I'm posting the chapters of Resolution 786. I'll post each successive chapter roughly every 3 or 4 days. Here's Chapter 31:
Private Sanders was in the Recreation Room, still in uniform, slumped around the wooden armrests and worn cushions of everyone’s favorite chair. No one remembered where Platoon 110 had found the chair. Was it from one of the captured facilities? Or out of an Air Force resupply carrier? First Sergeant Blake, who had lived roughly twice as long as most of the teenagers in the platoon, once said that the chair looked like the one that his father kept in their wood-paneled club basement in Naperville, Illinois back in the 1970s. He once even swore that that was the chair. Wherever it came from, the chair was profoundly comfortable.
Sander’s lanky frame spilled over the chair’s boundaries sensuously and easily, like a tall lover’s limbs after lovemaking. What remained of his short, cropped hair was thin, blond. He had thick, bushy, yellow eyebrows that floated above his lazy brown eyes like broad parentheses, creating the most noticeable feature on his otherwise pale, plain face. Sanders was watching cartoons on the Recreation Room TV. He watched cartoons every chance he got.
Hueghlomm sat adjacent to Sanders on an out-of-place white plastic lawn chair, recording his day’s observations in his government journal. His lime-green notebook rested on a slightly tilted circular presswood table. The table finish was beaten and chipped in many places. A network of sticky spots ran all over it in a haphazard, careless pattern, sugary remnants of soldiers in the rear carelessly enjoying soft drinks and prepackaged pastries.
“You like those, huh?” Hueghlomm had stopped writing for a moment and looked up at Sanders, asking about the cartoons.
“Not really, Doc,” replied Sanders lazily, eyes fixed on the TV screen. His words lilted under a faint southern drawl.
Hueghlomm looked at Sanders expecting more. Nothing.
“Then why do you watch?” Hueghlomm couldn’t resist.
Sanders stared at the screen, slowly drawing out his reasons in stretched, lingering words. “Back in Georgia, my girl used to love movies. She’d come down the machine shop and say, ‘Take me to the movies,’ she’d always say. And I liked her pretty good, so I did.” He smacked his lips. “This here I learned from the movies — whenever someone watches a cartoon, what’s going on in the cartoon has something important to do with what’s going on with them. So I figure if I watch enough cartoons, I juuuust might learn something about what I’m doin’ in this here war.”
“What’s going on in the cartoon?” asked Hueghlomm, piqued.
“Well, Doc…let me seeeeee…” Sanders’ words lingered longer. He stopped ever so shortly and pulled his lips straight ear to ear. His thick, bushy eyebrows moved up a notch as he began. “This here cheetah fuck is spending all his time and money buying all kinds of crazy gadgets to trap and kill this crazy ostrich fuck who runs around the desert all day long making sounds that no one can understand. No matter how hard he tries, the cheetah’s shit always seems to backfire on his own ass and the crazy desert ostrich goes on doing what you’d figure he’d be doing anyway.” Sanders stopped a moment, keeping an unbroken, vacuous gaze on the TV screen. He scooted forward a nudge in his chair, finishing, his accent more deeply Southern than when he’d started speaking. “Craziest shit is this — if the cheetah ever did kill the ostrich, what the fuck would he even get?”
“Were the movies right?” asked Hueghlomm.
“How do you mean, Doc?”
“Did you learn something about your own situation from the cartoon?”
“Not one damn thing!” Sanders was suddenly tense, loud. “Movies don’t mean shit!” he screamed. “Cartoons don’t mean shit!” he screamed again.
Sanders hushed, nestling easily into the arms of everyone’s favorite chair. A bomb exploded on TV and he and Hueghlomm watched a growing cloud of white, animated smoke slowly engulf the full screen.
Sanders suddenly erupted. “And I still don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here!”