Posted in Antarctica

In Character

He was a serious man
but difficult to take seriously.
He was an intelligent man
who looked stupid.
He was diligent and shy
both were confounding – seemed wrong
as if he had appropriated another’s character.
His gait was rolling, almost clumsy
that fitted
it would have been
if he had been his look-alike – Fred Flintstone.

He was in charge for winter
200 people
living at the edge of the world
unreachable
sustained by engineered umbilicals.
It could blow anywhere- any time
then 200 would have to take to the trenches
it weighed on him – What if?

Whenever he rang
and worry catalysed frequent phone calls
“yabba a dabba doo,” would ring out in the background
a chorus
the recipient communicating
in laughter suppressed gulps
y . . . esss sir. . . n. . . oo. . .I’ll g. . . .ett onnn t. . . oo . . . . it.

It was called CAP.
No one could remember the precise translation
the old timers said it was an acronym
that it stood for Command Advance Programme.
It was for exemplary actions – not uncommon in the military
instant promotion –“ just add water,” the old hands said.

Winter Over was a command
each command entitled to one CAP
no questions asked – Commanding Officer’s discretion
use or lose
the CO did – to promote himself.
Perhaps he really was Fred Flintstone.

For the back story click Backstage

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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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