Reading Short Story 5  

Death Price : 1  





English Translation:

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EVERYBODY said they hated the way he stood. Thanks to his certificate from the elementary school exam, which he barely passed, he became a corporal as soon as he enlisted in the army. And thanks to his ability to "sweet-talk" and be a good lackey, he rose rapidly to the rank of lieutenant. In fact, he had been promoted so recently to his new grade that he looked dreadfully unfit to wear brass on his epaulettes.

He was in charge of the Army Transport Division, a service provided to transport military officials and their families from Viengchan to other provinces within the country. The passengers knew him only by the name of Mister The Lieutenant.  He was standing there, right at the bottom of the steps of the airplane, calling our names from the passenger manifest with authority and grandeur as if he were the mightiest of the mighty. All eyes were focused anxiously on him, all afraid that their names might be forgotten.  Thongsy was one of many passengers waiting to board the plane. Two of her children hung in her arms, one on each side, and the third clung to her waist. She was married to an army officer who was posted in Muong Sui.’ She had tried many times to get passes to visit her husband and each time her name had been bypassed.   Once again, she began waiting at daybreak to board the plane. Earlier, Mister The Lieutenant had taken her name and told her to be patient for a while. She waited to be called for the first flight, but that did not happen. Instead, Mister The Lieutenant announced: "The plane is full. You’ll have to wait for the second flight at twelve o’clock"


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