The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

As The Small Town Turns

September 27, 2010

Chapter 5, As the Small Town Turns

— Buck waved as Raquel and her dad pulled out of the parking lot after Coffee Call. Buck had opened up more to Mr. Traubenkraut in those few minutes of conversation before Coffee Call than he had to anyone about his last days in Iraq.

Even though all he said was that his unit was involved in a long, heavy fight with enemy combatants and he had lost a lot of friends, he knew that Mr. Traubenkraut understood from the look in his eyes. It was the look that only another soldier could know.

Buck never had to ask the number of casualties in his platoon. To him, they weren’t just a number. He could recite the name, rank, and background of every soldier lost that day. He knew their hopes, dreams, and fears.

He could still hear the excitement in their voices when they were able to talk to their children on the phone. He could still see how proud they were when they showed off the newest pictures of their families that came in their care packages.

When the Army doctor diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder, Buck politely told him he was wrong. What kept him up at night weren’t the memories of what happened in Iraq; it was the memories of what was lost over there. Buck grieved for every family that had to bury a child, spouse, or parent because of that day. In his mind what he was dealing with was normal.

They were already heavily engaged in battle before he even noticed Bobby Tom.

At first, Buck thought his mind was playing tricks on him because he knew how much Bobby Tom hated weapons. After the terrifying childhood Bobby Tom had survived, Buck couldn’t hold it against him. Yet somehow, there they were fighting next to each other again. Only this time they weren’t fighting their cross-town rivals for the county championship. They wouldn’t celebrate their victory at a school dance surrounded by crowds of adoring girls in leggings, each wanting the first dance with Buck and Bobby Tom. Their reward for this fight would be living to see another day.

Only Buck didn’t know if Bobby Tom had seen another day. No matter what Buck did to try to find out Bobby Tom’s fate, his efforts were always strangled by bureaucratic red tape.

Thinking again about the familiar look he had seen in Mr. Traubenkraut’s eyes, Buck wanted to talk to him again. Mr. Traubenkraut knew what it was like to return to civilian life after war, not like all of the other people who kept offering their unsolicited advice. How could anyone who hadn’t walked in his shoes possible think they knew what he was going through?

Maybe Raquel’s dad would be at the concert on the square tomorrow night. Buck knew he needed to talk to someone about Bobby Tom, but he didn’t think Raquel could handle knowing the truth. There are some things a civilian should never know.

 

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As The Small Town Turns
  • Church Bulletin 8/7/12

    August 7, 2012

  • Epilogue: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The News Courier editorial staff chose Karen Bethea’s epilogue for our original novel. Our runner-up this week was D.K. Hutchins. We would like to thank all of our talented authors who contributed to “As the Small Town Turns” over these weeks. It has been a very enjoyable and satisfying endeavor for The News Courier and we hope it was enjoyable for those who participated. In coming weeks we will publish photos and short biographies on all of our authors whose chapters were chosen for the novel. But whether your chapter was chosen or not we would like to say thank-you to all for being such good sports and getting into the spirit of this project.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 16 As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 16 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns ...” is written by Karen Bethea. Runners-up are D.T. Hutchins and Cynthia Boris.
    It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. The novel will conclude Dec. 19 and the only thing that remains is the epilogue.
    If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time.
    If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we look forward to your conclusion.
     

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 15: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 15 of The News Courier original novel, As the Small Town Turns, is written by Diane Hutchins. This was a week that brought several fine submissions. Runners up Karen Bethea, Cynthia Boris and Elizabeth Carter are printed in this section. It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time. If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we will be looking forward to your thrilling Chapter 16.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 14 ‘As the Small Town Turns’

    Editor’s note: Chapter 14 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Karen Bethea. We had three excellent submissions this week. Runners-up are Harriette Rost and Cynthia Boris. The action has turned wild. With only two more chapters, now is the time to jump in for the big conclusion. If things get too hot, who knows? This saga could live for yet another chapter.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 13: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 13 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Cynthia Boris. Our runners-up this week are Karen Bethea and Elizabeth Carter, whose submissions are published in this section. Readers and potential contributors have just three more weeks as we draw the saga of Raquel and Buck to a conclusion with Chapter 16 on Dec. 12. There’s still time to get in on the action.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 12: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 12 of “As the Small Town Turns” is written by Bill Hunt. This week’s runner-up submission is by Cynthia Boris. The News Courier is anxiously awaiting Chapter 13 as the story heats up. Please keep sending submissions. Hint: Wouldn’t it be great if somehow Bobby Tom could meet Raquel’s friend, Maggie…? We’re just saying. Please review the rules of the game in this section and get your submission to Karen Middleton by Wednesday.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 11: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 11 is written by Harriette Rost. Our single runner-up this week is Cynthia Boris. We continue the story as Rock tries to disguise his abducted daughter Roxanne Marie’s identity as he prepares to go on stage in Branson to compete in an Elvis impersonator contest. The law is involved now. The News Courier staff is excited to see how our readers will come to the toddler’s rescue -–– if it’s not too late. If readers have previously submitted chapters that were not chosen to continue the saga of Raquel and Buck, please do not be discouraged. Hint: Let’s not forget Bobby Tom stuck up in a veterans’ hospital recuperating from wounds. Let’s get him back in the action.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 10, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Once again, Cynthia Boris has submitted an excellent chapter to As the Small Town Turns. We received no other submissions last week, so there are no runners-up. However, we welcome your Chapter 11 submissions, so please review the novel rules in this section. We continue the story as Rock speeds toward Branson with his abducted 2-year-old daughter Roxanne Marie. As The News Courier looks forward to drawing the novel to a conclusion by the end of the year, please jump in and help us resolve this cliffhanger.

    November 1, 2010

  • Chapter 9, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The Chapter 9 submission chosen for The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” was written by Cynthia Boris. As readers will remember, from Chapter 8, Raquel’s ex-husband, Rock Roddenheimer, abducted their daughter, Roxanne Marie, from her bed in revenge for having been thrown out of the house and humiliated by Raquel’s new friend, Buck. Now, as Rock speeds toward Branson in his 18-wheeler, the gravity of his rash actions begins to soak in, and back in the small town, Raquel is devastated to learn that her daughter is missing. Other excellent chapters were submitted by Karen Mastich and Carol Schwarzenbach, which are printed in this section along with rules for submitting Chapter 10.

    November 1, 2010

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