Under Fire

11 Nov

For a long time, in fact up until just recently, I thought of myself as a fuck up. I shunned challenges and stayed anchored to blissful status-quo. Shopped locally. Pontificated globally. (All worthless).
Weird doors opened and I turned away. Ran.
All the career opportunities that made their way onto my platter, it seems, had the risk of awful death built into their fabric. Awful death is different. It’s being dismembered, decapitated, zapped with electricity, drawn and quartered. For just being a bystander. For documenting.
And I grew up with guys like Hunter, Papa, Mailer, Conrad, Hank, Capa, and the likes. Tough guys who didn’t budge. Guys who took the shots and lived to write about them. And then there was me. Walter Mitty. The Fuck-Up.
I just drank.
I get half credit, though, for briefly considering all the bile that presented itself as an opportunity to…
Grow.
Or die.
But it’s taken me a decade to reconcile all of it. And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be eviscerated by war machines in combat zones created by bullshit ideologies and intent. When the Revolution comes, I’ll be the one running away from it—looted bottle of gin in hand. Make no mistake.

Gollust was my managing editor. He was originally from Cleveland. He stood in the middle of the newsroom his entire shift, like a conductor watching over his musicians. He read The Plain Dealer sports page. He sent me on assignments into horrible places, war zones, refugee camps, killing fields, slaughter houses. I turned them all down.
And then he re-assigned me to writing obits.
And twice I ended up memorializing one of our guys.
Gollust was a good man.
He was from Cleveland.

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3 Responses to “Under Fire”

  1. Janete Cabral 15/11/2009 at 4:34 PM #

    I like the short immediate writing. Flash fiction is an art form in itself, you certainly seem to master it.

    Sorry I do not comment more…life take turns sometimes…occasionally I log in and catch up with friends.

    all the best

    Janete

  2. Erin O'Brien 16/11/2009 at 1:48 PM #

    Cleveland: A Few Good Men

  3. Mike Camel 23/11/2009 at 10:03 PM #

    cool

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