Twelve people read it here on Blogger and thityy-five read it on Facebook. BIG DEAL.
Have you started writing your own blog yet ? If you have TELL ME so I can read it.
There was a tike when in my writing I used to inmclude the words: I like to leave the odd typo in my writing for those who take delight in finding them. The truth is clever people with active brains are those who make the most typo's. Or should that be Tipo's.
The brain works faster than the hand so as you write with a pen or type on a keyboard your brain is far ahead of what your fingers. LIFE IS A TYPO - IF YOU DO NOT MAKE ANY YOU ARE NOT LIVING IT FAST ENOUGH.
Something else you will find is the geek-stupid Mictrothick and Googley make typos for you. As for Facebook - no typo is big enough to expolain that bit of silly nonsense. As for the self-
important BBC, it is a bastion of bad grammar.
“Are you going to join us ?” David asked. “Join is in our protest of peace and love ? We have to make a difference, we have to stop this war.”
How was a group of naked young men and women going to stop the war ? Nobody was ever going to take notice of what they were doing, certainly not the politicians. If a difference could be made, if notice could be taken then Tim would be a part of it all.
“You are not from America,” Tanya said.
“No, I am English.”
“I thought so from your accent. After the first war there were young women in your country who could not find husbands. With so many being killed there were not enough men to go around.”
“We called them maiden aunts,” Tim explained. “I have three in my family.”
“They were born virgins,” Tanya said sadly, “and they will die virgins.”
“I had never thought about it that way.”
I do not want that to happen in our country. I want to meet a man, to fall in love, get married and have a family. A family and a husband to love until the day I die.”
“I am a student doctor.” Tim explained. “If my country does get involved I will go to Vietnam and work to save the lives of those who are injured.”
“It is not only the soldiers who are being injured and killed, this is happening to civilians: to men, women and little children.”
“Will what you are doing, will what we are doing, what we are going to do make any difference at all ?”310 words so far
The photograph I niocked from the internet. It will not appear in the book but I am using it to help me feel I am there and present as I write. I am using it to help me vraw my readers into the story.
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NEW DRAFT OF CHAPTER ONE:
Friday 28th July 1967, a day Timothy Ford-Newman had been looking forward to for longer than he cared to remember. School and childhood were over and now the real life could begin. Just the week-end to negotiate and then a new job with a wage packet to fund anything and everything Tim could imagine.
He turned to face the school building, put up two fingers then shouted “Eff Off !” to the bricks that had held him in an educational prison for most of his life. One final gesture then he could head home, Tim dropped his trousers and exposed his naked bottom to the school and all it stood for.
“Welcome my brother, welcome in peace and love.”
Where was he ? It looked to be a good place.
“Hello,” Timothy stuttered. It all looked different and he knew he looked different. Was this was still July 1967 ? It couldn’t be Tim knew he wasn’t sixteen anymore. How old was he ? Not sixteen as he should be, that was for certain. How old was he and where had he been doing the intervening years ?
“I don’t thank you.”
“But this isn’t tobacco.”
“Come and meet some more friends.”
“I’m John.” He made a sign with his fingers which was similar to that Timothy had given to his school but totally different in meaning.
“I’m Timothy but please call me Tim. What is this all about ?”
“Come and meet your new friends. A stranger is only a friend you have yet to meet and there are lots here for you to meet.”
There was Julie and there was Tanya. There was Peter and there was James. There was Donald and there was Dianne. There were indeed literally hundreds, thousands of people there but where were they ? Where was Timothy ? He was Timothy but he was different.
“How old are you Tim ?”
“Nineteen.” He knew right there and then he was nineteen but he also knew that was not his true age.
“That’s a good age to be.”
“What’s the flowers ?” Tim asked directing his question to all about him.
It was John who answered. “If you kill a man, if you cut him down he is dead and you can not change that. If you cut a flower from a plant the plant does not die, more flowers grow in its place. The more flowers you pick the stronger the plant grows.
Tim was not sure he comprehended what John was saying.
“We are going for a swim,” Tracey added. “when we come back we can all pick some flowers for you. Come and join us for a splash.”
“I don’t have any swimming trunks.”
“You don’t need swimming trunks. Since when has a fish needed trunks to swim ? If a swan were to put on swimming trunks its beauty would be cut in half.”
This was a dream but it was a dream of reality ? Why was Tim part of it ? Why was Timothy Ford – Newman a part of it ? How old was he and why was he not a teenager in his sixteenth year as he should be ?
He was backed into a bit of a corner, he was going to have to swim in the nearby lake with his new friends. He was going to have to swim naked. He did not want to so that. Or did he ?
