TEN MILE LIMIT
by Stephen Francis Montagna
Nuclear power plants have a extremely complex security system protecting them from any terrorist attacks. Security guards are on duty both inside and outside in roving patrols twenty-four hours a day, every day. To enter a plant site, a sophisticated computer identification card system must first be shown to the security guards who manned the main entrance gate, after receiving your card from another security guard at the pass station. This ID card contains the bearer’s picture and social security number, which had been fed into the computer, in order to open doors that pertained for your particular work. Upon entering further, one would then find a very sensitive metal detector. This device is sensitive enough to even pick up pocket change. The third check station is a sulfur sniffer, which detects anyone who is trying to smuggle in any form of bomb or incendiary device that might harm the plant, two books of matches are more than enough to set the machine screaming. Then all the items carried onto the site are placed in an X-ray machine, so the guards can check again that no unauthorized items are brought onto the plant site. The final stage of this long, drawn out process is after the X-ray machine. At the end of the corridor with a revolving heavy metal gate that will not open unless the ID card is inserted into the computer reader station. This time, the ID number is checked out by computer in order to insure the card is valid. This gate is specially set up to allow only one person in at a time.
Once inside the nuclear power plant, and when moving to another section of the plant, the same procedure of inserting the special heavy plastic ID card into the reader, and punching in the individual code number that must be followed. This informs the computer where you are inside the power plant at all times, and it also serves to keep certain individuals out of any of highly restricted areas that they do not have the special clearances needed to gain entrance there.
All of these security precautions that are installed for our nuclear power plants are a most elaborate and mostly perfect system… Except for one important factor, most, if not all nuclear powered electric producing plants are built right on the banks of a river or ocean, because of the vast amounts of water that the plant needs in order to operate. It is almost totally impossible to provide adequate security from this side of the plant which faces the water. Usually, the only protection at this position, is a twelve foot high cyclone fence that is also topped off with heavy strands of barbed or razor cut wire coils, with motion and heat sensors woven throughout the wire wall. The only back up system that is offered on the river side of the power plant for protection from any attack, is provided by the security guards who make their rounds in a jeep every half an hour. The security is good, but it is far from perfect as we shall soon see.
In the middle sixties and early seventies, the Viet Nam war was raging, and once again the young men and women of the United States were being drafted, and sent off to foreign shores to fight and help protect America’s freedom. Most of these men were too young to drink and even vote, with many of them still being virgins. Nonetheless, they were picked and asked to fight and die in the most forbidding jungles of Viet Nam. Many others of America’s youth, chose to flee over the border and into Canada, rather than to risk death in this manner. Actions like these committed by our young people, gave the communist nations the opportunity to begin their undermining of the United States’ efforts in this war. If these men who chose to head north to avoid their duty and the draft had actually seen how the men, women and children of South Viet Nam were forced to live and die, they might have decided to run to their local draft boards to enlist, rather than over the Canadian border to hide out. Those who did go to Viet Nam, saw very quickly what was truly happening inside South Viet Nam. Reality set in swiftly when our GI’s who were the innocent young men, civilians being slaughtered at random. These innocent young men were forced to act and react in a most animalistic way, in order just to stay alive in a war unlike any other that this country had ever known, or had been forced to take part in.
By the time that most of these young soldiers were of the age of nineteen, many of these boys had killed their first human being, an action which goes against everything that they were taught back in the civilized world. They were also forced to bare witness to some of their buddies being killed off one by one by the Viet Cong, and they saw what the remains of their new found friends looked like after the enemy had finished with them. Most of the tortured bodies that were found were not easily identifiable as those of human remains. The Viet Cong were masters at torturing and dismembering their helpless victims. Our boys were forced to fight for their very lives, and to also bear witness to all of the degradation of humanity which violated the laws of both God and nature. Their humiliation grew every time they watched the news of back home as well, and these young soldiers saw the anti war demonstrations that were being staged back in the states. The young soldiers of our country couldn’t help but feel that these demonstrations were being aimed directly at them personally, rather than against the war or the government that had sent these kids over to Viet Nam in order to fight for their great country. The young soldiers felt totally alone, abandoned by many of their friends and love ones alike. Did the demonstrators ever give a thought as to how they were making our boys who were trapped in Viet Nam feel? Most of the soldiers had believed it was a great honor to serve their country in its time of need, until they saw all of these demonstrations and the anger raised against them and the war.
When the war was finally over with, and all of these young men came back to their homeland. They quickly found themselves returning to a nation that offered them no jobs, high inflation, and a very bad attitude that was being displayed against them, and a genuine mistrust of these once proud soldiers who were called animals in the war world. America had nothing to offer its returning soldiers this time either. These battle harden children were mere boys a short time ago, and they were forced to become men through the baptism of blood in the jungles of Viet Nam. Most of the better paying jobs were already taken by all those who chose to get married, and stay at home rather then go off to war and fight for their country’s sake. Unlike every other war before this terrible one, the men who did serve, didn’t even get the privilege of their bragging rights. No one in the real world was very interested in any of these proud and honorable men who had served with so great an honor in the first war in which America had lost.
The majority of the Viet Nam veterans were able to readjust to living conditions once again in the so called civilized society, and they got a job, and made a living and raise a good family. But on the other hand, there were many of those who had been in the jungles for most of their tours of duty in Viet Nam. They had been under tremendous pressure during all this time, constantly roaming the jungles in search of the well hidden Viet Cong. These few American soldiers never knew if the next step that they took would set off a land mine, or send them tumbling into a man trap that was set for them by the ever present VC. The only thing that they could really count on, was that Charley was out there someplace hidden by the jungle, just waiting to pick them off. The pressure often became so unbearable, that some of these brave young soldiers actually began to prayer for a bullet to find them, and put an easy and quick end their constant fear.
These brave young soldiers had been trained to kill in the most despicable ways. After their tour of duties were completed, and although they were sent home, and were expected to resume a normal life. Some of these men are now walking time bombs, and no one knows for certain if and when and if they might go off, and who they would go off against. The government keeps a close eye on the ones that they had classified as possible future threats against society. The government hoped, and still hopes that these so called ‘walking time bombs’ born in the dark, dank bushes of the Viet Nam jungles, would explode inwardly, and just end up destroying themselves in their rage through suicide. Their real fear is if any of these time bombs explode outwardly, and they decided to take along a good number of American civilians with them when and if they finally decide to go off and attack the civilized world.
Even though the Viet Nam had long ago ended for most of us, the dirty little war is still claiming victims of that war even up until today. Some of these victims are the young children of Viet Nam who day after day, fall prey to the many land mines that were left behind by all of the retreating United States forces. The remainder of the losses are in the United States itself, the victims lose their lives to suicides that are committed out of sheer desperation. Others are the women of the missing soldiers who no longer can live without the terrible burden of worrying if their husbands are still alive somewhere in the jungles of Viet Nam, and they are being held as Prisoners Or War after all of these years. After giving up all hope of searching in this world, the wives of some of these missing soldiers go over and start looking for their husbands in the other world. Some of the men who had served in Viet Nam, are simply desperate to talk to someone, but when no one listens to any of their words, they end up taking their own lives. These men and women are still victims of the Viet Nam war, and they should be given their rightful place on the well respected ‘Wall Of Honor’. I can only pray that this never ending war soon ends for all those who were involved with it.
From time to time, the United States government is actually forced to eliminate one or two of these so called WTB or ‘Walking Time Bombs’. Soldiers who were trained to kill, and they were unable to adjust to civilian life within the United States again. Other soldiers who should be sterilized by their government, some how fall through the many cracks of the system, and they are constantly over looked by all of the watchers who are constantly on guard while searching for these walking time bombs. Others’ like Carl, who had lost an arm in Viet Nam, dreams of taking his revenge against all those who had forgotten, or who turned their backs on him. Carl is now slowly ticking away, just waiting his time to finally go off. He will do so, and he will do it in a very big way as well…
AUGUST 12th, 1983, 6:00 PM
It was an extremely hot and humid day near the middle of the month. Carl started on his fifth beer of the day and he turned on the television. He automatically flipped over to the Channel Two news as he had done countless days before in his life. The news reporters he felt were the best of all of the channels. Carl was just in time for the lead story of the day.
