September 26, 2009

Carter Jefferson

—Photo Station Hospital by U.S. Army Medical Department

Don't Write to Me

During afternoon mail call at Fort Sam's field artillery barracks, Pfc. Angus Campbell received a handwritten letter dated the day before:

Station Hospital
Fort Sam Houston, Texas

April 22, 1938

Dear Angus,

I hate writing this letter.

You are a tender and generous man, and I can't see you anymore. There's all the obvious reasons, but the main one is that there is no chance of us ever getting to be a real couple, and what we did yesterday afternoon I don't do. I am what people usually call a "nice girl." That's not to say it wasn't wonderful.

Anyhow, don't write to me. Since I've told you not to, I don't have to figure when I don't hear from you that I was just a "piece of ass." Which I probably was.

But I'll always remember you, anyhow.


That evening, when the barracks was empty except for some guy shining his shoes six beds up the line, Campbell lay in his bunk with his tie pulled down and thought about Sarah and his mother and his dead father. The next day he told his first sergeant that he was going to reenlist for Hawaii, if he could get an artillery billet.

He threw away the letter.


Carter Jefferson is editor of The Internet Review of Books. He also is a member of the Internet Writing Workshop.

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