. He started to observe him more closely. The “big guy,” as he was referred to, was definitely not a human. His movements were jerky and mechanical. His voice was clipped and sounded a bit like recording.

“Private Adam, I am talking to you.”

Adam focused his attention to what was being said to him.

“This is a very dangerous assignment. Your skill at languages is going to be very useful for us. We will be sending you to the enemy territory as a undercover spy. Your job is to glean as much information as you can about their attack plans. At no time should you try to get in touch with us. We will contact you ourselves.

Adam took all this in with mixed amount of excitement and apprehension.

He was really going to be a spy!

He was told to go to the barracks. On the way back, Adam addressed Dr. Bluebell. “Excuse me ma’am, I couldn’t help notice something different about our commander.” He couldn’t help but say ……..

Part 7 by Di at Pensitivity101

“Do we know where he’s from?”

“It’s not your place to ask, Private. You will be briefed in due course as to your schedule and where you will be sent. I suggest you get some rest. You’re going to need it.”

Adam was somewhat disappointed but curious to know more details of his mission. He wondered if he would be SWAT trained, or even better, have some fancy gizmos and gadgets like Bond.

The barracks were nothing out of the ordinary, just odd not having any windows and the constant thrum of machinery keeping the air circulated. He settled down on his cot and was soon asleep dreaming of fast cars, explosives, and the occasional dalliance over a drink or two.

“WAKE UP PRIVATE!!” abruptly roused him from his dreams and as he shook his head to clear it, a portfolio was thrown at him hitting him full in the face. “READ THAT AND REPORT TO BLUEBELL’S OFFICE IN TWENTY!”

Adam opened the file and nearly choked when he saw where he was going on assignment…

Part 8 by Fandango

Adam didn’t understand. There was all that talk about an enemy and about his language skills. Then there was the “Big Guy,” who was either an alien from another planet or a very human-like robot. And what did the secretive and mysterious Dr. Bluebell have to do with his being here and his assignment?

But there it was in black and white on the first page of the report in the folder. His assignment was in Montana. He continued reading the report about an insurgency led by a heavily armed and fast-growing militia just outside of Whitefish, Montana. He was thinking about all of the questions he had for Dr. Bluebell when he would be meeting with her again shortly. So engrossed was Adam in the report he was reading that he almost didn’t notice the two uniformed men who stepped up in front of his cot. “Let’s go, private,” one of them said.

“Where are you taking me?” Adam asked the man who had spoken to him. “I’m supposed to meet with Dr. Bluebell now.”

“Change of plans, private,” the second man said. “Let’s go. Now!”

Part 9 by John Freda – The Magic Shop

“NO! I’ve had ENOUGH.” Adam snapped at the two uniformed soldiers.

“I want answers and I want them NOW. You have been giving me the run-arou…

Adam felt something sharp pierce the back of his neck. He felt his world being turned upside down, before hitting the linoleum floor and blacking out.

A large metal fan was spinning directly above Adam’s head as he slowly opened his eyes. He woke up on top of a king-sized bed, soaked in a pool of sweat. His head was still groggy as he pushed himself up on his arms and looked around wherever his new surroundings were. He was now in a dimly-lit hotel room decorated in earth-tones and tree decor. A slim beam of sunlight shot out from behind the mauve curtains. Wherever he was, it was daytime. He staggered off the bed and spotted something laying on the dresser next to an ashtray.

“Thank you for staying at THE MONTANA LODGE. We hope you generously appreciate the services of our staff”.

It was a gratuity envelope. Adam had seen them before, growing up with his Dad. When they were on the run.

“Yeah, here’s my tip..Tell me where the Hell I am”. Adam thought, still trying to clear the fog out of his head. He knew he had to pull himself together, figure this out. A plan, he needed a plan. Before he could even come up with the first part of his escape, someone started knocking on the room’s door from outside.

A slow, steady knock of a hand that sounded big…….

Part 10 by Dorinda of Night Owl Poetry

…enough to topple the door if he kept ignoring it.

Trying quickly to decide what to do, Adam slowly went to the door. Trying to disguise his voice, as high pitched as he could, he asked “who is it?” A loud laugh came from the other side.

“Surely, you don’t think I’m going to fall for that, now, do you?”

The voice sounded familiar. Adam hesitated then swung open the door. He was right! On the other side stood his father, a man he had not seen in years. What was he doing here, and why was Adam stuck in a hotel room, in Montana?

“Dad? Is that really you?”

“Yes, son, it is. We haven’t much time, so let’s stop the chit chat. I have to get you out of here before they turn you over to….”

With that, a loud noise came from behind his father. An odd looking thing, holding a mallet, stood there, glaring at Adam. All Adam could do was watch his father slowly slump to the ground. A pool of blood gathered beneath him. Adam jumped forward to help his dad, but whatever the thing was, it stopped him.