“When we have finished swimming we will have something to eat. We don’t eat meat. Then I will fix you a joint, weed is vegetarian of course.”
“All life is sacred,” it was Tracey who said that into the conversation.
“Injured due in eight minutes doctor.”
Already Doctor Newman could hear the helicopters off in the distance. “How many are there ?”
“Ten whirly birds Doctor so could be twenty but that’s just the first wave. It’s going to be a long-haul.”
Timothy’s first case was a young man, a boy almost, whose chest had been hit by shrapnel. Three ribs were broken, his left lung was punctured but with so many pieces of shrapnel that needed to be removed before any surgery could take place his chances of survival were slim. The patient was around nineteen as he himself had been just moments before.
“I hate this war,” Timothy declared.
“But Sir you do not need to be here, you are British and a volunteer.”
“When kids like this are being injured as this poor guy is I have to be here.”
But Timothy was a kid wasn’t he ? How old was he ? Not sixteen and not nineteen. How confusing.
“Blood pressure one twenty-three over eighty-two.”
“Thank you nurse, a little high but given this mess in his chest that’s good. Pulse ?”
“That does not equate with his blood pressure. You sure you are right ?”
There were four surgeons in the operating area, without any more injured being flown in that would mean each one of them probably had five patients to deal with. Doctor Newman did not consider how long his first patient would take to work on and he tried not to think of those waiting in the prep area.
Volunteering as a doctor to work in a foreign war had been all too easy for Tim, his friends and colleagues had not questioned his wish to travel to Vietnam but none had considered for a single moment about joining him.
Slowly Doctor Timothy Ford-Newman carefully removed every piece of shrapnel from his patient’s body. The operation then followed during which time his patient remained stable. What was the patient’s name ? There was not time to ask such questions. When a patient survived and went into recovery he then became a real person with a name. If they did not survive he were just an anonymous number. 11,363 people that year would be anonymous numbers. Not that he knew the actual figure, Tim was determined this young boy on the operating table would not become a number anywhere in that 11,363. If Tim was religious he would have prayed but religious he was not.
The table cleared and dressed in a new, clean operating gown Doctor Timothy began work on his next patient. This was a simple case, an amputation above the knee. Simple and not life-threatening but life-changing. How was this young soldier going to live the rest of his live with only one and a half legs ?
Word had spread of a protest in San Francisco but that was how many miles away and what would a protest do to stop the killing ? It was probably just a rumour.
If his first patient survived would be able to he return to his home ? He would. This patient, once he had been deprived of his lower leg he too would return home. There were young men in San Francisco and in every town and city throughout America waiting to take their place. Many to take their place and be injured, some to take their place and to die.
It was hot in the operating room, a nurse gently tapped his face with a cloth. Inside the surgical gloves Tim’s hands were sweating. He needed a bath, a long soak in relaxing hot water but there were no baths in the accommodation area of the medical unit, only showers. Medical unity, MUST - Medical Unit Self-Contained Transportable, couldn’t somebody have come up with a kinder and more caring name ?
“Hey, you are not shy are you ?”
Tim shrugged his shoulders. Before he could get into the water he had more patients to care for.
Patient number four was dead when he arrived on Doctor Tim’s operating table. He was not the first the young doctor had met this way and he would not be the last but that did not stop tears welling up in his eyes. Why ? Why ? Why ?
“Death is not the end,” a colleague had recently said to him.
“I am not religious.”
“Neither am . Life and death are not prescribed by any religion. Man created god in his own image, different gods for different men and their shallow beliefs. There is more to death than life, there is the KA.”
Previously Timothy had thought somewhere within all that was happening he was dreaming but now any hint of a dream disappeared, this was real.
“What’s a car got to do with it, or as you Americans like to call them automobiles ?”
“It may be pronounced car but this is spelt K A. This Ka is from the Ancient Egyptian spirit. Within us we all have a Ka, when we sleep and dream the spirit leaves the body and moves around on the astral plane. When a person is unconscious, and your patient on the operating table, his spirit is on the same astral plane. When a person dies the Ka permanently leaves the body for the astral plane.”
Was that meant to help Timothy when his patients died on the operating table ? Like all religion this was mythology in overdrive although it did have just a small element of logic within it. Just a very small element of logic.
The photograph was natural, not natural because everyone was without clothes but natural as that was the way it best expressed the way things were and the way those in the picture were feeling. Tim was to the right of the group. How many were there ? One, two, three, four, five six. There were another three way in the background but their persons were not clear.
The water was warm but refreshing. Everyone in the photograph was a friend of Timothy, a friend in peace and a friend in love.
