Thursday, October 30, 2014

Deadly Pool Sticks

Men among Men

 Deadly Pool Sticks
(…at the 545th Ordnance Company) 1974/Part IV

His utterances were likening to a serpent!
A hovering avenging demon—
Was not all men made from all parts of earth’s soil by God?
From the black, white, red, brown soil of earth, mixed together, at the end, made into dust, and thus the reason for this, to make all mankind brothers—?
Was this not God’s intention?
Was its God’s intention to have his household divided?

No: 4582 (10-23-2014)

Driven into a short madness the black soldier, which it took one glance and I knew, the white sergeant was in trouble, already in trouble, grabbed the center of the heavy pool stick held it like a boom handle, threw his arms with the pool stick in the air above his head, whirling end over end, over his head, then ramming the heavy end, first as accurate as any young man could, over the neck, face back and legs of the white Sergeant, rapidly, consistently in a frenzy: the sound of the whacks, the resounding sharp blows, swift, crazy like, someone could have  shot a shotgun and still heard those whacks. And the young Sergeant looked up when the black soldier stopped, with a foot-long face: bruised, and puffed, and red, and purple, looking as if he wanted to say something. He didn’t know what just happened, something took place, and the black soldier looked as if he should have been expecting it long ago, and even excused the white soldier for not knowing what everyone else in that bar room evidently knew, but me, or should have known. Now halfway thinking about it, his utterances were more liken to a serpent, than a human being, and hard to distinguish! He was no less than a hovering avenging demon—
       The black soldier, a PFC (Private First Class), told the white Sergeant why he should have known, kind of told him, said “Eyes jes’ a digger right? You-all can do whatever you wants to us niggers, haw… an’ wes gits to take it…?” made him familiar with his side of it anyhow, that is, his beef with the sergeant which was evidently something to do with him being in charge of the black soldier and the black soldier not liking it, yet on his face still holding a grudge, still holding a pool stick in both hands over the defenseless sergeant, who sat in near shock on the bar floor, submerged in bewilderment, pain, blood, awaiting whatever was next to come, I think he knew what the black soldier was talking about, his garments spotted with body fluid, still his army boots and thick army green pants, and coat on, slow to move any-which-way, as if glued to one spot, the one he had fallen to, been trashed to, two-handedly by a pool stick, and his face showed it, his arms clinging to air as if there was a widow to grab on to, to sneak out of, or a branch of a tree somewhere in sight  to hold onto, searching for it in the near blind, his eyes just slits, obviously at the moment his will to fight back was broken.

It all was so sudden. A Friday night, evening, at the Enlisted Men’s Club, on base, at the 545th Ordnance Company, 15th Ordnance Battalion,  1974, West Germany, by Munster & Dieburg,  forty miles from Frankfurt. It all was so quick, so sudden, the whole thing seemingly woke me up from a slumberous tranquil mood, the cigarette in my mouth per near dropped onto the wooden bar—catching it in time as it dropped off my lip: it all froze me momentarily, I couldn’t even drink my beer.
       The black guy had been playing pool, preoccupied, so it looked, and the white sergeant and his white friend, awaiting the pool table.  The sergeant had put his quarter on the edge of the pool table as often one will do, to indicate to others, he is next for the pool table. It wouldn’t, or it didn’t even appear to me they knew each other, because the black dud wouldn’t even acknowledge the quarter. And played and played on and on, to antagonize the sergeant, and all the black guy’s friends stood watching, perhaps ten of them around the table and walls, and bar. The window to the back of the table was half frozen with frost, but you could see, night had fallen, and it was cold-dark.
       All was hushed up, the serpent hissed, the sergeant looked at the PFC, and there was a cold snap to the PFC’s hands, and the stiff wooden pool stick slashed. 

There is more to this story, but it need not be told in full, but as brief as I can make it:  only that the sergeant was showing the effects of the beating with his breathing. His body quivered, near death. And although I’ve written the out entirely —this shorter version simplifies it for this book of short stories: the ending is simple: he was taken to the hospital and never heard of again at the 545th, and the  black soldier, whom was on drugs, and that was part of the issue with the Sergeant, the PFC would be brought to prison, and he would escape on the way, and a year beyond this point, he would escape again on the way to prison, and the third time he was rearrested in Germany, I was given the job to secure him and bring him back to prison, he offered me $4000-dollars to allow him to escape, while I had stopped the vehicle to which he felt was an allowable time for him to run again, while pretending to urinate, I declined the offer (evidently, he had escaped twice before, and my best guess is that  $4000-dollars offer was taken: although to my superiors this was never mentioned, but I was told I was the only one to get him there). Anyhow, at the military prison, he cried like a baby when the guards beat him with their shorthanded sticks; as I observed from a distance.  What can I say, but: what goes around, comes around.

No: 1029 (10-23-2014)