Episode 11 - On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence

Roy grew up in North Philadelphia in a row house on Orianna Street. He never met his father who died in jail for killing a Wawa convenience store clerk. His mother worked hard to raise him and his sister Joleanna, working double shifts at the Parent Cooperative Nursery to pay for his schooling. Roy's dad was a musician and left behind his drum kit and a reel-to-reel tape recorder, which Roy used to record his first songs. At age 15 Roy was already performing with a school band and making enough money to pay for his guitar lessons. Then Mrs. Uchena became ill. She had a stroke in the fall of 2002. When she awoke 20 days later they found that her body had all but stopped working: she could only control her left eyelid. She has a condition which is called Locked-In syndrome, she is aware and awake, but cannot move or communicate due to complete paralysis of the body. It is the result of a brain stem stroke, some people confuse it with a coma or quadriplegia. At that point, Roy was 19 years old, touring with a R&B band called The Pedestrians, money was scarce and the band still had to make an impression to record labels. He dropped everything. He went to work at a ShopRite Store since he had no other skills beside singing in a band. Within the next few months he realized most of his income was going just to support himself. He needed a better solution, fast. With room and board included, the Marines sounded like a perfect option. And here he was: sitting inside my tent sipping on coffee. Not to stay awake, but to keep his hands warm. Roy and I talked for hours tonight. I learned more about this guy this evening then in the last few months we spent together. It's good to know I'm not the only misfit around here. The weather changed drastically this week, bringing snow to the Mulberry Mountain top. We finished our sonar scan of the pond last week with not much success, no sign of Dan's body. Ironically, the biggest reading we got was from Dr. Johnson's cage. Not a sign of tampering with our improvised trap, the fish seem more interested in the bait than our hypothetic monster. We also mapped out the position of the bomb. Professor Evgeny thinks we need a closer inspection, meaning a deep diving investigation of the bomb's location. If the missile's warhead fissures, it's the end of this part of the country. - We've looked for weapons of mass destruction so hard, we forgot to look in our own backyard - said Ben this afternoon. We are still doing our patrol trips to the pond, only two men at the time. This morning we could see icicles in the waterfall and at some parts of the shore, there was ice. Thank God our winter gear arrived. I was getting a little worried. It's going to be a long cold winter. - Hey, Private! Pass me the coffee would you?

by Corporal John Harris, November 17, 2005