Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ranger - 6. The Interviews

March 2022

 

“I’ll be fine, Dad. Just get out of here and go do whatever you and JP had planned.” Brad’s dismissive hand wave made Tom Kennedy shake his head. “I’m kinda tired and I want to air out the stumps.” Brad’s endurance had gotten better but occasionally, he still needed breaks. He knew there was room for improvement, and it was something he was working on. “I’ll just veg until Trip calls.”

“Okay… There’s food in the fridge. Text us if you need anything.”

“I will. I will. Just go do your stuff already.” He appreciated his father’s concern, but sometimes the man was too damn protective. Brad swore he would never be a helicopter parent.

Pouring another cup of coffee and grabbing his phone, he plopped on the couch facing the pool and the beach to the side. Removing the prostheses, he rubbed the scar tissue for a couple of minutes, and made himself comfortable. It was time to put a dent on the gazillion messages awaiting replies. When the phone rang, he did not bother looking at who the caller was. “Hello…”

“Sergeant Bradley Thomas Kennedy?” The caller had a pronounced British accent.

“That’s me. Who’s calling?” Brad was intrigued but assumed it was someone he had met the night before. There had been a couple of Brits he traded contact information with but hell if he could remember details. How they knew his middle name, he could not fathom.

“Please hold for the Duke of Sussex.”

The line went silent for a moment, and Brad was suddenly alert. The Duke of Sussex? That was Prince Harry, right? No fucking way!

“Bradley?” The accent was still English, but the voice sounded younger.

“Your majesty…” Brad looked around the room searching for someone to help with the proper way to address a prince but immediately recalled he was alone.

The laughter was rich and loud. “Mate, that’s my grandmother. Just call me Harry, okay?”

“Ummm, yeah, sure. I’m Brad.” He sat a little straighter on the couch and switched the phone from one hand to another. His palms were sweaty.

“Very well, Brad it is. I wanted to call and congratulate you on winning last night. We’re currently in London, watched your acceptance this morning, and I have to say I was impressed. You’re an excellent public speaker.”

“Thank you! Umm, I’m really not much for that. Last night I had a little guidance from a friend who’s good at it.”

“Whoever it was, they did an excellent job coaching you then. However, you spoke from the heart, and that’s what caught my attention.”

“Thank you.” He knew he sounded like a broken record but was unable to think of anything else to say.

“Right, I wanted to talk to you, but I have an appearance shortly. This will have to be a brief conversation. We would like to invite you to visit us. The United States is not the only country with a homeless military veterans problem. We face similar issues in the UK and in Commonwealth nations. Meghan and I would like to discuss your experience at Heroes Haven in person. Any chance you could get away for a few days sometime soon? You would be our guest.”

“Thank you.” Brad realized he was coming across as a blubbering idiot. “I have to be back in school next Monday, and I’ll have a heavy schedule catching up after being away this week. Maybe in spring or summer? During my school breaks?”

“That would work. I can have my assistant get in touch so we can work out the details. Is that acceptable?”

“Yes, thank you.” He needed to get a grip, but his brain had apparently gone offline.

“It’s been lovely talking to you, Brad. We look forward to meeting you in person this summer if not before. When we do, I hope you’ll also agree to participate in the next Invictus Games. Bye for now.”

“Thank you…”

As the connection died, a frowning Brad dropped the phone on his lap and covered his face with both hands. Having made a fool of himself while talking to a member of the British royal family would go down in history as his most embarrassing moment. “Huge FUCKING fail,” he shouted to the empty room.

 

 

He did not have a lot of time to dwell on the fiasco; moments later, his phone rang again. He made sure to look at who the caller was this time. A sigh of relief escaped when he saw it was Trip.

“Hey…”

“You having fun out there, Red?” He and Trip had exchanged text messages earlier, and they had agreed on the time for the phone call.

“So far so good. We partied a little last night, but this morning was crazy. CJ and Owen ran all over the place before flying back to Mexico with Liebe.” Brad leaned back on the sofa and relaxed; at least this was someone he knew well. “You’re not gonna believe this, but I just got off the phone with Prince Harry. I was so tongue-tied I made a fool out of myself. Could hardly get a word out.”