“I am here outside of the Queen Ann Nuclear Power Plant, that is situated on the serene shore of the Hudson River.” The reporter started off. Carl could easily see the twin reactors off in the background. The reporter continued after taking a breath. “Over four thousand protesters turned out here today, demanding that the power plant be shut down permanently. As you may well know, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday, had accepted the evacuation plan put forth by the plant owners. Shale Electric and Gas. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman stated that he is quite confident that the public would be able to evacuate the area safely, in an orderly manner, and in time in the event of an emergency here. The spokesman further stated that the newly installed warning and alarm sirens would give everyone living within the effected zone sufficient warning, in the event of an emergency and that the school busses would be at the ready, in order to transport all of the school children to safety. In addition to this, the plant management has also assured the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that there is very little danger of any major problems arising inside the plant, because of the superior computer back up and shutdown systems that are constantly monitoring and maintaining all of the plant’s operations. Still, all of the protesters are here in force and do not believe much of what is being told to them. Not many believe so many people could be moved to safety in so little time. For now, it looks as if we have an impasse developing here, with neither side willing to give into the other.
“With me standing here is Senator William Hickey, a member of the Senate’s Committee on Nuclear Resources, and he is an extremely vocal supporter of the protesters who are gathered here today. Senator Hickey, could we have your reaction to today’s demonstration, please.”
The Senator seemed like he was standing on a hot plate as he began. “Well Frank, I think that the numbers here today speak for themselves. It’s a rather orderly protest might I add. The public believes that we have a very dangerous situation developing, and I’m going to see to it that their voices will be heard in Albany, and on the Hill. As you know, we just became aware of the fact that some rather important information was withheld from all the authorities, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, when they gave their final approvals that were being sought for the construction of this plant. I’m speaking of a vital engineers report showing that the plant was located on a fault line that even a relative mild quake could precipitate a disastrous result.”
“Excuse me Senator Hickey Sir, but are you saying here that there was a cover-up when the plant was originally built sir?” The new reporter asked the senator with some concern.
“For now, all I’m willing to say is the situation will certainly be investigated. Aside from that, the evacuation plan itself is a farce. If there should be an accident at the plant site, it would be totally impossible to try and move the thousands of people who live in the danger zone to safety before there is a huge loss of life. For example, what do you think the bus drivers would do in the event the sirens went off? You know as well as I, that it would be every man for himself. What would you do Frank, in the event of a major leak at the plant? Would you be here on the spot covering the action knowing you were exposing yourself to a lethal dose or radiation?”
“Err… thank you very much for your time Senator Hickey Sir. More details are still to come on the late addition of the eleven o’clock report. Now, back to you in the studio Jim.”
Carl had to laughed to himself, for he knew that the evacuation plan was a bunch of garbage, developed just to create a false sense of security for the public, and to satisfy the government regulations. It seemed to Carl that whenever he turned on the news lately, there was another problem at the power plant. Sometimes it was a spill, other times it was yet another attempt by protesters to shut down the plant site all together. Many of the constant protesters claimed that when the plant was being built, no one gave any consideration to the number of civilians who were living in the very shadows of the dangerous reactors. This made a lot of common sense to Carl, because he was one of the thousands of people who lived within the Ten Mile Limit.
Carl was a rather tall and slender man who stood a little over six foot three. He had enjoyed working out with the free weights when he was younger and not disabled. This gave him his barrel shaped chest, and the large muscular arms. Carl had light blonde hair and the bluest of eyes. He was sometimes referred to more than once by his many girlfriends of the past, as a young Paul Newman in his younger days.
Carl had his pick over the years of the prettiest and shapeliest of the female population when he was attending high school. He never had to chase any of the women, because the girls always came to him. Carl’s one real mad driving passion besides girls was drawing. A lot of his drawings consisted of naked women, but his more serious works were good, very good at that. So good even that the art teacher heard about some of his sketches, and she took the time to look him up, and she was able to talk him into joining one of her classes with her. Mrs. Joan Osterwild quickly refined Carl’s drawing skills to the point where they were of quality work. She carefully inflated Carl’s ego so much that he was starting to dream of working for Playboy publications in one capacity or the other in the near future.
Carl had also dabbled in gymnastics, and he soon joined the school’s first gymnastic team in the middle of his Freshman year. He was soon able to dislodge the team’s regular third man on the tumbling squad. In two more months he became the team’s main tumbler. Carl had great form and agility, and in his Junior year, the coach had sent him down to the statewide meet, that was now known as the Pan American Games. Out of the four thousand five hundred young men who had participated at the meet, Carl was able to tie third place in them. This cleared his way for him to try out for the team who would be representing the United States in the 1968 Olympics. A farfetched dream, but a dream nevertheless, and one to be followed up on by him.
