Private Sutton

 

David O'Flaherty

 

Clicking his tongue in disgust, Private Sutton tramped alone along the Moon's rocky expanse and wondered how an entire company of men could take a wrong turn, all at the same time. Sutton would have imagined that at least one of the soldiers might have spoken up-but no, they'd all been a bunch of sheep, hadn't they? They'd all followed the grunt marching ahead, straight into the wrong direction. They must have done so-otherwise, how could the disappearance of a whole company be explained? There'd been no sounds of combat, or what passed for sounds in this tinny, artificial atmosphere. Surely if they'd run into Invaders he would have heard or seen some signs of fighting. But there'd been nothing-first they were there, all marching in front of the private, who had brought up the rear (Sutton hated the rear, what if someone snuck up on you? Excuse me, ever hear of a flanking maneuver?) And then there had been the beautiful dark blue rock, just lying there in the dust. The rock had surprised him-he'd imagined that the whole lunar surface would be a uniform gray. It was almost true, except for that one little rock, which had been colored the deepest shade of blue he'd ever seen. So he'd stopped to investigate and by the time he'd looked up, after what surely had been only a moment, the company had vanished. He'd checked his map for the correct coordinates, then hurried to catch up with them but they weren't to be found. Clearly, they had gone the wrong way.

Sutton paused and peered at another rock formation, once more checking his map. This must be Dome Rock, the object of the army's march. Sergeant Marciniak had explicitly briefed them on Dome Rock, how it was a dangerous obstacle just because of its size. Anytime you couldn't see around an obstacle, the sergeant had told them, that was a peril, because the enemy could be just behind it, massing, waiting. Waiting to attack.

Sutton looked at the boulder again. Now, what was the big deal about Dome Rock? It wasn't that large. He shook his head and peered at the map, turning it around in his hands. Yes, this was it-Dome Rock. But the map showed an elevation of thirty-five meters, absolutely wrong, because this rock didn't reach twenty. Momentarily, Sutton wondered if the stone before him and the one on the map were the same object. But, look! This rock in front of him was a perfect dome, sort of. Well, this was Dome Rock-it had to be. Cartographers must have screwed up the elevation.

The army. Sutton detested everything about it: the uniforms were ugly and either too tight or too loose; the food was sickening; the physical hardships, excruciating. What really bugged him was the physical closeness between himself and his comrades, the body against body stuff. It was suffocating, almost like a rape. He knew it couldn't be helped, that it was just a part of army life-smelling the sweat of the guy standing next to you and then having to rub it if you both accidentally collided, listening to his farts at night, breathing in their terrible scent. The other soldiers thought farts were really funny stuff but they made Sutton want to puke. Personal space just did not exist in the army.

The army. The word made him want to brush his teeth; instead he leaned against the rounded rock for a moment's rest. Never would he have believed he'd join the military. He missed his civilian life, which was a funny thing, because he'd hated his job. Accountant. Growing up, he'd always assumed he'd become a novelist, and why not? He looked like a writer, he thought. In any case, the literary opus he felt was trapped somewhere in his mind had never materialized. Instead he'd drifted into the soul-numbing world of manipulating numbers. Sutton believed that the monotonous quality of that profession actually killed people-all the accountants he knew were dead inside. But now, two months in the army had made him miss the predictability of accounting, the nine-to-fiveness of it. Maybe accounting really hadn't been that bad; after all, it had allowed him to raise Bianca, who ultimately was the reason he, along with hundreds of nameless others, had been rocketed to the Moon to fight an enemy unseen.

Sutton reached behind his back for a pocket on his pack, fumbling awkwardly with it. He knew it would have been easier to take the pack off, but too much of a bother to put back on again. After a few attempts that made the bones in his shoulder crack and pop, forcing him to dance around in a little circle, he managed to retrieve Bianca's latest greet. He held the coin-sized black disc between finger and thumb, squeezing it. Although the greet was cheap and had been roughly treated in Sutton's backpack, it was not too damaged to emit a tiny, garbled electronic squeak. Presently a little movie of Bianca appeared a couple of millimeters above its' surface.

"Hello, Daddy! How are you? I'm fine," the image piped at him. "I hope that you're taking care of yourself and that your feet don't hurt too bad from marching. Is it hot on the Moon?" The little Bianca hopped impatiently, a trait Sutton knew well, one that made him smile-curiosity made Bianca's body move in funny ways. "Michelle says it must be hot up there, 'cause you're closer to the Sun, but I think that it must be cold because, because . . . well, because it looks cold. Brrrr!" Bianca seemed to grin, Sutton couldn't quite tell-the greet wasn't of good quality and didn't have the capacity to throw up a really clear picture. But his smile grew larger. Bianca reasoned like an artist and that pleased him. It was his dream that she grow up to become somebody creative.

