For Want of a Re-write and What Happened Then?



TWO stories for the price of one today.

The first, dealing with the photo prompt itself, the other the theme of vigilance much like the guard is vigilant over duties.

Brigadier General Rochelle Wisoff-“In-Flander’s-Fields” is our commanding officer.

Major Managua is our photo contributor.  Thanks, Managua!

I am “Captain Spaulding/ the African Explorer/did someone here say ‘schnorrer?’/ Hooray-hooray-hooray!”  

Forward ….MARCH!



“My soldier stands proud against the sky;

Breastworks forward, sword in hand;

If you would sing those sweet songs of you and I

Together, making violent love over that barren land

Crushing enemy after enemy. My first heaving sigh

Paints the battleground red over the dirt and sand.


As your sword stabs me where no man goes;

I will remember your soft touch, gentle smiles;

And the stream where your life flows

Into my happy heart! It skirts the miles.”


The Professor read her poem.  

“You know that soldier’s a girl, Pam?”

She looked again at the photo prompt.  




A true event which, to this day, is unsolved.  Details are in the story.  The question on our minds in my neighborhood was, “If they knew before WE did, could anything have been done about it?”  The names are my own (I never knew these guys’ real ones).  



Dennis climbed back into the car.  “No one’s around.  Everybody’s leaving money on the counter.  I hope they come back soon.”  We drove to the office.


I thought a second.  “Those guys were solid and dependable.  They’d NEVER so much as leave the store unattended so much as abandoning it.”  Jahangier always smiled and his cousin, Reza, always told the funniest stories.


After three days, no one from the store’s home office to the FBI knew their whereabouts.  Inventory and cash boxes went untouched on that day.  Nothing made sense.


Until the next week … when the Twin Towers were attacked!



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36 Responses to For Want of a Re-write and What Happened Then?

  1. Girls make good soldiers and lovers

    not as closely guarded as we should have been

  2. vb holmes says:

    #1: I suspect Pam is not alone in her take on the palace guard’s gender.
    #2. We’re not as naive today as we were back then.

  3. wmqcolby says:

    #1. Yeah, no doubt.
    #2. Yup.

  4. Perhaps Pam needs to have her eyeglasses prescription updated. 😉
    And on the second one…people aren’t always what they seem, are they?


    General In Flander’s Fields

  5. Penny L Howe says:

    Well I can stand up and be counted here! I wrote a haibun recently, where I wrote from a photo submitted by Managua, same exact pose and background setting as this one, only it was a man. So a quick glance at this photo and my mind went to automatic and I saw what I thought was there. I just realized my error, a short while ago and corrected a comment and some of the intro. words to my written words. So I too, like Pam was not very observant. In the second story, being vigilant is sometimes, very unfortunately, thought of after the fact! Both very well written, Kent.

  6. Sandra says:

    One amusing, one not. And such a contrast in the sentiments evoked. Well done Kent.

  7. Loved the end to your first story! 🙂

  8. Kent says:

    Thanks! It was fun to write because the poem didn’t have to be correct or any good, it’s just there to serve the needs of the very disappointed girl.

  9. a schnorer explorer? Is that someone who searches for something for nothing?
    Cute poem! Damn Pam!


  10. Linda Vernon says:

    Ahaha! I so loved your poem and the professor’s comments! My favorite of the day! 😀

  11. Shreyank says:

    I loved the ending of the first story.. i too mistook the picture the first time i saw it 🙂

  12. Loved the first story, Kent. Its always fun to write poetry and give it away to a character so you don’t have to take responsibility for it yourself. 🙂 The professor’s comment is a great twist ending. The second story/anecdote was interesting. I wonder if it’s true – to me it has the flavour of an urban legend. Not that that matters of course. Then the question is: what happens to us (individually and as a society) when vigilance becomes our default state?

    • Kent says:

      Thanks, John! And you’re RIGHT about the attribution of the poem!!! 😀 I studied lit and poetry in college by a wonderful literary prof., but it’s been so long.

      As to the second, yes. It DOES have the flavor of an urban legend. It DID happen, we just don’t know what happened to those guys. Might never know. Your question is completely valid.

  13. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Kent,

    We all need professors like the one in your first story. And the poem was perfect, too. Just the right touch of ‘badness’. It’s a good thing the professor had the issue of the mistaken sex of the guard to distract himself from the poem itself. Pretty perfect setup.



    • Kent says:

      Thanks, Aloha Doug!

      I just HAD to write a poem, although, as you saw, I didn’t work on it long enough to make it good. Just “imitated the song” as it were.

      Thanks for your comments!


  14. Trudy says:

    Nothing wrong with posting 2 stories, twice as much to enjoy! Both really good reads in different ways 🙂

  15. rgayer55 says:

    Loved ’em both, Kent. Yes, it appears there was a little gender confusion with the photo. That’s why I didn’t take any chances with Phillip/Phyllis.

  16. Great poetry.. and i also missed it was a woman.. for the same reason as Penny … similar pictures are not same. I am from Stockholm and it’s not unusual that they are female… (nowadays)

  17. kz says:

    lol like i said, i spent some time staring at the guard’s butt before realizing she’s a woman. the poem was really lovely 🙂

  18. #1. Miss-taken identity!
    #2. A strange story. But could be coincidence. Nonetheless it makes one’s hair stand on end.

  19. Nice poem and…interesting story. I suppose they could have run also in fear of what people would think if they had gotten wind, but you are right; shouldn’t they have told someone?

  20. Sunshine says:

    You wrote a great surprise at the end of the poem. I was flowing at first with the sensual theme & least expected the end. Fab!
    Also loved your second offering…so tragic the event. 😔

  21. Dee says:

    Hi Kent
    I got here eventually and it was worth the wait!
    I loved your poem and also your story, thought provoking and well written.

  22. marymtf says:

    I am not a poetry person. That is, I can’t talk the talk, but know what I like and I liked yours. I ask only out of ignorance, but is there a poetic technique that catches the reader off-guard with the last line drawing him / her out of that poetic reverie? Anyhow, I liked that last line.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks. You know, it’s been a LONG time since I studied the subject so I wouldn’t remember. Although I DO happen to remember the number of syllables that go in something like this (which I didn’t do). But, hey! It rhymes, right? 😀

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