by Ronald K. Myers
Ronald K. Myers
Almost Free is what some veterans were and what some were not. The Army Security Agency’s highly-classified practice of compartmentalizing people, based on a need to know, keeps operations essential to national security secure, and it makes it impossible for any one person to know or write the whole truth about Freddy Crane’s dangerous detour. After all, he wasn’t there.
In Vietnam a five hundred dollar bounty had been placed on any ASA member captured.
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Whether American novelist and short-story writer, Myers, is remembering the brutalities of being beaten when he could scarcely walk, being outweighed and outclassed in the boxing ring, or dying and coming back to life, his writing reveals things we could not have expected.
The humor-sprinkled novels, I’m Gonna Cut Your Ears Off and Free Ride are perhaps the best of his wild tales about life among the depressed economic classes of the U.S. children of mill workers of Pennsylvania.
His futuristic novels include Pygmy Wars, The Orange Turn, and Stay On the Blue Grass. Characters in his thrillers, Dillinger’s Deception and Impossible Gold are forced to jam years of living into a few days. Almost Free gives us a glimpse of the isolated island of The Rock, Shemya, Alaska where he saw the sun only twice the full year he was there.
When Myers and, Kenny, a brother he never knew he had, were united and they exchanged life histories. In disbelief, Kenny asked him if he had all his oars in the water. And it is no wonder. Butcher-knife-carrying bullies chased four-year-old Myers and threatened to cut his ears off. When he was a little older, he worked for months with a broken shovel and dug a pond in a creek. Fish and other wildlife came, and he used the pond water to raise over a hundred rabbits. Then neighbors ran raw sewage into the creek, poisoned his rabbits and killed the fish. And wildlife no longer came. He was told that it was progress, and that nothing could be done about it. This is the driving force behind his futuristic novels.
At the age of twelve, completely paralyzed with rheumatic fever, Myers was condemned to be a cripple for the rest of his life. He fought his way back to his feet, went back to school; and because he couldn’t fight back; and was considered an other-side-of-the-tracks slum kid who swam and hung around a polluted river; he was immediately pummeled by the cruel rich kids. He took the beatings, fought the crippling legacy of the disease and became a championship high school wrestler. With a college scholarship almost in his pocket, he got married, joined the Army Security Agency, and made it through a cryptic school where a few candidates who washed out were taken away in straight jackets. Then he was transported to Shemya, an isolated island at the end of the Aleutian chain, called, “The Rock.” Under the cloud of threatening Russian capture, he became a Ginny pig in a nuclear test called Long Shot. During the 1968 Washington, DC race riots, he was a gas station shift-leader and experienced the violent racial side of the American dream. In the late sixties he was a semi-drunk in Chitose, Japan. Back in the states, he landed in a steel mill, operating a 225-ton Hot Metal Crane from six stories up, where he watched many men get crippled and killed. When he boxed, he was called an animal. When he jumped on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, he became a hill-climbing nut. He has won arm wrestling championships. On calmer more civilized days, he attended The University of Virginia, was a tour guide, a mailbox painter, tree trimmer, clerk on the Erie and B&O Railroads, diesel locomotive mechanic, high school wrestling coach, salesman, construction worker, roofer, scuba diver, power lifter, union representative, electrician, and newsletter publisher. He is also the inventor of magical trick rope called Flick It. What else has he done? Died in 1998, came back to write. His varied life experiences are reflected in his writings. When he’s not swimming, fishing, or at a writer’s meeting, he can be found in Pennsylvania, reading and writing.