PLAYING: Orders By Sally Madison

Words: 493
By Sally Madison
Chris came crashing into Linda’s apartment exclaiming, “Did you hear it!? Did you hear it!?” He grabbed Murray, the speckled collie, by the fur on the sides for his neck and give him a playful shake, shake, shake, as usual.

Lifting her sad eyes from the nursing uniform she was ironing, Linda replied, “Did I hear what?”

Excitedly, Chris replied, “On the radio, the Beach Boys got their song on the NATIONAL radio. Turn the radio to the LA pop music station, maybe they’ll play it, again. The stuff their dad wrote was stuffy, but now that he focused on being their manager, they’ve gotten a lot more exposure. Singing Brian’s songs and harmonizing like the Lettermen, they’ve got a whole new style. Listen, the DJ is going to play, ‘Surfin’, again.”

“I’m happy for them,” Linda replied, as she focused on her ironing.

“Happy?” Chris continued, “You should be ecstatic! They’re going to make it big, really big, and all you can say is you’re happy for them? They’re our friends. Some of their stuff is about us, and that’s all the excitement you have?”

“’Little Surfer Girl’ is you. ‘Surfin’ Safari’ came from the day we first met. My God, Linda, why are you not jumping for joy?” Chris asked incredulously.

“I said I was happy for them. I was just going to take Murray for a walk, do you want to come?” Linda responded. Murray, hearing his name, was at the door wagging his tail so hard it beat like a base drum against the cupboard.

“LISTEN! LISTEN! THEY’RE PLAYING RIGHT NOW!” Chris ignored her as he stared at the transistor radio, remembering their first big break at the concert on New Year’s Eve. Chris, bopping to the music, and playing an air guitar, listened intently, mouthing the words that he knew by heart.

Linda filled Murray’s water bowl, while she listened until the song was complete. “Really, I am so very happy for them, and yes, I am so proud to be their friend,” she commented as she hooked Murray. “I just want some quiet time, is all.”

“Really, Linda, what is wrong? You’re never like this. Are you sick?” Chris finally realized this was no ordinary day. “I’ll go with you, but only if you tell me what’s going on. Are you breaking up with me? Did I do something? Are you seeing someone else?”

Linda smiled at that thought, thinking ‘No.. never’, but she responded, “Let’s walk before I have to go to work.”

Chris gently took the leash from Linda and turned her around so she had to face him. Seeing her tear stains, he started getting upset too. Then he noticed an envelope on the counter. The military seal told all too much; she had orders. They knew this day was coming, but they really thought they had more time. “Where?” he finally managed to say.

As tears began down her face, she mumbled, “Vietnam”.

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