Apr 25 2012

V is for Granny Vine (Existence series character)

            It was mid-March,
1944. Though I had just turned 21, I had already been married for five years.
(Back then, if a boy got a girl “into trouble,” marriage was the only
real option.) My mother was watching our son so that Frank and I could spend
the evening together before he shipped back out to the war.

            The
Officers’ Club was in full swing that night. The men were all aware that they
would be gone soon, so they were taking full advantage of the pleasures of
life. My Frank and I danced until our feet nearly bled and ate until our guts
nearly popped. There was another fellow, Milton, who was drinking his way
toward a “conduct unbecoming” penalty. Frank and a few of his friends
tried to help Milton
regain his composure. They nearly had him right again, but then she walked in.

            She had red
hair a shade that no decent woman ought to have. Her legs were long and sleek.
And those eyes! Even Bette Davis didn’t have eyes that were this remarkable. She
was on the arm of Raymond, a distinguished commander whom many of the men
idolized. Milton
wasn’t paying attention to whose arm she was on though. He foolishly marched
over to her and made a lewd suggestion faster than anyone could stop him.

            The room
filled with tension. All eyes were on Raymond and Milton. Speaking in such a
way to a lady was a terrible affront. Raymond calmly set his hat down and
removed his gloves. He then leaned into Milton‘s
space, locking their eyes together. For a moment a few of us thought that
Raymond meant to stab Milton
with a pocket blade. But then everything changed. The lights flickered. The
room softly shook, causing a few glasses to fall and break. Milton‘s eyes widened. His body trembled so
much that he soon fell to his knees. It was a hard fall. I swear everyone in
the place felt it! But the whole time that his body dropped, not once did he
break eye-contact with Raymond.

            Frank, who
was standing near Milton, swore that he saw
bourbon sweating its way right out of Milton‘s
pores. There was utter silence for a long time as Raymond’s eyes conquered Milton. Eventually there
was a small squeak, followed by a whimper, and then by chattering teeth. Milton began to beg for
mercy. Raymond remained still for a moment longer before telling Milton that the lady was
owed an apology. And then Raymond blinked.

            It seems
strange that I should recall something as small as a blink all these years
later. It’s such a little gesture if you think about. It’s one of those things
we do a thousand times a day without thinking about it and surely must see
others do all the time. But a blink doesn’t normally have this sort of effect.
When Raymond blinked, the whole room felt it. The air changed, lifting like it
does after a long rainstorm. The shaking stopped. Milton fell further down.

            Gasps
between his tears echoed throughout the room as Milton turned toward the dame. He apologized
softly at first, the words fighting their way out between the struggles to
breathe. Then her eyes narrowed on him. He let out a scream.

            “It
burns, it burns! God, help me!” Milton
screeched out.

            Raymond let
out a small cough which turned his lady’s attention back to him for a moment.
She wrinkled her nose at him, and then looked at Milton again, who was now curled up in a ball
on the floor.

            “You
best sober up, Sir. There are Nazis to kill.” With that said, she turned
to the bartender and requested a soda.

 

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