The Cold Front by Susan Gibb

Colonel Houghton knelt down by his cot and put his hands together. “Please dear God, clear weather for tomorrow. Guide our troops on ground and safely through the skies.” He licked a finger and thumb and put out the wick and lay down. He fell asleep to the peaceful plans of the strategic implementation of war maneuvers.

Private First Class Petry lay shivering on his cot despite the desert day’s heat that radiated from the sand. He bit down on his blanket to keep his teeth from chattering.

The others were coping much better. Most were snoring out their positions. Chelmuk was at the far end but sounded next-bunk loud. Hood was whistling music through his nose. Kriscenski was a stop-breather. That, for the first few weeks, had scared them all more than the war that slithered closer every day. “How would that look to his family,” Chelmuk said, “dead in bed! Just stopped breathin’ that’s all.” They all had laughed.

Petry relaxed by thinking of things like that. It took his mind off tomorrow. Still, just before he slipped into sleep, he whispered, “Please, Lord, make it rain.” Which in the arid Middle East, was a bigger favor than the Pope asking for a single day of global peace.

The soldiers woke to the slap of hard-hitting rain. Each–except for Colonel Houghton–thanked God for their luck and modern technology; there would be no war that day.


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Filed under Susan Gibb

7 responses to “The Cold Front by Susan Gibb

  1. Beautifully told. I liked the contrast of the different prayers and the weather. Great take on the theme.

  2. Maude Larke

    Wonderful atmosphere — reminds me of a snowshoeing weekend, minus the threat of death. and excellent contrast between colonel and private.

  3. Love the different prayers and glad the Private got his desire. Wonderful response to the theme. peace…

  4. I like how you conveyed so many characters in so few words – and I’m glad the Private’s prayers were answered – despite his blasphemous thoughts about the Pope!

  5. I love the way you went down the list of men, name by name, sleep habit by sleep habit– it made this piece feel very alive and immediate. Details were excellent in this, I believed it completely.

  6. This is so alive! I liked the stop-breather esp; nice touch and symbolism. And God’s listening to Petry’s prayer is fab. Well done!

  7. Pingback: Week #49 – Cold front | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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