60

60

A Story by Weston R.
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A story in minutes.

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60

A story in minutes

 

 

             Private James Franklin sat with his squadron, their backs to the short brick wall. They gripped their M1 Garands tightly as bullets from a heavy machine gun zipped over their heads. Each soldier’s appearance was unique in some way, but their thoughts were all the same: Get me out of here.

1

They waited and waited. Occasionally, between machine gun bursts, they would pop out and shoot at the unseen foe. However, the terrifying rat-a-tat-tat would reappear, sending the men back into their crouching position. The U.S. soldiers were completely pinned down. James, after all this waiting, said to a soldier next to him, “What day is it?” in a joking voice.

The reply, “It’s still July 6th, 1944. Feels like its been forever, though.”

“Yeah,” said James. He took the few seconds of calm to check the pocket watch he kept in the front of his uniform.

20

            Inside the cover of the pocket watch was a picture of Angela, his fiancée. Before he got on the train to go to boot camp, she gave him the watch. Inside was a note that said, “Don’t be a hero.” He had followed these instructions throughout his tour of duty, trying not to endanger himself too much. However, this time he knew that something needed to be done. They wouldn’t get reinforcements for another 30 minutes. He wasn’t sure how long the group could hold out, or how long the Germans would play this game for.

            James thought hard about what he was going to do. He knew that he was an accurate shot, and he was in great shape, so he could work quickly. But he would need to find where the Germans were shooting from first.

25

            As soon as the silence came, James quickly peaked up over his cover. His eyes darted back and forth until he found them. They were all higher up on the roof of a local French café. Their heads were barely visible however, explaining why the Germans were hard to spot, and why they hadn’t moved yet-a perfect vantage point for them, if it weren’t for the wall the squad was behind.

            This discovery gave the Private even more confidence. If he could quickly get off the three or so shots, the group could advance. He chuckled to himself.

26

            James prepared himself rather slowly, in case he changed his mind, even though he knew he wouldn’t. The cockiness of being nineteen gave him an infallible sense of invulnerability. He could do this. James opened the action of the rifle, and loaded a magazine.

            Franklin turned his attention to the brass pocket-watch. He whispered, “Be with you in just a minute, Angie,” and kissed the small black and white photo. His fingers slowly closed the cover and the latch clicked. He stuck the watch in his front breast pocket.

31

            James took a few deep breaths, adrenaline starting to pump, waiting for his window of opportunity. Waiting for the eerie silence of anticipation. When it eventually came, he sprung into action, jumping up from his previous position.

            Four shots were fired, and the four Germans on the roof were hit. After a minute of waiting, James sighed and said out loud to his sergeant, I think its all clear.”

            Just then, like some cosmically scripted punishment for his arrogance, a German, who was almost immediately dispatched, was able to fire a round into James’ chest before dying. With this, the Private felt a searing pain as his vision went black.

34

            Back in New York City, Angela Goodman had just finished working at a job making bullets for the army. She was sitting on the city bus when she decided to write a letter. She pulled out a small sheet of paper and a pen. She began, Dear James, I hope you are well, and not getting into too much trouble over there…

*

            James lay in a hastily assembled, makeshift shelter, not 50 yards away from where a sharp metal projectile entered his body, shattering the pocket watch and sending the fragments into his heart. The rest of his squad had already moved up, further into the city. A team of two medics began the daunting task of trying to control the bleeding and possibly bring the dying man back into consciousness.

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            Finally, after 18 desperate minutes, the medics were able to stop the external bleeding and slow the internal enough for James to wake up. His eyes opened slowly, and he saw blurrily the roof of the tent used by the medical squad. He tried to sit up, but found himself too weak. The best he could do was lift his neck up enough to look around. Sitting in a chair near his bed was the Commanding Officer of his regiment.

            The two said nothing for a few minutes, and then the C.O. broke the ice. “You really saved your squad, you know, Corporal.”

            “Corporal?” James asked weakly.

            “Yes…orders have been given to promote you.”

            “Oh.”

            “But Corporal, I have to go see to other matters. You…” his voice trailed off. He was well aware of James’ prognosis, but didn’t have the heart to tell him. “You work on getting better, soldier. Let’s move, boys.”

            With this, Corporal Franklin was left on his own. He could feel his energy fading, and he tried to console himself as he died. You did well, James. You saved the day. You stood up in the face of danger. But most of all, you’re a hero.

            “ A hero?” James said out loud. “Angie. Angie, no! I…I was a hero! I’m sorry!” He moved his arm to his chest, looking for the watch but couldn’t find it.

            He moaned softly, “I’m sorry, Angie…I’ll be with you in just…a minute,” as his vision faded to black once more, permanently.

            James had done well. He had saved the day. He had stood up in the face of danger. But most of all, he had been a hero.

60

© 2010 Weston R.


Author's Note

Weston R.
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Reviews

I like the idea of the story. I think it flowed well and got the point across that you had intended. As far as grammar and all that goes, I saw little, if any, mistakes. I enjoyed the way the story panned out, how he had no desire to be a hero, but he did what was necessary to save his fellow soldiers. I liked it. I wish there was more I could say about it, but I wouldn't change anything, so I will leave you with that. Keep writing.

Posted 8 Years Ago


This was a great story! It flowed very nicely; I liked how you counted down the minutes and wrote it in that format. That way you KNEW when it was going to end, you just didn't know how. As Red said, you didn't make the story cliche, which is another good thing. The ending was very sad, how he was a hero but he paid for it with his life... Thank you for writing this and entering it into my contest!
~Aurora Lynn from 'In Too Deep'

Posted 9 Years Ago


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Red
So much for getting promoted. You did good West. this had a nice flow and a great story. I didn't see anything really bad grammar wise. I'm also glad that you didn't make this story cliche by doing something like, oh i don't know, corny quotes like "Damn you Germans! NOOO!" The ending was sad, but I think it was perfect. The 60 minutes style was nice too. Again you gave the world another piece of wounder. Keep on writing.
-Red

Posted 9 Years Ago


GAH! Im mad at my self for taking so long to read this.
But im glad that I read it.
This was great, in my opinion. A quick little story with a touching, sad, ending. You give out enough information on the character in such a short time; but its not too much.
And the last lines were just touching.
Great write, Weston. Keep it up-

Harmony

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on October 17, 2010
Last Updated on October 17, 2010
Tags: ww2, military, 60, minutes, hero, love

Author

Weston R.
Weston R.

Milwaukee, WI



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Just another guy that enjoys writing...and that's all I have to say about that. more..

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