Week 4 Word: FOUND
Word count 494
I weaved my car around the concrete barriers as I entered Ft. Monmoth, NJ, Central Communications Command for the US Army. Its enormous brick arches under which I passed each day never ceased to make my innards quake just a little. I stopped at the Gate and surrendered my papers. The guard inspected them, then bid me “good day, ma’am.”
I drove to headquarters where I met the rest of my team. Gary was polished in his tailored suit and cuff links. Bob, always disheveled in a sport coat from the trunk of his car, thankfully sported khakis instead of his usual jeans. Our leader was (retired) Colonel Ron. This imposing 12-foot man with leathery skin, cigarette voice, two-word sentences, and gigantic hands was our leader. Just looking at him, you knew he’d have your back. I’ll always remember the day I met Ron. I had on my favorite espadrilles – tan ones with ribbon ties at the ankles, three-inch wedge heels, and just a few pearls and sequins on the toes. His hand swallowed mine. (I could hear my daddy yelling, “Firm handshake!”) Ron shot a quick recon glance up and down. Peering at me from the ceiling, he said, “Hmm. You’re gonna be different.” (I asked him once if he had his own weather patterns up there.) Thus began our friendship, which is still going strong today.
Our team did a final check of our presentations. We knew everyone who was expected to participate. Of course the only one that mattered was General Justice. (Sounds like an action figure doll, doesn’t it?) His Executive Officer met us in the lobby and led us to the General’s waiting room. We entered thick glass doors with Army decals adorning them, and sat in imposing leather chairs encircling the room. The tension was palpable. Ron sat across on the other side, empty chairs guarding his personal space. His right knee was bobbing frantically. His face divulged that he was rehearsing his speech. This won’t do.
I walked across the room and sat down next to him, receiving that sideways glare down his eagle nose. I sat demurely beside him, plotting, feet not touching the carpet. Looking into the next room, I saw paneled walls, and a massive oak desk. I leaned over and whispered, “Ron.” Nothing. My right elbow caught him in the ribs. “Ron,” I breathed with more urgency.
“What,” he snapped.
I snaked my right hand up by my chin, barely flexing my index finger. I pointed. “I found him. He’s right there.”
Ron scowled, “That’s his office.”
“I know… but it’s not working.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” he barked.
“That camouflage – it’s not working. I can still see him! Can’t you?” A pregnant silence filled the room.
This time I got the full head snap AND an eye roll. “Oh, for God’s sakes, Malin! I can’t take you anywhere!”
I saw just the slightest twitch of his lip. Mission accomplished.