“Prince Harry? As in England’s Prince Harry?” Surprise and amusement tinged Trip’s voice. “You’re moving in some sophisticated circles, kiddo. What’d he call you for?”

“Fuck you!” It felt good to laugh. “You can’t print any of this yet, but he invited me to visit England to talk about the homeless vet issue there and in Commonwealth countries. And he said he wants to convince me to be part of the Invictus Games. Whatever that is.”

“I’ll save you the Google search. The Invictus Games are the British version of our Department of Defense Warrior Games. Harry founded them.”

“Oh, okay. Patrick mentioned the DOD’s ones before. He thought I should check them out. We’ll see. I told Harry maybe I could go for a visit over the summer. I need to get in better shape before I think of competing in anything.”

“If you go, you’ll have to make sure you get in touch with Rash.”

“Who?” Brad had no idea who that was.

“Rashid Kahn. Not sure if you ever met him, but he was part of our group of friends. Your dads and mine. He’s an attorney, and he moved back home to London after his breakup.”

“Okay, I’ll ask the dads about him when I tell them about Harry’s call. They’re out now but said they wanted to hit the Santa Monica Pier later today.”

“Make sure they take you to Griffith Observatory. I was there last time I was in LA, and the view’s fantastic.”

“Actually, we did that the first day we got here. I posted a picture in front of the HOLLYWOOD sign on Instagram.” Although Brad had had social media accounts since high school, he had rarely used them since the incident that cost him his legs. Sharing images and comments regularly on Instagram and Twitter was something new. Most of the messages he needed to deal with were on recent pictures. “JP thought it would be a great post.”

“Well, that’s interesting. I thought you didn’t like social media. What’s your username?”

“I changed them all to RedRangerDC. No spaces.” Brad snickered when he said it aloud; it had been his brother’s suggestion. “Everyone’s been asking to follow me, so I started posting again.”

“Perfect! Hang on a minute. Let me pull it up on my tablet. Okay. Good shot! We can start with that picture in front of the sign.” Charles Beauregard Houston III—Trip to almost everybody—was a reporter for the Washington Post, and one of his fathers’ closest friends. Brad had met him soon after moving to Washington. “We may want to sweep up a couple of your posts for the article.”

“Sounds like you’re writing a fluff piece, Trip. Not your usual serious stuff.” The reporter had written an in-depth article about Brad, Heroes Haven, and the documentary when it was first released. The recognition and the award he received for it was the third one for articles on Squad members. CJ had been first. The one recounting their friend Chipper’s participation in the musical competition, The Voice, had been spectacular. With Brad, he asked for another interview when the Oscar nomination was announced.

“I do it all, buddy. Hard news’ the preference, but now and then, a human interest story’s a good break. Okay, I’m ready to start if you are.”

“Ready.” From previous experience, Brad knew their initial conversation would serve as background for the article without actual quotes. “Remember not to mention Harry.”

“I will. Starting the recording now.

“The image you shared on social media, standing in front of the HOLLYWOOD sign shows a smiling man. Last time we talked, smiles from you were scarce. What’s led to the change?”

“Life! I’m doing better health wise. There’s someone I like I ‘ve been spending time with. And I’m proud of the success of A Home for Warriors.

“A relationship? Are you romantically involved with someone?” Trip knew about Cristina but evidently wanted to get the details on tape.

“No comment.” Brad was certain those were the two most despised words by reporters. “Just because I’ve been in a movie, I don’t want to air all my personal details for the world to read.”

“You’re no fun.” Trip would probably tease him about this later. “Let’s try something else. Your father was recently promoted to commander in the District of Columbia Police Department. You’re pursuing a degree in Justice and Law at American University. Are you planning on following in your dad’s footsteps?”

“I think it’s genetic. My grandfather was a cop. My dad’s a cop. And so are a couple of other relatives.” Brad paused for a moment trying to frame the rest of his response. “Trip, I’m not sure I want to glorify my grandfather. Can we scrub what I just said?” The reporter was aware of the bad blood between Tom, Brad, and the elder Kennedy.