"It's chilly," Sutton whispered to the recording. Scientists had only began the creation of a lunar atmosphere ninety years ago. It was breathable but not terribly thick yet; all the soldiers wore special thermal underwear.

"Daddy," the message continued. "Have you seen any of them yet? What do they look like?" Sutton hadn't caught a glimpse; nobody had seen an Invader close enough to live to talk about it. "Gramee and Grampee say they're awfully ugly and mean, so be careful!" Bianca looked off-camera for a second and then lowered her voice. "I'm so bored here, Daddy," she complained breathlessly, straight into the camera. "Gramee and Grampee's house smells funny! Why don't you just come get me so we can go home?" She seemed to almost drool at the thought.

Bianca's attention shifted again. "Daddy, the red light's blinking and I'm out of change for the machine. What is it?" she asked, annoyed, glaring at someone Sutton couldn't see. "Daddy, Gramee and Grampee say to tell you that they are taking good care of me. I'm being really good-well, I am!" she continued to argue with her unseen audience. "But I ate the beans! They're driving me crazy, Daddy, I'm just going to go to the Coast," she joked in an aside to the camera. "Daddy, I love you. Tell Miss Caruthers I'm sleeping better, but you should still come back home." With that, Bianca faded, along with Sutton's grin and once more he found himself holding only a black disc.

The army. Missing Bianca was the worst part about it.

Sutton slipped the greet into his trouser pocket and collected himself. The important thing now was finding his company. He thought about just waiting for them to make their way to Dome Rock, but what if they couldn't? Or what if they walked into an Invader ambush while stumbling around lost? Nobody knew exactly where the Invaders were encamped on the Moon; the aliens had done a good job of destroying all the native technology in the area. That meant no sensors, no satellite images. Once again, the Moon had a dark side. Only the atmosphere generators had been spared, which indicated that the Invaders were intelligent. Cunning. And somewhat similar to us, Sutton mused. They must breathe the same air we do. Otherwise, why not blow the generators and suffocate us in the vacuum?

As he marched away from Dome Rock in what he believed was a likely direction, Sutton shivered-the thought of strangulation gave him the creeps. An early childhood friend had died that way, smothering in an airtight storage cabinet-he'd been playing where he shouldn't have been. The dead boy's brother had told Sutton that his face had turned blue, as if he'd died of cold, and that his face had indeed looked frozen: eyes and mouth open, full of blood from ruptured blood vessels. Sutton wondered if asphyxiation hurt. He'd heard that it didn't, but how would anybody know for sure? Unless you personally choked to death first.

No, Sutton didn't think he'd choose to go that way. Sleeping pills, maybe. You had to be careful with overdosing on purpose, though. Sometimes the pills made you throw up; then you could wind up vomiting while unconscious, puke filling your mouth and airway until finally, you choked to death after all. Really, Sutton's preferred method of self-extinction-and he'd considered suicide more than once-was by lethal injection. Government-assisted, not some clumsy individual attempt, which was a good way to shoot an air bubble into a vein, which seemed like it would hurt. A lot.

But execution by lethal injection, there now! A lot of officials worked hard to make sure that was painless, didn't they? They had a whole routine worked out, for goodness sakes! That would be the way to go, Sutton thought. He knew the worst part would be the anticipation, the knowledge that death was imminent, but a suicide would be dealing with that anyway, right? Of course, to merit an execution, he'd have to do something terrible, like murder somebody and he just wasn't that kind of person.

It wasn't like he was thinking of killing himself at this point in time, anyway. He patted the greet in his pocket and smiled to himself. Besides, it wasn't like Emily was going to magically reappear, ready to be his wife again and help raise their daughter. Well, maybe she would, Sutton considered. No, on the other hand, probably not. It wasn't something he'd hold his breath over, that was for sure. More reliable than an airtight cabinet, that would be another good way to slowly suffocate.

