Cast Off

Evans heard the whir of the sawblade slicing through the air. The doctor bent over and started to cut through the cast. It took a few minutes, but the cast was finally removed. Evans flexed his foot and then swung his leg down from the bench, “So doctor, am I free to go now? I’m to meet my wife soon.”

“Just a few more minutes, I need to do a few quick tests and some paperwork. Bloody Army doctors can’t seem to function if I don’t send them a few pounds of bloody paper,” The doctor started writing on a clipboard while tapping Evans on the leg with a small mallet. After a few minutes, he dropped the mallet and asked, “Could you please walk across the room without the crutches Mister Evans?”

“Yes Doctor Rossendale,” Evans bent over and put on his right sock and shoe. Happy to finally put it on after a month of it in a cast. He then stood up and straightened out his clothes. He slowly walked across the room. He stumbled for a moment, but was able to walk across the room.

The Doctor smiled and wrote a few things on the clipboard, “Good job lad. You will be good to go now, just sign this here.” He then held the clipboard out to Evans.

Evans took the clipboard and grabbed a pen off of the table. He quickly signed his name and returned the clipboard. Putting the pen down on the table, he left the room, walked through the front office, and exited the building. He looked around the street and tried to remember the directions Anna had given him. Ten blocks left, take a right, fourteen more blocks and on the right. He put on his straw hat and started walking. It was a mostly pleasant walk. Until about halfway through.

He was passing a dark alleyway when he felt a hand grab him and pull him to the ground. Instinctively reaching to his side, Evans remembered that he didn’t have his kit. No shovel at his side to hack into this mans neck. He kicked at the man’s legs and saw the flash of a knife. The man put the knife to his neck and pulled Evans up against the wall. Evans’ eyes widened, “I don’t have much money sir.”

The man spat in Evans’ face, “That’s all you coward’s think about. Money and sex. If it were up to me, all the coward’s like you would be lined up and shot.”

“Sir?” Evans wished he had something. His bayonet, shovel, even his helmet would have worked. To think, he would die in some alleyway.

“You Bastards and Whores who stay at home, while our brave soldiers fight and die on the front,” the man knicked Evans’ face with the knife before putting it back to Evans’ neck.

Evans’ was stunned and said the first thing that came to his head, “Why aren’t you in the army sir?”

The man scoffed, “You young people trying to push your problems off on the older generation. I’m forty five, and have duties, I can hardly go off to war.” He leaned in to spit again and Evans took the opportunity.

He headbutted the man and grabbed the arm with the knife. Evans then wrenched the man’s arm behind his back and the knife clattered to the ground. With a crash, Evans slammed the man into the opposite wall, “It’s funny sir. One of the men under my command was in his forties. He was a pastor. An important established member of the community.” Evans hit the man’s head into the wall, “I was wounded in combat sir. I’m on medical leave sir. I’m not wearing my uniform because it still smells a bit of blood and death. Now would you like to smell that sir?” Evans threw the man to the ground, “I must take my leave now, for I have an appointment with my wife.” With a swift kick to the man’s abdomen, Evans returned to the street and continued on his way.

Eventually he arrived at the storefront, with a sign reading, ‘Martin’s Tailors.’ Evans entered and a bell rang. The room was small. Two Captains were sitting to his left, and on his right, a receptionist was sitting behind her desk. She looked him over quickly and then took off her glasses, “Mister, I don’t think you can afford to have clothes tailored here.”

Evans nodded, wiped some of the blood off of his face and smiled, “No way in hell Miss. But I get this kind of tailoring free. I’m here to see my wife, Anna.”

Suddenly friendly, the Receptionist smiled, “Ah, Mister Evans. Down this hall and first door on the right.”

“Thanks Miss,” Evans walked to the door and opened it.

Anna looked up from her desk, “James!”

“Anna!”

An older man spoke up, “Lloyd?”

Laughing, Anna pointed to the man, “James, this is Lloyd. He’s a customer.”

“Your best customer Mrs. Evans,” Lloyd stood up and shook Evans’ hand.

“Yes, Lloyd is a General, and he pays for all his staff’s uniforms.”

Evans stiffened, “Sir! Sorry Sir. I did not realize you were an officer Sir.”

Lloyd waved him away, “We are off duty lad, and you are in the 202nd if I’m not mistaken, so I am far out of your chain Mister Evans… May I call you James?”

“Yes Sir… Lloyd,” Evans walked over and sat in a chair near Lloyd, who handed a paper to Anna.

Lloyd then stood up, “Well, I will leave you two on your own. Nice to meet you James.” He then walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Anna smiled at Evans, then a concerned look spread apart her face, “What’s that bleeding on your face?” She pulled a piece of cloth out of her pocket and wiped the blood off.

Feeling the scratch, Evans shrugged, “Doctor was a bit careless taking off the cast.”

Putting down the cloth she sat down, “It was one of them, wasn’t it?” She picked up a needle and started to thread it, “They’ve getting pretty bad. I’m glad that I’m showing now. There is even rumors of rape and murder down in Newacre where they are real ‘patriots.’”

“He pulled me into an alleyway with a knife,” Evans shrugged, “I guess soldiers can’t where anything besides their uniforms according to these guys… But hey, let’s not think about that. How about you hurry and finish up so we can get lunch, alright?”

Nodding, Anna started working. After a few minutes, she finished up the pocket she was mending and put away her needle and thimble, “Alright. Let’s get some food. I’m really hungry.”

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