Repositioning: A Return To Military Service

So. To catch everyone up, I have told Zelda we are divorcing,
that I don’t want to try (yes, this has been said before, so
what? In playing her stupid games, I have been “trying”, and I believe in Declarations of Independance.), and that I actually want things to end. My next step is
to get, in fincancially sound condition, onto a day shift so
that I have a reasonable expectation of having at least partial
custody of children. Zelda has promised to fight for custody,
in fact, to fight for everything right across the board because,
she says, the harder she makes this the longer it will take, and
therefor the longer we will be married.


Day jobs around here run to about a $400/month loss from what
I’m making. If I rejoin the National Guard, I’ll make that for
drill weekend, and, better, will have open to me preferred
status for some state jobs at higher wages. So I’m rejoining
the Guard.

Good Lord.

So. Yesterday I got up before work and saw the recruiter, who
set me up for testing today. They have to make sure I still
know how to read and write. “Mnarra,” you say, “you were a
commissioned officer, a leader in the military machine. Surely
they expect you can read and write.”

Apparently they didn’t test for that when they commissioned me. Or they forgot. Anyway.
I stayed up until 1pm today taking the three hour test in 10
parts, each timed, not allowed to leave the room, speak, read my
book between tests, or even drink my coffee. If I do any of
those things I might be moved to cheat.

I was finishing the tests in about half the time, which left me
with 90 minutes to be bored. I yearned for my book. I yearned
for /anything/ to read, to while the time and help me stay
awake. After a time it occured to me that I’m a writer, and
they provided me with scratch paper.

I could write my own story, and then have something to read.
Hilarious. I break me up. I laughed aloud, gaining dirty looks
from the proctor, who suspected me of cheating using coded
laughter. I kept snickering, though, because the idea tickled
me; when one runs out of books, write something and then have
more to read.

Okay, not so funny, really, but I’d been without sleep for
nearly 24 hours. I free associated my way to a subject, which I
determined would be “ducks.”

Follows the story, since I can’t think where one would send such a thing for other publication, but before I go, yes, I passed the test,
which requires a 31% to pass. I got 99%, the max possible, shocking and amazing
the other folk and proctors. Surely, they seemed to think, the
numbers don’t go that high because people /need/ them to be that

After stupifying my classmates and recruiters (not hard) and
feeling smug for having not only aced the test, but having
written a story in the meantime and then, after reading it
several times, getting some short naps after the test blocks, I
went to the parking lot and discovered I’d left my lights on for
three hours, killing the battery. The kid who scored 29 jumped
my car for me.

Ah, irony.


Working Title: Duck of Vengeance

A duck was waddling morosely near his pond and happened upon a
man. Recognizing immediately — for ducks are much wiser and
more perceptive than we give them credit for — that the man was
the Egyptian god Horus, Lord of vengeance, the duck prostrated
himself saying, “Hail, great god Horus!”

Horus looked down at the waterfowl and made answer,
saying, “Hail, duck. Few are those who call on gods without
wanting something. What would you?”

The duck rose. “Oh, Horus, what I crave is no great thing for
you. I wish vengeance against one of my kind. There is
another duck of this pond, larger than myself and with more
colorful plumage, who has vexed me and made me to feel
inadequate. He is larger, and so, when I move to mate with
another duck, he pushes me to the side and mounts in my place.
Being more attractive than I, the female invariably allows him
to do so. I would have him dead, that I might do as I wish
without competition.”

Horus considered the duck’s words. “Could you not, when he
pushes you aside, raise your wings and move upon him
ferociously, startling him with the viciousness of your attack?
The fight goes not always to the larger duck, after all.”

“No, for I am not a warlike duck. I have quite a sensitive
nature, and tend to retire from confrontation with other ducks.”

“It occurs to me that, female ducks being what they are, in
season, you could simply wait until the larger duck is spent and
then take your pleasure in his wake, as it were. Would this not
be easier?”

“It would, but will not meet my need. I would have the she-
ducks to myself.”

“I see that you are not a sharing sort of duck, either. The
moral quality of ducks does not concern me, however. Make me a
sacrifice, and I shall see your spite done for you, although I
know not what a duck could offer a god.”

The duck considered. “Would a duck dinner suffice for offering?”

Horus chuckled. “Fair enough, although it seems very close to
me giving something for nothing.” With this Horus strode off
through the reeds and sedge in the direction of the sound of
ardent quacking. The quacking almost immediately changed its
frequency and tone, rising in pitch and tenor from lust to
panic, and then cutting off suddenly. Presently Horus
reappeared, a bloodied and beaten duck hanging dead from his
fist. “It is done; you are revenged of your hurt feelings and
unrivalled in this pond.”

The duck quacked a joyful quack and made to waddle hurriedly in
the direction from which Horus had come, but Horus stayed him in
his webbed tracks, threatening him with the corpse of the larger
duck as if it were a club. “Not so quickly! Thou owest me a
dinner, not a carcass! It is best not to welch when gods are

It is not suprising that the duck saw the wisdom in this, for
the perception of ducks has already been commented on (as well
as the lacking bravery of this particular duck), and the words
of gods are generally taken for wisdom. He quickly fell to
preparing the body of his rival for dinner. The plucking was
easily done, although the dressing out was difficult with only
beak and webbed feet to work with, but eventually the cadaver
was laid out pleasingly, garnished with cattail roots and wild
onions, seasoned with such herbs as can be found in the
wetlands. He waited respectfully until Horus had had his
pleasure of the meal, and was seated, relaxed, pensively sucking
the last meat from a drumstick.

“Thank you again, Oh Lord of Comeuppance, for this thing you
have done for me. Now, as I feel the fires of Spring upon me, I
must take me to offer solice to the widow Duck.” Flapping his
wings to fluff his feathers a bit, he turned with a cheerful
waddle toward the reeds once more, only to discover Horus again
blocking his way.

“I think not, friend duck, for there is another duck very near
here, recently deprived of her true love under violent and
unjust circumstances, and she has applied to me for scale-
balancing.” The duck looked, insofar as a feathered countenance
would permit, dismayed in the extreme for the brief moment
before Horus’ avenging hands wrung his neck.

“Besides,” said the god, smiling as he began plucking
feathers, “I would have a second helping.”

Crossposted from Epinepherine & Sophistry