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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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veteran

Monreal Dorb = Ronald Brome – flash fiction

When The Band of Brothers finished a set at the No Thanks, Michael wheeled to a booth to chat with Ronald Brome who sat with his laptop open. “What ‘cha workin’ on? Your fingers and head were keeping beat to the music.”

“Been spammin’ a website called Carrot Ranch.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Why? Because I can. I got in 574 hits during your set. They’ll think I’m a bot, but haha, I’m not.

“You should use your skills for something productive.”

“Government taught me how, then turned me loose. They’re lucky I’m not messin’ with their files.”   

Written in response to Charli Mills July 9, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes that answers the question, who is Monreal Dorb. You can imagine the life of this fictitious person in any era or circumstance. Is there cause and effect at play? Go where the prompt leads!

Standing Up to Mother – flash fiction

Tessa’s mother paced. “I’m fearful Michael will suck the life out of you if you move in together.”

“I thought you approved.”

“Not of you living with him.”

“He nourishes the youth choir, the Vet’s music programs, and he goes to D.C. when asked. You don’t think he’ll enhance my life too?”

“Behind closed doors is where the nightmares and anger dwell. You’ll have no escape.”

“Don’t you remember my ex had nightmares. It isn’t new to me.”

“He was an officer.”

“So that’s what this is about, status, not my well being. Good thing it isn’t your choice.”

 

Written in response to Charli Mills May 7, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish. The characters can nourish or be nourished. What else can be nourished? A tree? A setting? Does the sunset nourish the soul? Go where the prompt leads!

Thank a Veteran

Today is Veterans Day. I will be spending the evening with a special group of Veterans who are my personal friends. We belong to the Rochester (NY) Veterans Writing Group. Following is part of my portfolio that is on our web-sight page:

When we gather, we catch up on each other’s news and then write for about twenty minutes from a prompt sheet that gets our ideas forming. There are usually four prompts provided by one of our facilitators. After writing, each person reads aloud what he or she has written. Members of the group then offer constructive criticism on how to improve semantics. Suggestions are made for extending the piece into an essay, short story, or whatever. That’s the plan.

This is what really happens; most of us have chosen a prompt that requires a walk down memory lane: it can be a poignant memory with a good, or not so good, outcome while in the military; a humorous escapade from childhood or adult life; something a loved one did or experienced; a subject we feel strongly about and why; or sharing what losing a loved one feels like. After each person reads, the others acknowledge that the emotions shared are legitimate, worthy, and acceptable. The military brotherhood understands the range of feelings and the impact of PTSD. It’s a safe place to share. Personally, I always need my box of tissues; that’s just how I’m wired. Funny, I can talk about a situation, but when I read my own writing, I cry. Sometimes it’s embarrassing.

The number that attends the group ebbs and flows. There can be as many as twelve people and sometimes only five. Most attendees have served in a branch (or two) of the U.S. military and others have close affiliations to a current or past military member. There are no rules other than to have a desire to write, share, and learn. And, it’s free.

Attending this group for over a year now has given me some remarkable gains — friends, understanding, and knowledge. I am part of the tribe and I belong.

My husband is a veteran, as is the father of my children. I pay close attention to the Veterans who are my Facebook friends and vote the way they do because I trust their judgement. They have paid the price for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. May I suggest, today and every day; Thank a Veteran.

My Definition of a POW

I have a lot of connections to the military, both past and present.  I fly the American flag 24/7.  Yes, it is properly lit.  I went outside yesterday and switched out the American flag for my POW/MIA flag that I will leave up until Monday in honor of my friends, some of which I can tell you their names and most of which I can’t.  I have the privilege of writing this in a sate of freedom because of the military, not because of our government that no longer takes care of our veterans.  I won’t apologize, I’m very biased on this subject.

I believe in my heart there are three different definitions of a POW.  First: the military member that was/is actually held by the enemy.  John McCain is the one I think of first.  Second; the veteran that leads a “normal” life, but has nightmares about his tour of duty, maybe is getting some help dealing with PTSD, talks to his brotherhood, other veterans, about what he had to do and what he witnessed.  Third; the person sitting at a bar who talks about his tour of duty like he came home yesterday, and it was actually many years ago; he/she doesn’t identify with todays life, feels alone and contemplates suicide on occasion.  There are about 20 veteran suicides a day.  Some have sought help and couldn’t get it, some never sought because they couldn’t admit the tough guy needed it and others because they lived in too rural an area to have help available.

Any veteran that did as our government directed will never be free of the memories.  I know a WWII and Korean Was vet whose job it was to load bombs.  He has told me, “I have no idea if any of the bombs I loaded were ever used, but it eats at me day and night.”  He generally stays awake at night, and sleeps during the daylight hours.  Tears form just writing this.  He’s a really good guy,  a great poet and he has my utmost respect.

There is a 90 plus year old lady in my home town that still wears the copper bracelet with her sons name on it; James Moore.  It also has the date he went missing in Viet Nam.  She never forgets either, and neither does her family.

I know this isn’t my usual type post.  I’ll close asking you to remember any POW or MIA with respect.  And while we’re at it, the American Flag and what it represents is why our veterans suffer with their memories.

 

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