It was an ordinary 1968 spring in Washington. In the tiny, but cozy 750 squarefeet house or hut in other words, John Hastings was sitting silently doing hishomework while his mom, Joanne Hastings, was preparing dinner. John waswearing what he usually wore, a simple colored t-shirt and shorts. He was veryskinny and had dark brown hair just like his dad’s, the same blue eyes as hismom’s, chapped lips and a normal sized nose. Joanne was a plump 45 year oldthat has long, curly hair that was tied in a bun. She doesn’t work so sheusually goes out to buy food and cook meals for everyone. Joanne is verycheerful. She tries to make everyone feel happy even in bad situations. “HeyDad!” John said as the door slammed wide open. His dad looked so tired thathe could barely stand up. He took off his ragged coat and hung it up. “How waswork?” John’s mom said. “Not many people bought newspapers today. I don’tknow if we’re going to have enough money to send John to college,” John’s dadanswered. “Don’t worry, you’ll have better luck tomorrow.”“Yeah right,” Steve disagreed.There was a long pause.“It’s time for dinner! I’ve made your favorite John, mac and cheese.” Just thenthey heard foot steps creeping up to the door. A man with messy blond hairslipped a brown envelope into their mailbox. When opened and read it, Stevewas stunned. He had to go to war in Vietnam? No way! He’s not going to justgoing to risk his life to fight in a stupid war he doesn’t know anything about.Never! He continued reading the note. It said that if he didn’t meet there onMonday morning 8:00 sharp, he would be sent to jail. His family wasdevastated when they found out. He’d have to go...but...maybe...if hepretended he didn’t get the note, he wouldn’t. “Joanne! John! I have an ideabut I don’t know if it’s going to work.”“What is it dad?” John called.“If we burn the note, we could just pretend we didn’t get it. There would be noevidence.”“That’s kind of risky.”“I think it’s a great idea. The food’s getting cold so you better hurry up and eatit. We can worry about that later,” Joanne said. Steve left the letter on thecouch. Dinner was very silent nobody talked except for Joanne who was tryingto make conversation and cheer everyone up. The next morning was Saturday. There was no school and work. Still tryingto think of a way to not go without them knowing, Steve slouches into his chairand stares at the table. “I think we’ll just stick with what we’ve got. I’ll go getsome wood from outside.” He brought back three huge lumps of wood and pilethem up two on the bottom, one on the top. Before he stuck the envelope in,he lit up the pieces of wood. It was got really hot when the fire was burning.Even though it was spring, the Hastings put so much heat in their house. Sunday had pasted by so quickly. It’s now Monday. Steve thought it wasgoing to be okay if he’d slept in because he didn’t need to go. There was a loudbanging sound on their front door. Their door was about to come crashingdown. “HELLO?! Is anyone home?” Anyways, Steve and the rest of his family
were in a very deep sleep. As I predicted it, the door slammed down. That waswhat woke up the Hastings. Still half asleep, Steve jumped out of bed dizzily.John and Joanne were as surprised as the man that was banging on the door.The Hastings looked like zombies that just rose from the ground. It was thesame man that that slipped the envelope in their mailbox.“You were supposedto be at the army base at 8:00 sharp! It even said that on the letter!”“Uhhhh, what letter Sir?” Steve innocently asked.“You know what I’m talking about. You’re a very bad faker. I can see the letterstill sitting there on your couch.”“Ththat iis aan...um...uh invitation to party Sir,”Steve stuttered.“Yes! He’s going to a birthday party of my best friend,”Joanne agreed. But theman still looked suspicious. “Let me inspect the letter.” He cautiously picked upthe note, examined it, and lifted up his head angrily. “This is no birthday partyinvitation.” Steve and Joanne looked as frightened as ever.“Don’t worry, I’ll handle this,”John whispered to his parents. “My parents werecovering for me. You may take me to war.”“No! Don’t do this John!” Joanne cried. Steve stared in disbelief. He was toshocked to say anything. “Well that’s settled then,” the man happily quoted. Asthe man dragged John out of the house, he took one last sorrow look at hisparents. “No!” Joanne kept on crying until John couldn’t hear her anymore. Asthe years past, John never came back. But a few months after he got sent towar, he wrote a note to his family.Dear Mom and Dad, I hope you guys are doing well. It is hard fighting here in Vietnam. We arelosing the war and don’t have enough food to eat. We also don’t get any sleep.I have made tons of friends already. I never missed home this much. Thegeneral said we might return soon. I miss and love you guys so much. Sincerely, John
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