Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Christmas Short Story featuring "Bandaid"

I wrote this this past Christmas season for a creative writing FB group. I thought I would add it to the blog as it features Bandaid, a character from The End oF Shift Report.

Bandaid's Christmas Gift

   It was Christmas day, and Bandaid was sitting in the hootch he shared with Wyatt. The hootch wasn’t much, just a hole in the ground about ten feet by ten feet, with walls of sandbags. Wooden cargo pallets made a floor. Canvas stretched over all, and some mosquito netting covered the space between the sandbags and the canvas roof.
   Bandaid was the medic on a search and rescue chopper, Wyatt was a chopper crew chief, he was on R and R to Australia, so Bandaid had the hootch to himself. He was picking at a Christmas dinner in his mess kit from the mess hall. On holidays, especially Christmas, they really tried hard with the food, but sweltering in 100 degree heat and nearly that in humidity just kind of put you off turkey and all the heavy trimmings. Frozen turkey, freeze dried reconstituted potato flakes, canned cranberry sauce and canned gravy. The stuffing was fresh, that is, made from leftover stale bread, but with fresh carrots, celery, onions etc. It was definitely the high point of the meal.
   On his hammock which was strung across one of the corners of the hootch was an opened cardboard box containing a cookie tin full of homemade chocolate chip cookies, which were more like chocolate chip crumbs after the rigors of being mailed over 9,000 miles. The box was addressed to “US Soldier” and was from a 4th grade class in Lexington Kentucky. Every hootch on this corner of the base got one of these packages, and they were accepted with a range of reactions that seemed to track the recipients time “in country”. That is to say, with humble gratitude by the green troops and a certain fatalistic crustiness by the “Short timers”, who were counting down the days until they got their ticket on the “freedom bird”.
   Bandaid felt restless. He got up from the hootch and walked on down to the flight line, Christmas music playing from the PA system.  The sentries at the gate to the flight line passed him through with a desultory wave which disturbed the curl of smoke from their cigarettes. Bandaid passed down the line of hueys, each in a revetment of sandbags until he came to his. “Nurse Betty” was painted on the nose in white against  the ubiquitous “olive drab” green of the army. The outlines of a pin up girl in abbreviated nurses uniform was there too, but had never been painted in.
   Bandaid opened the sliding side door to the cabin, which was padded with quilted canvas cloth on the walls and ceiling. Three stretchers were in their brackets on the rear bulkhead of the cabin. Bandaid noticed a package elegantly wrapped in tinfoil on the middle stretcher. It had a bow made from the black and gold ribbon from a bottle of Crown Royal. He looked closer at the package. He could see that the foil wrapping was from cigarette packs. There was a tag on the package that said simply “Bandaid”, no indication of who had placed it there.
   Bandaid took the package to the door of the chopper, and sat down on the floor with his feet resting on the skid below. He turned the package over in his hand and was struck by the care and workmanship that had been visited on the humble materials used in its construction. Who did he know that was capable of such handiwork?
   He carefully began unwrapping the small gift, careful not to tear the foil or mess up the carefully crafted bow. Logically there would be no reason to be so careful of materials that were in truth recycled trash, but he was loath to damage such meticulously crafted wrappings. There was a cardboard box inside, one that also looked to be repurposed. Inside was a wrist watch. Shiny and very new looking, it was a Benrus with a steel mesh wristband. It had a large dial and a sweep second hand that would be so good for taking pulses, timing breathing. There was a note too. “Bandaid - The nurses told me that was your name, I just wanted to thank you for getting me out. By the time you open this, I will be on my way back to the States. Hang in there, your time will come.” No signature.
   Bandaid sat in the doorway of the chopper until darkness began to fall.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Free KIndle Download

The End of Shift Report will be a free Kindle download from October 27th until October 31st on Amazon e-books. Reviews from the reading public will be greatly appreciated!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Amazon free download

The End of Shift Report will be a free down load e-book on from July 1st through July 5th. Get your copy now!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Check it out!

