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Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot
A Short Story by SS Hampton Sr.
Genre: Mainstream Military Fiction
Tags: Iraq War, romance, sex, lucky charm, rabbit’s foot, leg garter, yellow ribbon
Release: June 15, 2012
Editor: Joelle Walker
Line Editor: Antonia Tiranth
Cover Designer: Marion Sipe
Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young soldier serving in the War in Iraq. He is a gunner on a gun truck nicknamed “Lucky Bear,” one of those tireless workhorses that escort supply convoys from camps in Kuwait to destinations scattered throughout the war-torn country. In the early morning hours before a scheduled mission, a dust storm howls across his camp and threatens to bring convoy operations to a halt. Worse, the camp receives word that a gunner from his company was killed by an IED while on a convoy mission in Iraq. Unlike most soldiers, Jerry doesn’t carry a lucky charm, but upon receiving news of the death of the gunner, he begins to mull over the merit of a good luck charm—only, what would work for him? Perhaps mail call will provide the answer.
“People like a happy ending.”
Sergeant Jerry Stanton, an M4 Carbine slung across his chest, glanced at the dark form that trudged alongside him in the hot early morning darkness. It was all the darker for the dust storm that howled across the small camp, a dusty and sandy convoy support center, CSC, a mile south of the Iraqi border. He placed his hand over the tall styrofoam coffee cup from the messhall that was open at all hours to serve those about to head out on a mission. He felt the itchy dust filtering down his back, along his arms, and coating his fingers.
In spite of his short time deployed to Kuwait, he had learned that dust storms were worse than sand storms; they were hot and itchy while the sand storms stung exposed skin and chilled the air. Breakfast was good but tasted flat, more due to the question of whether their mission would be a go or no-go because of the storm that roared out of the midnight darkness hours before.
“People like a happy ending,” the soldier repeated. He was a gunner from another gun truck as the squat, venerable M1114 HMMWVs, which were never meant to be combat vehicles, were called.
About the Author:
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He continues to serve in the Army National Guard, where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from MUSA Publishing, Melange Books (Intimate Journeys; R.U.S.H.; Christmas Collectibles 2010; and Hearts of Tomorrow), Ravenous Romance (Back Door Lover), and Dark Opus Press (In Poe’s Shadow), and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. In 2012 he has another story forthcoming in anthologies from Edge SF & Fantasy (Danse Macabre), and Ravenous Romance (Virgin Ass). As of December 2011, he became the latest homeless Iraq war veteran in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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