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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Excerpt from My Darling Dorothy by Jo Ann Virden

 September 1943
With the United States Eighth Fleet
Bizerte Harbor, Africa
                Smitty ducked as bullets ricocheted overhead.
                “Jesus Christ!”
                He seized his .50 caliber machine gun and gripped the handles to calm his nerves, shouting his lucky-charm phrase in rapid-fire succession.
                “I’m OK. I can do this. I’m OK. I can do this.”
                He swung the gun and aimed it at the oncoming German fighter planes.
                Don’t fire. They’re too far away. I’m OK. I can do this.
                The sky lit up again and again as the enemy continued its unrelenting attack. “I’m OK.”
An enemy plane materialized over the right side of the deck. Bullets flew from every direction as all hands began firing at once.
                Smitty swung the machine gun toward the sky. His heart beat as fast as the bullets leaving the barrel.
                Seventy-five rounds later, a gloomy darkness enveloped the deck as the searchlights dimmed. Smitty continued to grip the handles of the machine gun. He began to shake, stopped himself, and howled into the night sky, “I did it!”
                The thrill of the moment ebbed, and his thoughts turned to a distant place, now a faint memory.
                “I gotta tell Peaches.”

SMITTY TOOK A pencil and stationery from his footlocker at the end of his cot. He wrote at a feverish pace, the exhilaration of the air raid fresh in his mind.
                Talk about fireworks. The tracers lit up the sky. That was one of the biggest and the most thrilling events to me.
                Right now, though, I’m in the mood darling, for what? Writing letters. I have your picture sitting here but it hasn’t said a word. It’s taking some awful beatings riding around with me. The frame is a little beat up but the picture is ok yet. It’s the most valuable piece of property I have.

                Her photograph captivated him: her dark hair, pinned back in the popular Queue Curl style, never changed. Her wire rim glasses stayed perfectly balanced, and she never averted her eyes; her mouth remained forever turned into a perfect smile, and those lips, those full, luscious lips.
                Those lips look like they were all in the mood for a big kiss, in fact my highest ambition right now, if possible, would be to press my lips against those lips. I hope to God it isn’t too long till we can act that out together.
                I’ll write more tomorrow. For now, though remember that I love you and I will love you always.
All my love,

                He folded the letter and placed it in an envelope. He sat her photo on a table next to his cot. A tranquil mood overtook him as he studied her face. “I’m OK. I can do this.” A smile crossed his lips as he fell into an exhausted sleep. “I did do this

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About the Author
Jo Virden is the author of A Passion For Life: Ruth Marie Colville. Her first love is writing short stories. My Darling Dorothy, which started as a short story, evolved into Jo’s first novel. She is passionate about promoting childhood literacy and spends many hours volunteering in reading programs throughout the Denver Metro area. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Bill, and she enjoys outdoor photography, long walks in the Rocky Mountains and spending time with her grandson, Cyrus.

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