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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


by Mel Waldman

“Come in and drink a cup of hot or cold cider for peace.”

Nearby, a soldier gazes at the G.I. Café, unaware of the ghosts
of other wars surrounding him. He listens to a stranger’s voice
calling out to him.

“We love this beautiful country of ours, just like you. So join us
for a soulful discussion of the war, the way things are, and the
possibilities for peace.”

He’s a patriot. He’ll die for America to ensure our safety and
freedom. Yet the voice beckons him and he moves closer to the

On this cold autumn morning, the air is biting and harsh. There
are no other humans outside the café. He believes he is alone. Yet
the ghosts watch him.

Then, suddenly, a fog develops, enclosing him in a preternatural
atmosphere of zero visibility.

“Let’s discuss the facts,” the disembodied voice cries out, penetrating
the fog. “I’m a soldier too.”

Inside the eerie circle of mist, he hesitates.

“Come in out of the cold,” the voice commands, appealing to old fashioned

He has questions. And he’s curious.

“We’re a place to talk.”

He enters the Different Drummer Internet Café in Watertown , N.Y. , near Fort
Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, seeking the phantom voice that has
beckoned him. It belongs to a veteran, a woman with a magical smile.

“Welcome, soldier.”

He looks quizzically at her, his fugitive mind already drifting off to the wars
he’s fought and to the young soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division who will
go to Iraq and Afghanistan .

Buried in the deep snow of despair, he emerges from the heavy silence, filled
with fragmentary memories and shards of anguish, and says:

“Hello. I’m a soldier and patriot. But I’ve got questions.”

“We’ve got hot and cold cider, soldier. And a cup of peace, perhaps. Let’s talk.”

Dr. Mel Waldman is a poet, writer, artist, and singer/songwriter. His stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews and commercial magazines including Happy, Sweet Annie Press, Children, Churches and Daddies, Down in the Dirt, New Thought Journal, The Brooklyn Literary Review, Hardboiled Detective, Detective Story Magazine, Espionage, and The Saint. He is a past winner of the literary Gradiva Award in Psychoanalysis and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, American Mensa, Ltd., and the American Psychological Association. Who Killed the Heartbreak Kid?, a mystery novel, was published by iUniverse in February 2006. It can be purchased at,, at, and other online bookstores or through local bookstores. Recently, some of his poems have appeared online in The Jerusalem Post.