Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Small Town Boys - Chapter 5

Voice Mail - 2000

“Hey, twin,” the voice said, slightly distorted from the tape and the long distance line. “Sorry I missed you. And sorry I haven’t called, but – well, it’s been kinda rough getting to a phone booth over here in Saddam’s backyard. Just thought I’d call and let you know I’m heading back to the states in a couple of weeks and I’ll be at Edwards for a while then heading to Kirtland for a short rotation. Kirtland – you know that’s the one in Albuquerque, right? Anyway, I’ll call you when I get to the states and let you know what my plans are, rather what the Air Force has planned for me – you know how that goes. Anyway… talked to Dad a couple of days ago…same old same old, I guess. Mom said she heard from you a while ago and said you like being in the middle of nowhere, and take it from me in the middle of the fuckin’ Kuwaiti desert, you ain’t seen nowhere yet until you see this piece of desolation. So…I guess I’m gonna run your machine out of tape, so I’ll call you when I get there – should be right around the sixteenth, in time for our birthday. Hey, when was the last time we were together for that? Must be about seven years at least; maybe more. Oh, I got your letter, finally – the one you wrote back in January. It finally caught up with me about a month ago after going from Germany, Italy, Spain, and finally got loaded on the camel to here. Gotta tell ya, it knocked me on my ass. Hope we can spend some time together and talk. Guess we haven’t done that for a while, either. Anyway…hey, I gotta get going – there’s a bunch of enlisteds that are waiting for the line. Take care, and I’ll call you when it’s on my nickel, not Uncle Sam’s. Take care. Love ya, twin. Bye.” Beep.

Donny lit a cigarette and walked out to the patio. The bricks were already drying in the night air, dark splotches scattered over the patio giving way to the residual warmth. He’d almost forgotten about the letter he’d written on the last day at the office back in January.

Everything was in boxes, furniture was being stacked, loaded, or disassembled. His was the last computer in the main office area connected to the printer. He found Dan’s APO address in his notebook, and with little to do but watch the movers heave stuff into boxes and cart them out, he batted out a long letter to his brother, not really sure when it would get to him. But there was a lot to tell.

Eric was already gone. The company jet had taken him to Seattle that morning and he wouldn’t be back until late that night, long after the movers had finished and the cleaning crew had made their final visit. At midnight, McKay-Gemini would become yet another absorbed company in the great merger and acquisition game of the computer and dot-com industry. Donny ran the letter out on the printer, shut off his computer, tagged it as Ready-To-Load, and walked out to the lobby. He dropped the letter in the mail slot. The security guard nodded at him as he signed out. It was just like any other Friday night. Donny didn’t look back as he crossed the parking lot to his Suburban.

Chapter Guide



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