A cold, icy hand picked up Adam by his neck, reading itself to toss him far across landscape of the lodge. Trying to think clearly, Adam grabbed it by the arm and pulled. The arm came flying off. He was right. A robot. So this was why they sent him here. The Earth was being taken over by mechanical men. This was his mission. His dad had died for his country, and now he felt he was next. He made a break for it, running as hard as he could.

Once he reached the perimeter of the lodge, he….

Part 11 by Susi at I Write Her

… couldn’t quite determine the best route to take. The men who brought him here obviously had the advantage. He thought that maybe it would just be best to lay low for now. Adam would need a disguise first though.

He spied a house with laundry hanging out to dry to the right of him and moved towards it to pick off a fairly dry dress. The fit was perfect. Dressing as a woman should throw them off his track for a bit. He could see there was a Goodwill store a block down the street and proceeded in that direction to get shoes, makeup, a bra (to stuff), and hopefully, a wig and a hat to complete his ensemble. He luckily found everything he needed and the transformation was complete.

Adam left the store, cautiously looked left and right for anyone who might be on the lookout for him. As he did, he noticed that he was getting quite a few stares but not the “is this a he or a she?” looks, rather admiring glances. One or two even gave him the up and down, eyes rolling treatment. He actually chuckled to himself and thought – “this is totally going to work!”

He began to walk across the street…

I’m tagging Sabina of Truly Madly Ordinary to carry on the saga.

NOT JUST MY VERSE, YOUR TWO TWO TOO! – THE NIGHT OUT [MULTIVERSE] – A POEM CHALLENGE FROM A GUY CALLED BLOKE.

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Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, started a challenge, to add an additional 4 lines to his poem about a Night out.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!

He passed it to Sadje of Keep it Alive who then added 4 more lines then passed it on….

Eventually, it was passed to Dorinda Duclos of Night Owl Poetry who then tagged me.

The Night Out!

Rory’s bit:
Quite excited l am, seriously,
Not often that my friends and l go out,
For a night on the town so mysteriously,
To have a laugh and a fool about!

Sadje’s bit:
Though we have plans to go to town
But it is pouring down by buckets
We may go to see the circus and the clown
Let’s start the evening by first buying the tickets

Di of Pensivity 101’s bit:
Oh what a shame, they’re all sold out
Whatever will we do now,
I know, we’ll all go down the pub,
Have a pint and some decent chow…………..

Paula’s bit:
But I hear an unearthly sound
Along with fiendish laughter and howls;
I would prefer to turn back around–
It’s two for one monsters’ night out!

Li’s bit:
As we turn, our way is blocked
By something large and yellow
He’s Big Bird – but his eyes are red
A zombified, HUNGRY fellow!

Kristian’s Addition:
And behind him appears a shape,
Woolly with some blood-soaked stains
The Snuffleupagus’s mouth agape,
Desperately hungry for some brains.

Beckie’s addition:
Jim Hensen’s eyes are glazed over
as he moves past Snuffleupagus’s slow stride,
every known Muppet is seething and foaming at the mouth
Where oh where can myself and all my friends hide?

Linda Lee Lyberg’s addition:
The only place to go was down the manhole
and there, in the dark who did they meet
None other than the March Hare and Alice
having a steaming hot cup of pomegranate tea
©2019 Linda Lee Lyberg

Walt Page’s addition:
Pornegranate tea is the drink for me
Change the Pom to Porn and you will see
The wonderful effect that it has on me
When you’re my age your reality is fantasy

Dorinda Duclos’ addition:
Lost in Walt’s fantasy, was little Jack Horner
Beside him, there was Jill, feeling rather numb
A bottle of Jack Daniels, empty in the corner
Beside it, the other Jack, with a bottle of rum

Susi Bocks’ contribution:
Jack and Jill, disheveled and with bad breath,

they frantically realized how late it had become.
Luckily, they sobered up quick with some meth.
Up their noses it went. Instantly manic, needing some gum.

I pass the challenge on to Nidheesh of The Dark Netizen!  Have Fun!!

©2019 to all who have contributed here!

Brrrrrr

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Inspired by Hélène Vaillant – What Do You See? – 2/26/2019

This night, cold and icy. I gaze at the huge, gorgeous orb and the shadows it casts around my castle, feeling goosebumps and serenity. Odd how I can feel excitement and ease at the same time. I watch as my breath adds a layer of fog to my vision.

But it’s too frigid out here. This selenophile must go back now. The only warmth I’m feeling is the slight glow from my staff. Serves me right if I freeze to death trying to see the moon from this vantage point.

Good night, lovely moon! Let’s meet again in the summer.