Dobson’ Fighting Legion
By K. M. Logue
Copyright © 2015 Kelly M. Logue.
All rights reserved worldwide
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Chapter 1: Folly
Paradise is easy to find, but hard to get too…
It exists on one of the many islands that separate the old world from the new. Its creation came at a time when America lay in the grip of a crippling depression. Its creator was an artist who had made his fortunate in the newly formed animation industry. The artist’s creations were, to put it kindly, abominations. They were beasts made man. And the artist, himself, was a cruel man, who put his creations through a series of misfortunates—all for the amusement of children.
It wasn’t long after he produced the first full length animated picture—which his critics called his greatest folly—that the artist began to dream of paradise. When he awoke from these feverish dreams, he summoned the troops, and then sent them to out to scout locations. Most returned empty handed, but a trusted few found what the artist desired.
A lush jungle location, they reported. An island that stretched for miles—untouched by man. But there was a snag. A large coral reef surrounded the island—making getting to shore nearly impossible.
The artists smiled. They didn’t see it. They didn’t see the big picture. Like all critics, they lacked imagination.
The artist began to set plans in motion, but everything soon came to a halt when war broke out in Europe.
To his credit, the artist did fight on the side of the angels, but his sympathies lied with the square mustachio enemy. They were, after all, both artists. The war ended, and soon went cold. Good had triumphed over evil—just like in the movies. Everything was right with the world again.
The artist went on to produce several more “follies,” and as he approached the twilight of his life he was a rich man many times over. And soon, he turned his attention to the creation of an amusement park. A place filled with his abominable creations.
Sometimes, he would dream about paradise. But sadly, those dreams would never come true. The artist would simply have to be content that he created the happiest place on earth.
So it was that paradise remained out of the reach to the likes of Man…
But, mankind has a knack for achieving the impossible—especially on accident.
Captain Arthur Holdecker was a man who achieved the impossible. Though, some could point to a divine hand that had led him there—and, an even cruelier fate that cast him down.
Upon reaching paradise, the only thing that Captain Holdecker managed to say was:
“Help me! Help me please! I’m still alive!”
Then his radio went dead.
“You guys are dead,” the Lieutenant thunders.
His Sargent sighs. Victor Stormm may have had the patience of a saint, but not even Jesus Christ could have endured this torture. The Lieutenant is not a jolly fellow. Though, he has a gut that resembles that Saint who likes to break into people’s homes every Christmas eve. The prospect of having to spend at least three days trapped on a deserted island with a man, like Lt. Jay Walker, didn’t exactly fill Vic with Christmas cheer or good will toward men.
Christ, Vic thinks. He makes a silent wish that he was back in Afghanistan right now. At least there a man knew where he stood. There were clearly defined good guys and bad guys. The guys wearing the camo gear, driving tanks and carrying machine guns were the good guys. The bad were the local populace. At least that’s how Uncle Sam tells it, and Uncle Sam’s word is good enough for Vic. Sgt. Victor Stormm is trying his best to play the part of the good little soldier, but right now the part isn’t agreeing with him. Still he had better not screw this up. One more mistake, especially like the one back in Afghanistan, and he’ll be booted out. And, Master Sargent Victor Stormm isn’t cut out for civilian life.
Vic scans his surroundings. This might be a tropical paradise to some, but Vic hates it almost immediately. It’s hot, but not the good hot. Not the hot of the desert that is light and dry. No, this hot was heavy and wet. Even if it didn’t rain— and Vic suspects it rains quite a bit here given how green the vegetation is— they were going to soaked to the bone by this afternoon-- which means they are going to be exhausted—which means they were going to make mistakes.
Vic is only half listening to his Commanding Officer. From what he can gather, he’s not missing much. Most of it is just his Lieutenant balling out the junior officer. The Lieutenant peppers his speech with a large amount of swearing— so much swearing.
Vic is not one to swear. His friends back home used to give him no end of crap about that. But, Vic feared his grandmother more, than any sort of peer pressure.
“Cursing is the language of stupid people,” she once told him, “and you’re not stupid.”
No, Vic thinks now, I’m not stupid. I’m just a fool.
Up until this point, the kid has taken the dressing down remarkably well—hoping perhaps his senior officer will simply talk himself out. But, Vic can already see the cracks starting to show.
Don’t do it kid, Vic thinks, just hold on. Vic likes the kid. Hector Guzman was the kid’s real name, but following old military tradition all rookies are called kid. They’d done a short hitch together back in Afghanistan. Like a lot fresh faced kids, who came to the Army still green, the kid had absolutely no respect for authority and was completely undisciplined. Things, basic training should have weeded out, but the kid was either too stubborn or two proud to lose that streak of anarchy. Vic found if he just treated the kid square, and kept the kid focused, the kid would always surprise you. Underneath all the attitude and bravado there was a good soldier there..