“Look, Brad, the article’s for Sunday’s paper, and it’s supposed to be a light, human interest story. Fluff as you called it, even though I’ll deny ever using that word if my editors ask.” Chuckles from both men reflected how comfortable they were with each other.

“I do want to start with you following in Tom’s steps. How about I make a joke about the two of you epitomizing the stereotype of the Boston Irish cop? We’ll leave the rest of your family out of it.”

“Good. I’ll make sure Mom sends a copy of the article to my grandmother anyway. It’ll broil the old geezer’s nuts when he hears about it.”

“Vicious much?”

Over the following hour, Trip asked about nerves before the Oscars, walking the red carpet, and meeting celebrities at the after party. True to his word, he kept it light and bouncy; he and Brad often laughed during the conversation.

“I think I have enough, buddy. I’ll finish it today before it goes to the editors. Want me to send you a copy of the initial draft?” Sharing an early version of whatever he wrote with the article’s subject was something Trip had done before. He claimed more than once it had helped catch small errors.

“For sure! I’ll read it over and let you know what I think. Can I show it to the dads?”

“Yeah, that’s fine. What email address you want me to use?”

“Send it to Red Ranger DC at The Squad dot org. No spaces anywhere.”

“You got it. Enjoy the rest of your time in Cali. I’ll see you when you get back.”

When the article came out, Brad made sure his mother read it and sent a copy to his grandparents.

 

 

“Damn it’s cold!” The walk from the Marriot Marquis Hotel to the Good Morning America Times Square studio on 44th Street was short, but Brad shivered as he shook his legs to dislodge the grey sludge clinging to his shoes.

“Someone will be down in a minute to escort you inside, Sergeant Kennedy.”

Brad nodded at the security guard.

The calendar claimed spring was not too far off, but the weather did not concur. He had left the balmy California temperatures on Friday and spent the night at the New York City hotel courtesy of the American Broadcasting Company. He had agreed to an interview on the Saturday edition of the network’s morning show.

“Welcome to New York, Bradley.” Leslie Warren, the reporter he had spoken with after leaving the Oscars’ stage smiled at him. Although he and his group had been all but ignored as they arrived at the Dolby Theatre, multiple media outlets hounded them after winning. Reporters for ABCthe awards show broadcasterhad first choice of interviewing anyone carrying a statuette, and Leslie had invited him to New York.

Brad reached up and removed his Army watch cap before shaking her hand. “Hi, Leslie. Good to see you again.” The woman’s bright smile against her brown skin dazzled him in California and once again mesmerized him, looking gorgeous wearing a hunter green dress with her long hair gathered back. “Sorry I’m early.” He had arrived ten minutes before the appointed time.

“Are you kidding? I wish all our guests were so punctual.” She slipped an arm through one of his and pointed in the direction she had come from. “Come on, we can talk while they do your makeup.” The much shorter woman glanced at the top of his head. “Although I’m telling them not to do too much with your hair. I love the dark red color and the messy look.”

Brad blushed at the compliment and tried to smooth his hair with a hand. When the show’s hosts introduced him, and the camera on him and Leslie went live, Brad’s locks had not been tamed. It was a nice contrast with the restrained appearance of his dark sweater and sport coat. Following an introductory montage of Brad at Heroes Haven and the Oscars, Leslie dove into the subject she had mentioned she wanted to discuss.

A Home for Warriors shows us one way of combating homelessness amongst retired military personnel. Shouldn’t the care of these men and woman be the responsibility of the government? Should the Department of Defense be held accountable?”

“Most definitely. But I’ve learned not to count too much on politicians and their appointees. Everyone in the chain of command has at one point or another failed us. It’s left to the American people, to organizations like Heroes Haven, and to caring companies to pick up the slack. I’m not one of those who runs to the Federal government for help when I break a nail, and I doubt many of my fellow veterans are either. I believe as a nation we place too much reliance on government, and I’m glad individuals and private enterprises continually step in to fill in the gaps.”

