Ready For Anything

A Falklands war veteran who suffers horrific burn injuries learns to cope in the outside world when he is discharged from the 3rd para unit.

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13. 13

Tony Parker placed his uniform in a case and drove to the barracks at Catterick Camp in South Yorkshire. His mother and father were with him as he went into a changing room and got himself ready for parade. The troops lined up as he marched to the front and took his place with the other men who were being honoured that day. At least three men were wheeled out in chairs. Major General Dennis Lord presented the awards then the men were dismissed.

Tony changed back into his civvies’ put his medal in the special presentation box then gave it to his mother as they got back into the car and drove away.

“That’s that then said Tony as they drove down the motorway.”

Tony was now no longer a Para or in the paid ranks anymore it was going to be hard to adjust into civilian life; he was used to being given orders and giving orders himself.

He was now officially on the dole and would have to visit the employment office on Monday morning.

After dropping off his parents Tony headed for his local; leaving the car he took a bus into Tynemouth.

He walked into the Percy Arms and ordered a pint of Carlsberg lager he bumped into Stephen Aplin his friend and they sat and chatted. Stephen like him had been pensioned off from his unit he had broken his hip in the Falklands and could no longer jump out of a plane. Tony asked him if he fancied getting a few of the lads together for a holiday away somewhere.

Steve agreed straight away and asked where he fancied going.

“How about Tenerife?

“Sounds good to me I will get in touch with the lads and I will get back to you.”

“I quite fancy the idea of spending Christmas somewhere warm.”

“So tell me, how are you adjusting to life on the streets again Steve?

“I’m not mate; I wake up during the night seeing all these guys with arms and legs shredded “

“I lost three mates on the mission all badly burned I can still hear their screams and see their faces.” I wake up sweating like a pig every night.”

“I haven’t slept properly since I got back either mate said Steve.

“Here I’ll get the round in what you having?

“I’ll have a bottle of brown ale Tony thanks.”

“Tony approached the bar and Wendy Guthrie the barmaid came over.

“What can I get you Tony?

“Can I have pint of Carlsberg, bottle of brown, and two whiskey chasers Wendy please.”

“That will be £4.20p please.

Tony gave her a twenty pound note and told her to get herself a drink too.

“Oh thanks Tony; “I’ll have half of lager if you don’t mind; that’s a straight fiver then Tony. “ You sit down and I will bring them over for you.”

 Wendy brought them their drinks and took away the tray.

 

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