Powerball
#1
Margaret Elizabeth Elliott was laid to rest next to Arthur, the bride that he could claim thanks to the atomic bomb.



He was drafted into WW2 and had the pleasure of serving in some of the most inglorious campaigns of the war. There wasn’t much joy for the Yankees, their green leaves quickly sucked dry and brown in the desert air of North Africa. And then, it was on to Italy, with unquenchable wet socks for months on end. His toenails dissolved in the noble Roman mud and fertilized the olive hills. 



“Be ready to go to Honshu. You will go but you won’t come home.” The red circumference of pride will burn up all of our boys. The message, loud and clear: “You’ll stop being a being and be returned to being a thing.” But it didn’t happen; instead two mushroom suns burned alive a quarter million faces. 



And so he came home and planted seeds whose fruits were debts impossible to quantify or pay. In the end he walked off and left his living corpse vacated before they’d even put him in the ground. His descendants paid their respects, throwing handfuls of dirt like alms into the deep well of charity granted them by chance and delivered through the inert clay vessel in its varnished oak case, finally reclaimed deep down below, seventy years after his number was up.
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#2
If only she could have been named Guinevere, and his rifle Excalibur...

Could pick up most of the references. The "fruits [which] were debts impossible to quantify or pay" confused me, though.

I believe my father would have been on a radar picket ship for the invasion of Honshu - the ones the kamikazes got to first. And here I am instead. We need to respect nuclear weapons, in various senses of the word.
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#3
That's exactly my point, really. 

It's a rare thing to have this stark calculus where a certain number of lives taken are traded for a theoretical number of lives saved. It becomes complicated, who gets to be born and who doesn't, who dies and why. I have a similar story as you: I got to be born. 

I lived in Japan for a brief time, just an hour north of Nagasaki. (There was a good pizza place there which I visited frequently.) I have no defense for Imperial Japan. I also have no defense for the shadows of civilians that got burned on to concrete. All I can say is that I have a sense of gratitude and indebtedness for the fact that I am here at the expense of someone else.

(08-02-2020, 07:12 AM)dukealien Wrote:  If only she could have been named Guinevere, and his rifle Excalibur...

Could pick up most of the references.  The "fruits [which] were debts impossible to quantify or pay" confused me, though.

I believe my father would have been on a radar picket ship for the invasion of Honshu - the ones the kamikazes got to first.  And here I am instead.  We need to respect nuclear weapons, in various senses of the word.
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#4
I too am grateful for 9/11. But for it, America’s attention would never have turned to radical Islam and the Mozlums woulda been overrunning countries in their neighbourhood. I might have died in the process. It’s unfortunate that Mohammed Atta is not remembered as fondly as Paul Tíbbets.

Turning to the text, it’s not quite clear to me why he died before he died, or who the fruits were owed to. The dead in Nagasaki? Unlikely. His fellow soldiers? The scientists at the Manhattan project?

I did like “alms into the deep wells of charity”.
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#5
The line about dying before he died could and probably should be cut. It’s reference to something that completely ancillary to the focus of the essay. (If you want to know: my grandfather had a series of strokes as he got older and it was definitely a case of the person kind of walking out before the body went. But it’s anecdotal and esoteric and extraneous.)

I’m finding it interesting that I’ve gotten two off hits on the “fruit.” That IS important so I’m going to consider revising it for clarity. Thank you for the feedback.

(08-02-2020, 08:06 AM)busker Wrote:  I too am grateful for 9/11. But for it, America’s  attention would never have turned to radical Islam and the Mozlums woulda been overrunning countries in their neighbourhood. I might have died in the process. It’s unfortunate that Mohammed Atta is not remembered as fondly as Paul Tíbbets.

Turning to the text, it’s not quite clear to me why he died before he died, or who the fruits were owed to. The dead in Nagasaki? Unlikely. His fellow soldiers? The scientists at the Manhattan project?

I did like “alms into the deep wells of charity”.
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#6
EDIT - I messed around with the last paragraph to clarify the notion of debt, what the "fruits" are, and to make the paragraph as a whole more coherent to the theme. Thanks as always for feedback:

Margaret Elizabeth Elliott was laid to rest next to Arthur, the bride that he could claim thanks to the atomic bomb.

He was drafted into WW2 and had the pleasure of serving in some of the most inglorious campaigns of the war. There wasn’t much joy for the Yankees, their green leaves quickly sucked dry and brown in the desert air of North Africa. And then, it was on to Italy, with unquenchable wet socks for months on end. His toenails dissolved in the noble Roman mud and fertilized the olive hills. 

“Be ready to go to Honshu. You will go but you won’t come home.” The red circumference of pride will burn up all of our boys. The message, loud and clear: “You’ll stop being a being and be returned to being a thing.” But it didn’t happen; instead two mushroom suns burned alive a quarter million faces. 

Those missing faces paid his way home. He and Margaret planted seeds whose fruits were debts impossible to quantify or pay. In the end, he'd lived so long, before they’d even put him in the ground he’d walked off and left his living corpse vacated. His descendants paid their respects, throwing handfuls of dirt like alms into the deep well of charity granted them by chance and delivered through the inert clay vessel in its varnished oak case, finally reclaimed deep down below, seventy years after his number was up.


(08-01-2020, 09:40 PM)Valerie Please Wrote:  Margaret Elizabeth Elliott was laid to rest next to Arthur, the bride that he could claim thanks to the atomic bomb.



He was drafted into WW2 and had the pleasure of serving in some of the most inglorious campaigns of the war. There wasn’t much joy for the Yankees, their green leaves quickly sucked dry and brown in the desert air of North Africa. And then, it was on to Italy, with unquenchable wet socks for months on end. His toenails dissolved in the noble Roman mud and fertilized the olive hills. 



“Be ready to go to Honshu. You will go but you won’t come home.” The red circumference of pride will burn up all of our boys. The message, loud and clear: “You’ll stop being a being and be returned to being a thing.” But it didn’t happen; instead two mushroom suns burned alive a quarter million faces. 



And so he came home and planted seeds whose fruits were debts impossible to quantify or pay. In the end he walked off and left his living corpse vacated before they’d even put him in the ground. His descendants paid their respects, throwing handfuls of dirt like alms into the deep well of charity granted them by chance and delivered through the inert clay vessel in its varnished oak case, finally reclaimed deep down below, seventy years after his number was up.
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