Read a sample of the novel "The End of Shift Report" -just click on the "Featured Post" to the right of this post

Monday, September 5, 2016

The End of Shift Report now exclusively on Amazon.Com

The End of Shift Report  has ended it's distribution agreements with the i-bookstore, Barnes & Noble and It will now exclusively be available through

Be sure to check out my other novel "A Gift of a Sword" also on - read a sample at

   A gift of a sword from the most renowned forge master sent a youth on a mission from a powerful Lord. A mission that is steeped in intrigue and danger that grows with every stage of the journey.

   A gift of a sword will lead him to his first love, adventure, lands far from his home, responsibilities beyond his years, and it will mark him for all to see as a man in full.
  A gift of a sword will lead him into combat, to a desperate fight for his life, to cause him to suffer the loss of comrades, and lead him to a realization of his own mortality.

What else might the gift of a sword bring?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kaci HIckox: A Hero!

   My hat is off to Kaci HIckox. She volunteered to go to Africa to help fight Ebola, and thus help keep it from our shores. She then struck a blow for our own political freedoms by exposing many politicos, pundits and three Governors for the fear mongering, anti-science, vindictive bullies they are at heart.
   Chris Christie, you say you will go to"any length" to protect the citizens of New Jersey from Ebola. That is not your job, it is the job of the New Jersey State Department of Health. You and all the other medically and scientifically challenged authorities should stand down and let the qualified professionals do their job.
   Our nation has a sorry history of trampling the constitutional rights of the citizenry when fear mongering politicians and the media stoke up the worst instincts of people. The internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII, the excesses of the McCarthy paranoia and the "Patriot Act" all come to mind. Now the threat is from "Ebolanoia".
   A story comes to mind: A man is walking down the street, snapping his fingers in rapid succession. Another man asks him "Why are you doing that?" The first man replies "To keep the Elephants away". The second man says "But there are no Elephants within thousands of miles of here!" To which the first man says "Works pretty well, doesn't it!"
   The internment of the Japanese Americans proved to be unnecessary and wrong, as did the anti- communist fervor of the early fifties. If the truth be told, the worst measures of the Patriot Act will prove just as ineffective, and just as wrong. Yet our precious freedoms and liberty have been eroded and damaged, perhaps beyond repair.
   Kudos to Kaci for a blow for rationality in the face of fear!

While you are here, scroll down or jump to July 2012 and read a sample of the book "The End of Shift Report". Thank you for visiting!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nurses and Ebola

   I am very pleased with the news that both of the nurses who contracted Ebola in Texas have made recoveries. It has become apparent that health care workers, and nurses in particular, are the individuals most at risk during outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Ebola.
   There has been  much discussion in the literature of infectious diseases concerning the course of a hypothetical large scale outbreak of Ebola here in the USA as opposed to what has actually been seen i Africa. The speculation is that the mortality rate would be a great deal lower here for several reasons:
   1. Hygiene. The limitations on the supply of clean water make a western standard of hygiene difficult, if not impossible, most places in Africa. This makes handling of patients far riskier.
   2. Nutrition. A well nourished person has an immune system far more capable of fighting off Ebola.
   3. Co-morbidities. The presence of other disease processes would make Ebola more likely to be fatal. Take for example Malaria. It is estimated that at any given time, 30 to 40% of the population in west Africa is carrying Malaria.
   4. Cultural practices in caring for family members who are ill and in dealing with the dead make the spread of Ebola more likely in west Africa than here.
   5. The supportive care (IV hydration, parenteral nutrition, etc) available to an Ebola victim here is vastly superior to west Africa. Supportive care gives the body a better chance of overcoming the virus.
   The medical people in these discussions are estimating that the mortality rate would be in the range of 20 - 30 %. Still a very scary number, but nowhere near the 40 - 60% that has been seen in Africa.
   Another concern is that many health care workers would simply not show up for work in the event of a major outbreak. The level of risk in west Africa is actually greater than in front line infantry engaged in combat. Nurses are not soldiers, and have not signed on for those sort of odds of survival.
   Food for some serious thought. It does not have to be Ebola. There have been outbreaks of influenza  with similar morbidity and mortality, the Spanish Flu that broke out just after WW1 for example.

While you are here, please scroll down and read a sample of the Book "The End of Shift Report". Thank you for visiting!