It was August 1965 when Jerry Ritter awoke to a hot Thursday afternoon that laid the foundation to a warm and muggy evening. Finishing his 3rd shift stint at the ammunition plant that sent him home at 7AM, Jerry retired to a shabbily built apartment complex that housed him, his pregnant wife, and their 2-year-old noisemaker, named Tommy. His sleep was interrupted on numerous occasions by his son, his bride Tammy, and 6 screaming neighbor kids outside. Mr. Ritter had, in all reality, gotten 4 and a half hours of sleep; and now with it being 3:00PM, he rose from his sweat saturated sheets and headed for the shower. Tammy’s 5th month of pregnancy had placed pressure on her overworked bladder and Jerry paid the price with a spray of ice-cold water whenever she flushed. She’d apologized for her absent mindedness, but because he was behind a moldy shower curtain, he could not see her smirk. KNOCK ME UP YOU JERK. TAKE THAT. Supper at 5 consisted of a wilted lettuce salad, tuna casserole, old bread and oleo, washed down with powdered milk. Dessert consisted of a crushed Twinkie. Tammy’s conversations were more rants than anything, but she bore the meager existence she had by being a trooper and staying put. Jerry left promptly at 5:35PM in order to milk cows at the Naylor’s farm for the next 3 hours and then rambled off in his 20-year-old Ford to the rural chemical factory that made propellants, a lawyer word for explosives. Punching in at 10PM wringing wet, he did not worry about static electricity tonight. Engulfed in his treacherous work, Jerry’s thoughts turned to his unencumbered youth where fun and frolicking filled his life. He thought about that vat of death he was mixing to prevent our country from being overrun by communists. He knew it was intended for Asian bad men threatening America, but he also knew some of it could tear the tissue from their own little Tommy’s skeletons. He continued to mix the nitroglycerin. 

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