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Gifts From a Grateful Nation...
“Another fuckin’ night at the VFW,” Jerry Pesetski thought gloomily to himself. His arm hummed loudly as he raised the glass to his mouth. Halfway to his lips the movement stopped with a sharp grinding sound. “Damn government piece of shit,” he growled. In a drunken fit of rage he tried to throw his glass at the wall. His fingers failed to release and he merely spattered the nearest barflies with beer.
He slammed his arm on the bar, shattering the glass in his stainless steel hand. “Look at thish shit,” he slurred, waving his malfunctioning right arm above his head, “iss not even a proper proshthetic. It’s from maintenance `bot.” He motioned for another beer, grabbed it in his left hand, and finished it in one go.
He swung around nearly knocking his drinking buddy, Ron Kazner, off the bar where he was perched and addressed his reluctant audience, many of whom had at least one prosthetic appliance themselves.
“Twenty-two fuckin’ years I served. The Israeli Invasion, the...the... Vatican Wars, and the Colonial Lunar Wars. Not a scratch on me. A bona fidy war hero, a chest full of fruit salad, and then some goddamn punk, fresh out of Paris Island , doesn’t know the bore from the breech, blows my fuckin’ arm off at the range.”
He tossed back another beer. “And this is what the VA gave me. A second hand arm that doesn’t even fuckin’ work.” He waved the gleaming metal limb wildly, nearly dislodging his friend a second time. “I hear the arms they give the goddamn officers are fully functional in every way. They even have Syntheskin, with full tac…tac…tactile…ya can feel titties with ‘em.. Hell, the way I heard it those arms are so good, you can switch hands while you're jackin’ off and gain a stroke.” He barked a bitter laugh.
“Hey Jer, Why don’t you lay off the beer and give it a rest? Nobody wants to hear it,” Ron croaked. His voice held a peculiar metallic quality as it resonated through his artificial larynx.
“What the hell would you know about it? You were only in the Corps for tree years. Only in combat once. Didn‘t do a whole lot of good there anyway.” Jerry threw back another beer. “Pussy,” he added.
“Yeah Jer,” he sighed, “you're right. What would I know? I've never had a limb replaced with a rebuilt arm designed for a robot garbage collector. What the hell do I know?” His voice through the tiny loud speaker took on the sound of rustling leaves. The closest thing he could get to sarcasm from his synthetic voice.
“Yer goddamn right. Don’ ya ferget it. Jes try spending a day in my shoes why don’cha,” he bellowed, slamming his arm on the bar again, splintering the wood beneath.
“Whatever, just give me another beer.”
Carefully, Jerry removed the lid from the small tank that sat on the bar and poured a beer into the nutrient rich soup that bathed Ron’s naked brain
Great story, I loved it!
Nice. I enjoyed this - great ending, very believable characters as ex-soldiers. I know I could find these guys (with minor cultural differences) at my local ex-servicemen's club.
Thanks for your comments. It was inspired by an incident at the VA when a Viet Nam vet began to shoot his mouth off. As far as the problems in presentation, I think those are mine. Roi
I loved the ending! Great stuff. The editors forgot to put either indents or blank spaces between paragraphs tho-- that's with that?
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