Major ? Timothy Ford- Newman was a volunteer in the medical corps. He was not a member of the United States Army, he was only a doctor and did not have any rank.
“Major,” the voice spoke again. “We are nearing the time Sir.”
Was it dawn already ? A little before dawn, it was dark but soon it would indeed be dawn.
“There are two of them today Sir so we need to commence a little early.”
“Yes Sergeant, of course.”
Major Timothy Ford-Newman, doctor and battlefield surgeon got out of bed. He shaved and put on full dress uniform. He would need a stethoscope but he would not need it. He would need a pen and a bottle of ink and he would need them. His batman had placed them neatly on the table. There also were the needed documents, four pieces of paper, two for each of those he would be attending. Why was this duty always performed at an early hour ? He put the photograph in his pocket and forgot about it.
“You look deep in thought ?”
Tim smiled. “I’ve been thinking about what you were saying.”
“About the Ka spirit ?”
“Yes. So if what you say is correct does a patient who dies on my operating table get to meet up with the enemy who killed him when he took reaches the astral plane ?”
“It has to be possible.”
“Time to leave Major.”
“I took an oath to preserve life not to end it.”
“You are not eing asked to end life Major, just to certify its end.”
“Two lives,” Timothy said softly under his breath.
He examined the two victim patients. Nineteen years old and a private, he was physically well and ready to face what was about to happen. Timothy signed and dated the certificate: Monday 24th May 1915. He did the same for the twenty-one year old lance corporal. All was ready.
“Squad ! Take aim ! Fire !”
Time now for the second examinations and more forms to be signed and dated. Death certificates
“Just what are you proposing to do with your life Newman ?”
“With respect Headmaster, the name is Ford-Newman and to answer your question I intend to make a success of my life.”
“If you want to make a success of your life then you will need to tone down your arrogance !” The school headmaster then added Ford-Newman.”
“Have no fear Headmaster, I will make a success of my life.” He then silently spoke inside his mind,” And success in my life will not come with my being a teacher, certainly not a headmaster.”
The headmaster looked at his teenage pupil, when it came to arrogance he passed his student many times. Timothy reached into his pocket and looked at the photograph. “I am going to be a doctor.” He said. “I have just decided.”
“Really ? You will be staying on for the sixth form then.”
“No, I am going to college.”
“Doctor ? I will believe it when I see it.”
“I have a photograph,” Tim mumbled. “I have two photographs.”
Another day, another operating room. Which war was this ? More wounded of course but compared to others this was a quieter day.
“Your patient Doctor, Private Austin the one you took the shrapnel from.”
Tim had removed a ton of shrapnel from hundreds of patients. Which particular patient was the nurse speaking about ?
“He is ill Sir, it looks like his kidneys are failing. Can you come and examine him ?”
“When is he due to be returned to The States ?”
“Two days time. Do you want me to arrange for immediate transfer ?”
“He is going into multiple organ failure, he won’t last two days, he would not survive the journey, he probably will not survive the day.”
He did not survive, another futile statistic in the pointless war.
The medical procedure of executing a soldier condemned to be shot at dawn for cowardice in the face of the enemy was very precise. All life is sacred, save for life in a war.
“I can not certify him fit for execution Captain.”
“Why not Major ?”
“He is suffering from kidney failure, he is not fit.”
The Captain did not understand what kidney failure was. “Are you saying that is why he is a coward ?”
“No, I am saying he is not well. I can not sign him fit for execution.”
“Give him a drink,” the officer in charge of the execution squad ordered. “Major he has to die, he has to be executed. That is the sentence, you cannot change that.”
“He is going to die from multiple organ failure, I can not sign a certificate saying he is well when he is not.”
“Major that is the sentence.”
“Timothy Ford-Newman the sentence of this court is that you will go to prison for life where you will serve a minimum of fifteen years.”
“Do I look like someone who cares !” Timothy shouted across the court.
“Take him down !”
What was Timothy’s Ka doing now ? Where was he ? What was happening in this dream ?
“Did you really say that ?”
“I did and if you think you are going to make my life in here hell for fifteen years then you have another think coming. What kind of subhuman life form makes a career being a prison warden ?”
“What kind of person makes a career out of murder ?”
“It wasn’t murder, it was execution. He was a drug dealer and deserved his lot. Just one drug dealer destroys more lives than all of the serial killers since Jack the Ripper.”
“Your life is destroyed for the next fifteen years at least. Good night, pleasant dreams.”
Tim was dreaming, everything was a dream and every dream was captured in a photograph. Which of the photographs was the real Timothy ?