Frankly, the Army could use more soldiers like the kid, and less like Walker.
Walker had been promoted the wrong way: he had brown nosed his way through the ranks. Walker commanded the way a drunk drives a car: slow and cautious when someone in authority is watching; carefree and reckless when left to his own devices.
The kid is ready to snap. Vic can see the rage in the kid’s eyes. Vic shakes his head. Don’t do it kid, he thinks again. It’s only going to make things worse.
But, the kid is still green, and can’t read a C. O. the way Vic can. And, everything about Walker right now tells Vic that now is not the time to challenge the Lieutenant’s authority—or call him out on his BS.
“We’re still alive aren’t we,” the kid snaps, “so what the hell is your problem, man?”
The LT screams a few choice curse words in response. And from this point on, Vic decides that for own sanity, he’ll censor out the Lieutenant’s colorful choice words.
Before the kid snapped, Vic thinks that Walker is just about out of steam—but now the kettle boils over.
Truth be told, Vic can’t fault the kid. In fact, the kid had shown remarkable restraint in not punching his CO in the face. And, if the kid had lashed out, Vic had to admit, he wouldn’t have done much to stop him.
In truth Vic blames himself. He should have put his foot down back on the boat, he thinks. If he had maybe they wouldn’t be in this mess right now. He remembers that the kid drove the boat like a pro. That really wasn’t much of a surprise. After all, the kid had been born and bred in Miami, and had practically grown up on the open water. Things had been pretty smooth sailing for a while, until the Lieutenant panicked. Men like Walker always panic. The Lieutenant realized he hadn’t given any order the entire ride. Not wanting his men to think he was weak or incompetent, the Lieutenant began to overcompensate.
To the kid’s credit, he tried to follow his CO’s orders as best he could. The kid sped up when told to speed up. He slowed down when told to slow down. He rounded right. He rounded left.
Embolden by a sense of power, Walker became the ultimate back seat driver, and his orders became even more confused and muddled. So, the kid rightfully ignored him.
And if it’s true that men like Walker always panic, then it is also true that they think they’re smarter than everybody else. So Walker—having been ignored long enough—pushed the kid out of the way, and grabbed the wheel. They crashed into the coral reef almost immediately.
It was the kid who pulled them all out of the drink, and probably saved their lives. Walker sole contribution was to bubbler like a whale. The coral had scratched them up pretty good, but the kid was a hero.
No point dwelling on the past, Vic thinks now. The kid deserves a break, and what the hell it’s Christmas.
“Sir,” Vic begins, and braces himself for the inevitable shit storm that’s about to erupt.
“Calm down,” Vic says. “It’s not the kid’s fault.
Right now, Walker has the look of someone who about to take a squat, and has just been caught with his pants down. Vic knows that men like Walker, don’t know the meaning of words like “shame” and “restraint.” Vic guesses that the reason why Walker isn’t saying anything is that he was caught by surprise. Soon enough, Vic knows, Walker will work himself back into a frenzy.
“There is sharp coral all around the perimeter, sir. We’re lucky we made it to shore with our skins intact.” Vic speaks quietly and reasonably. He suspects that in the end it will do little good, but hey everything is worth a try at least once. Walker isn’t going to be quiet, and he’s not going to be reasonable.
Oh well, Vic thinks, at least he’s succeeds in redirecting the Lieutenant’s furry onto himself.
“Do you think I want to hear your goddamn excuses!”
No one answers. If they had Vic knows, Walker would have seen it as a challenge to his authority.
“It’s just a boat, sir.” Vic says. He knows that he should have just kept his mouth shut, but the Lieutenant brought out the worst in him.
“No,” Walker screams. “It’s
Up until now, the Lieutenant has successfully muzzled his junior officer. But you can only corner an animal for so long before they’ll do one of two things: cower and piss themselves or charge and fight. The kid charged.
“You were the one who pushed me out of the way,” the kid snarls. Walker isn’t in a cowering mood either, and gets up in the kid’s face… or at least tries to.
“And if you had done what I told you! We wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with!” Walker barks.
It was at that moment that the kid noticed that his C. O. is a great deal shorter than everyone else. This makes the kid smile. The Lieutenant suddenly realizes it too, and panics.
“Why don’t you get out of my face,” the kid commands.
Walker cowers back, hiding behind his very imposing Sargent. But, like a yappy little dog, the Lieutenant tries to act tough, just now from a safer distance.