Through the help of his present girlfriend Naomi, Carl had managed to stay in high school through some rather academically tough times. He finally graduated in June of 66′ at the age of seventeen years, and seven months old. He dreamed of nothing else but the 68 Olympics now, and he worked out constantly in order to help keep his shape, form, and to constantly build up his strength. Carl’s art teacher was finally able to help him land a job at Abraham and Strauss doing layouts for the store windows. Carl was still aiming for his other dream of drawing for the Playboy magazine though.
Without warning, all his dreams were crushed with one letter that he had received in the mail.
C Carl was discharged from the Marine Corps in late June of 1968, just three months before the Olympics were scheduled to begin. He had been in a Marine hospital for nearly eight weeks and all of his dreams were now shot to hell on him. No more thinking of drawing for Playboy, no more Olympics, and one huge question mark about his future life as well. How he was going to get a job, and support a wife and family. Would he even be able to find a wife? What was once an easy chore for Carl, was now difficult, nearly impossible to his way of thinking of late.
Carl had heard the rumble of thunder way off in the distance, as he boarded a plane from North Carolina for his final trip home in uniform. The thunder sounded much like that of the big guns from the war. He closed his eyes as he listened to all of the rumbling of the clouds, his mind drifting back to the horror that he had lived through, and was pleased to be away from it.
His final destination was La Guardia Airport in New York City. Carl boarded the plane as a military stand-by, along with at least twenty-four other Marines who were also heading home. They were mostly green boots, going home on a two week leave for the last time, before being shipped out to Viet Nam, and the war that awaited them there. Carl felt sorry for all these poor bastards. They were so young, as he himself once was. They had no idea what they were in for.
Carl sat down next to one of the boots, the kid looked at Carl and he saw the empty shirt sleeve, and he tried to strike up a conversation with him. Carl hissed back at the kid to fuck off. He was only interested in seeing his girlfriend once again, for the first time in over fourteen months. She had told Carl that she would pick him up at the airport when he arrived home.
The plane landed at La Guardia and quickly taxied to the waiting gate. Nothing could have prepared for the ugly sight that met him there. After seven months in the jungle, getting torn to pieces by the thorns that seemed to be on every plant in that God forsaken place, getting eaten alive by either the mosquitoes, or the ants that were everywhere. After having his tour of duty cut short by being wounded and loosing his arm, he came home to this. Guys, jerks his own age, filled with anger and rage against him. Maybe even more anger than was displayed by Charley towards all the American soldiers who had invaded their country. These jerks were yelling and screaming ‘Murderer! Child Killer! Animal!’ and much worse at any man who was in uniform.
Carl was besides himself with anger, for here he stood, his chest covered in medals, all of which he was very proud of receiving for his service. He had worked damn hard to earn each of them, and he had given up so much in the process as well. His Purple Heart, his Silver Star, and the other service medals that somehow seemed all but worthless to him now.
Carl was absolutely stunned by this terrible response to his presence at the civilian airport. He didn’t know what to do next. He quickly started to scan the massive crowd while looking for Donna. What would she think of him now after seeing al of this anger aimed at his uniform? Did she feel the same way as these assholes who were shoving signs and cursing right in his face. He looked from one angry face to another angry face looking to find his girl, but she was nowhere to be seen. As he stood there, the crowd pressed in around him, shouting, and shoving their posters in his face. Suddenly, a cop grabbed him by the good arm and he snapped at him. “Come with me son, you don’t need any of this crap. You have been through enough shit.”
Carl followed the cop away from the angry and still cursing mob, right through a gate and to the outside to a waiting cab. As Carl climbed into the cab, the cop stood straight up and he saluted him. Carl returned the salute, all the while, he was still looking for any sigh of Donna.
Carl sat back in the cab and he told the driver to take him over to Mahopac in upstate. “Where ’bouts on the stinking Island is that buddy?” The cabby asked him pleasantly. “It’s not on the damn Island pal.” Carl snapped. “It’s in Putnam Country, you know, Upstate.” “That’s gonna run you a hundred bucks for the trip soldier.” The driver shot back at Carl. “I don’t give a fucking rat’s ass how much it costs. Just get me there pal.” Carl hissed nastily.
