Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #1

    The Lieutenant, part four

    Please would you take a look at the fourth part of my short story, "The Lieutenant" and correct my mistakes.

    The queue at the counter thinned out and the Lieutenant fetched a tray, put it on the counter, and was given a bowl of pasta and a cup of tea He sat at one of the tables reserved for the officers with his back to me. I expected he was going to remove his cap now when he was going to eat, but his cap sat on his head as if it were glued there. He belched aloud, twice, which I found rude. I watched his arms moving as he was using the knife and fork, and I thought pity of him. I could not have been pleasant spending the last years of his career in this godforsaken town where nothing ever happened and were the only changes were the new recruits coming and leaving in regular intervals. I went up and walked to the counter to put my tray in a tray trolley, and before I left the mess hall, I looked at him. The Lieutenant was looking tired. He chewed food slowly and listlessly and stared blankly ahead.

    In the evening, after the trumpet sounded taps, silence fell over the barracks. We were making our final preparations for sleep. Some were reading letters from for the umpteenth time, one last time before the lights went off, some eating their last cakes from the packages they had received from home, some still talking about their plans for the future after military service, and some finishing chess and card games. I went to the window and opened it wide. It was a wonderful summer evening with thousands of stars sparkling and a full moon rising above the hills. Such evenings made me nostalgic, and I remembered the evenings when my girlfriend and I sat in a café, kissing and hugging under the twinkling stars, with passersby around us walking and having fun. My eyes travelled down to the parade ground and I saw our Lieutenant walking around a strange device mounted on a tripod. He was puffing a cigarette and the smoke curled up around his tilted cap. Hands behind his back, he trudged in circles, in one direction and then in another. He was a living caricature of an officer, and I had to stifle my laugh.

    My roommates joined me to watch the spectacle, and someone said that the device was a hand-operated siren. “He does the same thing whenever he is a duty officer,” a more experienced soldier explained to us. “Don’t panic if he wakes you in the middle of the night.”
    I went to sleep at once, just as I had done every evening since I had come here. I had the most remarkable dream. I was walking on the meadow surrounded by flowers, when I beautiful blond girl dressed in a white dress and barefoot came up to me and asked me if I wanted to fly. I was hesitant and apprehensive, but she said, “Just hold my hand.” I did as she told me, and soon we were flying just a few meters above the ground. Her long hair trailed in the wind behind her and was a sight to behold. I told her how beautiful she was, and as an answer, she offered me a dazzling smile. We were gliding silently through the air and I enjoyed every moment of it, until I heard a loud bang. I opened my eyes and found myself in a midst of mayhem. It was dark but for a weak blue bulb above the door. My roommates jumped from their beds, and were disoriented. They were still in their respective dreams, where their minds and bodies wished still to stay, but the noise blasting from outside reminded them of the harsh reality. They opened the lockers half-asleep, pulled out their uniforms and dressed themselves without zest, as if they were zombies without will. The corporals were stomping along the corridors, banging the doors, telling people to hurry and shouting, “Come on, soldiers! Don't be lazy!” I could not see my head but it felt swollen is if bitten by thousands of insects, and they were still buzzing inside my head. Muddled, I did as my roommates were doing, and soon I was stumbling in the darkness and cursing the Lieutenant, whose siren was howling unremittingly. My watch showed just after midnight, and I thought that only a sadist or a deranged person could come up with an idea as waking the young soldiers and forcing them to run in the middle of the night.

    I dashed to the armoury, grabbed my RPG and rushed outside, together with hundreds of other soldiers, who were pouring out of all doors and openings. I stopped for a moment to watch the surreal scene. Under the full moon stood the Lieutenant bent over the siren, a burning cigarette in the corner of his mouth, his hand cranking the handle vigorously. I had to run to the depots and garages, which were about two kilometres away. It had rained the previous days and the narrow path was slippery and muddy. A soldier ahead of me tripped and fell heavily into the mud. I heard him swear and curse and I slowed down a bit. I did not want to end up in hospital with a broken leg or arm.
    Within minutes, our weapons were ready: the tanks, personnel carriers, anti-aircraft batteries, anti-aircraft mobile system, trucks and cars. We were automaton, obeying our corporals without complaint. In all this pandemonium, we had forgotten our exhaustion, irritation and lack of sleep. We had temporarily suspended rationality and put our faith in the Lieutenant and his disturbed mind.
    To be continued

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,087
    #2

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    The queue at the counter thinned out and the Lieutenant fetched a tray, put it on the counter, and was given a bowl of pasta and a cup of tea. He sat at one of the tables reserved for the officers with his back to me. I expected that he was going to remove his cap now that he was going to eat, but his cap sat on his head as if it were glued there. He belched loudly, twice, which I found rude. I watched his arms moving as he was using the knife and fork, and I felt pity for him. It could not have been pleasant spending the last years of his career in this godforsaken town where nothing ever happened and where the only changes were the new recruits coming and leaving at regular intervals. I went up and walked to the counter to put my tray in a tray trolley (There's a name for those things?), and before I left the mess hall, I looked at him. The Lieutenant looked tired. He chewed food slowly and listlessly and stared blankly ahead.
    I don't think you can belch quietly.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,087
    #3

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    Re:

    I went up and walked to the counter to put my tray in a tray trolley....


    In my humble opinion, you should say either "I went to the counter, etc." or "I walked to the counter, etc.".