He often wondered what had happened to Emily. Was she standing on a patio somewhere, a drink in her hand, maybe even contemplating the very moon he was trudging across? Did she even know he was here? Sutton was pretty sure she kept in touch with her parents, although they wouldn't confirm this, which maddened him. For a long time, he hadn't allowed them access to Bianca-after all, what kind of people help a mother hide from her own child? The sudden war had forced him to reconsider this position. He simply had no one else to take care of his daughter while he was gone. Oh, how they'd enjoyed seeing his hands tied, although they hadn't said so, just like they hadn't said anything about Emily's farewell note:

I'm going to the store. And then I'm going to the Coast.

Signed,
Emily

Signed, Emily. Sutton wondered what he'd done to earn such formality from his wife. Actually, she hadn't bothered to sign anything; the whole thing had been spat from a word processor. No signature, nothing personal at all, just flat printer ink. He often thought about showing the note to a psychiatrist, just to see what a doctor had to say about someone who abandoned her family and didn't even trouble herself to sign her own letter. Letter? That was a laugh, people wrote more on postcards.

She must have thought her note terribly dramatic-she could not live without chaos in her life. Probably Emily considered the letter a great favor. Emily did not believe in obligation. Emily was her own person. Emily was a good dancer, as she was always quick to remind people. She had worked professionally; she had been paid to dance in some of the finest theatres on the planet. Emily had been and done those things. But what do you tell Bianca?

"Bianca, your mother's going to be gone for a while," was what he'd told her, perching her on one knee.

"Gone where?" Bianca had absently wanted to know. She was fussing with her favorite doll, Miss Caruthers, without whom she could not sleep.

"Well, Bianca," Sutton had told her gently, stroking her back with one hand; he groped for a handkerchief with another for the tears that were about to come. "She's gone away, to dance. You don't remember, but your mommy used to dance a lot. In the theatre."

"I remember, she tells me about it all the time," Bianca shrugged. "But what's a theatre?" Curiosity was a puppeteer that made her bounce in his lap and Sutton had to struggle to hold her still.

"It's a place where people get dressed up really fancy and they watch people perform on a stage."

Bianca squirmed. "What's a-"

"A stage is like part of the floor that's raised above everybody so you can see what's going on, Bianca." Her eyes had lit up and Sutton had a pretty good idea that someday she would become well acquainted with stages and theatres.

"Well, is she coming back?" Bianca had asked after a moment, looking her father steadily in the eye.

Sutton had taken a deep breath and made sure he had the handkerchief ready. Lie or tell the truth? Which would be best for Bianca?

"Bianca, I don't know. Maybe she won't come back," had been the best he could do.

"Oh," Bianca had said, without blinking. "Well, I hope Mommy has a good time. People like to see her dance?"

"Yes, I liked to watch her, anyway. She's a great dancer, she's an artist."

"Will I see her dance?"

"I don't know, maybe," had been the best he could do.

"Okay," Bianca had shrugged again. "What's for dinner tonight, Daddy?" Which had completely thrown him off.

"Bianca, are you okay about this?" he'd asked.

"Well, you're not going anywhere, are you?"

"No, no, I'll never leave you, sweetheart." He didn't know it was a lie at the time, the war was still nearly a year away.

"Then I'm okay," Bianca had smiled and then caught sight of the handkerchief in his hand. "Miss Caruthers is a little sorry, I guess," she'd said and taken the handkerchief from him, dabbing the doll's button eyes. "There, there, Miss Caruthers...Has she cried enough, Daddy?" she'd asked after a few moments.

"I guess so, Bianca." And that had been the last time Emily had been mentioned between them, although it wasn't the last time Sutton thought of her. Receiving their divorce papers three months later had been like someone dropping a cannonball on him from a great height. kA-Boom! That's how he thought of their divorce, actually-The Great kA-Boom. He didn't think Bianca had minded at all. Emily was not a people person. She did not have a way with children.

It had been a different story when his own departure had come. There had been many tears, on both sides.

"You're going where ?" Bianca had wailed, clutching the sides of her head. She had her own sense of drama.

"To the army, sweetheart, I have to," and he'd shown her the draft notice, which was quite a novelty. There hadn't been a draft in over two hundred years. "There are some bad people coming, Bianca, and they want to take away everything we have. Everything, even Miss Caruthers," he'd said, trying to make it personal for her.

"Who are these people? And why would they want to take away Miss Caruthers?" she'd moaned.

"I don't know, baby, nobody really does. You see, they come from somewhere else, from so far away that we don't even know where their home is. We can't even imagine what they look like."

"Then how will you know who to fight? This is stupid! And why would they want Miss Caruthers?"

"I don't know," had been the best he could do. "The universe is a big place, full of things we don't understand. Nobody knows why they're doing what they're doing. We don't know much about them at all."

