To peak your interest and hopefully not scare you away, here’s the Prologue for The Militarized Zone: What Did You Do in the Army, Grandpa?
Over My Nearly Dead Body
Attorney Sydney Luckman crushed out his cigarette in the red aluminum ashtray. “When’d you say you had to report?” He flipped through the stapled pages I’d given him.
“The third. It’s there on the draft notice,” I said.
“The third? That’s only a week and a half.” He dropped the papers on his desk. “I can’t do anything for you in that time.”
“Mike told me you could keep guys from getting drafted—”
“I can—and I do.” He tilted his chair back against the scuffed up K-Mart® wall paneling. “If you would’ve come here even last week I might have been able to help—you know, could’ve kept delaying it until they institute that lottery system next year. Not now. I’m a lawyer, not a magician.”
“Show me how I can do that.”
“How I ‘would’ve come here last week’ this week and I’ll do it.” I sighed heavily and looked down at the top of the desk. “You were my last hope. I even tried paying a criminal who said he could pull my records from the draft board.”
“And you got nothing, right?”
“All I got for my money was a handful of stuff Uncle Sam had already mailed to me. As consolation, though, he gave me an invitation to see some guy with cement overshoes getting dropped in the canal.” I sank back in the chair. “Now, I guess, if I want to not get drafted, I’ll have to damage an organ or appendage—preferably one that has only occasional use.”
Sid leaned forward. “Hey, don’t worry about it. Just go. It’s only for two years.”
“That’s a lifetime. You know how long two years is? It’s…uh…two years.”
“When you get to be my age, two years is just a small percent of your life. I got drafted and did my time eighteen years ago fighting in Korea. I survived.” He pulled a pack of Winstons from his knit shirt pocket, shook out a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth.
“I’m not worried about surviving,” I said. “Once they get me I really don’t care what happens. They can send me anywhere—Hanoi, Marrakesh, Cleveland—or do whatever they want. I just don’t want to go in. I’ve finally got everything going for me—a booming boat business, a band with a recording contract and somebody who wants to marry me.” I thought for a second.
“Actually, I have half a mind to get married.”
“That’s much more than you need.” Sid picked up my papers and held them out to me. “Don’t do anything rash. All that or something better’ll be here when you get out.”
I took my documents, rolled them up and stuck them under my arm. “I just won’t show up September third. Maybe I’ll become a monk…with a wife and a Buddhist rock band.”
Sid opened the middle drawer of his desk, took out a business card and a cigarette lighter and handed the card to me. “You better take this, Will, because you’ll be needing my help when the FBI catches up with you for draft evasion. Unless you’re in the monastery.”
I pulled my purple granny glasses out of my T-shirt pocket and dropped his card in. Then I stood up. “They won’t catch me. And even if they do, they can’t force me to go. I’ve got too much to lose.” I pushed my hair behind my ears and slipped on the glasses. “I’ll never let them draft me alive.”