More from an untitled novel…

The cool September air is refreshing as Franken walks out to his vehicle. Al Wilkerson, the security guard selected to escort him to his vehicle walks two steps behind him.

“This is becoming something of a regular occurrence, LJ. Why don’t you try getting along with people?”

“People are a complete waste of time, Al.”

“So, you’re not going to be nice and apologetic to your boss? It may shorten your suspension.”

“I have a better idea. The military has plenty to offer. I am headed there now.”

“Son, you might-”

Franken tosses Al a wave as he tears out of the parking lot for the last time. 

The recruiting station is located in a bland strip mall, hidden away from the busy highway. “I suppose they figure if you come here, you are already sold on the idea to serve.” Franken parks and walks into the building. Teenagers sit in chairs talking to recruiters hoping to fill the void left by the terror attacks of September 11th. Patriotism has filled the hearts of every young man and woman in America. “All I want is a way to provide for my family. I love my country, but you can’t eat patriotism.”

“Hello. Can I help you?” Franken turns from a poster showing a soldier fast roping out of a helicopter. A soldier stands behind him. His name tag reads Givens. LJ nods and clears his throat.

“Hi, I would like to speak to someone about joining the Army.”

“Come on in. I am SSG Rupert Givens.” SSG Givens leads Franken to a corner desk. He motions to LJ to have a seat next to his desk. They talk of Franken’s expectations. After discussing what the steps are for joining and filling out numerous pieces of paperwork, SSG Givens shakes Franken’s hand. 

“Are you married, Franken?”

“I am.”

SSG Givens nods his head and places a hand on Franken’s shoulder. “Far be it from me to tell you how to run your house, but you may want to talk this decision over with your wife before you sign your and her lives away. Come back tomorrow, and I will explain the military life to her.”

“Okay.”

Franken walks out to his vehicle and drives away. “I have to tell her about the suspension but at least I have a plan for the future.”

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