"If the uni-, the uni-, the-" Bianca struggled.

"Universe," Sutton helped her with the word.

"Oh, whatever! If it's so big, then why do they have to come here for, Daddy?"

"That's a good question. Seems like there'd be room for everybody, doesn't it? Because it is a big universe." He pronounced the word slowly for her this time, so she could understand it. "It's so big, it never really ends."

That was a truth that could be applied to anything, Sutton thought. Nothing really does end, does it? Not his daughter's tears that day or her endless questions that didn't really have satisfactory answers. Or The Great kA-Boom, he still felt the aftershocks of that every day. Or the same boring lunar landscape it seemed he'd tramp across forever. Or Miss Caruthers. The day he'd arrived for basic training, he'd found that Bianca had stolen an opportunity to stuff the doll in with his clothes. Pinned to her chest was a simple note:

Dear People:

Here's what you came for. If you want her so bad, you can have her. Now nobody has to fight.

Sincerely,
Bianca Sutton

Unlike Emily, Bianca ended her letters with an actual signature, Sutton noticed. He found he could not part with Miss Caruthers, so rather than store the doll in his locker and risk discovery, he carried it in his backpack and yet still he feared that someday his comrades might find out. He shuddered-there would be no way he could bear their teasing if they ever learned about Miss Caruthers.

Sutton peered at the landscape before him. The tiny valley he currently stood in began to rise in a gentle swell a few dozen meters in front of him, but at the top of that swell stood a formidable array of craggy hills. Not really that formidable, Sutton thought, not like cliffs or mountains, more like an inconvenience to climb. They only guarded the northern (he believed it was the northern) lip of the valley and he supposed that he could just walk around them, but he was tired and the day was coming up on mid-afternoon. He needed to get to wherever he was going before dark; he didn't fancy a campout, not alone.

It was then that an excellent timesaving idea struck him.

"Now, you numb-nuts that like to prance and jump around, listen up," Sergeant Marciniak had lectured them as their shuttle approached the Moon. "There's good news and bad news. The good news, for some of you-like Lafferty and his fat ass here-is that you'll only weigh about an eighth of what you do back home. Can any of you professors tell me why this should be the case?" The sergeant had crossed his arms and tapped a foot with some expectation.

There was a deep silence that lasted a full fifteen seconds, until Private Phillips ventured a half-raised arm. "The Moon is. . .the Moon is in space?"

The sergeant snorted his contempt for Phillips. "Technically, Private, you are correct. The Moon is, indeed, in space. Gentlemen, I can only hope that the Invaders do not challenge the well-oiled killing machine that is this company to a mathematics competition. Now listen up, girls! The reason that you'll only weigh an eighth of what you normally do is because there's only an eighth of the gravity on the Moon.

Which means, sweethearts, although you will find yourself consumed with happiness to serve in this company upon our Moon, do not jump for joy. On our Moon, what goes up does not necessarily come down right away. Anyone jumping for joy can wind up in an extremely distant location. So please, do not distract us from our vital duty of defending our Moon by forcing your comrades to track down your numbnutted ass. Understood? " Sergeant Marciniak had bellowed and everybody had voiced their comprehension, although not everyone had understood.

Private Sutton remembered Marciniak's words, loud and clear. Why makes an unnecessary detour when he could scout the hills from here? After all, this may not be a deep range; it would be a shame to waste time and energy skirting them when there was no need. A simple hop should lift him high enough to see over. Sutton bent his knees and pushed off against the ground, not too hard, and only as a test.

He rose nearly three meters into the air, high enough to make his stomach flip-flop, but not high enough to see over the obstructing hills. After he floated calmly back to the surface, he tried again, this time a little more forcefully. This second effort sent him nearly fifteen meters up and he was rewarded with a view of the hilltops and the landscape beyond. Unfortunately, he also found himself propelled over that same view.

For a moment, he panicked, thinking he was going to continue indefinitely and become the Moon's own little satellite. Just as his stomach threatened to burst through his clenched mouth, he began to descend towards the surface again, this time on the opposite side of the hills. They hadn't been so terribly thick at all, only two or three deep. But he knew he'd been stupid-if he'd performed that leap before the introduction of an atmosphere, it was entirely possible that he might have kept on rising, right into space. But this knowledge isn't what made his throat go dry as he finally descended.

