CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE
Saturday evening — 7:15 p.m.
“It was like …” Nash put his fists to the side of his head and then pulled them out. “b-quew.”
Nash shook his head.
“Mind totally blown,” Nash said.
“Have you been there?” Ava asked Seth.
He gave a quick nod of his head. He looked at Nash.
“Now, you have to be careful not to discuss anything that might be sensitive in nature,” Seth said.
“I didn’t really understand that,” Nadia said. “Why did we have to swear to secrecy and all of that?”
“The Fey Team is an intelligence team,” Seth said. “Just knowing about them is classified.”
“You mean people don’t know they exist?” Teddy asked.
“A lot of people,” Seth said with a nod. “When was the last time your dad was on the front page of the newspaper or on CNN?”
“Never,” Teddy said. “I’ve seen him back up when reporters are around. He kind of slips away.”
“That’s what they are like,” Bernie said.
“They?” Seth asked his father.
“You were one of them?” Teddy asked, his voice filled with awe.
“Define ‘them,’” Bernie said.
“A ‘G’ man,” Nadia said in a mock 1950s gangster voice. “A spook. A spy.”
Everyone turned to look at Bernie.
“I would answer that question but it might incriminate me,” Bernie said.
Nash and Teddy squealed with laughter. Everyone laughed either at Bernie or at the boys.
“I worked for my country when my country needed me,” Bernie said. “In those days, there was a lot more need for a lot more men. It wasn’t like it is now where only 2% of the population is in the military. Then, it was almost everyone. My father went to the Great War. When I was a kid, my friends and I went to Guadalcanal to fight. My son went to Vietnam with his best friend.”
Bernie nodded to Seth.
“Everyone you knew went to war,” Bernie said.
“Except rich people,” Noelle said with a sniff.
“Nadia’s father went.” Bernie nodded toward Nadia. “He was already well on his way to his second million when he signed up to fight. Most men would have been ashamed to not sign up. It was considered ‘un-American.’”
“And to be a Government man?” Maresol asked.
“Well, that was much less cool,” Bernie said with a big smile. “It was mostly for the freaks and geeks.”
“Which were you?” Teddy asked. “A freak or a geek?”
“Freak,” Bernie said with a laugh.
Everyone laughed with him. When their laughter died down, Bernie became very serious.
“I lost good friends at war,” Bernie said. “My eldest son didn’t come home from Laos. I’m glad that there are fewer wars and less soldiers. I hope to live long enough that there are no wars and no call for young men to give up their lives.”
Bernie gave a curt nod indicating that he’d said all he would say on the topic. Everyone fell silent as they ate their meal. Aden cleared his throat.
“I’ve never been in the military,” Aden said. “And, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to the atrocities of war.”
Bernie looked over at Aden, and Aden gave him a nod.
“I appreciate your service,” Aden said. “If there are less wars, it’s because your generation fought to make that so.”
Embarrassed, Bernie looked down at his meal. Maresol leaned over to kiss his cheek.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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