Two Birthday Stories (SunWE, 01/19/14, Truth and Lies)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on January 20, 2014 0 Comments

Choose an event from your life, a birthday party, a wedding, a vacation, etc. Now write two stories about that event: one fiction, one non-fiction (sorry no poetry for this one). Keep each story short, a few paragraphs should do, and each one should be entertaining and sound like its true (even though one will be a big fat lie).

* * *

Story 1

November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps and is celebrated by every Marine unit around the world. Sophia, Bulgaria, is no exception: the Marines stationed as security guards at the embassy had a party each year. Arriving as the junior NCO in 1968, I was assigned to coordinate that year’s birthday celebration.

From the time I started “coordinating” nothing went right. I hadn’t been there long enough to learn to speak Bulgarian and none of the hotel managers spoke more than a few words of English.

None of the hotels could provide “Western” food so they served noodles and the nastiest, toughest, chewiest sausages you’ve ever tasted.

We had all our music on both cassette tape and a 33-1/3 rpm record but the Bulgarian audio equipment couldn’t play either of them. That resulted in the five Marines of the detachment standing in front of a bunch of diplomats — singing the Marine’s Hymn.

My girlfriend, a secretary at the British embassy, went to Athens to buy her gown and expected me to pay for it. How the heck can a couple yards of cloth cost $200? And then… at the end of the night one of the British security guards took her home.

Happy Birthday, Max.

* * *

Story 2

November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps and is celebrated by every Marine unit around the world. Sophia, Bulgaria, is no exception: the Marines stationed as security guards at the embassy had a party each year. Arriving as the junior NCO in 1968, I was assigned to coordinate that year’s birthday celebration.

From the time I started “coordinating” everything was perfect although not due to my efforts. One of the American secretaries, Ann, spoke fluent Bulgarian, had been through this several times, and handled most of the arrangements.

She talked to the hotel managers and found the one hotel in Sofia that could prepare food that Western diplomats could eat. She also found that we could record our ceremonial music on her tape recorder and that would plug into the audio system at the hotel.

My girlfriend, a secretary at the British embassy, went to Athens to buy her gown and never even asked me to reimburse her, even though I offered several times.

Ambassadors, consuls, a great number of military officers, and various high and low ranking diplomats from many countries had a wonderful time.

As I wrapped up all the minor details at the end of the night, I found my girlfriend asleep in one of the booths and ended up carrying her to a cab and back to her flat. We finished the birthday party the next morning.

Happy Birthday, Max.

* * *

I did this several times with the “old” Gather so I’m going to try it again. The answer of which one is true is below. Click on the smiley face, hold the button down, and drag your cursor down to the second smiley face.

If it works, you’ll know which one is real; if it doesn’t work, I guess we’ll never know.

The second story is true.

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply