Fools in Paradise
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2019 by UtIdArWa

As we were drifting off, I asked “What’s his name?”

Suzy stiffened, “What did you say?”

“I asked, What’s his name. You can call him anything you want, Horse, Bob, or Breaking Wind. But he needs some kind of name.”

Suzy sat up and glared at me. “You did this deliberately, didn’t you? Waiting until the last minute and then bringing this up.”

I looked up at her, all innocent. “Why, whatever do mean? I’ve been waiting, patiently, since you signed the bill of sale, to announce his name. I was expecting some glorious and majestic moniker, harkening to majestic steeds and deeds of the past. Instead you’ve been all wrapped up in owning your first horse, you have forgotten the best part, What’s his name?”

Suzy stared at me open mouthed. I smiled up at her and said “Wake me when you think of something.” I rolled over and closed my eyes. For a couple of minutes nothing happened. Then Suzy flopped down next to me.

My original plan was to let her stew for a while, and then she would drop off to sleep. Then, in the morning, she would have thought of the appropriate name. OH, how wrong I was. Most of the night involved her under breath muttering and tossing and turning, which, deliberately or not, resulted in poking me in various body parts with her elbows and knees, usually just as I was drifting off.

Finally, just as false dawn was breaking, she got up and started coffee. Then she took Shadow out for his morning routine. Taking care of her own business. Then she checked on the stock. In particular her unnamed child.

I got up after she closed the door and got dressed. I knew that Suzy had a mad on with me. But I also knew that she wouldn’t hold a grudge and that she saw my teasing for what it was. I watched her while the coffee was brewing.

When it was ready, I fixed her a cup just like she liked it, and one for me. I then joined her at the corral.

We were quiet for a minute or two. “Guunar.” She said.

This was important to her. I knew it. It’s one of the reasons that I did it this way. She needed to put some emotion into this horse. In some ways, their connection was going to be closer than ours. “What’s that honey?”

She turned to me, A challenge in her eyes. “Guunar, His name is Guunar.”

I kept from smiling, this was serious business. “Ok, that’s a little unusual, But it’s your choice. Does it mean something?”

She went back to looking at the pasture and the stock. Her eyes got a faraway look. “Well, When I was in Iraq, right after the ambush, My Gunny started calling me Guunar. At first, I thought he was teasing me, calling me gunny or gunner. And when I asked him, well he got a little pissed.”

“I can hear him now,”

“Lance Corporal Williams, it’ll be a cold day in this man’s Corps when a foul-up like you can rate being called GUNNY. and, while you have shown an ability to cause pain, misery and destruction among our adversaries utilizing the Squad Automatic Weapon, you have yet to qualify on that weapon to the satisfaction of My Beloved Corps and, more importantly MYSELF, to allow the job title of gunner be awarded to you.”

“However, I also know that you are brighter than the average sailor and infinitely higher on the intelligence scale than any doggy NCO, So I am assuming that you are asking me about ‘Guunar’?”

“The pronunciation is “GUUU-NAR” not gunner, or gunny.”

“The term, or name ‘Gunnar’ comes from the old Norse, The Vikings. Its meaning is ‘Brave Warrior’. With your blonde hair, there is absolutely no doubt in my, and your teammates minds that the Viking title of ‘Brave Warrior’ applies to you. I can attest that your superior officer’s also have the same opinion. Your actions and initiative that day have been noted. I have it on good authority that you will be given a colorful bit of cloth along with a shiny metal decoration for your uniform. Just remember that and $5.00 will get to a cup of coffee stateside.”

“Civilians will neither understand nor care why you did what you did, and those pretty pieces of costume jewelry that a grateful government will give you will matter less than the admiration and honor that your teammates will hold you.”

“I am willing to bet that your name and actions will be told around the Thanksgiving table for years to come. In fact, I would also be willing to go so far as to state that a generation of Suzy’s will be born to Marine families in the coming years, In your honor.”

“Now don’t get it into your mind that you are the reincarnation of Chesty Puller, may his memory live forever, as it stands right now you are a marginally qualified Marine. However, with hard work, discipline and God’s good grace’s you MIGHT, MIGHT I say, make a semi competent Corporal.”

We stood there while the memories of a sometimes pleasant, mostly horrifying past went through both of us. Her from her war, Me from mine.

We were interrupted when Margarite poked her nose into the conversation, Literally. “Good god girl, you are such an attention whore.” She got the butterscotch she was after. That and a good morning ear scratch.

Guunar was not to be left out, He butted up to Suzy and nickered. I could see that Suzy was horrified. She didn’t have his peppermint. I softly chuckled and handed her a handful that I had been carrying since the day before. “I think maybe your Gunny had a point?”

If it hadn’t been for Guunar’s attention, I think I would have gotten my butt whipped. But from that day on, I KNOW that she always had a pocketful.

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