This is a very special Fantasy Friday for me. When my very first Cassie story went up, as a guest post on ‘My Bottom Smarts’, a lovely man left a comment – nearly eight years and after a total of 2,222 posts (counting all three of my sites) later, Paul has remained my friend. He has commented on nearly each and every one of these posts. That’s loyalty beyond what most people can imagine.
He is now sharing some of his stories with us for Fantasy Friday. He wrote these a while back, sadly real life doesn’t give him the time to write any more, but he has shared several with me. Today’s story will be continued next Friday.
A Summer Miracle.
It was the summer of ’57.
I had just been posted from Libya back to Blighty.
I was expecting to be posted to a REME or RAOC depot as my field was safety, explosives and ammunition.
Instead of which I was seconded to the War office to help in the recruiting drive, as one of the youngest Warrant officers in the army.
I used to visit the better class schools in the London area and talk to the fourteen year olds who might be interested in a career in The Royal Army. At this time the official school leaving age was fifteen.
I’m due to give a talk in, lets call it St Stephens Grammar School, all the pupils who might be leaving school after their next birthday attend, I like to think it was voluntary.
I give my usual talk, about the training opportunities, but especially about the education the army offered. I told them that I left school at fourteen with nothing under my belt except a willingness to learn and an expectation of hard work, I told them that I stood before them with such good qualifications that any University would accept me, could I but afford it. The Service also offered saving opportunities, so in fact I would be able to afford it, just.
I threw the floor open for questions, there were questions about what unit to join, and as always lots of questions about the Marines and Red Berets, very few questions about education.
Suddenly a clear young voice broke the silence. “Excuse me Sergeant-Major,” I looked up in surprise, I’m rarely addressed by my correct rank at these meetings, “yes young lady,” there was a smile in my voice.
I looked down at the teacher chairing the meeting, “Melody S,” she said.
“Yes Melody,” “Mel if you wouldn’t mind sir,” ”not a problem Mel,” I replied. For some reason my heart skipped a beat, Mel proceeded to ask some well thought out questions, which led me to believe that she knew the answers and was testing me, this wasn’t the first time this had happened, she really knew her stuff, fortunately so did I. “One last question sir,” she asked, I looked down at the teacher, she held up five fingers, “OK, but make it brief,” just then the bell rung, there was a scraping of chairs, suddenly a stentorian bellow cut through the noise, “hold still, say thank you to Sergeant-major Paul and go quietly.” “Thank you sir,” they said, and filed out slowly, all except one.
I looked at the teacher, “that voice would do justice to a parade ground,” “thirty years teaching,” she smiled.
She turned to the girl; I really looked at her for the first time, 5‘0” in her shoes, shining brown hair, sparkling green eyes and the face of a William Bouguereau angel and possibly the most kissable lips I’ve ever seen. The teacher spoke to her as if she were a normal mortal woman, “well Mel more questions, doesn’t your father answer yours,” “he has taken to avoiding them miss,” the teacher turned to me, “Brigadier General S is Mel’s father,”opps I thought to myself, the boss.
Mel turned round and saw a woman standing at he door, “good mum’s here, come and meet her sir, she doesn’t bite.”
Mel started off almost running, her mother gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head, Mel stopped, turned and waited for me; we approach her mother together, “mother this is Sergeant-Major Paul, he is here to try and persuade us to join the army, did daddy send him, Sergeant-Major my mother Mrs S,” a slight bow, “ma’am, a pleasure to meet you, you have a vivacious daughter not to mention intelligent,” “you are very welcome sir and thank you, she can be a little trying, I smiled, “ fourteen,” I said. She nodded ruefully.
Mel was almost dancing on the spot, “mother please invite him to tea, there is so much I want to ask him,” “really Mel, you know better,” she looked at me, “will you,” I nodded, “if it’s not inconvenient.”
We arrived at their home after a brief and quiet drive, Mel’s younger brother and sister and Mel got in the back with them. Mrs S drove straight into the garage and we entered through the kitchen door.
After feeding the children a glass of milk and a plate of biscuits she sent them off to do their homework
Mrs S sat me down with a glass of homemade lemonade, she questioned me thoroughly, in short order she knew almost as much about me as I did. “You know who Mel’s father is,” she asked, “yes he is Brigadier General S and my commanding officer,” “does this bother you?” “I didn’t expect to be invited to his home, otherwise no.”
She started laying the table for tea, “may I help,” “yes, plates, cups and saucers in the dresser, six sets please” the table set with bread, butter, chess and various savoury spreads, this done Mrs S pressed a bell push and shortly afterwards I heard the clatter of three children approaching. They entered the kitchen, saw me, and silence fell, you could almost hear the clang.
Mel sat opposite me, her green eyes were wide and devouring, when I looked into them I felt as if I was drowning, I found it very hard to concentrate on what was being said.
Mrs S was speaking, “Paul,” “yes,” “you are an orphan, do you know anyone in London,” “not really ma’am.” “My husband was talking about you the other day, he said that you were possibly the loneliest soldier under his command,” I looked at her in surprise, “the general said that.” You’re surprised,” “not really, I’ve been in service five years, he’s the best officer I’ve ever served under.”
“I have a proposition for you, we have a fully furnished small flat over the garage, the general would like you to use it, I’ll show you.” She led me through the garage to the back where there were stairs leading to the first floor, a neat little apartment, a living room a nice bedroom, a small kitchen and a very modern bathroom. Being used to making quick decisions I said, “It’s wonderful, I’d like to move in over the week-end.”
Once back in the main house we sat and discussed the house rules, the children not allowed in the apartment and no one night stands please, her way of saying no whores please.
I said good bye and made my way back to my lodgings, my head in a whirl, when I finally fell asleep it wasn’t the flat that I dreamt about, but Mel’s wonderful and dangerous green eyes.
To be continued.
© 2008 Paul
Paul thank-you for your loyalty, your friendship and for sharing your stories with us, I’m looking forward to posting the rest over the next few weeks. While Paul’s gift will keep us in new stories for now, I always need more and if you are willing please sent your story to firstname.lastname@example.org