What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Monday, May 12, 2014

Excerpt from Troughton Company Chapter Three

            “I don’t understand why the women-folk don’t want Belly and the rest of us to know.” Jerry stretched out in his tent, speaking to his wife. She was seated on the ground beside him.

            “What is this women-folk crap? Ever since WWII, we have been people first, equals! Now suddenly, once we have come back to building fires and sleeping under the stars – living off the land – we’re women-folk. Like we’re separate species.”

            “What you just told me is exactly why we men are going to treat you women differently than just one of the guys. You are vulnerable in a way men will never be.”

            Chrissy tried to respond with a logical argument.  Jerry let her think her way to a calmer plateau.

            “Is anyone else pregnant?”

            “There are only the three of us that are actively sexual – that I know of. It’s not like we babysit the bachelorettes. Peggy, Jeanie and I are married. Peggy’s got a stash of condemns, though.”

            “Yeah, I’m amazed that’s lasted that long.” Jerry mused. “Preacher mentioned he and Smartboard are considering going bear-hunting.”

            “And then there’s Angel and Jailbird.”

            “He’s a man of honor; they’re still celibate.”

            “She’s got to be at least seventeen and this winter’s going to be a cold one.”

            Jerry grimaced. “Well, that was less than romantic.”

            “There’s nothing romantic about bear-hunting in the piney woods, love.” She smirked and then lay down beside him. “But those wild roses you picked for me last time were very sweet.”

            “Are you ever sorry that I can’t get you pregnant?”

            She nuzzled against him. “Right now, I’m grateful that we can’t get pregnant. I can’t imagine going through a pregnancy out here. The closest thing to an OB-GYN is Peggy who took an on line midwifery course.”

            “Do you suppose the 74th has doctors?”

            “That’s not enough of a reason to join them.”

            “Hum,” he slipped his hand under her shirt.  “If we’re real quiet, do you suppose we could go bear-hunting right now?”

            She grinned and kissed him.

            “Jerry!” Preacher yelled from outside of the tent. “We found a bee hive. Pizzaboy thinks he‘s got an idea. Come on!”



            “We’ll start you with the jeans. That’s why we announced at breakfast today’s jeans day. Anyone with dirty jeans will start piling them there.”

            “Beside the pile of white or whitish clothes?” Mickey asked Sally.

            “Yeah, well, we’re a little behind in the laundry. I’ll take care of the whites, you do the jeans.”

            “So, announce the flavor of the day, wait for the clothes to pile up. I think I’m getting a hang of this living off the land mojo.”

            “Put twelve jeans at a time in that tub there. Shake them first, to make sure there’s no bugs. Check the pockets – carefully.”


            “Or worse. Especially Timmy Hicks. Smallest jeans. That child finds every squishy critter interesting and collects them – in his pockets.”

            Mickey made a face but assured her (and himself), “I can do this.”

            “Use one cup of laundry detergent and fill the tub with water from the stream.”

            “Don’t I have to boil it or something?”

            “Not yet.”

            “Oh, two words that offer such promise.”

            Sally pointed.


            “Get the stick.”

            He did so, and held it vertically between them.

            She placed her hand caressingly at the top of the stick, placed her other hand on the shaft and then used it to demonstrate her words. “You know how, in an engine, when the pistons go up and down, up and down, and up and down, faster and faster until the engine just screams with heat?”

            “Yeah? Oh yeah. Up and down.”

            “Once the tub is full, you and the stick – to the clothes in the tub. Like a hot engine.”

            “Screaming hot.”

            “Can you guess what happens next?”

            He leaned in toward her, “Not yet.”

            “You let them soak while you fill that second tub with boiling water.”

            “Steaming. Hot. In a tub.”

            “Use a cup of laundry soap.”

            “I like bubbles.”

            “Take the clothes out of the first tub and put them in the shopping cart to drain. Then dump the tub that way.”

            “Toward the little ditch in the dirt?”

            “It leads away from the river towards the latrines.”

            “So you don’t foul the river.”

            “We have a chance at a new start here. Jerry says we need to treat the earth like grown-ups, not like the generations before us.”

            “The president has an environmental policy.”

            “Yes, Sergeant Mickelson, he does.” She crossed her arms.

            He licked his lips, recognizing how much ground he’d just lost. “So I dump the dirty water while the first load drains. Then put them in the hot water bucket, piston them for a while and what?”

            “Fill up the first tub again for the next load. While it’s soaking, use the shopping cart to drain the hot load. Dump that tub. Put the water on to boil again and while you’re filling the second tub, dump three buckets of cold water over the load in the shopping cart, let them drip a bit and then hang them on the line. Use the cart to drain the cold tub, put them in the hot tub. Dump, fill, repeat.”

            “The line’s going to get full, looking at that load of jeans.”

            “Jeans take two days to dry in this humidity. When the clothes are dry, fold them on that table. We each mark our clothes, so everyone will come and get them before dinner tomorrow.”

            “What you need is two shopping carts.”

            “What we need is new underwear.”

            “Oh, baby, I love the thought of you in a new, fresh out of the lingerie store, thong.”

            “Oh, now that was just a cheesy line.”

            “Hey, cut me some slack here, I’ve been out of practice this past year.”

            She handed him a bucket and took one herself. “So, how many wives and girlfriends did you leave behind?”

            “None that belonged to me.”

Excerpt from

Troughton Company

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

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