This blog is about my writing and my reading: My published books and a novel in progress; a course I am teaching on drama and theater, and the adventures and challenges of sharing literature with students.
Some topics that interest me: parallel worlds; life after death; the human condition; concepts of heaven; Hungary; the human toll of the Cold War; Shakespeare's works; literature and life.
The hero, Jasper Wergild and his
wife Marguerite are hosting a party of old and new friends.Join the conversation as different topics
change the mood from bland to turbulent.
Nancy greets Joe's brother Pete,
who is home with PTSD after fighting in the war in Iran (the story is a view of
“I haven’t seen you since
we graduated. What have you been up to?”
“I joined the army.”
“You poor thing. Was that
your last choice?”
“No, actually it was my
first choice. I wanted to do something for my country. I joined the National
Guard. I was expecting to spend a few years delivering food and bottled water
to US flood victims, but as it turned out, I was deployed to Iran.”
“You thought our leaders had
learned something after we finally abandoned Iraq. How long did you spend in
“So, instead of battling
the effects of global warming, you were sent to fight Abdul’s kinfolk.”
“You’re wrong. We did not
go to fight. We went to help, and we did. We helped to build schools—”
Nancy smiled. “After our
bombs had destroyed them.”
“We brought in equipment
and built bridges and roads—”
“Which we had first blown
up,” Nancy chimed in.
Pete’s voice rose. “We
restocked their hospitals.”
“—and their morgues.”
Nancy added sweetly.
His voice rose from a
polite mumble to desperate wrath. People around them began to listen. “We do
not murder people. The insurgents murder people. They also murder us. Don’t you
watch the news?”
Joe walked up to his
brother. “Pete, it’s time for us to go.” He added in a furious whisper, “Get a
hold of yourself. You’re losing it.”
“I don’t want to go. I
want to explain. People just don’t understand. This is a war. It’s kill or be
killed. There’s no room for love, even for love of your family. You just have
to make yourself numb to everyone around you and do what you’ve been trained to
Jim joined the group.
“Which is to kill. Same as the insurgents. The urge to destroy is part of human
“No it isn’t,” Nancy
said. “You and I and Pete are not natural killers, are we, Pete?”
The anger suddenly
drained out of Pete. He was like a man defeated. He looked totally blank and
indifferent to the guests around him, as if he had nothing in common with
people who lived by feelings and natural attachments. Joe grabbed him by the
arm to lead him away. The sudden jolt roused Pete to defend himself as he had
been taught in boot camp—by punching his brother in the stomach, pinning his
arms behind his back, and making him lie face down on the floor.
What do you think? Is
Nancy right that human beings are not natural killers?Are wars necessary?