by Roving Reporter, ©2022

(Jan. 14, 2022) — “Black Slacks” (1:33)

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to ‘The Pulse of the Nation,’ the place to hear it here first. Our guest today is no stranger to us: our favorite shrink, Professor Zorkophsky, bestselling author and the co-screenwriter, along with the General, of the blockbuster movie, The Dandelion War.’ Welcome to ‘Pulse,’ the most-watched information show in its time slot.”

“Thank you for having me, Roving. I don’t have to tell you about the astronomical numbers of our Veterans committing suicide. You want to talk about pandemics, a real pandemic, that’s it: young men and women eating a bullet, along with a higher number of law enforcement doing the same.”

“We used to hear weekly reports of the number of suicides; what happened to them?”

“Simple: can’t have competing numbers with the Chinese biological weapon, COVID-19. Since I know my time is limited, let me run the tape on one of my disguised PTSD patients.”

“Very well.”

Sound of knocking on door.

“Come on in; have a seat and make yourself comfortable. How are you doing today?”

“Oh, I’m fine, nothing wrong with me. Will you excuse me; I think I’m being followed so I’ll just peek out the door to see if I can catch one of them.”

“What makes you think you’re being followed?”

“Didn’t you notice the helicopter overhead?”

“No, I’m sorry, this room is pretty quiet and I was in a session with the previous patient.”

“Was somebody following them, too?”

“Matter of fact, that’s what he said. It is a common theme from somebody emerging from a war zone and being dumped into the world. If it were up to me, I’d keep all of you on base for a month before I’d let any of you loose, but then again, that’s me and they don’t listen to me.”

“And they didn’t listen to me, either. I used to be a Democrat and I told them that Hillary would sink the party, and look what’s happening. By the way, I changed parties.”

“Are you a ‘Make America Great Again’ kind of guy now?”

“I like to think of myself as a Constitutionalist rather than a Republican.”

“So, besides being paranoid, are you also suicidal?”

“I’ll kill myself rather than be taken prisoner, and that’s a fact that we all had over there. Talk about heathens, they’re it. No Geneva Convention, so why should we care? I’ll tell you, the most upsetting thing about the whole farce of my enlistment is Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being in Congress; I mean, they’ll working overtime trashing the Constitution while I risked my life for it. Heck, we all did.”

“How are you sleeping? Any problems?”

“Look, I know you’re trying to help me, but if you don’t mind, I’d rather not talk about my nightmares, if you don’t mind.”

“But I do mind; after all, that’s exactly the reason you’re here.”

“Look, I’ll make it really simple for you: I can’t talk to my wife about it for feeling inadequate, that’s what. I’m supposed to be brave and some kind of war hero, so how does it look waking up at 3:00 a.m. sitting and crying and looking for something to shoot? How do you get over that?”

“Do you drink, do drugs?”

“You better believe it; I didn’t used to, but I sure upped it a notch or two.”

“I see. Here’s the deal: you have a choice: keep on going on the way you’re going and lose it all, maybe even your wife, or stop the drugs and beer and cigarettes, which are just two of the drugs you’re going overboard on. Stop them, and all the other drugs. You have to get off any dependency, and that’ll be key in establishing some kind of mental equilibrium; got it?”

“Easier said than done, Doc.”

“Please call me ‘Zork’ since I think it makes for a more relaxing atmosphere. Look, you got a really good foundation: you got out of the military with a Good Conduct Medal and an Honorable Discharge: you took the Oath and served with honor, so at least make an effort to talk it over with the wife because, if you don’t, you’ll end up leaving the person you wanted to spend each and every day with for the rest of your life, and I don’t believe you want that, do you?”

“That’s a fact, Zork. You going to prescribe any pills for me?”

“No, I’m not. The time for getting rid of your crutches starts now. Look, I don’t mean going ‘cold turkey,’ but I do mean slowing down, starting now, this minute; understood? Nobody can do it for you, remember that.”

“Okay, Zork, I’ll do my best. I just ran out of smokes; got an extra one?”

“Session is over, soldier.”

Sound of door closing.

“And that’s it, Roving.”

“That was very enlightening, Zork. Did he make it?”

“Yes, he did, but it cost him his marriage, I’m sad to say. He did quit the drugs and has been drug-free ever since. He wrote her years later about it, but by then it was all over, which is the really sad part, when it probably wasn’t too late but he thought she wouldn’t want anything to do with him. Sad, but at least he didn’t eat a bullet.”

“That’s too bad; I bet there’s lots of cases like his: I mean, leaving and then seeing the light but too much water has gone over the dam type thing.”

“Giving up a few years getting his act together cost him the following 60 years from being with the woman he loved.”

“Is that the norm; I mean, they finally got it together?”

“No, it is not the norm. Most of them don’t get it together; most of them get messed-up and stay messed-up, but the ones who make it out don’t regress and make a success of their lives.”

“Well, that’s great, so what do you say we end it on a high note, shall we? This is your Roving Reporter (RR), along with Zork, wishing you all a goodnight: Goodnight.

“Good show. Burger time: my treat.”

[Little People report: In hiding.]

Short Shorts” (2:37)

Roving Reporter

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