He'd landed squarely in the midst of three Invaders, startling them into taking a few steps backwards. They were so freakish looking that his brain refused to process the sight. Surely, nothing that looked so strange could be animated? Colored fish-belly white, smooth baldheads with a single gaping black eye in the center. Or was it a mouth? Sutton was so terrified, he couldn't tell. Two short, stubby arms protruded from the torso that extended underneath the head all the way to the ground. How did they move? Sutton imagined them hopping all over the Moon like jumping beans. His body began to shake and tremble with fear. Invaders. Invaders beyond the hills.

He wondered, was I going north? No, south seems like a better way to go, Sutton thought. A much better direction, he'd always enjoyed south. He began to rapidly back off that way, keeping his eyes on the aliens before him. They seemed to have collected themselves but only stood their ground. No expression could be read on their blank faces. He felt himself start up an incline that was the nearest hill. One of the Invaders raised a hand and shook its finger at him, as if to scold him, just as he sometimes did with Bianca. The gesture stopped him cold. The Invader stepped towards him, its' lower torso splitting into two separate legs capped by clubbish feet.

With a dreadful fascination, he watched one of the other two produce a tube from behind its back. The design looked vaguely familiar to Sutton. A weapon, one that did not shoot flowers. There was a curious mechanical pinging sound that traveled the length of an octave and then a cylindrical object flew from the apparatus' business end in a lazy, graceful arc towards the private.

Sutton craned his neck upwards and saw the cylinder reach the crest of its arc high above his head. Then it began to float serenely down towards the ground. This can't be good, he thought and tried to will his body to move, to run. He remained locked in place, helpless. Suddenly, he was reminded him of his divorce, The Great kA-Boom. Almost, a wry smile had time to form.

There was a flash and a brief moment of blinding pain. He found himself far above the ground and looking down upon the Invaders, who calmly regarded him as he floated down to the surface. The next moment, Sutton realized he was lying prone against the ground, looking up at the pinkish afternoon sky. He was unable to rise and could only shift his head about. There was somebody's arm nearby-had his comrades finally caught up with him?

Someone else must have been hit as well. He had trouble breathing. He heard footsteps coming towards him and tried in vain to once again sit up. He found that he could no longer move his head. Then he couldn't get any air into his lungs at all, as if someone was stepping on his neck, forcing the windpipe closed. He began to thrash about as he realized he was choking. His mouth convulsively opened and shut, trying to gather in one more swallow of air. His body bucked and clawed at the lunar dust for almost a minute before he began to hear a loud buzzing inside his head. His struggles ceased as the noise in his head grew louder; he began to feel a strange euphoria.

The Invaders crept into his field of vision, slowly. The way their heads were cocked indicated curiosity to Sutton. They no longer terrified him; in fact, they looked absurd. One of them poked its face close to Suttons', ignoring the cautious hand of one of its fellows. Sutton looked into the single black eye. No pupil, no soul there, he thought. They're dead inside. An army of accountants, he thought and would have laughed if there'd been the breath for it. The Invader began to make a humming noise that oddly soothed him further.

Then, gazing deep inside that dull alien eye, he saw himself rocking Bianca in his lap. She looked so vulnerable, but safe in his arms, fast asleep. Then he saw Emily dancing, dancing well, beside him. They walked down a street and Emily draped her arm around his, just as she used to do. He'd missed that simple gesture of hers. It had been so Emily. Once more, he wondered where she was.

Then, suddenly, he was a child, and his mother was rocking him. Funny, his mother was alive again, caressing the contours of his face with her fingertips, singing to him. "Beautiful boy," she sang softly. Her long, strong fingers on his back. The warmth of her palms there. Fingertips barely touching his skin, tracing long, complicated patterns. Her breath whispered across his face like a gentle breeze. "I love you, beautiful boy," she told him. Sutton tried to say that he loved her, too, but there was no breath in his body for the words. No breath at all. Then, sadly, for Private Sutton, it turned out the Universe did have an end, after all.

* * * * *

"There's a face only a mother could love," the corporal joked as he bent over the dead native. He was always good for a quick one-liner, even in the most unusual of situations. He began humming to himself again.

"Enough music, soldier," the lieutenant said crossly, hurting his feelings a little. The corporal was used to people who appreciated his wit. Besides, who didn't like classical music? Simon and Garfunkel. "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Sheesh, nobody appreciated irony in space.

"Lieutenant, that was a hell of a shot," the private told her as she stowed away her portable missile launcher. "And it didn't even try to run. Creepy, how it just jumped out like that. And what kind of ambush was that? Kamikaze, maybe?" He shivered inside his suit. An itch started somewhere on the Brooklyn native's scalp, underneath his mop of curly black hair, which he yearned to scratch. Of course, in this thin alien atmosphere, it would be death to remove his helmet. Better to endure the itch.

