Editors Note: this creative writing may or may NOT be true, but there is always a positive to the negative.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- “Once upon a time” in a land far, far away, “the man” was struck on the side of his face with a hammer, back when he was in college. He was lucky in that the blow did not break his jaw or destroy any teeth. What it did do was cause the skin on his left cheek to rip apart. After his cheek was sewn back together there was a long flattened out “S” shaped scar on his face.
Even without any broken bones the side of “the man’s” face was swollen to the point his left eye was shut and he could barely open his mouth. This severe skin stretching was the reason his face was so permanently scarred.
“The man” to this day does not know why he was attacked and struck on the head with a hammer. This was an attempt to murder him. He pulled a roll of duck tape from his trunk and temporarily spliced his face together. He was able to dispatch the assailant prior to taking himself to the emergency room. Allegedly fourteen-plus years after the assault an unidentifiable body was found. “The man” was long gone from the community.
Charles “the Hammer” Martel was the warrior that led the French to victory at the Battle of Tours in 732. “The man” was a descendant of Martel and understood the power of a fighting hammer in conflict.
“The man” still has the hammer and actually carried it into combat on a number of missions during his years on active duty, where enemy combatants were also dispatched with a carpenter’s tool.
The hammer strike to his face left “the man” with a profound understanding of blunt force trauma to his head. The Spanish speaking troops under his command called him “Cicatriz”, Spanish for scar. They would speak of it behind his back, but he knew and even smiled on occasion when he heard “Cicatriz” spoken at a distance.
At one point in his military career the power of the hammer was not enough when an improvised explosive device went off sending secondary missiles slicing into his face. It was not a bullet and just like his attack in college his jaw was not broke, but he did have some damaged teeth. What the hot jagged metal did do was leave him with more scars.
His last year in college and all through his military career he found people staring at him because of the one crooked shaped scar. Now from below his eyes to the top of his throat he was scared from hot metal cutting and burning his face. He also lost his left eye.
Multiple surgeries over a number of years and thousands of stitches sewn to try and repair, close in, and shrink the scars, but there will always be scars.
With the original scar, he had some appeal to women. Sort of the bad boy image that some women found attractive enough to date and bed a man for but too scary to bring home to the folks and perhaps marry. So “the man” remained single.
Now with a face full of scars and an eye socket filled with a glass eye, “the man” really was scary the first time you saw his face. His speech was very gravelly because of damage to his throat and the scar tissue made the turning of his head seem unnatural.
People would back off in fright when they approached him out in public and of course, children stared and had to voice their opinion loudly when they saw “the man.”
Medical Retirement from the military and VA disability enabled “the man” not to have to seek employment after he took off his uniform.
He traded it for work clothes, a chainsaw and numerous firearms just in case. He moved onto his farm he had owned for years but never really lived on–until now. It was a place to get away from people who stared or worse yet were cruel to him.
A family in the county had a couple of sons, who exhibited poor judgment on a regular basis. They forced a confrontation with “the man” at a gas station when they saw his facial scars. He tried to leave without conflict but the young men did not understand just how dangerous “the man” was or what damage he could inflict with a hammer sitting on the seat of his pickup truck.
Leaving the gas station after having words with the brothers, he was pursued by the foolish young men. He did not want them to follow him home to his farm so he stopped at a county roadside rest area and the brothers made the mistake of stopping also. Their truck was destroyed with the hammer and the young men’s manly pride was destroyed when they relieved themselves multiple times in their jeans from sheer terror.
A lot of bottled-up rage was released by “the man” that day. The boys’ father would approach “the man” later and apologized for his sons and respectfully request no further contact with his sons if that would be alright with “the man.”
The word got out to leave “the man” with the scars alone. Everyone did except the local Amish families who seemed to get along really well with “the man” and did not care one bit about his damaged face. He was invited into their homes and “the man” would hire Amish men to help him on his farm when the workload was too much for one person. He, however, continued to be confronted or avoided when he was out in public.
He tried to wear a bandana as a face mask but twice people called the police on him. Both times when the officers confronted him after he took down his mask they left him alone. Not because he was so frightful looking, but because they knew who he was and truly did not want to pursue police contact any further for their own safety. He always carried a hammer in the hammer loop on his pants.
One day the Chinese changed his life. The very people he had spent years of his military career preparing to go into conflict with, betrayed the world with their release of a ChiCom virus that would kill millions.
At first, he just stayed on his farm. After months the virus was starting to be taken increasingly serious, more and more people were wearing masks in public. “The man” acquired some masks that covered most of his face from the eyes down and headed out into the public.
Nobody even noticed a dust-covered farmer with a dirty ball cap and a face mask when he walked into the hardware store. This was too easy. Hidden in plain sight for once with no second looks.
Traveling got a lot easier. Stopping in stores and public places, he was treated like everyone else in the establishment. He even on occasion had a friendly conversation with a stranger he met in his daily travels. They never knew the truth about “the man.”
Time will tell, how long this crisis lasts and how long Americans plan to wear masks in public? In Asia, people wear masks all the time. It is not considered unusual to have a mask on when traveling and at work. Perhaps this habit will be followed to a certain extent with Americans for the foreseeable future.
It took the Chinese ruining the earth with their virus and the deaths of potentially millions of people worldwide to improve “the man’s” life.
In the 1977 book “Lucifer’s Hammer” a comet strikes the earth and alters worldwide the norms of living. The comet was “the hammer” that impacted the earth and inflicted its blunt force trauma. For those who survived, it changed everything. In most cases, change was not for the better.
“When the hammer hits” became an expression of the time. It would appear the Chinese communist hammer and I suppose their sickle have hit. Who gets to survive in the long run and who perishes is anyone’s guess.
Nothing lasts and this too will someday pass but for now “the man’s” outlook on life has changed and even a bit of happiness has come his way. It is a sad irony that “the man’s” life improves a little while so many around him suffer as they have never known before.
There are a lot of disfigured American veterans and even civilians who have ran-a-foul of danger and evil who now carry open scars they would like to hide. For the time being there is a reprieve–but at what cost?
Major Van Harl USAF Ret. / [email protected]
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]