Daniel Marshall of the Wolfgang Von Phadrus blog was selected as our spotlighted author for the week for his response to The Collective Unconscious writing prompt. I’d like to thank Daniel for his support of the Psychology in Writing blog and encourage others to visit and support his blog at http://danielpaulmarshall.wordpress.com/.
Memories of a Soldier
Mr. Shade is bent over with all manner of complications in the vertebrae, blind mostly, due to scant efforts by the NHS, no lunge to act on cataract surgery for an old codger on his way out. There had been one lazy attempt by a student of ophthalmology from the University of Birmingham (Mr. Shade had thought that owing to the Children’s hospital being in Birmingham, the University would churn out fine doctors). Mr. Shade played with a stupid smile the lab mouse for the sake of the student’s virgin scalpel.
He is left to leaf through his memories, being as his memories are rusty submarines, even if choked by a whales whinny, they might as well be written on a blade of unbuttoned grass.
On Fridays, after the school bells jingle and jiggle the children into a trot home, the school a stones hurl behind Arch Homes for the Elderly where Mr. Shade resides. Mr. Shade veritably tickles from the inside out with excitement, for skipping on her way is his parcel of interest.
It must be firmly established that little Miss Miana is a young girl who writes delicate stories; she listens and absorbs meticulously every detail issued up from the past.
Her favorite resident is Mr. Shade, for he is the most poetic of the residents and had several traits she admired. Despite his admonishing of his own memory, he articulated what he knew beautifully. In addition, he was an affable man to her. He was strict in the war-time-meted fashion, which she enjoys in an old man, like the way he refuses an electric wheel chair, opting for a hand carved stick, which he carved in his 71st year, a Luddite like she. His affinity for reading history books in hardback (for he liked the worn scent) that were written as close to the occurrence as possible; his logic being that the closer the historian to the moment, surely, all the more the accuracy of the account. She also appreciates how he colour co-ordinates his clothing and carries himself well, even into his prune-like age of 85, particularly fond of plaid mustard toned blazers. Of course, despite being as delighted as the cow that leaped the moon: Io inspired, he never shows it, always maintaining the dour faced, wrinkled demeanor of one who struggles with denouements, the weight of which conspire against the hew of his mental compound.
The nurse came in to give him the news that he was already assured of by the jangling bell:
“Miss Miana is here to see you, shall I send her along?”
“Of course, crickey, always wasting your own breath; yes…yes, send her in.” To himself:: “You don’t have to always ask me.”
“Mr. Shade, I have missed you, it’s so lovely to see you! It feels like it’s been forever!” The girl says honestly, as she approaches the old man who rises to greet her.
“Yes…yes darling, you do insist on hyperbole, I saw you last Friday, it’s only been a bloody week.” He says this betraying his true self. She knows his true feeling well by now.
She gives him a peck on the mouth, tidying the wrinkles for a split second. Then a second kiss she plonks on his forehead, ironing out the years of life striated into his countenance.
“So what will it be today, more past shenanigans?”
“I would really appreciate it if you continued the story you were telling me last week,” she says, eyes eager and bold.
“Okay…where was I… bugger… oh yes… I remember now..,” he asked, scratching his head which seemed to be the crank that seemed to get the cogs winding.
“I should really begin making a note where I leave off, to save time. Myself and Royal had gone to nick some chickens from a farm not too far from a village where we had been holed up in (an ack ack gun being our beast of burden, set up on a road we needed to scurry across). We found an old church, a welcome change to mud and rain; the name of the village escapes me, Mont…something or other- escaped. It was a couple of days after D-Day.
“On our return from the farm, where we had been offered the chickens after being caught by the lamp light of the farmer, paralyzed with pity, we realized that bloody close to us, a regiment of German soldiers were stationed. Their cigarettes emblazoning the night, tracing their conversations in the dark air. Our chickens made a proper racket, and owing to the blackout we had not heard or seen them, unfortunately they’d heard our dinner. Scattered firing went glissando past our ears and limbs. Royal got a bite in the shoulder and a bite in the leg. Luckily, we were able to eke out a ditch and owing to the cloak of the night, I settled Royal down there. He was trembling, terrified of course. I promised him that I would return post-haste. If it wouldn’t have been so dark he may have trusted me more, for I stared into what I believed to be his eyes before me. Sounds daft doesn’t it?
“I fumbled in the dark for goodness knows how long. Eventually I met my famished company. They opted to rescue Royal without me, but I insisted on plodding along for it would take them too long to find him without experienced direction. This never tended to be the way decisions arose: if you had already had a gander at bullets and cheated the reaper you got to sit the next one out, at least in regards to rescues. We found Royal without further casualties and without more skirmishing. Royal spent a happy couple of months in the infirmary, where he saw a few firm ladies that sorted him out.”
“So you are a hero Mr. Shade? Did you get a medal?”
“No, I did what men do; we helped each other in the most desperate of times, no medal is necessary for that, you have your pal still, that is enough.”
Miss Miana simply smiled. Then they had a cup of tea.
Like this? More of Daniel’s writing can be found here–Wolfgang Von Phadrus blog