Author: Stephen O' King PM
This is a somewhat positivist rendition of Heller's Catch 22...enjoy!Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 924 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 11-22-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3907034
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Controlled Insanity (A Somewhat optimistic rendition of Catch-22) There we were: in the depths of the Black Forest itself. We had been traveling all day from Switzerland to Belgium, overcoming the guerilla warfare that the Nazis had adopted. I don't know what propelled us forward...was it fate? God? Or was it that same feeling of "controlled insanity" that they had imprinted into us at West Point? Maybe it was all of these things that drove us into oblivion, but perhaps there was something more...
"Where are those reinforcements? Those Nazis could be approaching us as we speak!" I heard Captain Michael Yossarian III scream. "We can't remain within the depths of this forest for more than another day, or we could suffer absolute annihilation!" Yossarian's family history is interesting; his grandfather, a Swedish immigrant, was supposedly the Union soldier that killed the infamous General Beauregard in the Civil War. His brother, also in the military, was killed a month ago while defending an Allied fort in Zurich. Some believe that his brother had lost his mind...
"Phillip! The 103rd Land Infantry is heading out to survey the northern sector of the forest! Your orders are to take your brigade and make sure that there aren't any enemies in the southern section of the forest!" As I quickly mobilized my forces, I began to think of home. I almost immediately began to miss my Henrietta; she was a wonderful woman, and our newborn daughter was one of the most beautiful creations that God has ever taken the time to create!
As I took my men to the lower depths of the dreary forest, we heard the staccato of rapid machine gun fire. To our complete dismay, we came to a clearing and saw what seemed to be Armageddon. We saw German panzers firing haphazardly into the Allied ranks, and the Allied side firing at the Axis soldiers. While we had initially been assigned a small reconnaissance mission, we were somehow thrown into one of the bloodiest land battles in the Second World War. Being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General just recently, I had no idea on how I should handle the situation.
At that moment, I realized how difficult being a leader truly was: the lives of these men were in my hands, and a simple "yes" or "no" could send these men to their deaths. Was it my role to "play God" and dictate their fates? Looking at the horrors around me, I was paralyzed. Then, before I could mourn even more about the absurdity of my role as leader, I began to think about my family. I could see my wife waving at me for the last time, with tears in her eyes; I could see the delicate, tranquil eyes of my daughter Nora. It was then that I realized that every single man in my infantry...no, every single man in the Allied army...kept those same images in their heads. I realized that the smiles on the faces of our children, as well as every freedom that they have, depend upon the sacrifices made by us; it is our role to pave the road so that our children don't have to suffer. That's what drives an army; it's not the harsh discipline that the military teaches, but it's the idea that one day, our children will look upon our sacrifices and say, "Thanks!" or "Well Done, father!"
Feeling revived, I mobilized our troops to a place where the enemies would not see us. As they stood by awaiting orders, I felt that this was the perfect time to let them know why they were here. "Men, out there, many things await us! For some of us, there awaits eternal glory; for some of us, the justification for life; and sadly, for some, an bitter end to the lives that we have been living for so long. But whether we physically survive this battle or not, our legacy as warriors for freedom shall live on! Through our children and grandchildren, our efforts will not be forgotten. Whether we are honored with a Medal of Honor or with a burial place among the most reputable warriors, our efforts will not have been in vain! Fight hard, men! We have a legacy to establish!"
From that moment on, everything was a blur...
Here I am, living in my condominium in Los Angeles, California. I am now 78 years old, and my wife died about 4 years ago. Nora has become the head of her own law firm, and she has married a fine young man who works for the Central Intelligence Agency. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and ask, "How much longer will it be until God tells me 'Mission Accomplished'?" I miss my wife so much, and I feel like there is nothing left for me here...But after reminiscing on the Ardennes conflict, I finally realized that even when I leave here physically, there will always remain the legacy that I have established. I look around at the cosmos of the American way of life, and I tell myself , "Phillip, you made this happen." Of course, my parents thought that I was crazy for wanting to lay my life on the line for my country, but perhaps participating in this crazy vendetta has taught me that "controlled insanity" reminds the soldier not only of what he's leaving behind, but also of the glorious things that the future holds.