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I was playing in the attic pretending it was a castle. I was in third grade at that time, when children are most adventurous. I made a barrier with old stuffs, like old clothes or some furniture, and boxes. There was this flag with stars on it, so I stuck on one of the boxes so it looked my castle flag. I thought the castle flag is very important for my barrier. While I was moving things, one small box caught my eye. On the top, it said, “Do not open - TOP SECRET”.
“I wonder what’s inside the box?” I wondered as I shook it. There was only a little sound coming from it. There was a sound like “tinkle” inside it. There was a no swoosh or whatsoever from the box.
I couldn’t wait to guess what was in the box so I cut the tape with a knife and slowly lifted the cover. There was a white wrapper in the box and I took it out carefully. I peeled back the wrapper and there was another gray wrapper inside it. I was about to open it when I heard footsteps coming up the attic. I froze where I was and listened to the creaking of the old staircase.
I quickly wrapped the white wrapper around the gray one as I put it in the box. I put it on the bottom of the barrier so no one will notice the opened cover.
“Chris, are you playing in the attic again?” my grandpa’s voice ringed in the air. Oh, did I tell you that my grandpa lives with my family? My grandpa served in the Vietnam War, but he is friendly to everyone he meets. He told me stories about battles in Vietnam and how the bad guys ran away like chickens.
“Yes Grandpa! Do you want to see my barrier? I made it out of boxes in the attic!” I yelled as he came up. He looked at my barrier and seemed satisfied. But I made a big mistake when I put the DO NOT OPEN box on the bottom. The open top was facing outside, where grandpa was standing.
“Chris, did you open some boxes, like that one?” my grandpa asked me pointing to the DO NOT OPEN box.
“Yes, but why?” I asked him as I put more boxes for the barrier.
“I’ll tell you a story from when I was young if you come and open this box,” my grandpa said as he sat down. I took out the box and handed it to my grandpa. He slowly opened the wrappers and I watched it carefully. There were five wrappers and when he opened the last one, there was an old brown bell.
“Bell? What is that for?” I asked. I thought it was something really important like a gold statue.
“This bell indeed saved twenty lives. It was when I was in a military base with 19 soldiers. We were keeping an eye on the forest because this was a dangerous area where there were wires hanging from the trees. They were more hurtful than a cut by a knife. Remember how it hurt when you cut the tip of your finger with a small knife? You had a bandage on for ten days. Well, the wires were a hundred times more hurtful than when you got cut,” my grandpa told me.
“That would really hurt,” I said as I gasped. “Has anyone got cut by those wires?”
“One soldier went in the woods and came back with a cut on his arm. He was lucky because his arm healed quickly. You never know what was spread on the wires. Anyway, we twenty men were guarding the base thoroughly. Half of us slept one night while the other half guarded. It went on for a month,” my grandpa told me.
“Our leader had a bell which was used for calling us for a food break or a meeting. He also had a pet monkey, which was from the jungle of Vietnam. Its name was Coco. It liked to play around with soldiers and it liked good jokes. It was more clever than any other monkey,” my grandpa said. “One day, on a hot day, we heard a bell ring outside. We all thought that our leader was calling us so we went outside. Instead of our leader, it was Coco shaking the bell vigorously!”
“How did it manage to get the bell from your leader? I bet that he kept it safely locked in a drawer or something,” I replied.
“Ah, he did, but Coco was master at unlocking locks. He once opened a bag knotted tight that was full of something we didn’t know. None of us could open it except Coco. He twisted the rope tied around the mouth of the sack and opened it. He shook the content out of the bag, and they were bananas! Coco got all of them for opening the bag. Let’s continue on. We thought Coco was angry at something so we cried for our leader. He rushed out of the base and as soon as he reached us, the army base exploded!” my grandpa said excitedly.
“How did it happen?” I asked him eagerly.
“We never knew what exactly happened, but we think that the enemy put a time bomb on the base and Coco saw it. The sight of the ruins struck us, and Coco was jumping up and down like crazy. He handed the bell to me and hung on to our leader. We all came to senses and we moved on to the next base to hide from danger. That’s how this bell saved twenty men’s life,” my grandpa told me as he shook the bell softly, “the End.”
“That was awesome! A bell and a clever monkey saving twenty men’s lives!” I shouted as I rang the bell.
“Well, let’s go downstairs and eat dinner before your mother starts yelling,” my grandpa joked. We laughed together as we climbed down the stairs, ringing the bell together.