“Aside from Heroes Haven, who else do you believe has stepped up to help?”

“Well, I’ll give you one example I’m familiar with. One of my dearest friends works for the Nature Conservancy, and they have a program I’ve been impressed with.”

“Tell me about it.”

“I was raised in Boston and Washington, D.C. I’m a city boy. However, many veterans grew up hiking, fishing, and hunting. The outdoors instead of shopping malls were their playground. My friend told me about a specialized employee group at The Nature Conservancy called VINS.” Brad knew what he wanted to spotlight and had reviewed his notes the night before; everything was fresh in his mind.

“That stands for Veteran’s in Nature’s Service. They advocate for vets who work for TNC and help connect the organization with service members in general. My friend told me about one joint effort with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. They organized an expedition to a Conservancy preserve in Montana. It was an opportunity for participants to relax and learn about the sponsoring organizations.”

“Are you a fisherman?”

“Salt water. My parents own a catamaran we take down the Potomac and into Chesapeake Bay. I’d probably hurt myself if I tried tying flies.” The self-deprecating comment made the interviewer chuckle.

Brad continued after a momentary pause. “Therapy comes in many forms. A Home for Warriors, showcases the work with horses and dogs at Heroes Haven. Healing Waters uses fishing. Part of TNC’s goal was to teach about the need to protect the environment, so veterans and the public at large can enjoy the outdoors. In the process, they seek to hire more ex-military men and women.”

“Sounds like they’ve gone all in with their involvement.”

“I agree with you. They have. They provide something to help us deal with our demons and at the same time offer the opportunity to be gainfully employed. I believe organizations like The Nature Conservancy can provide services where government falls short. It’s up to everyone to help those who risked their lives to protect our country.”

The appearance lasted only ten minutes, but Brad was satisfied with the result. He was able to shine the light on veterans’ plight and plug a project he believed in.

 

 

“You looked great this morning. And you sounded even better. Your passion came through clearly.” Cristina finished cutting the slider they had ordered for Carolina. The nearly two-year-old had already started eating the tiny morsels with her hands. “Since my brother’s who knows where, I recorded it so he can watch it when he returns home.” At the time, Chipper Pereira was in the middle of a concert tour in Latin America, promoting his second album.

“Thanks. It was fun. I’m getting used to the darn interviews.” Brad had checked out of the hotel soon after leaving the studios and taken a cab to the Upper West Side. He had classes on Monday and would be heading back to Washington after lunch.

“Dinner last night and lunch today weren’t enough, Bradley. I wish you could stay for a few days.” Cristina had cooked for them at her apartment the previous night. “Carolina likes you.”

The girl concurred by nodding while stuffing her mouth.

“And I obviously like her too. I promise to come up once school breaks come around. I want to spend more time with you two before you move to Denver this fall.”

Copyright © 2020 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 53
  • Love 33

Thank you for reading. Your feedback in reactions and comments is welcome and appreciated.

And thanks to @dughlas and @Mann Ramblings for their help in making my scribbles make sense. Any errors remain mine.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Story Discussion Topic

US Army Rangers Sergeant Bradley Thomas Kennedy lost his legs when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Ranger chronicles the first couple of years following the IED incident. Will he recover sufficiently from his physical and  mental wounds to lead a fulfilling live? Will he get the girl in the end? Here's a little look at the story.    
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments



6 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Oh !I I totally forgot about Rash! Looks like it's time for a re-read!!! I love how brad is getting comfy with the interviews

Last time we heard from Rash, it was during CJ & Ozzies bachelor party trip to London and Amsterdam. I though it was appropriate to include a little reference in a chapter featuring another Brit. :P

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
4 hours ago, tabaqui said:

so now we are on to royals? :P

 

Two ex-military redheads with one advocating in favor of vets? Too hard to resist. However, the first draft of the chapter referred to him as His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex. I had to edit out the HRH after he and Meghan made changes to their lives.

