The Paper

September 29, 2013
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The Paper
“Ugh!” James came in the front door and kicked the Coca Cola box to his left. James’s father came running in when he heard the box hit the wall. He saw the coke box with a dent in it.
“What’s wrong son?” Said the dad.
“Mrs. Caline is making us write a paper.” Replied James. James sat down frustrated.
“Well… uh… you know what I used to do when I had to write an English paper and couldn’t think of anything?”
“I can think of something for the paper… ok. I can’t. What would you do?” James was not furious anymore, but rather curious instead.
“I would go to my dad, your grandfather, and ask him to tell me a story. In fact, his gravestone has a quote from the story he told me right before he died. Let’s go have a look.”
“It should be right… AH! Here it is!”
The gravestone read:
Thomas Edward Jones
March 20, 1960- September 24, 2000
“Mittendus est, et eius suffusas visionem habuit pugnae…usque…ad finem”
Carpe Ominous

“What language is it in?” James asked.
“Latin. The top saying says ‘And though his wound bled and his vision blurred… he kept fighting…until he was down.’ The bottom says ‘Seize it all’. I believe it is in the same language as the other, though I cannot be sure. Both are very deep. I have enjoyed this visit with you son. Let’s return home now. It is getting dark.
The car pulled in to the driveway with a full moon hanging in the sky above it. James and his dad went into the house. “What was the story?” James asked.
“What story?” The dad asked.
“The one grandpa told you before he… you know.” James replied.
“Oh. Um… it’s a bit of a long story. Why not you sit down?” James sat next to his father at the kitchen table.
“Alright. I may get a little emotion;nal and… stop at times. Here it goes. I walked into the hospital room. When I did, he say anything at first, so I just sat down. After a while, he sat up a bit and spoke.”
“It’s amazing what these gadgets and gizmos and machines can do nowadays.”
“He smiled and then coughed a bit.”
“A few days ago, the very boy that sits in front of me right now was told a story. He was amazed.”
“Again he coughed. And… and I thought he was about to die.” James gave his father a few moments to gather himself.
“That kid thought it was the best story he was going to hear. That kid is about to hear the shortest story that will be the best at the same time.”
“This time he coughed for quite a while.” A tear formed in the father’s eye.
“Before I begin, I want you to remember these words. Carpe Ominus. You will understand when you get older. Just remember this story when you remember me. I want carpe ominus right below the last line of this story in Latin. Ok…”
“He… coughed even harder and I thought he was never going to stop…” James’s father had tears pouring out now. He wiped them away.
“Ok. A young little boy named Alex went into war. He didn’t go into the front line. Not to fight. He supplied ammo to the troops. Well one day Alex was called into the General’s office. Alex raced into the office trying to imagine what the general wanted, for he was imaginative and energetic. He came in and sat down…”
“The coughing just… Anyway. So he sat down in the office…”
“I need you to go into the front lines Jones. Here is a gun. Go kiil soldiers.”

“ I am only a kid sir.”
“Are you defying orders soldier?” asked the general
“No sir.” Replied Alex.
“Good. Then get out there.” Said the general with his grouchy voice.
“My dad continued the story.” Said the father.
“Alex rushed into battle and… BOOM! A bullet shot him in the stomach.He got up from the ground. And though his wound bled and his vision blurred…he kept fighting…until he was down.” The grandfather/father’s eyes fluttered closed slowly… and he was dead.
At this point James had tears rolling down his face. “A kid was killed. Why was it the best story he told?”
The father smiled. “That is the question I had. And it took me almost 30 years to figure that out. It isn’t how powerful the story is. It isn’t the ending because… there is no ending. It is that one line. The same that will stay with him forever. And though his wound bled and his vision blurred… he kept fighting…until he was down. The power of that one line has lasted me a lifetime. It’s time for you to go to bed James. Good night. “
“Night dad. Oh, and dad…?” James asked.
“Yes James?”
“I know how to start my paper.”
The father smiled. The next day when he sat down to write the essay, he put the basic information like his name and the date, that kind of thing. He sharpened his pencil, sat down and wrote:
One phrase can change a person’s life. For me, that saying is… and though his wound bled and his vision blurred… he kept fighting… until he was down…

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