You Don’t Believe
By Sally Madison
The trucks arrived at the dock in a midst of chaos complicated by the downpour, while the troops were executing the evacuation, efficiently as possible, but not very steadily. ‘The smell of the salt water and diesel fuel is almost a relief from obnoxious aroma of antiseptic and the ever present stench of death at the MASH unit,’ Linda thought. Men screamed orders; soldiers hurriedly carried wounded soldiers towards the waiting ships in the harbor. Noises from the transport jeeps and troop carriers were drowned out by the engines starting up in the belly of the ship.
Linda jumped out the back of the troop carrier, “This way, Lieutenant! Hurry!” she was commanded with great urgency by the medic-in-charge. She grabbed the IV bag attached to the next patent to be unloaded from the truck and held it high.
The moaning drew her sympathy, “It’s going to be all right”, she cooed, holding the hand of a mangled unrecognizable mass of bloody bandages and fatigues. She matched her pace to the other soldier’s, holding the gurney as they raced up the metal grated plank, anticipating the protection of the huge hull. Clank, clank, clank – the plank hit the deck of the ship in unison with the muddy boot steps.
She could hear the WHOMP! WHOMP! WHOMP! of helicopter blades approaching for a landing on the massive ship. The whirlwind ripped off the white cap and put her quaffed hair into a tangle, while her Navy cape blew out straight, strangling her neck by the clasp. ‘If only the rain could wash away the splatter of mud, blood, and bile on her nurse’s uniform, that was tugging at her legs, and clean away her memories of the emergency ward, as well’, she thought.
Escaping from the dissonance, her mind wandered briefly to a vague memory when she had been listening to the radio. ‘What was that new song?’ Linda thought, ‘yes, how appropriate.’ She ran the song over again in her mind, “Tell me over and over again, my friend. You don’t believe, we’re on the eve of destruction?” The message was overwhelming and foreboding.
WISSH! WISSH! WISSH! rang the bombs in Linda’s ears, louder and louder they were coming in and splashed in to the water near the dock.
BA-BANG! The explosion deafened her, momentarily; instinctively she ducked. Peering from behind her forearm, she saw a fire ball where the helicopter had been just a second ago. Her eyes stung from the intense heat. Fireworks of shrapnel peppered the air. PING! PING! PING! rang out as the pieces hitting the deck. SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT – they hit the water. Another WISSSSSSSH! louder and louder and… silence.