“Why are you angry at me?” Walker whines, in a bid for sympathy. “You were the one driving the boat.”
“Your leadership skills suck.” The kid says it under his breath, and Vic didn’t think he meant to say it out loud. But, once it was out, Walker seizes on it, and that set him off a new. Yapping dog he might be, but he still has some bite left in him.
There was real fear in the kid’s eyes now. Walker lurches forward making a play for the kid. Vic catches the LT by the back of the shirt, just in time.
“Say that to my face!” Walker barks.
The kid—seeing that his C. O. presents no immediate threat— takes up the challenge.
“I…said…your…leadership…skills…suck.” The kid draws out each word for maximum impact. This sends the LT into an explosive fury.
“You son of a bitch,” Walker howls.
“Woof, woof,” the kid shoots back. There is nothing to stop him now, or so the kid thinks.
“Alright that’s enough!” Vic screams. He lets Walker go, and then stands in-between the two men. After all, Vic thinks, nothing is going to calm a situation faster than seeing a big imposing black man with a rifle strapped to his back.
“I’ll have both of you up on charges,” Walker whines, but Vic can tell his C. O. is running out of steam. If the kid can just shut up, Walker will run out of gas soon enough, and his empty threats will evaporate like a fart in the wind.
“Both up on charges,” Walker cries. “You’ll be kicked out of the service.”
“Whatever man I only joined up to stay out of jail.” Vic sighs. The kid is still wound up, and he wants nothing more than to wind up his C. O. too. The kid soon gets his wish.
“Figures! I wouldn’t expect anything less from a dirty little spic like you,” Walker shoots back.
“At least I’m not overcompensating for my lack of size,” the kid fires.
“Go screw yourself!”
“I certainly wouldn’t screw you!”
“That’s enough!” Vic shouts again. They were egging each on like a couple of kids, and Vic has had enough.
Suddenly they hear a loud SNAP! The three men silently turn, and look up at the tree line. Vic catches a quick flash of movement. Probably just a cat, he thinks. Although, Vic has to admit that his sole exposure to jungle life comes from repeatedly watching the Jungle Book as a kid. It was the only VHS tape his grandma owned.
Vic turns back to his comrades, and they in turn look at him for answers. Vic thinks about making some joke that Shere Kahn is watching the proceeding below with great curiosity, but just as quickly decides against it. His audience didn’t exactly look Disney friendly.
“Uh,” Vic begins, but he quickly loses his train of thought. But he’s a soldier, and he quickly gathers his wits about him.
“Kid, go help Skip and the Doc salvage whatever gear you can before it’s washed out to sea.”
“Whatever,” the kid huffs. Then, he remembers who he is talking to. The kid straightens and respectfully salutes. “Yes, sir.” The kid says. His voice is calm, and lacks any trace of sarcasm.
The kid starts down the shore. About half way, he turns, and now he wears a shit eating grin.
“Hey Walker,” the kid calls out. Walker snarls, but says nothing.
“You were lousy in bed last night.”
That’s the thing about the kid, Vic thinks, he’ll always surprise you.
The kid hasn’t forgotten his C. O. though. He walks backwards a few steps, all the while giving the Lieutenant the middle finger salute. Vic watches him go, and soon the kid disappears over a dune. His face is stoic, but Inside Vic’s all smiles, the kid has a set of balls you’ve got to give him that.
Vic expects a reaction from the Lieutenant, but apparently Walker has no fight left in him.
Vic reaches into his shirt pocket, and says a silent hallelujah. Whatever angel protects drunken fools so they can live another day to indulge in their vice, must have been working overtime. His cigarette are dry and intact. He racks the chamber, and sees that three cigarettes are left in the pack. Could be worse. Still, it was going to be a long couple of days before rescue.
He pops a cig in his mouth. Vic has no fear that the lighter won’t spark. The lighter has survived a couple of wars, and several police actions (as Uncle Sam wasn’t technically at war with anyone , and hadn’t been for over a decade). Whatever magic powers the flame hasn’t faded, and seconds later he is in bliss. All the while he knows he is that just a little bit closer to meeting his maker. But then, cancer or no, aren’t we all?
“So you’re giving the orders now?” Walker asks. For a brief blissful moment Vic has been lost in his own little word, but Walker brings him back down to earth.
“No sir,” Vic says. “Just clearing the air.
Vic isn’t sure why he did it—a peace offering maybe—but he now turns the pack in the LT’s direction. Walker understands, and snatches a cig—nearly taking the entire pack with him. Vic still holds the lighter, and the old magic fires up again.