  • Like 1
  • Love 4
Link to comment
4 hours ago, chris191070 said:

It's great to see Brad getting comfortable with his interviews. I loved the part with Prince Harry and the Invictus Games mention. We learnt alot more about Home for Warriors from the various interviews, it shows how much research you have done for this story. Truly amazing.

All my stories are so American, now and then I like to include something overseas readers can relate to.

My research isn't always in-depth, but I do quite a bit.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
3 hours ago, pvtguy said:

I absolutely love a fictional story that deals with real issues and highlights programs that help with those issues.  I hope it inspires many of us (all of us really) to look where we can volunteer to assist.  Brad is correct:  we can't depend only on elected government to completely provide assistance for problems.  We must realize that we are the "unelected" government that needs to step up and do our job of assisting one another.  This is especially important right now as so many are in need because of the current COVID-19 crisis.

The activist in me makes me do it! I like to put the info out there. If someone's moved to do something, I call it a win.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
3 hours ago, avidreadr said:

Great chapter.  Brad is getting more comfortable with his life but he's still the same down to earth person and trying to help others.   Loved it.g

I'd call Brad a reluctant celebrity. He may not enjoy being in front of the public as some others, but he'll get the job done to the best of his abilities.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
1 hour ago, Daddydavek said:

Thanks! I thought the e-mail name was catchy and easy to remember!

I tried to create RedRangerDC@Google.com, but it was taken. Imagination took over at that point and I couldn't stop. I'll expand on TheSquad.org in a future story.

As far as I know, the domain is available in case somebody want to buy it. LOL

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
10 minutes ago, tabaqui said:

Somebody bought it already, was in the process of buying it so it could forward here but it's gone and after a whois check it's been gone since 2016....

Really? I guess my search wasn't thorough enough! Oh well, now that this chapter's been published, there's no going back. LOL

I plan to describe how it came about in Ethan's spinoff, but that's not on the schedule until a couple of years from now. I may have to mention it before and credit CJ with buying it from the current owners. :P

 

  • Like 1
  • Love 3
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Daddydavek said:

Thanks! I thought the e-mail name was catchy and easy to remember!

BTW, I've been meaning to ask, is chapter length more to your liking this time around? :)

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment

I'm enjoying reading these chapters as much now as the first time. This is an excellent story.

  • Like 1
  • Love 3
Link to comment
31 minutes ago, dughlas said:

I'm enjoying reading these chapters as much now as the first time. This is an excellent story.

Thanks, bud!

  • Like 4
Link to comment
27 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

I enjoyed this chapter. So much to get interviewed about: I really liked the part about VINS. But when does he debut on the covers of the tabloids? 

VINS is a real program at the Nature Conservancy. So's the Fly Fishing organization and their joint work. I boiled down a long article into a couple of paragraphs. Hope I did it justice.

Did you know Brad's best friend's a media ho? He got a taste for life in the public eye a few years ago, and he got hooked. Another friend's a musician and models underwear for Versace. Brad has plenty of inspiration if he wants to live in the spotlight. Now the question's whether Brad will follow in their footsteps. :)

 

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
5 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Did you know Brad's best friend's a media ho? He got a taste for life in the public eye a few years ago, and he got hooked. Another friend's a musician and models underwear for Versace. Brad has plenty of inspiration if he wants to live in the spotlight. Now the question's whether Brad will follow in their footsteps. :)

National Enquirer, here we come. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment

I am not a veteran. It is a small guilt in the back of my mind. I am so proud of the young men and women who sign up to protect our country! I am also proud of you for using Brad's story to bring more attention to our veterans. They deserve all the support we can give them. Thanks. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 4
Link to comment
5 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

I am not a veteran. It is a small guilt in the back of my mind. I am so proud of the young men and women who sign up to protect our country! I am also proud of you for using Brad's story to bring more attention to our veterans. They deserve all the support we can give them. Thanks. 

Thanks, Jeff. My preaching may be a little more pronounced in this story, but readers seem to like it anyway, Next chapter's a rough one, and I hope y'all stick with me.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..