Ten Questions for a Fictional Character: Albert, AKA Yankee, of Brothers

Photo by kzinn at morgufile.com

Photo by kzinn at morgufile.com

***Spoiler alert!!!*** This post contains information about my story Brothers, if you haven’t read this story, click here for part 1, and here for part 2.

Albert rubs the dark bags under his eyes as we walk through the small park not far from his house. He smiles at the children they run and play, taking a sip of the coffee he’s brought from home. “Daily coffee was one thing I really missed while I was away.”

“How does it feel to be back?”

He scratches an eyebrow and looks around for the right words. “If you want me to be blunt, it feels alien.” He jumps as a nearby child screams in play. Albert slowly lets out a deep breath. “Before I left, a screaming kid would have just annoyed me. Now I wonder if the kid will have all its limbs when I turn around. The world here hasn’t changed, and a part of me gets that, but at the same time I can see the bombs hiding around every corner.”

“Have you talked to Quinn about this?”

“The relationship between me and my wife is not a part of this interview.”

I fall back a pace to let his sudden flare of anger pass.

“I’m sorry,” he says, shaking his head. “If Quinn was here she’d be bright red. She can’t stand it when I’m rude.”

“It must be an adjustment for you both. What advice would you give to others in your situation?”

“The first rule is,” he laughs, “don’t use a pregnancy as a homecoming surprise.” He grows a little pale at the word “pregnancy.” “The second would be to get to know each other again without expectations, as much as you can.” He scratches his head. “I know I’m not the same man I was when I left, and Quinn isn’t the same woman. We’ve both had to live with wondering if I’d come back in one piece, or one-hundred. For people like us walls get built living that way, and they have to be demolished.” Looking at the children he takes another sip. “The key to demolition is love. Even if you don’t agree with each other, or understand each other right away, love each other. And love yourself enough to stand up when the other person isn’t being fair.”

“What do you mean?”

“If someone truly loves you, they don’t want to hurt you, but how can they know they’re hurting you if you don’t say anything?”

“That’s a very wise point. Did you learn that in the army?”

He looks down and purses his lip before clearing his throat. “One of the other men taken was a psychologist, or a psychiatrist.” He laughs. “I always get those two confused, and he always gave me grief for it. His name was Even Cho, but we called him Echo. He was a good man. He did his best to keep us sane.”

As I watch him, he looks to the sky and his shoulders begin to shake. A tear slips from his eye and he clinches his fist.

“Do you know why Juliette did what he did?”

“He—” his voice cracks and he shakes his head. “His sister was at Echo’s funeral. She gave us copies of Juliette’s letters home, said she wanted us to understand him.” He scoffs. “Never once did she say she was sorry for what he did, but she shredded me for shooting him.” He points at my notepad. “Make this clear. I shot to disarm him, not kill him. I wanted to after everything he’d done. But I didn’t.”

“Do you understand why he did what he did?”

Walking to a tree, he settles into the cool grass at its base. “I can’t say I’ll every understand it, but I can tell you the reasons he gave his sister.”

“She knew what he was going to do?”

“His letters didn’t state anything specific, but anyone could see the timer counting down if they read them. He never asked his sister anything about home. All he did was go on about what jerks we were, especially Echo.”

“Were you jerks to him?”

“We messed with him, pranks, names, and trash talk but no more than we did with each other. All he would have had to do to make us stop was to say something. The jokes were the way we kept ourselves from going crazy.” Closing his eyes, he rests his head against the tree. “The fact that we nicknamed him Juliette was the biggest “offense” to him!” He pulls up a fistful of grass. “We all had nicknames from the NATO alphabet. It was our thing! Alpha was Alpha because his name was Alvin Frankel. I was Yankee because I grew up in New York. Delta, Dillion Tallowmen. And Julliette. Jules Elliot Yetton. How were we supposed to know he’d been picked on in school?” His eyes water. “Echo is dead because of a nickname.”

“If you could go back and do something differently, what would you do?”

He looks at his coffee and shrugs. “The past isn’t worth questioning. I saved his life once, and then I spared it. I can’t regret being a vessel, or showing mercy.”

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day yesterday, and I truly hope you enjoyed this character interview. Once again, this whole series I dedicate the brave men and women of the armed forces. The world would be a worse place without you and I so appreciate the sacrifices you and your families make. I hope to see all of you back next week for my next story!

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2 Responses to Ten Questions for a Fictional Character: Albert, AKA Yankee, of Brothers

  1. waynemullane says:

    This was a really good read – I know a couple of people on a tour of duty at the moment and this is a very insightful piece 🙂


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