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Radical Yellow Duck

Joined July 2009.

286 stories, 5 challenges, 353 comments, and 19 friends

Ok, I’m back. One heart attack, a triple CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, pronounced cabbage) and two sessions of beating my computer into submission. I am back.

I’m old. Real old. I’m so old I remember when dialing a phone number actually involved using a dial.

I’ve worked as a projectionist, an armored car driver, a help desk tech, a museum tech and laserist, an historical interperter at Old Sturbridge Village, a university assistant at a planetarium and observatory. I’ve been a salesman, a techie, A union VP and a storyteller. I remember the Gemini missions, but was born after sputnik. I have a love of History, Technology, Space, my religion (Christianity) and my country. I believe there is more that binds us together than can tear us apart.

I’ve loved many, married one, was involuntarily divorced.

Oh and I suppose I should tell you. I don’t understand your music and when it comes to sports, I don’t care if the Red Sox beat the 49’ers for the Stanley cup or not. Not judging, it’s just me.

Stories

  1. Steam Room

    As the steam came I felt my lungs react to the additional moisture. I felt like spitting as the mucus rose, but this wasn’t the place to do so. “You know the Romans were the most civilized people of ancient times. They invented the bath. A man woul...

  2. Turkish Bath

    A phone call to Ulinov set up a meeting at a Turkish style bathhouse. I arrived and was told that Gregor Pavalovich was waiting for me in the steam room. I was given a towel and a place to put my clothes. As I entered the sauna the moist heat waved ove...

  3. Apostates

    “So who does the Muslim Brotherhood consider to be apostates,” I asked. “Shi’a, Sufi, Ba’ath, anyone who isn’t practicing their brand of Islam, take your pick,” Clarke shrugged. “So what about you,” I asked Clarke. “Are you an apost...

  4. The Day Of Ashura

    I thought about it. The Muslim Brotherhood are planning some kind of attack. It would kill crusaders and apostates. Well I could figure out who the crusaders are easily enough, but who are the apostates? “What is the Day of Ashura,” I asked Rodgers...

  5. VX

    “VX is the most toxic nerve agent ever manufactured,” Rogers said. “It’s odorless, tasteless, has a high viscosity and a low volatility. It looks and feels like motor oil. It can be absorbed through the skin or breathed in. And a drop a third t...

  6. Volga

    Volga Basra on 11-27 Karbalah by PRECAUTIONS VX MB Rodgers picked up the phone and dialed a number quickly. He hit speakerphone so we all could hear. “2112” was the reply when the line was answered. “Bart, Bill here. I need to know if there was ...

  7. Back To The Office

    Things were beginning to fall into place. “Michael was a smuggler, but you knew that. Arnold’s a supply sergeant. That the two would develop a business relationship isn’t hard to believe,” I said. Quickly I related what I saw on the loading...

  8. Think It Through

    I sat in stunned silence for a moment. “If it isn’t Michael, then who is it?” I asked. “Master Sgt. Arnold of the 509th Logistic Support unit. He’s been missing for four days. Six hours ago forensics identified the body as his. I don’t like...

  9. A Twist

    Clarke had a pistol on his hip and another soldier with an M4 rifle with him. They gathered me up and brought me to a waiting HUMVEE. The passage through the streets of Baghdad was swift and efficient. Clarke sat next to me in the rear seats of the Hum...

  10. My Room

    “I’m in my hotel room. I…” “Stay there. Don’t go out. Don’t talk to anyone. I’m sending Clark to pick you up. He’ll be there in…” he paused. “Seventeen minutes.” “Look”, I’ve had a hell of a night..” The line went dead...

  11. Al-Mansour

    From their reaction you would have thought that the desk staff of the Al-Mansour had barefoot, soaking wet guests wander in off the street at dawn and into their lobby every day. I went up to my room and washed the river water and sewage off of me. The...

  12. Trapped

    I placed my hands, wrists together and slid one thumb under my palm. If I could just get my thumb out from under the tie… A growing feeling of panic rose within me as seconds slipped by. At last I slipped the loop over my thumb and my hand was free. ...

  13. Rude Awakenings

    I was beneath a blanket when I came to. I was rocking and heard the sound of water. My head ached almost as much as my ribs. There didn’t seem to be a part of my body that didn’t have its own distinct pain. I moved my hands and could feel the plast...

