Saturday, August 30, 2008

308 Class assignment #1;Prose; Rough Draft

Hey all. This is my First piece of prose due in my English 308 class. Give it a read. Let me know what you think.


Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" played over the stereo speakers as a hand reached into a red and white box, and pulled out a thin cylinder of tobacco, nicotine, and God-knows-what-else. One stick went in the mouth, and the shorter, used one into the chrome, metal ashtray. The ashtray was nearly full. A light briefly lit a bearded face before being extinguished.

Thick cigarette smoke hung in the air over Jim as he removed the tiny, fine-threaded screws from the well-built computer chassis. As they turned counter-clockwise, the light screws fell into a pan below the chassis.

Clang! Clang Clang! Cling!

A single screw hit the smooth, cement floor.

Jim hated it when that happened. Two stumps for legs made what would normally be a simple inconvenience into an exercise in patience. When he was 19, Jim was drafted into the military to go fight in Vietnam. The stumps were a constant reminder of a day of unimaginable pain. Jim's best friend, Steve, a tall, raven-haired man, swift on his feet but not much for thinking, took a turn without looking and stepped on the wrong square foot of brush. The cost of the misstep was one landmine, one friend, and two legs, thanks to the shrapnel left behind.

Jim lifted himself up, his red and black, plaid, collared shirt rubbing up against the cushioning of a dirt-gray chair. Toned muscles and thick veins peaked through an opening in his left sleeve. One push and he was on the ground.

Jim picked up the screw and called his 16-year-old apprentice, Mark.

"Hey buddy! Can you give me a hand here?" said Jim, his deep voice echoing in the garage and down the hall of the building labeled, "Computer Technicians Repair Service."

He could have been a singer, his mother said once in the year following his tour in 'Nam, but the war had made him tough and hard, and a singer needed a soft heart to sing.

A black-haired teenager wearing a tight, white t-shirt, and blue jeans casually walked in the room. At 5'5", he was a short kid, but even a short kid was a giant next to a man with stumps for legs.

"Sure Jim. What's up?" said Mark.

Jim handed mark the screw.

"Get the electric drill, the one with the magnetic tip, and take apart the rest of this computer. We have to put in a new motherboard and get it back to Desert Industrial by tomorrow," said Jim.

Jim turned his back to Mark and grabbed the rubber pads he strapped to the stumps whenever he needed to walk, though he was pretty sure it looked more like waddling than walking.

"The motherboard?" said Mark. "It's almost the end of the day. I don't think that I can get this done by closing time."

"Mark, another day, another hour, another dollar, and that's how the big bucks are made," said Jim. They were the words he told Mark every time the kid complained, honest complaint or not.

Mark sighed, grabbed the electric drill, and sat in the chair.

Jim walked away, smiling as he headed out of the garage and down the hall to his office. He liked this kid.

The door to his office stood before Jim, a tall wooden door like old Edinburgh; it was Edinburgh with a doorknob. The 'Nam vet turned the knob, pushed the door open, and pulled himself into a brown, leather office chair. He put out his cigarette in a cup of dirty water that he kept beside a black, flatscreen computer monitor. His wife hated it when he smoked in the house.

Jim sat, and then slid back into the comfortable, leather chair.

Billing could wait, thought Jim. Just a few minutes of naptime and then he would go back to business.

One hour passed.

Crash! Bam!

Jim's eyes flung open, pupils dilated by the bright, orange sun. He heard a cry.

Quickly, Jim jumped from his Jeep to the ground, rushing toward the noise. Panic settled on Jim, his heart jumping in and out of his chest. The cry came again, bouncing off the straight line of teak trees ahead. Jim ran through down the line into thick smoke, the ground covered in black from blast craters left by flesh-ripping explosives. A tall, dark-haired man in army fatigues was screaming in pain. It was Steve! Steve was in pain! Jim rushed over to his friend and saw a bleeding hand. He looked into his friends eyes, expecting to see their light, crystalline blue, but instead they were a dark, mossy green!

The scene faded and the trees disappeared. Jim stood with two stumps on a cement floor, thick sweat stuck to his red and black plaid shirt, his eyes fastened on Mark.

"Jim? Are you okay? Sorry I startled you man. I accidentally cut myself with the screwdriver and knocked over the ash tray. I know you told me to use the electric drill but…"

The rest of Mark's sentence was a lost to Jim. His eyes were wide. What happened? Where was Steve?

All rights are reserved. No publishing, reproducing, altering, or distributing any portion of this without the author's permission.

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