July 9, 2020

What Carter Wrote

posted on: Wednesday February 13, 2013

Melanie Souchet ’14/Portfolio Staff

Bill Carter was always writing, from the first moment I saw him at boot camp, to the snowy forests of France. He always kept the notebook on him and never showed us what he was writing. The only person besides Carter who had seen his scribbling was his friend, Francis Bones. Bones wouldn’t tell us anything, which only fueled the speculation. “Is it porn?” asked Sammy Donovan. “I bet it’s porn.” “Wha-no.” Bones laughed. “God, no, Donovan. It’s not porn.” “The Virgin Carter writing porn?” grunted Tank. Tank had a proper name, but no one called him by it anymore. “Yeah, right. It’s poetry. I bet you anything it’s poetry. He seems like the type.” I always thought that Carter was just keeping a diary, but poetry seemed an equally viable option. The man had a splendid grasp of language. I was there at D-Day when he was hit by some shrapnel. The injury wasn’t serious, but it hurt like hell. I’d never heard such an eloquent and varied barrage of swear words in my entire life. Regardless of what he was writing, the company as a whole was determined to make sure he kept doing it. We gave him our pencil stubs when he lost his. Bones found him a new notebook when his old one ran out of space. No one asked where Bones got it, because it didn’t matter. Writing was important to Carter. It kept him sane. Sanity was hard to come by these days. You took it where you could. We all knew the day that Carter stopped writing would be a bad one. Carter stopped writing twice. The first time was when the Germans shelled our position. It was like the world around us was a snowglobe, and God had just dropped it to the ground. Trees exploded and fell; the ground burst in sprays of dirt and slush. The noise was incredible, like every fireworks display I’d ever seen going off right next to my ear. And the worst part was there wasn’t a single thing we could do about it. We

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