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Monday, October 27, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 57: Marching Orders

Happy Hallowe’en!

Friday, March 5, 2021
Marching Orders

Rene said it was like hitting five numbers in the Lotto — not the jackpot of teaching English to other Latino recruits stateside, but he won’t be on the front lines either.

He got assigned to an outfit called EDID (Enemy Data Interception and Decryption), which is a fancy term for military intelligence (yeah, I know, I know). There isn’t a lot more he can tell us, which I suppose is SOP for these folks. He did say that they only do the decryption part; they bounce the rest stateside where they have experts in Farsi and Arabic who can translate what’s actually being said. But he said they’re training him in computer tech (which he seems to be good at), conversational Arabic, military Arabic and Farsi (if things get closer than they expect), and “a bunch of stuff I’m not supposed to talk about.” At least he’ll have email.

As for Kim and Serena, they both got their draft notices today. Since I was the one who hiked down to get the mail, I seriously considered tossing them in the wood stove — but that would only bring the recruiter out here to pick them up. It must have been on my face when I came in the door though, because Serena just looked at me and said, “It came, didn’t it?” I nodded and handed her the envelopes.

“Two?” she asked. Then, “Oh. Kim too.”

Christina cried when she found out. Kim and I tried to cheer her up by pointing out that the married guys should get first dibs at the non-combat positions, but she pointed out that it didn’t seem to make a difference in Iraq. As it is, they have a couple of weeks before they have to report — I guess it doesn’t matter if they give draftees a little time to settle their affairs. Volunteers though, especially ex-fugitives like Rene, they don’t want to give any time for them to change their minds (especially after their family has residence permits). I suppose if this drags on for a while, Christina will have to register… and I don’t think they do student deferments anymore. Dean feels bad for the kids, and Daughter Dearest has threatened him with great bodily harm if he enlists in sympathy (she really doesn’t threaten his life twice a day, even if I tease her about doing just that… maybe just once a day).

“Maybe I’ll write a play about Army life,” Serena mused at supper this evening. “Maybe a musical. If it’s good enough, they’ll have to throw me out.”

“Yeah,” Kim said. “Maybe call it Hamlet in Dubai or something.”

This, more than anything anyone else said, seemed to cheer Christina up finally. “Ha. Wasn’t there some song about being waist-deep in the big muddy something? You could have an idiot General Mayhem that leads everyone into something ridiculous.”

“Waist-deep in the Big Muddy, and the dang fool said to push on.” I quoted. “But I knew General Mayhem — or one of the junta people I called that back when. He’s not that stupid, but he also isn’t in command. Maybe General Confusion is the guy you’re thinking of.”

“That’s the song! But hey, if you’re doing it to get kicked out, make it obvious. General Junta has a nice ring to it, no?”

Maria shook her head. “Sobrina, do not make grande gestures. They probably put you in jail instead of send you home for… for…”

“Sedition.” Guillermo suggested.

“Sí, sedition. You be good, sobrina” (which is both Spanish for “niece” and a long-standing and, at first, unintentional pun on Serena’s name). “You are a talented girl, maybe they put you on a nice base and you write the instructiones for the machines. Or you write for their newspaper. You make us proud of you.”

“Too bad Rene’s gone,” Daughter Dearest said. “You could have let him knock you up, and then you could get a deferment.”

I snickered and Mrs. Fetched rolled her eyes, the other adults (including Dean) gaped, Serena blushed and Christina giggled. I never know when DD is going to come out with something like that, but I can always count on her to lob a verbal smoke-bomb when it’s really needed.

Serena recovered quickly. “I guess it’s your fault,” she said, looking at me. “If we didn’t live with a known troublemaker, I probably wouldn’t have gotten drafted.”

“Blame the dog,” I said. “He brought you home and wanted to keep you.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” DD said. “Blame the dog. He ain’t even here to defend himself now.”

“Yeah… but he could loft some serious hang time! Remember?” I waved my hand in front of my nose.

Guillermo spoke up after we stopped laughing. “Isn’t there an organization that performs entertainment for the soldiers? Serena could produce theater for them, maybe, then she would be safe.”

“The USO,” I said. “But I don’t know if they’re a part of the military, or a civilian organization that does things for the military. But maybe she could write telenovelas for Armed Forces Radio.”

Telenovelas on the radio?” Maria asked. “That would be interesting. I used to watch El Mundo del Amor… all the time.” She sighed. “I miss seeing it… but our home is here now. Our son has bought our place here, perhaps at a terrible price, and we will not dishonor his sacrifice.”

However it pans out, the nest is going to be a little less crowded now. I just hope they can all come back in one piece… and with all their pieces.



  1. Hiya FAR.

    I can see I've got a lot of reading to catch up on what's going on.

    I'm doing OK, and I hope everyone at FAR Manor is doing fine.

    I'm trying to get back into the habit of checking out everyone's blog everyday, so hopefully I'll be checking in like I used to.

    Take care


  2. Hey Farf-Dad!Ok Rene is fighting for what's left of this country, or basically the eastern half, eh?

    Do you think if McCain wins, he'll initiate the draft? Good thing, we're talking 13 years into the future, or DD, might have gotten that notice too! "Congradualtions! You've been selected......"

    Maybe Bob Hope or Racquel Welsh could put in a good word for Serena? Can rember sending "care packages" to the boys over in Vietnam, in care of the USO....Can also remember when some of the boys came back only to be honored for the last time......

    Thanks, yooper

  3. Oh, I almost forgot! It's snow'en and blow'en here! Our first snowfall of the season... Kim and I, went on some beautiful fall trips and she's snugged up in a corner of the garage.. She can't wait to get her face lift, when I get the time!

    Suppose it's time to bring the 74' Suzuki snowmachine, up the hill.. Think I'll name it "Serena"..ha! Maybe I should rush out and buy gas for her, at $2.78... (at least before the election!!) ha!

  4. Hey ho!

    FM! Good to see you again! Yup, I've managed to keep moving things forward… I'm about 2/3 of the way through it now, I think.

    Yooper, Mrs. Fetched said there were a few flurries here this morning too. And yes, I think if McCain wins, he won't have much choice about a draft if he's going to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran. As far as Rene goes, he's fighting to give his family the right to stay in the country without having to hide. ;-) BTW, gas here is $2.40 and even a little less. I saw a pic from somewhere in Ohio where it was $1.99!!!! The price might stay down until Jan. 20…

  5. She reads sometimes, Boran. She will sooner or later... then she'll threaten my life!


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