Saturday, December 27, 2014
Doraville (Blogphilia 44.7)
“Hey, Heidy and Howdy! Harry Handy doing a local song for a local request, here on the FART. A little song about a little town you all know…
“Doraville…Touch of country in the city…Doraville... It ain’t much, but it’s home…”
Easing the Crown Vic off the freeway, his mind turned to mush. No focus. Had it really been 40 years? Visions of Carol sitting in his lap as they would sing at the top of their voices. It was so cool that someone had actually written a song about their home town. Riding up and down Buford Highway after school, the lights from Kmart and Zayre’s reflecting in their faces, it was their world. Graduation at the drive-in, night naked and melding together completely for the first time, they gazed into each other’s eyes as the light from the freeway blinked above them. He knew she was his forever.
“Friends of mine, say I ought to move to New York, Well New York’s fine, but it ain’t Doraville…”
How true that line was. There wasn’t enough money for college, so he enlisted in the Army just for something to do. After basic, they sent him to the Korean DMZ, waiting for what he was told was the imminent invasion, the one that never came. Saber rattling followed by weeks of silence. Lonely nights on watch would draw the fears.
Sleep wouldn’t come for days. All he could think about was Carol’s slender body writhing under him. She promised to wait for him, but doubts tortured his mind. Dickensian dreams of her in wedding dresses with him as a mute spirit, unable to object. Letters would come with pictures of Carol and her Mom. They would be smiling with signs saying “Miss You” and “Can’t wait for you to come home.” The fears would go away for a while.
On Saturday nights, the soldiers would go into town to drink and relax. Young village girls would try to get his attention. They looked like small flowers planted around the bar. And he would miss his rose at home that much more. One of the Chaplains had taken pity on him and had given him a poem, “Jerusalem”, to give him strength as he stood watch over the snowbound highlands. He would speak the final stanza out loud to keep himself alert.
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.
“Red Clay Hills, Rednecks drinkin’ wine on Sunday…
The discharge came two weeks before Christmas. “For the Benefit of the Government” was the reason. He laughed at that. The threat of section 8 had been directed at him by more than one Sergeant because he wouldn’t fuck the village girls. Some just assumed he was another fag biding his time. Or his frozen heart would snap and kill someone the CO didn’t want. He didn’t care. Carol was at home and soon he would be, too.
The C130 was packed for the 48 hour ride home. The troop drawdown was in full force and 120 tired, weary soldiers heading toward the future with no expectations. The skies were as grey and snowy as his mood and all Murray could think was, “Let it snow”. Would she still be there or would some GM Redneck coward steal his treasure? During the layover at Ft. Lewis, he went to the PX to drink a beer and maybe find a momento. It came in the form of a small diamond ring. It wouldn’t win any prizes for flash. This wasn’t about flash. It was about showing he was the committed fool she always knew.
Christmas morning was sunny when the big bird landed. As he disembarked, he saw the red bow first. It was set in the straight blonde hair and the ribbon went around her shoulders. As she ran toward him, he couldn’t stop himself. Bending his knee, he held out the small box and said.
“Let’s open each other’s presents.”
“It’s funky, but it’s pretty…”
They settled into the apartment while he became a cop. Carol was used to the routine, since her uncle had been one all his life. She took it all. The crappy shifts, the frustration when he came home, all of it, like nothing happened, a rock and a harbor in the worst of storms.
Then came the raid. They were living in the same complex, but a few buildings down. He had noticed the traffic out of the unit. The grapevine indicated it was mostly weed, but occasionally pills. The only reason Narc Squad had it targeted is some County Commissioner’s daughter had been spotted buying. The Narco guys did let him call home and tell Carol to get out before they came in. But they only did that as a courtesy because Murray was a cop.
As Murray turned the car into the complex, the tape he had suppressed so long played.
Seven or eight squad cars along with the Special Ops van coming in. Target building was to the left. The parade stopped about 50 yards from the building. There was the great rush, with the lead Narco’s at point. Shots rang out. He, Cpl William T. Murray, felt the weight of the weapon and his finger press down. Sounds were detached from their sources. Was it his gun or the Artie’s? Didn’t matter. Ballistic metal booms echoing off fake plaster walls and black defects appearing as if summoned by a higher power. The brown head exploded in front of him, pieces of flesh attaching to his pressed blue serge uniform.
It horrified him.
He hadn’t signed up to kill people. Only track the people who did.
And it was at the same building as before, only the unit across the hall.
The knock at the door was a disconnected as the gunshots so many years before. The door opened and a small, brown woman appeared, a small child attached to her hip.
“Señora Torres? My name is Lt. William Murray with the Gwinnett County Police and this is Captain Gomez with Dekalb County Police. Do you know a Diego Rodriguez Aguirre?”
Pic Guesses-Bleak Midwinter. Winter dream, Grey Dawn, Flaky, Blizzard, Snowbound, Powder.