    (Of course, you don't actually include "etc." in the sentence.
    )

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #4

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    Tarheel,
    Thank you again for correcting my text.
    Regarding the "belch", I can say that you can belch politely or discreetly, but the Lieutenant is tipsy and does not care about manners and belches loudly. There is a tray trolley, which is like a shelf on wheels where you can put the trays.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,087
    #5

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    You don't have to respond to everything. (But I appreciate it.) Yes, I know what a tray trolley is. But this is the first time I knew that was the name for it. (I guess I figured there was a name for it. I just didn't know what it was.)


  4. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,087
    #6

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    In the evening, after the trumpet sounded taps, silence fell over the barracks. We were making our final preparations for sleep. Some were reading letters from for the umpteenth time, one last time before the lights went off, some eating their last cakes from the packages they had received from home, some still talking about their plans for the future after military service, and some finishing chess and card games. I went to the window and opened it wide. It was a wonderful summer evening with thousands of stars sparkling and a full moon rising above the hills. Such evenings made me nostalgic, and I remembered the evenings when my girlfriend and I sat in a café, kissing and hugging under the twinkling stars, with passersby around us walking and having fun. My eyes travelled down to the parade ground and I saw our Lieutenant walking around a strange device mounted on a tripod. He was puffing a cigarette and the smoke curled up around his tilted cap. Hands behind his back, he trudged in circles, in one direction and then in another. He was a living caricature of an officer, and I had to stifle my laugh.
    The word "trudged" is not wrong, but I think "walked" works better. to me "trudging" suggests one or more people walking as if tired.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    My roommates joined me to watch the spectacle, and someone said that the device was a hand-operated siren. “He does the same thing whenever he is a duty officer,” a more experienced soldier explained to us. “Don’t panic if he wakes you in the middle of the night.”

    I went to sleep at once, just as I had done every evening since I had come here. I had the most remarkable dream. I was walking in the meadow surrounded by flowers, when I beautiful blond girl dressed in a white dress and barefoot came up to me and asked me if I wanted to fly. I was hesitant and apprehensive, but she said, “Just hold my hand.” I did as she told me, and soon we were flying just a few meters above the ground. Her long hair trailed in the wind behind her and was a sight to behold. I told her how beautiful she was, and as an answer, she offered me a dazzling smile. We were gliding silently through the air and I enjoyed every moment of it, until I heard a loud bang. I opened my eyes and found myself in the midst of mayhem. It was dark but for a weak blue bulb above the door. My roommates jumped from their beds, and were disoriented. They were still in their respective dreams, where their minds and bodies wished still to stay, but the noise blasting from outside reminded them of the harsh reality. They opened their lockers half-asleep, pulled out their uniforms and dressed themselves without zest, as if they were zombies without will. The corporals were stomping along the corridors, banging the doors, telling people to hurry and shouting, “Come on, soldiers! Don't be lazy!” I could not see my head but it felt swollen as if bitten by thousands of insects, and they were still buzzing inside my head. Muddled, I did as my roommates were doing, and soon I was stumbling in the darkness and cursing the lieutenant, whose siren was howling unremittingly. My watch showed it was just after midnight, and I thought that only a sadist or a deranged person could come up with the idea of waking the young soldiers and forcing them to run in the middle of the night.

    I dashed to the armoury, grabbed my RPG and rushed outside, together with hundreds of other soldiers, who were pouring out of all doors and openings. I stopped for a moment to watch the surreal scene. Under the full moon stood the Lieutenant bent over the siren, a burning cigarette in the corner of his mouth, his hand cranking the handle vigorously. I had to run to the depots and garages, which were about two kilometres away. It had rained the previous days and the narrow path was slippery and muddy. A soldier ahead of me tripped and fell heavily into the mud. I heard him swear and curse and I slowed down a bit. I did not want to end up in hospital with a broken leg or arm.
    Within minutes, our weapons were ready: the tanks, personnel carriers, anti-aircraft batteries, anti-aircraft mobile system, trucks and cars. We were automatons, obeying our corporals without complaint. In all this pandemonium, we had forgotten our exhaustion, irritation and lack of sleep. We had temporarily suspended rationality and put our faith in the lieutenant and his disturbed mind.
    How about:

    We were exhausted, irritated and sleepy, but we did what we were told to do.

    Or (perhaps better):


    We were exhausted, irritated and sleepy, but we did what that idiot told us to do.


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #7

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    Tarheel,
    I am wondering should I write the Lieutenant with a small "l" or a large L.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,087
    #8

    Re: The Lieutenant, part four

    The word "lieutenant" is not a proper noun. It should not be capitalized unless it is a title (or part of one). Example:

    Lieutenant Snowden came into the barracks and told us that the captain would soon be coming in to do inspections. (Not really a good example, because the word starts a sentence and thus gets capitalized anyhow. So make up your own sentence. ) Okay, how about: "Captain Post said to the lieutenant, 'Good morning, Lieutenant Snowden!'"

    How's that?




Similar Threads

  1. The Lieutenant, part one
    By Bassim in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 08-Dec-2014, 20:28
  2. The Lieutenant, part three
    By Bassim in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Dec-2014, 22:56
  3. Lieutenant, part two
    By Bassim in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-Dec-2014, 20:50
  4. Sergeant Vs lieutenant
    By AH020387 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 30-Mar-2011, 14:28
  5. lieutenant-governor and Governor-general
    By jiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2008, 01:03

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •