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Chapter 14

By Tina D'AngeloPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

I flopped onto the bed and repeated my sleep mantra, ‘Just following orders, just following orders, just following orders,’ until the meds mercifully let me drift off to my battleground of dreams. Wrapping the black turban’s tail closer to my face, I hid behind the rubble of a newly fallen landslide. It was a perfect position to watch the quiet, dusty village below. The 93-degree weather was drying out my eyes, as I tried to adjust the monocle for a close-up of the target’s house. Swiping my hand over them to clear the sand and dust, I caught a slight motion in the courtyard below.

Alar Al ’Husseini was revving up his scooter for a trip somewhere. After I saw which direction he was headed, I radioed it in, then laid out my gear before sitting up against a boulder to sleep, eyes open. I had surrounded my surveillance spot with trip wire alarms. If anyone approached within forty yards of me in any direction, the tinkle of goat bells would alert me, and no one would pay attention. That was a typical sound around here.

I fell asleep in the shadow of the boulder and heard laughter and singing punctuated by quick rifle fire, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam! No screams. There was no time for reaction, only time for dying. Jerking awake to find myself safe in bed, I looked around to orient myself. It was 2024, I was Stateside. I wasn’t sitting on the side of a dusty mountain in Afghanistan, and no weapon was in my hand. No dead children lying in pools of blood. It was just me and the only bloody thing in this room was my mind.


My cell phone was buzzing, and I picked it up immediately. Thank God! It was Sandy. “Hey, Sandy, is everything okay? How is Timmy? How are you?” I babbled.

“Ted? Are you all right? We’re fine. You sound strange. What’s going on?”

“Just had a bad dream. That’s all.”

“Oh. Those again. I thought you were taking some new stuff for those.”

“I am. It isn’t working, I guess. Sorry. Just worried about you and Timmy.”

“Wow. That’s really nice of you, Ted. I’m not used to you calling. You should do it more often. Timmy misses you.”

“Yeah? I miss him too. Uh, when can I see him? I know your folks are coming in next weekend, right?”

“That’s right. If you’re free today, you can pick him up if you want.”

“Seriously? That would be great. What time is good?”

“How about after church, around noon?”

“Okay, I’ll see you then. Kiss him for me, Will ya?”

Hanging up, feeling lighter than I had felt in days, I thought over the options for his visit. Should I bring him here and find some toys to keep him occupied or take him somewhere that was childproof and didn’t have drugs and guns lying everywhere? Yeah, that would be better. Maybe Burger King. There was a kiddie playland and I could feed him junk without his mother getting in the way.

When he was born, I thought I knew everything about love. But after holding that warm, little body in my arms, I realized I hadn’t even scratched the surface. From that day forward, I knew I’d never love another person the way I loved him. It was a new feeling that rumbled from deep within my core. When Sandy and I split, and she got custody, it cleaved my heart in two. It was as if she had taken one of my arms away. Not seeing Timmy every day was a punishment she doled out to me for being unable to deal with her temper tantrums and whims. Now, instead of withholding affection from me, she could withhold the only person in this world whom I loved. She knew it and she used that power to torment me.

Today surprised me, so I wanted to make the most of every minute with the Timster. Shit. I remembered, too late, that I had a date with Sharon. As much as I wanted to pursue a relationship with that remarkable woman, I needed to hold my son more and hoped she would understand. I punched in her number on my cell and waited.

She picked up on the third ring. “Hey! I think I found something fun to do today,” she said, excited.

“Oh. That’s what I’m calling about. I got a surprise from my ex-wife. She offered to let me take Timmy this afternoon. I was so shocked that I didn’t dare say no.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, being a parent comes first. No need to apologize. We’ll have other times to get together, right?”

“Sharon, thank you for understanding. Since the divorce, she’s made it almost impossible for me to see him. I couldn’t tell her no.”

“No, Ted. I understand and am glad you’re a good dad. So, we don’t get a date, but you get good daddy brownie points,” she joked.


About the Creator

Tina D'Angelo

G-Is for String is now available in Ebook, paperback and audiobook by Audible!

G-Is for String: Oh, Canada! and Save One Bullet are also available on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback.

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    Awww, he's gonna get to see Timmy! Heading to the next chapter now!

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