  14. The Muslim Brotherhood

    “Each of you knows your assignments. You have been instructed in your tasks. If Allah wills it, we will strike a blow such that at the mere mention of the name of the Muslim Brotherhood, the infidels, the apostates, the Zionist and crusaders will all...

  15. A Familiar Face

    There must have been close to a hundred men in that small room. Quiet conversations and furtive glances. Then at one end of the room movement as a door opened and three men stepped out and onto a small raised platform. The gathered men became silent. O...

  16. Sign And Countersign

    I donned the dark dishdasha robe and covered my head and face with the red and white shumag scarf and headband. As I approached the entry I could see two guards at the door. I slowed my pace a bit and considered. Obviously they were there to restrict e...

  17. Meet Mr. Murphy

    He broke Murphy’s second law of combat operations. Never bring a knife to a gunfight. I swung the barrel of my gun to point right between his eyes. “Drop the knife or I kill you where you stand,” I said in what I hoped was a calm and convincing v...

  18. Where The Tail Leads

    Following a van, at night, through unfamiliar streets is difficult in any city. Add the elements of checkpoints, nervous men with rifles, and the traditional propensity to treating traffic laws as mere suggestions, and you can imagine the difficulties ...

  19. Loading Dock

    There was definitely more than one. I heard the beeping sound of a vehicle being backed up to one of the loading docks and then the dock door being opened. I stepped behind some of the chicken cages and tried to make myself as inconspicuous as possible...

  20. Messages And Bottles

    I rubbed the edge of the pencil lead across the paper in broad flat strokes. As I did so the letters of the previous message came to light as light spaces where the lead of the pencil did not reach. In moments I could read most of what was there. Volga...

  21. Open Sesame

    I typed JohhnyWalkerBlue80 into the user id. That was easy. But Fib # took me a moment longer. I remember there being a clever little plot device in the DaVinci code that used the Fibonacci sequence as the code to access a bank vault. I held the paperb...

  22. Login And Password

    I took the bottle and glass out of the bottom drawer and poured myself two fingers. One of the things Michael had a fondness for was some “Juice of the Barley”. Here was a bottle of a nice little blend. Johhny Walker Blue label. Aged at lea...

  23. The Desk

    I parked outside the office of Ali Athar Halal Meats. The key Rashida gave to me allowed access to the entry by the office by the front door, instead of the loading docks we had used in the rear. I saw desk top had a pad of post-it notes, keyboard, mou...

  24. Realization

    Rashida had dropped me off at my hotel, but the thought of Michael weighed on my mind. What had he gotten himself into? What kind of “obligations” was I expected to carry out? I wasn’t going to find the answers sitting around the hotel bar. One p...

  25. Abuse

    I turned and saw a cleric approaching us. He wore a long black flowing robes and white turban. “Harlot! Whore!” he cried in Arabic as he approached. “Is this the way you honor your parents? Is this the way you honor Islam?” Rashida stepped away...

  26. Tango In Baghdad

    “How did it go,” Rashida asked as I returned to the West room. “I don’t know. There was more NOT being said than said.” The band was coming back from a break and had just started to play. “Oh, a tango!” Rashida exclaimed. “I haven’t d...

  27. Smoke And Promises

    “I only arrived in Baghdad yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to examine Michaels business relations or obligations. But it is my intention to see that any arrangements he made or debts he owed will be honored. I also expect that any debts owed to h...

  28. In Conclave

    “Rashida, how lovely you look tonight.” Jadger smiled. Without waiting for a reply he turned to me and said, “John, a delight that you could make it. I was wondering if I might tear you away from this lovely lady for a few minutes to introduce yo...

  29. Dramatis Persona

    Reception lines are one way of deciding just where you fit in the social strata. The least important are the ones you meet first. I shook hands with commissioners, delegates and deputy governors. Finally Dr. Abdel-Razzaq shook my hand firmly and looked...

  30. A History Lesson

    While waiting in the reception line, to meet the governor, Rashida tried to fill me in on some history. Saddam headed the Ba’ath party. They were a secular party built along the Soviet Socialist lines. Non-religious, to the point of appointed a Chris...