Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Danger Zone!

I had this scene just sort of came together on my commute home this week so I thought I'd write it up while it was still fresh. Its a little silly, enjoy.

They had come in the Winter, an envoy from Ferndale and the first contact we'd had with flesh and blood from outside our city limits since the Fall. They called it the Crash, which was just the first point divergence between the two of us. The laundry list of demands had led us here, standing on rows across from one another in an empty field. 

Thirty of us and fifty of them - paltry numbers compared to most wars, but this was our first and felt big enough to us as it was. We'd spent the rest of the winter and spring building defenses and training. I'd pushed for archers, so we'd raided the sports store of all its bows and arrows and trained in the snow and rain until all thirty men were proficient archers. 

We could only assume they had done the same, although I could see no bows in their front ranks. They were a formidable sight though, all dressed in blue with yellow armbands around their right arms and lined up in perfect formation. Our hodge-podge dress and loose formation left a little to be desired. It was either train to shoot or train to stand pretty - we felt the former was more useful. 

I could feel them all looking at me, standing in front of everyone like some warlord from a by-gone era. They shifted constantly, their eyes darted from the otherside to me and then to their brother or friend beside them - weighing the incalculable in their minds. Should I stay or should I go? 

I heard the song start to play in my head and it made me smile. I would probably never "hear" that or any other song again but the memory would always be there. 

The men from Ferndale parted to let a man come forward. He turned to his own men and started to speak. He talked about strength, giving it all on the battlefield, fighting for their families... it sounded like something a football coach would say right before the big game and then I recognized the man - he was the high school football coach. 

His speech done and the ranks of the enemy firmly emboldened it was now my turn to do the same for my men - farms, store clerks, contractors, and day laborers. I had no speech, no word for the men; the song was still playing and muddling my thoughts. They looked to me, some with pleading eyes, but I just stood there. Then my head cleared and a new song started. I couldn't think of a speech so I just opened my mouth and let the song come out. 

"You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips..." 

Eyes that were plead where now wide with wonder - they had followed a mad man. 

"...and there's no tenderness anymore in your fingertips..." 

The more stoic among the group kept their eyes focused on the enemy but I could see that they were starting to mouth the words. 

"...you're trying hard not to show it..." 

"Baby," several men sang out. Their voices were uncertain and weak. 

"...but baby..." 

"Baby I know it!" More voices joined the choir. 

Then they all joined. "You've lost that loving feeling! Oh, the loving feeling. You lost that loving feeling... and now its gone... gone... gone... ohhhhhh!" 

The were boisterous and half sang with reckless abandon, giving themselves over to the song and the memories. 

Someone else took over the second verse. 

"Baby, baby, I get down on my knees for you! If you would only love me like you use to do!" 
The men were swaying to the rhythm that was only in their minds. 

"We had a love... a love... a love you don't find every day! So don't... don't... don't... don't let it slip away!" 

"Baby..." 

"BABY!" The call caught us all by surprise. It had come from across the field. We held for a half second and then responded. 

"BABY!" 

"BABY!" 

"I need your love!" 

"I need your love!" 

"So bring it on back!" 

"So bring it on back!" 

Then, despite all the animosity, fear, and division between our two groups, arrayed on the field of battle we all in unison sang out with gusto, "Bring back that loving feeling... ohhhh, that loving feeling..." 

I let the others sing and instead watched the men from Ferndale. They were singing with enthusiasm and even hamming it up like we all remembered Goose, Iceman, and all the rest did in our collective memories. I smiled for perhaps the first time since the Fall. The song was starting to come to its end. Each side was echoing the other with the tune of the song, fading little by little just like the song did - we had remembered it perfectly.  

One of the men from Ferndale yelled, "Watch out for the cockpit Goose!" Eighty men who had marched out from their homes for war that morning were now all laughing together. 

"Thank you God," I prayed aloud. 

I started towards the other side, my arms up and hands empty. They all met me half way and I shook the Football Coach's hand.


As always, let me know what you think, like, shares, and retweet. And remember to light the fires and burn the tires! DANGER ZONE!
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