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The Veteran Bobby Michaels This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Published by Loose Id LLC 1802 N Carson Street, Suite 212-2924 Carson City NV 89701-1215 www.loose-id.com All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. ISBN 978-1-59632-472-5 Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader Printed in the United States of America Editor: Crystal Esau Cover Artist: Anne Cain .
Dedication Dedicated to all the Veterans of all the conflicts in which the United States has been involved but especially to the “Devil Dogs” --the men of the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi! .
Prologue I walked slowly up the narrow macadam road, clutching my coat around me from the chilling wind that seemed to want to push me back, stop me from going forward. It was as if the wind were trying to tell me to go back, not to go once again to that lonely grass-covered knoll, not to bring life to this place of the dead. Clutched in my hand were a bunch of flowers I had purchased at a florist shop that morning. It was the same florist shop I had visited every week for what was now three years. Once a week, one hundred and fifty-six times, I had come here to bring flowers and more often than not, to cry at the memories that seemed to assault me here, even stronger than they did in the dark of night when I sat in my townhouse alone. Reaching the top of the knoll, I stood beneath an old maple tree, its branches just beginning to show green buds in this early spring. There below the spreading arms of the tree was a grave, covered with the remnants of the last snowfall a few days ago. A simple bronze marker lay flat to the ground, partially rimmed with ice. I bent and brushed the ice away and read for yet another time the words made of raised bronze letters. Lance Corporal Todd Molloy, USMC Beloved Son and Brother April 3, 1981 - March 12, 2004 .
2 Bobby Michaels Todd’s death seemed to permanently change our parents who had fought so hard with him against joining the Marines. The events of September 11, 2001, however, had moved Todd to believe it was his responsibility to go and fight the people who would attack America. Our parents never came to Todd’s grave. They never mentioned his name. It was as if by denying the reality of his death, they could hang onto the belief that he was still alive somewhere and would come home eventually. The day of Todd’s funeral, I had to receive the flag that covered his casket from the young Marine lieutenant because our parents refused to touch it. For the last three years, they had only gone through the motions of life; it was if they, too, had died that day in March. From then to now, there were no family celebrations, no Thanksgivings, no Christmases. Nothing but one day passing to another as they seemed to do nothing but wait to join Todd here on this knoll. By the time Todd died, I had already graduated from college with a degree in social work and been hired as a hospital social worker. This had allowed me to move out into my own apartment and I was very glad I had. I could not have lived in the mausoleum my parents’ house had become, complete with a shrine. Todd’s bedroom was still exactly the way he left it when he had gone to boot camp. Nothing was ever touched, only dusted by my mother. Oftentimes when I would visit, I would find her sitting in Todd’s room, staring off into space, her eyes red-rimmed from crying. I suppose I could have become resentful of the fact that it was as if they had only had one son. They rarely seemed to think about me at all. In fact, for the last three years, there hadn’t even been a birthday card or present on my birthday from them, they were so lost in their grief. But, to be honest, I was actually quite grateful they paid so little attention to my life. It helped me to avoid some potentially embarrassing questions like, “Are you dating anyone?”or “When are you going to get married?” You see, there were no good answers to these questions because, even if I were dating someone, it wouldn’t end in marriage -- at least not the way they understood marriage. .
The Veteran 3 Chapter One I discovered when I was about fourteen I had no interest in girls at all. This was a rather stunning revelation, in that I knew all the awful things people, especially people my own age, said about those boys who were only interested in other boys. I went through about six months of deep depression, not knowing what to do. I tried to change, tried to find some interest in girls but it quickly became apparent there was no changing what I was. When I was lost in the very depths of depression, however, a savior materialized that I never expected. It happened one night when I didn’t feel like I wanted to live anymore. I was, however, innately a coward and couldn’t figure out how to do away with myself. My family was not the kind to have guns in the house and, since my parents weren’t into the seeming national addiction to prescription medications, there were no sleeping pills or sedatives to overdose on, either. I supposed I could have used a razor blade to slice my wrists but I don’t deal well with pain or blood. I know, it’s rather odd for someone who works in a hospital but I’m not part of the medical staff. By the time I deal with patients, most of them are on the mend and are soon to be released. .
4 Bobby Michaels That night, I was so despondent over my situation that I was lying on my bed, crying my eyes out. I thought I was alone in the house because my parents had gone out for the evening and my brother was out on a date with a new girlfriend. I suppose I should tell you that Todd was a very handsome and popular jock who never wanted for female companionship -- nor for male friends, either. There was never a weekend night that Todd didn’t have something to do, someplace to go. It was either a date with a girl or hanging out with his jock buddies doing whatever it was that they did. I had no idea what because Todd and I were complete opposites in that way. I had almost no friends, being what might be termed a quasi-nerd. I was bright, got good grades, but I didn’t wear thick glasses or have a pocket protector full of pens. But I still went nowhere. I couldn’t date because I wasn’t interested in girls and the only guys I knew were not the kind of guys I was the least bit interested in being involved with. They were the real nerds who did wear thick glasses and had pocket protectors. So I was home alone in my misery while everyone else was gone. Or at least I thought so. As I was lying there crying, I suddenly felt hands -- warm, strong hands -- gripping my shoulders and turning me over in bed. I looked up and, through my tears, there was Todd, looking at me in confusion. He put his arms around me and drew me to him so that I ended up crying with my face pressed to his muscular chest. He just held me as I cried, gently stroking my head and not saying anything until I finally stopped crying and just rested against him. Then he finally spoke. “Tim, what the fuck is the matter?” At sixteen, it had been many years since Todd had last cried and it had been almost as long since he’d seen me do it. “Nothing,” I managed to mumble. “Bro, don’t lie. You’re no fuckin’ good at it. Now, what the fuck is wrong?” I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to lie to Todd. I never had before. We didn’t have the kind of relationship I’d heard about with so many brothers. We had always been .
The Veteran 5 close. There was no sibling rivalry between us. Even when I was being the typical, pesky little brother, Todd had never gotten angry at me. I think because he knew that, above all, I looked up to him as my own personal hero. I had always loved and admired my brother. There wasn’t a sport he participated in that I wasn’t always on the sidelines or in the stands cheering him on. I was his own personal cheerleader and fan club. But how did I tell him this? The very last thing in the world I could take was having Todd hate me. Then I would find a way to kill myself even if I had to step out in front of a bus to do it. And how could he not hate me? I hated myself and I could only imagine how much Todd would hate me for being gay. In some ways, it would be worse for him because my being gay would reflect on him and he would have to deal with people taunting him because his brother was a “faggot.” It could even raise questions about his sexual orientation. After all, if your brother was “queer,” maybe you were, too. So I was completely at a loss as to what to do. Did I tell him and risk his hatred or did I try to lie and pray he bought whatever excuse I could possibly come up with for him finding me as he had, crying as if my life were over? I was desperately trying to come up with some kind of plausible lie when Todd totally shocked me. “Bro…is it because you’re into guys?” I stared at him in horror. How could he possibly know? How had he guessed? “I’m sorry. I was out of socks a few weeks ago and I went into your dresser to borrow a pair. I happened to look over at your bed and I saw your ‘stroke books’ sticking out from under your mattress. My curiosity got the better of me and I pulled them out to look at them,” he said, apologetically. I was stunned. Todd had found my collection of male porn that I thought I had hidden so well. “You…you know?” I said, hesitantly. “Well…yeah.” .