Every day is the exact same when you are out to sea. Taps is at 2200. Morning Reveille is at 0600. Between twelve hours of back breaking labor intensive work, you are expected to eat, workout, shower and sleep. The schedule is not even the worst part. Imagine having a boss that does not get along with you. Now, imagine having to live with your boss, eat with your boss and listen to your boss snore in his sleep, all while not being able to talk. Imagine this going on for eternity.
In my previous life, I served in the United States Navy. I never really cared for this lifestyle. I used it as a barrier between high school and college. For the remainder of my time on earth, I was a history teacher. I lived a full life and passed away at the age of ninety three. I was a son, a husband, a father and a teacher. I never imagined I would be stuck, for eternity, doing what I did when I was nineteen years old.
The silence is maddening. We all have jobs but cannot communicate with each other. We are left only with our regrets from a previous life. I mostly think of my time in the Navy. The four years I was in happened to be some of the busiest in United States History. When I was nineteen, September 11, 2001 happened. I watched as we went from training for war to actually participating in it. In 2003 my ship was sent to the Persian Gulf, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I remember being scared but putting on a false facade.
Most people missed holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday was always Halloween. As a kid, my parents went all out. They decorated the house and turned it into a spooky graveyard. We all dressed up as our favorite movie characters. My mother always stayed home to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. This was back when people still went to strangers houses for candy. It seems dangerous now, looking back, but the world was a different place back then.
I miss the days, as a teen, when we toilet papered our principal’s house. This had become a holiday tradition, which went back as far as anyone could remember. The police never seemed too eager to find the culprits, because years prior they had participated in this ritual themselves.
I assumed when I passed away that I would float up to a light and spend eternity in paradise. I never imagined I would be placed on a ship, as a nineteen year old spirit, stationed in the darkest regions of the sea. No one talks, just deafening silence, all alone. I long for the days of Halloween Past, before I was serving an eternal life sentence.
Brian Simmons is a middle school, social studies, teacher in John’s Island, South Carolina. He graduated from East Carolina University, with a B.A. in History. Brian is a United States Navy Veteran, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brian’s previous flash fiction work “Morning Drive” is published in Fiery Scribe Review Literary Magazine. His flash fiction piece, “Ghost Tour” is scheduled for publication in Fiery Scribe Review Literary Magazine this November.