“I Still Remember”
A Memory For Memorial Day 2016
( Based on a True Story)
IN A CITY SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA
A white van pulls up in front of a rundown apartment building located right next to the borderline between two warring neighborhood gangs. A man and woman exit the van and enters the building as soon as the person they came to see buzzed them access to the building. With no elevator in sight the couple had to climb two flights of stairs. The man quickly locates the apartment, the woman knocks on the door marked 302. The door slowly opens …
THE WOMAN: Hello Sir. I'm the one who called you earlier.
THE TENANT (Surprised): Who are you?
THE WOMAN: I'm Ameri Rica, a Reporter of the WORLD UNSPOKEN NEWS CORE, and this my Partner / Cameraman Markus Wright. We spoke earlier, and you agreed to tell us your version of what took place that time of the incident.
THE TENANT: Oh, ...I wasn't expecting you to show up here so soon, considering where I live.
Both Ameri and Markus smiled at the same time.
THE WOMAN: Sir, you'd be surprised of the places we have traveled to complete our objectives. We just want to get the word out.
THE TENANT: Well in that case, come on in. But let me warn you, the place is a little worn for wear. I was waiting for you to send me an address of another place for us to meet.
Ameri and Markus enter the apartment. Looking around, Ameri thought the apartment interior was a whole lot better than what the tenant was admitting. The tenant guides them into the living room area, where Markus removes his Cam-Recorder from its carrying case.
THE TENANT (Smiling): Would anyone like some Green Tea?
They both politely declined.
THE TENANT: Okay. So what you want to know?
THE WOMAN: We have most of the story, but there was a mysterious service man that appeared for a few seconds talking with the ones involved in the incident. We were able to track him down by the information given to us by a person that was there. But when we had a chance to talk to the person described, we discovered you, ...were the missing piece of our story.
THE TENANT: I see. Well, … I'll try to tell you as much as I can remember. …
TRANSITION TO SWEDEN
MILITARY AIRCRAFT LANDING AT A SMALL AIRPORT IN 1985
THE TENANT(Narrative Voice Over): We were on a joint military exercise with Sweden's Military another US Military Service Branch. We had no time to relax after the trip, because the plane trip was the beginning of the exercise. That work was rough. But the military groups worked so well together that we were given the following week off. My unit was broken into two groups that weekend. I and my friend were luckier, or so we thought, because we didn't have anything to do.
When I discovered that I could rent a vehicle, I did. My friend and I went sight-seeing in the cities northwest of our location. Since I had the vehicle for the whole week-end, I thought it would be nice to invite some of the others on a trip to visit a few night-life spots. Unfortunately, later that evening, we were informed that the other part of out unit was staying over in Germany. So we decided to use the buddy system and venture out. We headed south this time on the nearest hwy closest to our location. We had no idea where we were going, but that was part of the excitement. The excitement didn't last long because we had been driving for forty-minutes when we realized we should have invited one of the local military personnel to join us. I told my friend that I was going to let my intuition lead us to the night-life. So I exited the Hwy at the next town we came upon and drove down the main street. We were in luck. There were a few Dance Halls with people entering and exiting. I parked the car and we entered the first place we came up on. All we wanted to do was mingle with the locals and experience this different life-style.
It was ladies night at this place. My friend said this might be
interesting. Smiling, I agreed. And it definitely became interesting. As we walked into the place a few women were starring at us with a look of uncertainty. It became clear to us why, after we walked around the wall separating the dance floor from the entrance way. Simply put, we didn't understand the Swedish words on the Ladies-night sign. “Featuring Male Stripper from Paris” Of course the slightest possibility of just having a nice conversation with the locals would not be easy afterwards. Especially after they watched the Afro Stripper beating his chest with his manhood. It was still early that evening, so we left in search of another place to socialize.
Shortly after getting back into the car, we found another place of festivities. This place had two dance floors. I parked my vehicle in the rear parking lot. The large lot had only one entrance, a 10 foot wall of thick vines wrapped around the parking lot from one corner of the dance place to the other corner. Since the entrance to the building was located in the front, we had to park the car and walk around. Realizing that it was just the two of us, I backed up the vehicle into a stall, located in the middle of the last row, and next to the back wall. I made sure I had a direct line of sight to the only rear exit of the building. It was really easy to see the exit because it was located on the second level.
