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3 Old Veterans

3 Old Veterans

3 old veterans discuss their memories of old lives to hilarious results.

4

Humorous fiction


author-small

Eric (United States)


The sun hung low in the sky. Still clearly daytime, but also clearly coming to its end. Bits of orange and yellow smeared across the horizon. The sound of bugs buzzing was beginning to die off. The glow of the sun kept everything at just the right temperature with the blades of grass providing highlights on the fields all the way to the rolling hills far off into the distance. Even the old fence somehow looked like a work of art despite its flaws, and there were many. Like many other old fences, the many signs of disintegration didn't affect its sturdiness. Hence why Ronnie and Duke had been coming to watch the sunset for the past year and a half.

Ronnie, the older of the two, stood tall against a post in the fence. His white hair almost glowed in the light. He let out a content sigh. Duke stood next to him a little more hunched over. There was only a few years difference between the two, but one may not realize it from just how dark Duke's hair was. Although, once you got closer, all the little gray hairs sprinkled in were unmistakable. Hearing Ronnie's sigh, Duke responded the only way he could; he nodded in agreement. Almost as soon as he did, something caught his attention in the corner of his eye. He whipped his head to see as Ronnie appeared not to notice. "Oh look, it's Terry."

Terry strolled up to the fence and began to lean, next to Duke's side. The three stood staring at the view for a moment. "Isn't there anything else to do here?!" bemoaned Terry. Ronnie dropped his head in exasperation. Duke turned back to Terry, "Is there literally nothing else you can do besides complain?"

"Hey!" exclaimed Terry, "I'm not as old as you guys are. I just got too much "youthful" energy for this place!"

"And yet your family moved you in here with the rest of us old-timers," quipped Ronnie. He may not have have been much of a talker, but when he did, it tended to be somewhat cutting.

"I fell down once! They'll realize there were being overly cautious and have me back in no time,"

The other two braced themselves for the oncoming rant.

"I'm a national hero! Me and my partners took down a tank all by ourselves! We chased after it as it fired its cannon at us and we narrowly missed it every time. It almost got to the point where I could anticipate where each blast was going to happen next. The jungle provided some cover, but never enough. Still, despite chasing them again and again, we eventually took that tank down and Smith was able to sneak in and steal the golden icon. Cut! That's what the boss used to yell when we completed each task. And we did this for years, always setting off to find more gold and treasures. I only fell down a hill once. Once this leg heals up, I'll be back in action."

"Pfft," said Duke.

"What?!" cried Terry.

"You're old, just like us. Accept it!" railed Duke. "Secondly, you think that was hard work?! One tank?? I used to do that all the time. I bet you've never even been in a battle."

"A b-battle?" Terry's eyes darted back and forth. Ronnie turned his attention away from the sunset for the first time in this conversation.

Duke cleared his throat, "One of the worst battles I ever served in was in New Zealand. We had a castle fully fortified and ready. That's when the enemy arrived. Over a thousand surrounding the gates. At the main door, we heard a BANG! BANG! BANG! Each sound caused the door to bend inward and every young fellow knight's bravery slowly gave way to more and more fear. Finally, the door burst apart in a terrific explosion and the army of goblins poured in. The next night we charged into each other. Arrows flew high above in the air. The battle raged for days and days. We would begin to beat them back, but each time they came back. For two nights, the rain turned itself on before staying on for the remaining week. One time I was able to kick a goblin in the face so hard his face flew off. Funny how when a goblin has his skin removed, he looks almost human. I gotta say those doctors did a good job reconstructing his face; a week later, he was back on the battlefield. So come talk to me after you survive a month-long battle."

Duke looked quite proud of himself as Terry remained quiet. "After all these years, I still remember the speech our fearless leader used to say to inspire us to fight! Even when it seemed like nothing was getting accomplished, the army just kept coming again and again. He would get up and yell, "Action!" And we all knew we could do it and continue the fight for just a little longer. I still live by those words, action!"

Terry looked as though he was ready to slink away as Duke stood tall with the golden glow of the sun, seemingly making him seem more like a benevolent statue. Even the crickets seemed quieter in reverence.

"Balderdash!"

They looked up at Ronnie.

"Balderdash, I say!"

"Ronnie?" cried Duke with a confused look on his face.

"What do you mean?" added Terry.

"It's sad watching you two old fogies." proclaimed Ronnie. Duke and Terry stared in shock. "You two are a couple of senile actors!"

"What?"

"Y'all are so old you've forgotten that you were in movies, not real life. Typical, you spend all of your young lives pretending! So when you finally get too old, you forget how to turn it off."

Duke tried to collect himself, "I... I..."

Ronnie cleared his throat, "The fact I'm a real veteran makes it all the more ridiculous!"

"Well, which war did you serve in then?" asked Terry.

"The big one!" declared Ronnie.

"Korea?" responded Terry.

"No, you idiot! World War II is the big one!" corrected Duke.

"Bigger," said Ronnie in a quiet, calm voice. "The Revolutionary War. For 10 years I fought to liberate America from those blasted red coats. I served with all the greats, I fought at Yorktown 7 times, Battle of Yonkers 5 times, etc. There was none of this "action" or "cut" nonsense. Starting then stopping and doing it all again until we got it right. No! We'd fight for hours at a time all the way through the battles. We even had people come from all over to cheer us on. My battalion was so well-trained that you literally could not keep us down. You may think they were dead, but by the time of the next battle, they were back ready to defend America once again. So every time you look at that flag as it blows in the wind, remember what we did. Show some respect for the ones who made it possible. Let em enjoy their sunset in their old age because at this point, that's all they got left!"

Terry could not have looked more distant and small. However, Duke was another matter, "You old fool! You're just as "senile" as us! Those were historical reenactments!"

Ronnie shook off the information almost as soon as it was said. "How dare you!"

Terry seemed to find his old confidence. "I have been to 3 different jungles across the globe!"

Duke countered, "Yeah, I've been to more countries then you've even heard of!"

The three all stood there, arguing about every minute detail. Two would gang up against the other then switch sides; other times, it would become a free-for-all. All three forgetting that they had this exact same argument practically every day since being sent to the ranch. This fight, like all of them before, could have continued forever.

Suddenly a loud craggy sound rang out, "There they are, boy!" The old farmer, Cecil Wilcox came running up the hill. His young son, Phillip followed close behind him. "Come on, come on, it's almost bedtime! Get!" Cecil yelled as he whipped his arm across. Ronnie, Duke, and Terry galloped away toward the stables. The sun was almost below the horizon and the Californian sky was dark. Lighting bugs were beginning to come out. Phillip looked at his father, "What were they doing out here, pa?"

"Eh, those horses do this practically every day."

"I wonder what they're thinking about."

"They're old stunt horses son, I doubt they're capable of thought." Cecil started to walk back down the hill. Phillip nodded, then followed. The last light of the setting sun went out as Phillip returned down the hill toward the ranch.




THE END.


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