It’s a Man’s life in the Army.
By E. Ann BArdawill (2006)
After the picture show fiasco, Gramps got banned from the MegaMall for life, which in most cases'd be a tragedy, but Gramps were pushing 82. ‘Pon my promise I’d take Gramps shopping at the GigaMall from here on, the management dropped the charges. I told Gramps it were because he’s War Vet and all, but he weren’t buying that and asked me how many times Mr. Franklin stuck up for him.
He just sat hisself in his room watching Vic Morrow and COMBAT on the DVD machine and talking about the last reunion of his Unit. There were jest three o’ them left. Most of the unit was back in France somewhars, buried up proper with a nice big monument and all. Gramps went over there to pay respects some years ago, but the beach he took was filled with girlies who don lost the tops to thar bikini-suits - which he didn’t mind all that much, but the men-folk were awearing them teeny-tiny speedometers over their most privates, and Gramps said it were hard enough trying to comprende the lingo without staring at a bunch o’ hairy netherquarters covered in damp cellphane.
Gramps joined up when he were 16. Being tall, a good liar and a crack shot the army didn’t say no. Gramps, Barney and Stinky were the last ones standing, ‘cepting that Barney were in a wheelchair and lately he thought it was around 1970 something and Nixon were still president. I told Gramps to just tell Barney a dick still ran the White house, but I got a hard cuff fer that, so I jest say a whole lot of nothing, which is usually the best thing t’do whar Gramps is concerned.
Gramps hadn’t seen Stinky since the trip to France back in the 60’s, so he was all excited-like the day I drove him up to Town. He told me about the time Stinky, his pistol clip emptier than Paris Hilton's head, captured six Germans on bravado alone. Gramps kept on sticking a faded picture of Stinky in my face while I was atrying to past a rusted out Honda driven by the world’s butt ugliest old lady in the world’s butt ugliest straw hat. Gramps crowed about the time they went to Gay Paris (this were before the word ‘gay’ came to mean a whole other kinda thang) and drank so much wine they tried to join the Foreign Legion, but then they sobered up and decided it were un-American to be doing that and then he told me 'bout the time Stinky got his scar down his face when a German tried to knife him.
The Hall were all prettied up fine, and I gots my toes run over 'bout fifty times, I reckon, by Vets in souped up wheelchairs. Barney pimped his all up with flames and such. So I went to fetch refreshments for Gramps and Barney while they waited for Stinky to show up. As I left Gramps were going on about the gay mafia’s infiltration of the film industry and Barney were promising to write Nixon about it when the World’s butt ugliest woman strode through the door. The handle of a pistol stuck out of her purse and I started to get one of my bad feelin’s in the pit ‘o my stomach. Her floppy straw hat had tiny American Flags stuck in it. Her lipstick were so red it were like she kissed the corvette I’d bought during my mid-life crisis. The five o’clock shadow was still visible under the two coats of make-up she trowelled on but were the distinctive scar that ran down one side of her face that caught my eye.
I keep agoing on to the bar, downed a holy trinity of something straight up, checked to see how much cash I brung and prayed to the Lord that Gramps dun remembered his heart pills.
I bailed Stinky out of the crowbar hotel first off. I gave her my coat since his dress was near tore right off and offered him a twenty minute headstart.
“Yew, sir, are a real gentleman. Stinky fixed what were left of her wig, plucked the ripped straw hat over it and wobbled down the hall, one of his heel’s all askew. I sat and hummed the tune ‘Lola’ for a spell, then paid up Gramps bail
On the way home Gramps sat in the truck chewing his heart pills like pez and muttering words I’d rather not repeat. I handed him a clean hanky to wipe what looked like corvette paint offen his face and said a whole lot of nothing.