Damocles - Chapter 2 - Load Up


Just Black

No Red, Yellow, Green, or anything as interesting.

Just Black

No picture, just letters.

“You just gonna sit there, or you gonna paint” Sarge yells toward me, not even bothering to lift his head from the scratch game he’s got going with some of the boys from the 509th.

What’s there to paint? It’s just lettering. Boring lettering.

Reaching into the front pocket of my overalls, I pull out a pencil as I approach the shiny unpainted metallic side of the B-29.

I lean in to block the sun from my work.

With deliberate slow strokes, my pencil traces the outline of precise letters on the side of the plane.




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Just over Aoga Shima, a small volcanic island about 175 miles, or 45 minutes, out of Koriyama, Simeral’s right arm rises.

Without looking or thinking, I release the green flare down the chute.

“Away,” I report.

Immediately, I bend down to pick up the phosphorous canister waiting next to my left foot.

Simeral will signal for the release of this one at any moment.

My eyes lock with his right arm again. I stand ready to do my job.

It’s the eternity in between action I love, not the action itself. Anticipation for action; this is where the life of a moment resides.

Simeral’s arm rises once more. “Now, Sergeant,” he calls out.

Again, without thinking, I pull the pin on the phosphorous smoke bomb canister, starting its six-second fuse, before releasing it down the narrow chute.

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