FathomOnline

 

 Fathom July 1997

Cover

 

Inside Cover

 

Articles

Mark Anderson
Dan Clark
Jamie Reynolds

Haiku

Trevor Rockwell
Peter Morden
Anonymous
A. Bell
Todd Banks
Anonymous
Jennifer Reynolds
Nobu Adilman
Anonymous

Poetry and Prose

Mary Kate Arnold
Anthony Quinpool
Dan Walsh

Artwork

James Matthews
Mitchell Weibe
Siloen Daley
Jamie Reynolds

[PDF]

Anthony Quinpool

 

 

Danboy

THERE WILL BE NO SHOUTING IN THIS COMPANY,
UNLESS YOU ARE ENGAGED IN COMPANY SONG,
THAT IS TO SAY IF YOU ARROGANT MONGRELS THINK YOU CAN
SING!

NO ONE WILL EVEN BOTHER TO THINK ABOUT STEPPING OUT OF
LINE IN THIS COMPANY, UNLESS WE ARE ENGAGED WITH THE
ENEMY!

YOU SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT THERE WILL BE NO ACTS OF ENGAGEMENT UNLESS I ORDER IT!

THERE WILL BE NO SMOKING,

THERE WILL BE NO IDLE CHIT CHAT,

THERE WILL BE NO ONE WHO QUESTIONS ME,

NO FIGHTING IN THE RANKS,

NO CHEWing gum,

No jokes...

and the man continued to go on like this for quite some time. Don’t be confused though, he shouted the entire show.
     But as I began to realize what he was saying, I simply couldn’t help but trail off. That is not to say that this man didn’t have presence. There is no doubt that he had most of us by the balls. No, there is no question that this was most definitely the man I would prefer to have as Sergeant if I was off to one of the darker pits of this world. Even if it was my first day, I was most definitely certain of that.
     He was an old burly, pock-faced man who had that type of a mid-­Atlantic, Scotsman from Chicago type of an accent. His r’s didn’t roll but bad a tight flap of the tongue and it seemed to me at the time that he would be well-­versed and strict with the disciplines of war. This was the type of guy that could will a company out of any situation – a com­mitted man.
     The questioned that remained was, “Where were we off to?” It seems to me that in those days there were peacekeeping troubleshooters anywhere and everywhere. Human fodder for the aggressive nationals of imagined history. In any case, I tried not to think on this often. I made the decision to join and had committed myself to the training, I really had no choice but to try and be posi­tive. Later on, I’d curse the decision.
     Well, as you probably already know, cursing was certainly an occupa­tional hazard in that business, but, you must understand that when I say curse I mean it in the archaic sense of the word. I don’t mean ‘to curse’ like in a sailoresque type of a manner. I mean ‘to curse,’ with hatred, disdain and choler. Soaked to the fuckin’ bones clueless on why your doin’ whatever you thought you were gonna do wherever the fuck you think you are. But, to be absolutely honest, the worst times were only really bad when memories of what it was you used to do slid through your cranium, and poured into the pool of your con­sciousness.
     Evenings of beautiful exchange in language, thoughts, silence, and music. You know what I mean. Those nights when the date had come to a close and you split indecisively at the comer. You’d go left and she’d go right, but just before the fracture there would be a hasty brush of the lips. Ahh, certainly it seems perfect, but, personally, the most alluring memory is the walk home after that instant. Walking in a frenzied but absolutely calm state, with an almost unbearable lightness to your being. What really got me, however, was the whistling of sweet fuck all to nothing but your whistle’s own echo. There is something truly remarkable about that sound. Perhaps it’s the resonance of the brick houses or its curling and swirling about and around the big leafless trees, that make it sound so dulcet. But, as beautiful as it may have been, you curse your decision because of it.

THERE WILL ALSO BE NO LAXITY WITH YOUR UNIFORMS!

WHEN WE ARE TRAVELING THROUGH THE HOSTILE REGIONS,
WHICH I’M SURE YOU ALL WILL BE,
THERE WILL BE ONE COOK, ONE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, ONE
POINT MAN THAT WILL BE SHIFTED EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR,
LET ME REMIND YOU, OF COURSE THAT IS BY MY WATCH!

THERE WILL BE ONE MAN IN CHARGE OF DIGGIN’ THE SHITTER,
SWITCHED UP FROM CAMP SITE TO CAMP SITE, BY THE TELLINGS
OF MY LIST, Naturally!
     I don’t regret the whole endeavor. I mean, well I’m still here aren’t I? The point I am trying to make is that when you put practically, well, all of your shit on the line. When stick your neck out for no other reason than you think you might like to do it, and come out of it all still kicking. You have, certainly, played the game, maybe well, and the gods of good luck and good timing have yanked you through. And maybe, on an outside fantasy, you have bought your­self some time not to worry about those same gods striking you down on a triv­ial purposeless incident Shit, I don’t know, that first day, although it seemed so much like a real and tangible experience, as I lived it and remember it...but...well, the man said something that... well, to be honest there ain’t a word for what it was that did to me.

THERE WILL BE ONE CALLER OUT OF THE COMPANY SONG.
ONE MAN WHO CALLS OUT THE MARCH,
AND ONE COMPANY WHISTLER.
THESE PRIVILEGES HOWEVER, AND BELIEVE ME YOU GREEN
EYED WRETCHES, THESE ARE MOST ASSUREDLY PRIVILEGES. WILL
BE GIVEN TO THOSE PRIVATES WHO ARE JOINING US FOR THEIR
SECOND TOUR

And that, my friends, really is the end of this story.

 

last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul