21
Dec
08

Whiskey diplomacy

The soldier limped under the weight of his large, canvas duffel. Tired yes, from jet-lag, and yet energized by the possibilities that lie before him at his new German duty station.

Several other soldiers walked with him, through the hospital-like cleanliness of the Frankfurt Airport. Monotone voices–Teutonic and feminine–rose on invisible intercoms, as if parroting some 1970s movie on a future and numbing Dystopia. But the soldier was glad to be back in the real, if alien, world. The people smiling, and the thin clicking of female pumps on waxed tile. He could tell by the metronome sound of a person’s gait, their sex and build. Somewhere too ,within that resonance , he was sure much more could be told about a person. Maybe the type of car that they drove, their favorite novels, their political affiliations.

He and three other soldiers stepped into the elevator. It deposited them on a the ground floor, where they were led by a contracted employee to a seldom-used exit. Once removed from the elevator, the fragrance of cigarette smoke and drying urine wafted to the soldier’s nose.  In a small foyer area, at the top of an escalator which led to the laberynthine tunnels beneath the airport, three vagrants sat on a low, metal window sill. Upon seeing the soldier, dressed in his duty uniform, all three of the vagrants seemed to lose their masks of perpetual victim-hood. One of them, a lady as best the soldier could tell, smiled then tugged at a cigarette, it’s end glowing angrily. The teeth that remained in her mouth sported brown nicotine paint.

One of them stood from the sill and walked spryly to the soldier, extending the darkened hand of the homeless. Fingernails resembled claws and face bore two days of facial hair.

American Whiskey. Very gut, ja. American Whiskey and Obama. Obama is gut.” The man smiled and unabashedly showed his own dental gaps. The smile revealed the homeless man’s sycophantic soul, where power replaced the Golden Rule. Where a life of begging had robbed him of the ability to contemplate morality. There was only cigarettes, a sandwich–and the next bottle of American Whiskey.

A murder of chuckles burst from the the vagrant’s comrades, followed by those of fellow soldiers. The soldier nodded in acknowledgement as he shook the rough, dirty hand. He smiled thinly.

When the damp German air swiped his face out on the sidewalk, the soldier knew now that the world could love America again. The world only needed a small excuse to love the soldier’s homeland, which had given so much to so many. An excuse that would remove the thinly veiled jealously which many Europeans felt toward their American allies.

It was that easy. Whisky and Obama.

Writer’s Note: This is a true story, stylized for literature. .. It happened to me when I was leaving the Frankfurt airport this year to come to Wiesbaden.

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1 Response to “Whiskey diplomacy”


  1. 1 Mike Rozos
    December 21, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Good story. I knew it was true before I got to the end, maybe from experience.

    You sissy writer-types are OK sometimes!


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