We could tell people were having fun because of all the dancing and singing on both levels. The lower level was more of a large eating place converted into a giant drinking lounge. We then went up stairs to the other smaller dance room that was actually the main drinking lounge. We unwisely decided to split-up when found out other military members from our group was there in the lower level. I stayed in the smaller one. Thinking we were going to be here for a while, I slowly made my way to the bar and ordered a small draft beer. I was making my way to the seating area, when halfway there, a person slightly bumped into my arm holding the beer. Then I was slightly bumped into on my left side. Then a third time by someone else. The bumping was highly suspicious because I was standing in an area with plenty of room for someone so anyone could avoid bumping me. I quickly determined that the bumps were intentional. So with out panic I slowly put my back actually on the nearest wall. Now I had a view of the whole area. No more bumps.
I took intentional small sips from a mug of beer I now had no desire to finish, as I started trying to determine if this is a bad situation developing. Suddenly a twenty-something young women, from across the room, caught my attention as she slowly approached. She was a little tipsy, or a good actor. Because she was acting like she didn't want anyone to figure out why she was talking to me. In a very sly way she told me that she didn't like what some people she knew were planning to do tonight. After a little more of her play acting drunk, I suggested we have a seat in the area I was going to before getting bumped. We sat down on the love seat-like couch.
When she realized that we were not in earshot of anyone, she told me that the people she knew of was going to beat up all the Afros in the place. She continued on to say that they were going to get those who associate with them too. But only after getting every one on their radar drunk. All this time my focus was on her. She saw them before I did. She don't look directly at them, but I felt the ones that wanted to do the harm was close by.
She became quieter, as she went back to acting drunk. She didn't ask me to, but I quickly rolled-played too. I acted slight hurt by being rejected by the woman. I turned away with my head hanging down. Then I slowly raised it to see who presence it was that intimidated her like this. As I lifted my eyes to look over at the nearby long couch, six Neo-Nazi members in biker outfits, were sitting there looking at me with hatred in their eyes. One girl, roughly eight-teen in age, was slowly knocking over beer bottles that were left on the coffee table.
Because of my martial arts training in my younger years, I was able to hold my emotions in check. I slowly stood up, and calmly walked towards the main hallway. I needed to inform my friend of this situation. Fortunately he met me in the hallway. I quickly explained the situation. Then I asked him just how many other Afro military personnel did he see. He said two or three. I had room for three more in the car, so I told him to tell the others the problem and that I have room to take them if they wanted to leave. I was going to watch the only parking lot exit. None of the hate group members that I saw previously tried to leave the the small lounge. My friend returned, stating he told all those concerned, and they all turned down the offer. Stating their military co-workers had their back. Not knowing how many of their non-Afro military co-workers where here, I decided we should leave.
I told my friend I believed the Swedish woman was telling the truth. I truly believed her. So let's quickly rush to the car. Following my lead, my friend and I practically ran to the car. A soon as we had fasten our seat belts, …the oldest hate group member, that was sitting on the couch, stuck his head out the exit door. My friend watched in amazement.
I waited to drive off because I had no idea of how many of them were on the streets. I did not want to give them a description of the car we were in. Two minutes later he went back inside. ...I started the car, and slowly drove out of the parking lot. Three days later, the exercise was canceled due to missing personnel. ...
TRANSITION TO PRESENT DAY
Silence hung in the room like steam in a steam room. It was Markus who broke the silence.
CAMERAMAN: Sir, you might not think this, but in a different way, you are a hero.
THE TENANT: How so?
CAMERAMAN: Well, ...you actually saved your friend's life.
THE TENANT: I was happy to do that. I'm just sad that the others turned down my offer.
CAMERAMAN: I believe that God works in ways unknowingly to us. You might have actually saved their life with just a warning. And the ones missing were probably never with that bunch.
THE WOMAN: According to the information we have, it could have happened with or without your being there. The good news is that eight-teen something girl, you spoke of was caught. She was offered a special deal in 2012, in return for helping to catch the others in her hate group.
As Markus puts away the cam-recorder, Ameri asks the tenant one last question.
THE WOMAN: Sir have you talked to your friend lately?
THE TENANT: It's been years.
THE WOMAN (Smiling): He said thanks for saving his life. But he's keeping that Swedish Tea Cup Souvenir you forgot when you left the unit.
All packed and ready to go, Ameri and Markus prepare to leave, but not before saying good-bye to the Military Veteran,
“THANK-YOU FOR SERVING”
The Military Veteran replied by nodding his head in acknowledgment as he closed the apartment door. The phone rings. He goes to answer, but it stops ringing at his touch. Somewhere from behind him, words were softly spoken,
“Thank-You For Remembering”