Clips from stories by Richard P West
Each morning, during my basic training, I sincerely believed it would be my last in khaki.
Why the instructors didn’t kick me out, I’ll never know.
Now, I’ve made it through six months and have settled into a steady routine.
That recruiting sergeant, knew more that he realized.
My nightmares had included me being sent to some infantry unit, on a battlefield in Italy.
Or worse, Burma!
When the moment came, I stood at attention, as best as I could manage, and waited for the dreadful news.
A sergeant bellowed it out for all my platoon to hear.
“What are you doing?”
I looked up to find a rather perturbed-looking policeman of about my age.
“Reading” was my sheepish response.
Without further ado, he instructed me to go with him, “now!”
WHEN THE Chief Stoker first met me, he bellowed at me,
“What do you mean, Dids, you can’t read?
I promise you, we’ll soon change that!”
“Whose house was this anyway?”
“Some old girl who moved here before 2020.
Retiring here was popular while we still had normal weather.
She was being given medical procedures to help her live.
When everything went South, so did her medications.
Lots of us old’uns have gone like that.”
“How was the ‘Smoke’, Corp?”
“Full of smashed buildings and piles of bricks from the bombing. But everyone is bright enough. Now the worst of the Blitz is over, people are hoping these night raids will slowly tail off.”
“How is the place your missus got to live in?”
“Don’t ask. It’s a wreck. Windows all blown out and boarded up. Plaster cracked to hell. Roof leaks. Years of work to put the mess right.”
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