Book Bandit Prompts – Complements of Anita

The Book Bandits gathered today to write. I understand that Riz and Jennifer are providing the prompts and Anita shared today’s set with me along with an exhortation that I should do something with them. They are:

  1. Miracles occur;
  2. I went to the woods
  3. Save one man at a time


I stood with my kids, looking at the tree line. They wanted to go on a hike in the woods. I wanted to take them but tree lines scared me. People hid inside tree lines and shot AK47’s at you and the day was changing. It had gotten oppressive and humid. The heat bore down on my shoulders like it hadn’t done in a long time. Things were changing, time was changing; the quiet day suddenly became noisy. Small arms fire was clattering around me and I ducked low. It was easy to distinguish the sound of an AK47. The AK sounded different than an M16. A lot different.

I pulled Emmy and Therese low into the grass of the LZ. Where was Linda? The kids needed her she had to come and get the kids. They shouldn’t be here. I hoped we wouldn’t be seen. We had our wounded nestled low in a shallow ravine not far from where the girls and I crouched. We were waiting for a medevac. I listened closely but couldn’t hear the sounds of the Hueys. Where were the Hueys?

The AK fire was more concentrated now and someone, about 50 yards to my left popped a red smoke. Maybe they could hear the choppers, I couldn’t. Then I felt them, that hard thump, thump, thump that rattled my teeth first and then moved deeper to shake my bones. It was unmistakable and the sound made me feel safer. I smiled, when I felt the wash of the first one coming in hard and fast. Automatic weapons fire raked the treeline from the open door of an accompanying gunship and the evac bird hovered low, never quite touching down. I took the girls and loaded them in. I went back to help move my injured comrades. We could only save one man at a time.

When the Hueys left, whisking my daughters to safety I crouched low and waited for the signal to enter the woods.

Voodoo was next to me maybe 15 yards to my left. He was calling my name. He shouldn’t be doing that – he was drawing attention to himself, putting himself at risk, but he wouldn’t stop.

“Santa Fe, hey Santa Fe,” he yelled. “Come back man.

“Hey Santa Fe, you’re scaring me. What’s happening?” His voice slowly changed and he started calling me by my real name, “Bobby, Bobby?” He put his arms around me and Voodoo became Linda. “Bobby, are you all right? Come back to me Bobby.”

Suddenly it wasn’t 1969 anymore. The AK47’s were replaced by the sounds of birds and the day was cooler and dry.

“Linda,” I said, “did you get the girls? Are the girls OK? Are they safe?”

“The girls are fine,” she said, “you scared them a little bit but they’re OK. Thanks for saving them. Are you OK?”

I took her hand and we started walking back to the picnic table, “Yeah, I’m fine. You know, I love you.”

“I love you too Bobby. I love you too.”


Thanks Anita!

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Daily Prompt; Prophecy

Daily Prompt; Prophecy



I watched as Pauline stepped up to the roulette table with matching stacks of chips in each of her two hands. The gypsy woman had told her what was going to happen. The prophecy had foretold that on her initial bet, half of her money should be placed squarely on 17 black. Winnings, if any, should be collected and put aside. The gypsy fortune teller had specifically stated that any winnings off the first bet should not be used on the second bet.

For the very next spin, the other half of her money should be wagered on 25 red.

I watched her lean forward and place one handful of chips on 17 black. Resignedly, I shook my head and watched the croupier spin the wheel then send the ball careening in the opposite direction. I looked up at Pauline as she stared at the scene playing out in front of her. I realized that I was holding my breath.

##

Pauline had drained her bank account, sold her car, and convinced me that I should give her a ride to the casino at The Inn of the Mountain Gods. Reluctantly, I had agreed.

“This is crazy, you know,” I told her.

“No it isn’t,” she said, “and I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m just going to do it.”

“You’re going to lose everything,” I replied.

“Did your mama get over that nasty cold she had?” Pauline asked, abruptly changing the subject.

“Yeah,” I sighed, “she’s well now, thanks.” I surrendered. I had known Pauline all my life and I knew that she could be as stubborn as a mule. This was one of those times and her mind was set. We rode the rest of the way up the mountain in a comfortable silence. She spent the time looking out the window with a faint smile on her face. A light snow had begun to fall. The lot was full when we got there but I finally found a spot that was situated about as far away from the front doors as you could get.  We fastened up our coats and began trudging towards the casino.

Inside Pauline moved to go to the cashiers window.

“Hey,” I said and she paused, looking back at me, “I’m going to go get a drink. I’ll meet you by the roulette tables. Do you want anything?”

“Orange juice,” she said and turned back, continuing her way to the window. She was on a mission.

I went to the bar where I ordered her OJ and a double JD for myself. I slipped the bartender twice the tab and asked her to wish us luck.

When the ball clattered down to the wheel and began jumping around; I exhaled and took a sip of my whiskey. I wove through the crowd to Pauline and handed her the glass of orange juice as the croupier announced the winner.

“17 black,” he said as he placed the dolly on the table.

Pauline got taller when she jumped up on her toes, “That’s the first one,” she said, “would you collect my winnings? I don’t want to risk mingling the winnings with my second bet.”

When the table was ready, I scooped up her money. I had no idea how much it was, but it was substantial. I held the chips against my chest with one hand and finished my whiskey with the other. Pauline leaned down and placed her second bet on 25 red.

She clutched my arm, and sipped her juice as she waited for the wheel to spin. We watched, anxiously as the croupier set the ball in motion above the spinning wheel. Time stood still as we waited and watched. When the ball finally clattered onto the moving wheel and bounced from slot to slot I held my breath again and closed my eyes. I couldn’t watch.

Pauline’s grip tightened on my forearm and I knew immediately what had happened when she started jumping up and down, splashing orange juice on all the players in the immediate area. I opened my eyes and confirmed, with amazement, what I already knew had happened. The little ball was nestled snugly in the red slot marked 25.

A skimpily dressed casino employee brought over a pair of small gold painted buckets. I put the chips I was holding into one of them and Pauline put the winnings from her second bet into the other.

“Let’s go.” She said.

I looked at her, incredulous, “What? You’re ahead. You can’t leave.”

“I can, and I will,” she said, “I’ve done what I came here to do.” We walked back to the cashier’s cage collecting envious stares from the other gamblers we walked past. They saw our two golden buckets and knew what that meant.

I stood back and waited while Pauline took her winnings as a cashier’s check and 300 dollars in cash. She slipped a fifty back to the teller.

“Thanks.” She said then she took my hand and dragged me back out to the parking lot where we began the long, cold walk back to the truck. The snow had gotten heavier and was beginning to drift up against the curbs and to cover the scrub. I couldn’t help but grin when she stretched up and planted a little kiss on my cheek.