As the cab slowly took off, Carl allowed his mind to drift free on him. He remembered Putnam County, Mahopac and Carmel. He also remembered the smell of the clean, fresh air and the beautiful, large, crystal clear lakes of the Country. He smiled to himself as he fondly remembered all of the fun of pulling in one of the large bass that ruled Lake Gleneida. Putnam County had the best fishing in the whole of New York State. He found himself thinking about the beautiful little sleepy town of Carmel, with its old and still aging Court House, the quaint little houses of the Town, and the very warm attitude of all of the residents. The townspeople always made you feel at home, even the strangers. Carl found himself longing to see Carmel once again, in order to see how it might have expanded and changed on him. He wanted to fish in Lake Gleneida almost as much as he wanted to make love to his girl. He needed something to help him try and forget about all of the hell that he had just lived through in the Nam.
An hour and a half later, Carl was knocking on Donna’s front door. Her mother answered the door, looked at Carl for a moment, then started to cry as she hugged him. Through her tears, she said. “Come in Carl. Donna’s inside along with her father. Ralph and Chris just got home from school. You know Larry was just shipped out last week to that God awful place, didn’t you?”
Carl barely heard a word that she spoke to him, he was looking for Donna. Donna saw him and came rushing at him. As they embraced, Carl suddenly realized that she was crying as well. He gave her a little shove backwards and snapped angrily at her. “Where the hell were you? I was looking all over the place for you. You were supposed to meet me at the damn airport.”
“Carl, I was afraid to go down to the airport. I heard about those awful protesters on the news, yelling at anyone in a uniform. I was scared to death, I couldn’t take it.” She cried. “It hurt me.”
“Well, it didn’t do me any god damn good either you know.” Carl replied extremely angrily. “Anyway, forget it. Is there someplace where we can be alone for a little while baby?”
Donna had a room all to herself downstairs in the basement of the home. Her parents had fixed it up for her so that she could be away from all of her brothers. When they got downstairs, Carl gave her a kiss. He lead her towards the bed and began to fumble with the buttons of her blouse. As he grabbed for the exposed breast, Donna suddenly resisted his advances on her.
“What the fuck’s wrong with you now baby?” Carl demanded hotly of her.
Donna just glanced down at his missing arm. Carl immediately saw the pity that was etched in her eyes, and he looked at her for a moment, and then the rage set in on him. He suddenly shoved her away from him with such force, that she almost struck the opposite wall.
“Fuck you. Where the hell are my god damn fucking car keys?” Carl hissed at her.
Donna was sobbing as she went over to the small dresser and she handed him the keys to the car. He had gotten a new Camaro just a few weeks before his draft notice caught up to him, and he decided to leave the car with her when he got shipped out for Viet Nam.
Carl was halfway out of the door when Donna finally cried out after him. “Please Carl, please give me some time to adjust. I can do it honey. Carl, I love you, I will call you in a few days.”
Carl kept walking out of the door, right then and there all he wanted was a cold beer, and to get roaring, stinking drunk. He knew that he would evidently make up with Donna later on in the near future, and he left her house on two wheels in his car, and a cloud of smoke. It was a great thing that he had allowed Donna talk him out of buying the stick shift for the car that he really wanted, or his pride and joy would be totally useless to him now. A man with one arm just couldn’t drive a stick shift car and drive at the same time.
Carl was roaring down Route 6 towards Peekskill. He was flat out when he suddenly heard the siren coming up on him from behind. He pulled over right away and then he waited for the cop to catch up to him. He really didn’t want any hassle with a cop, especially not now.
A huge State Trooper, neat, sharp and clean, and the size of an oak tree as well, slowly climbed out of a car that looked much too small for him to drive. The officer slowly walked towards the idling Camaro as Carl rolled down the window so he could speak to the officer.
The trooper barked at Carl. “Out of the car, please. I clocked you at 82 in a 30 mile an hour zone. Let’s see you license and registration, pal. Have you had anything to drink tonight sir.”
Carl got out of his car while still dressed in his military uniform.
The trooper half smiled at him as he added. “Just in or just out young fella? Let me see either some leave papers or your discharge papers on you son.”
Carl was still extremely pissed off and he snapped back. “Look buddy, you don’t like me and I don’t like you either. Just give me the fucking ticket, and we will leave it at that, alright sir.”
“You’re a real fucking hard nose, aren’t you pal? You fucking Marines are all the god damn same. You shits think that you’re real good buster. I can’t even remember how many times we fucking grunts had to pull your damn asses out of the god damn fire back in Korea mister.”
