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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Letter to a Soldier on Deployment in Iraq "News of the Week"


This was me being a good friend to a fellow who was in truth no friend of mine. Sometimes I would write to him three times a week.

Funny thing is being a good friend never did a thing for me.

In any case there was a lot going on in my life at the time, and all those wonderful plans I had then fell to dust. It comes to me that over my life everyone has fought with me and that fighting was all I could do.

Funny how it turns out that way.

29th May 2007     


Dear (Soldier),

As always, I hope that my mail finds you in good health and I wish that I had something good to say. It’s the nature that nothing wonderful happens or that something wonderful is happening every day dependent on your outlook on life.

My week was going well aside from the fact that I had not been to the gym more than once this week, then I arrived a work Friday looking forward to a three-day weekend. The first thing that happened was that my boss told me that I would be attending work Sunday. Not only had I already made plans, but I was leaving to spend the weekend with (our mutual friends) from work that morning. This put me in an understandably bad mood but there was nothing I could do about it so I limped along as you do until four o’clock.   

It was at that time when a man from the (Shipper’s) office came up to me and said “where are the other guards? Are you the only one out here?”

“Am I the only guard out here?” I looked around. Yep, one guard working four trucks, not good, “I have to be honest with you, sir, I have no idea where the other guards are.”

“I see,” he said and walked off.

As I was working on the trucks I could see him making a phone call from the guard house. He walked back up to me and said. “I left a voice mail with the head of security and your boss.”

That was when one of the guards did show up to get a major tongue lashing from the client. “He’s been out here alone for half an hour” and so forth.  Long story short my boss up at the office got a pissed off message from me, and he called me back and made hollow promises and gave me Sunday off.     

I spent the weekend watching movies, playing (video games), and cooking. It was fun. The fact that this was a group of men primarily put a damper in it but you have to take your fun as you can get it.

I just got your message. Sorry, my phone was charging in the next room. I hadn’t thought any of my mails had gotten to you yet. (Your step father) thought they would take three weeks. Did you get the letter with my play and the book? I Figured if you had not responded to my letter that you had a good reason so don’t worry too much about it. I remember working myself to death and not being able to write you.   

As far as the play goes I didn’t start out making a short, but it came to me that the jokes would get old after some time. It really is the same thing over and over again, and I couldn’t think of anything ells that would illustrate my point. I suppose that I could go through pregnancy and have the two of them pretend that they don’t have a thing going still, but the main thing is “did I get my point across.”

The other reason I’m working on short plays is because that’s what the school wants me to start with, and I need a good amount of them to bring the semester off right. I would like to show the class twenty pages of material a week and that is nearly double what I have now. That’s every thing I have written to this point doubled including both of my full length plays.

This class is the best opportunity I will have in my writing career, and I intend to fight for every thing I can get out of this experience. It really doesn’t look like I will have another shot at this, so I have to make it count.

Anyway, old friend, that is the news of the week. I’ve never been good at letters.


I hope I’m not boring you,


Richard Leland Neal