"Yeah, you think it would have split, with all those legs," the corporal wisecracked. "I count two sets, four legs."

"No," the lieutenant corrected him. "Three sets of legs, you've got two stumps here," she pointed to the ragged remains of the creature's lower legs. "I thought I saw one fly off over there," she pointed to the West. "We'll have to find all the pieces, the butterfly catchers back at base will want a close look at our friend here. It'll be their first."

"Two sets of arms, too, Lieutenant," the private chipped in. "One's blown off, but it's over here, not far from the head."

"Right you are, Private," the lieutenant crossed over to him. "Good eye, there." The private basked in her praise; the lieutenant was blonde and beautiful, what the soldiers called a babe. He loved her, everyone did. She even made the albino-white pressure suits they were all forced to endure look sexy.

"You know, the bug-catchers wanted a live one," the corporal sniffed.

"There'll be plenty of those soon enough," the lieutenant snapped-she did not care to be criticized in the field, especially by someone of inferior rank. Besides, the corporal knew as well as she that they'd scouted a whole platoon of the things a few kilometers away, near a large, egg-shaped rock formation. She wondered what this one was doing so far away and by itself. Was the private right? Was this a society that practiced kamikaze tactics? Did this race even have a society at all? Perhaps they had a hive mentality, like some insects back home. The lieutenant shivered. Even though human technology was far more capable than that of these natives, suicide-missions would be difficult to defend against.

"Looks like a damn praying mantis, that's what it looks like," the corporal spat. "A praying mantis with dreadlocks. Is that hair?" He toed the spongy, tubular lengths that grew from the native's head. "And it's not green, kind of brown, like those crickets you find under a house back on Earth." All three soldiers sighed for a moment. Earth.

"And its face is blue," the private noted, not daring to stick a finger inside the gaping mouth to see what the teeth were like.

"Maybe it's just holding its breath," the corporal quipped. It wasn't funny-all three took a step away from the corpse. In his haste, the private tripped over some kind of pack the thing had carried.

"Look at this," the private said and raised a scorched little figure from the wreckage of the creature's backpack. It was a miniature version of the dead thing that lay before them. "It's a doll! There's something like paper pinned to it. Some kind of writing on it."

"Look, it's definitely not a doll," the lieutenant strode over and seized it, thinking of her young nieces back home. "Some kind of charm? Maybe this is a prayer attached?"

"Well, then, it didn't work," the corporal barked and finally drew a smile from the other two, although their helmets and visors kept him from ever knowing.

"Roger, that, corporal. But I doubt bugs pray." The lieutenant frowned, was briefly troubled.

"I don't understand why we just don't blow the atmosphere generators they've got set up all over this place. Suffocate the bugs outta here." The corporal said as he joined the lieutenant in her investigation of the doll.

"Because we need a base of operations here and it's better to work in some kind of atmosphere instead of none at all," the private responded as his eyes searched the slain alien. "And we'd only have to rebuild the damn things-we're going to need breathable air for ourselves if this is going to be our command center. It's better to start from this soup than from nothing. Anything's better than a vacuum," he continued, thinking of the inside of the corporal's head, and with more than a little condescension in his voice. "Sir," he added when the corporal turned his way, his body posture not indicating pleasure.

"You should pay more attention to the briefings, corporal," the lieutenant agreed as she walked back to the dismembered corpse. On the way over, she stepped on a coin-sized black disc that was not too damaged to emit a tiny, garbled electronic squeak. It was not loud enough to be heard over her last sentence. "You might learn something if you'd just listen a little more carefully," she said, clicking her pretty tongue in disgust.

 
 
 
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Author Bio

Born in 1966, David O'Flaherty has lived in Maine, Chicago and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. The recipient of a B.A. in Theatre, David has written several short stories, as well as two plays.

In addition to conducting research for two novels, he is also working as a script editor for an upcoming independent film. David O'Flaherty is an honored member of Fight Club (but let's not talk about Fight Club). He enjoys walking while listening to music, attending the cinema with his friend Christie and the juices of various fruits and vegetables, all the good stuff that life has to offer.

 


 

 
 
 

"Private Sutton" Copyright © 2000 David O'Flaherty. All rights reserved. Published by permission of the author.
 
This page last updated 7-22-00.

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