Carl was not the least bit impressed by the large cop or any of his angry words, as he moved and the trooper suddenly noticed the missing arm. ‘Shit’, thought the trooper, ‘how the hell did a cripple with a missing wing ever keep his fucking license’?
Carl allowed his eyes to do all of his talking for him.
The large trooper looked hard and long right into Carl’s angry looking eyes, and he immediately knew that he had crossed the line with the young soldier as he growled at Carl. “Okay look buddy. Just pour your Marine fucking ass back into that red pile of shit of yours and get the hell off of my god damn roads mister. If I see you again tonight, I assure you buster, you will wish that you had never left the god damn Nam. Now beat it before I change my fucking mind and run you in for bad mouthing my ass before mister.”
Carl got back into his Camaro, and he left a patch that he was certain went across the troopers flat feet. He kept driving until he stopped at the first bar that he had spotted. It was a real hole in the wall, but it was crowded with people. When he went through the door, it seemed like everyone inside the bar had suddenly stopped speaking and they all turned and started to stare… Staring at this one armed man as if he was a fucking leper or something. Carl glanced over the crowd and said to himself. ‘Fuck this shit, I don’t need any of this crap’. He turned to leave, he wasn’t even half way out of the door when he heard someone from inside call out after him.
“Fucking bullshit hero.”
Carl hit his apartment in Peekskill at about three a.m.. The landlord was a fairly good Joe, an ex-Navy man himself, and he had promised to keep the apartment just the way Carl had left it when he went overseas. Carl of course, had sent the rent check every month without fail to the man. He laid down on the musty smelling bed, and he shook his head sadly, and then he moaned to himself. “What the fuck have I done so damn wrong to be treated like this in my own fucking country. Christ, I did the honorable thing, I just went and fought for my god damn country as I was ordered to do, and here I am, being treated like a god damn sack of shit by my own people.”
Sleep finally claimed his body and made him forget all that he was through for the day.
For the next week or so, Carl sort of just hung around his apartment and killing time off and getting reacquainted with the real world that he had left. He caught up on all of the news, he even spoke to Donna on the phone twice, but both of the calls ended up in a full blown argument between them. Carl decided to start looking for a job during his second week home. He had plenty of cash from the service, but it was now time to get responsible about himself once again. He found that all of the good jobs were filled by what he called the stay at homes, who had either gotten married in order to avoid the draft, or they had a well-to-do father who was able to pull all of the right strings, and keep their sons out of the war.
Carl finally landed a job in a printing factory, kicking light boxes around with his feet. The kind of boss liked him and promised Carl he would put him in the front office doing much easier work later on. In the meantime, Carl got pretty good at moving boxes around with one arm and two feet. He worked there for just over two months, but by then, Carl had noticed the boss had cooled off towards him. He was beginning to give Carl more and more harder work, with no further mention of the office work promised any longer. Finally, Carl confronted his boss.
“Look Carl, your work is good, very good in fact.” His boss offered with a smile. “But I can’t put you in the front office. I spoke to my partner, and she had pointed out we deal with very influential people, and she feels that a one arm man in the office would hurt our image.”
“Hey man, I do my fucking job, and besides, you sort of promised me.” Carl groaned at him.
“Carl, you’re a fine worker. Now don’t get me wrong here son, but try to look at it from our point of view. You could make some of our clients feel a little uncomfortable you know.”
“Hey pal, fuck you and fuck your god damn clients while you’re at it. And you can stick this shit sucking fucking job right up your god damn ass for yourself as well buster. I quiet!”
“Come on Carl and think about what you’re doing here man. I like the way you wor…”
Carl cut him off as he growled back at his boss. “Drop dead man.” He hissed at the boss as he suddenly spun on his heels and he left the building, not even waiting to be paid off by his boss. Carl had put his very heart and soul into this new job, with the thoughts of advancement and good pay in the future, and now it was all gone with a bullshit story.
After that, Carl sort of went from one job to another. One lasted for six months, another lasted only two. It was always the same thing, a guy with two good arms always ended up taking his place, one way or the other, and Carl was always sent back to square one in the company.
His romance with Donna was lukewarm at best, and rather stormy at the worst, mostly stormy between them though. He barely saw her any longer, and when they were finally together for a little while, they always fought, or he couldn’t wait for her to leave him. He knew it was over between them, he was just waiting for Donna to make the move against him.