“Mickey Mouse, huh?” Walker says, and points at the lighter.
Vic smiles and nods.
“Yeah, my grandad bought it at a newsstand just before he was shipped off to the Pacific. Still works.”
Though the truth of the matter was, even though the lighter has come through battle after battle unscathed, Mickey hasn’t fared as well. Most of the paint has worn off, and only half of Mickey’s face and one arm remain. Perhaps he should give old Mick a touch up when he got home, Vic thinks.
When he was a kid, Vic briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a cartoonist. He could draw faces pretty well, but lacked the patience to sit at a drawing board for hours on end. He’s a man of action, after all, and soldier’s blood runs through his veins, not the pen and ink of an artist. Still he likes cartoons—mostly the older stuff. Daffy Duck is a personal favorite. For Daffy, is the only black man working in toon town. Disney’s current formulaic drivel—particularly their ill-advised and asinine interpretation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame (singing gargoyles Disney! Are you serious?)—nearly broke him of his habit. What saves him is a battered VHS copy of Ralph Bakshi’s Street Fight. Street Fight mix of live action and animations a decade before Who Framed Roger Rabbit amazed Vic no end. This was an animated film for adults, and it opened his eyes to what the medium was capable of. The fact that Bakshi’s film was also basically a giant middle finger to Disney’s Song of the South didn’t hurt either.
But Vic, wisely keeps his obsession on the down low. He’s not some stoner wasting his life watching cartoons and getting high. No, Vic is an aficionado of the animated form. Still it wouldn’t do much for his rep, if people knew about his secret obsession. And his rep was pretty spotty now as it is.
“I wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons growing up,” Walker confesses.
And look what a wonderful person you turned out to be, Vic thinks. Though he is smart enough, and sober enough, to keep that thought to himself.
“Only retards or drug addicts watch cartoons, no offense,” the Lieutenant further informs him.
When he wasn’t screaming, Vic notes, Walker’s voice had a very effeminate quality about it. In fact this big blustery man sounds an awful lot like Truman Capote. Anyone surprised that Vic actually knew who the author of In Cold Bold was, might want to keep in mind that Vic’s best friend growing up had been his library card.
Vic suspects, that like Capote, his C. O. is from a part of the South, so deep, that they had never hear tell of that devil Abe Lincoln or that great shame known as the War Between the States—and that having sex with your sister was a moral obligation, you know to “keep the blood pure.”
“But, I wouldn’t expect anything else from the likes of you,” Walker says proudly. Damn if he wasn’t going to prove Vic right about his suspicious.
“To each his own,” Vic says. Not taking the bait.
Vic realizes that the shit storm hasn’t yet passed. They have simply entered the eye of the storm, which provided a brief rest period. But, now they were making their way through the other side, and Walker still has some fight left in him.
“My daddy was a bastard,” Walker says. “It’s why I am like I am. I joined the service because of him. Still didn’t make him proud.”
At least your old man was around, Vic thinks. Vic’s own father had disappeared in the jungles of Vietnam sometime before he was born.
“Everyone’s a bastard, sir.” Vic says. He takes a drag from his cigarette, and then adds: “Some folks just hide it better than others.”
Walker leans in. Vic can’t help but notice the shit eating grin. He sighs. They had only been here a couple of hours, and Vic is already tired of this a-hole. Being trapped on a deserted island with this guy must be the good Lord’s idea of a sick joke.
Walker taps him hard in the chest. Vic doesn’t flinch, and he stands his ground.
“Always the peace maker, Sargent?”
Vic knows what’s coming next, and steels himself. If they had a dictionary, Walker’s mug would have been featured under the definition of schoolyard bully. Walker takes a big drag off the cigarette. He hold the smoke in, for a moment, and then blows the smoke in Vic’s face.
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EXCERPT A shot scrapes across the Creatureâ€™s scalp. Bits of skin and bone splatter. The Creatureâ€™s head snaps back, moving in the direction of the impact. Skip stands below. His face is stern, but there is also a trace of a smug smile. The Creatureâ€™s reign of terror was short lived. He has put mad thing down. Or, so he thinks. The stern smugness of a solider is soon replace by an expression of pure terror. Again a shadow falls over him. There is a pained expression on the old manâ€™s face, as he drops to his knees, and begins to fire upward. The Creature falls forward. Its mouth opens wide, and its teeth baring down. Its hands are outstretched. Bullets repeatedly strike its hide, but too little effect. To Skip the moment seems endless, and he almost doesnâ€™t move in time. He jumps forward, even as the Creature lands with a THUD. It stands, blocking out the sun behind it. All Skip can see are its smiling sharp teeth.