Project Main Details
2011-07-26 15:09:04 GMT 2011-07-28 12:00:00 (GMT -08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 0 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 50 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
• Audio files must be delivered via FTP/Dropbox/Google Drive/cloud
Clayton Talley was raised in the Rust Belt. Even as a kid he knew there was no future for him in his formidable city. With high school graduation just months away, he decided it would be just as easy to survive in Saigon as it
would in the hood, so he walked the stage and straight away traded in his cap and gown for a helmet and fatigues. Eighteen weeks later, the U.S. Army
had him wading in rice paddies.
Despite occasionally being shot at, Clayton’s first tour of duty in Vietnam turned out to be the best years of his life. With some extra training, the Army qualified him as a truck mechanic and stationed him at a high-security
base. He made several good friends in his unit, and every weekend pass was a ticket to international adventure.
Clayton re-upped when it came time, but his second tour was nothing like the first. He was reassigned. Fighting intensified. Every day he lived somewhere
between total confusion and sheer panic. On a move north, his convoy ran into intense shelling and took heavy casualties. While Clayton was dragging
a buddy out from under a burning chassis, a shell exploded nearby, implanting shrapnel deeply into his left leg, severing tendons and breaking bones. He did the hospital circuit in Vietnam, Germany, and the States, and
served out his stint at a base on the West Coast. He left the Army with a couple of medals and a noticeable limp.
With his Uncle Sam no longer around, Clayton looked for a job as a mechanic, but his impairment, his race, and anti-Vietnam War sentiment ganged up to
work against him. Perspective employers would say, “Boy, you were in the military; you were only trained to kill people. Go get certified for real,
then come back and see us.”
Los Angeles was a big city, but janitorial and sanitation jobs were about all he could find for the next few years. On weeknights and weekends he
would meet up with other vets in a park. They would swap war stories and commiserate about their assorted injuries and misfortunes. It didn’t help
his situation, but it felt good to have people with whom he could share his despair.
Clayton moved further east and landed a job at a feedlot, but the high-plains cold got to him—especially bothering his bad leg. Someone suggested that rye whiskey could make him impervious to harsh temperatures and bitter winds. It didn’t work, but he and Jim Beam became pretty good friends anyway. Sometimes he and Jim would skip work entirely and spend the day together. Eventually, every morning started with a stern warning from his annoying boss. Clayton decided it was time to move on before somebody got hurt.
Each decade to follow found him a little further east, doing menial labor for meager pay—but somehow there was always enough to buy booze. The alcohol
kept him buzzed and poor.
A barroom brawl in Nashville landed him in the slammer for one whole weekend. During the booking, he heard the police throw around the words bum
and drunk. Even in his stupor, it registered that they were talking about him. The next 48 hours were spent staring at the ceiling of a cell and wondering how he got where he was and what would be his destiny. For the first time, he saw himself as others did, and it was a dismal portrait.
Four years ago, Clayton moved back to Detroit. His old neighborhood was nothing like he remembered. In fact, it looked more like some of the bombed-out places he used to come across in Vietnam. Everybody he knew was long gone.
These days he sleeps in a shed behind an auto body shop. The owner doesn’t bother him. In fact, he occasionally has Clayton sweep up around the place
in exchange for fresh coffee and a few dollars. He often thinks of the irony of escaping his city, only to end up back there as a prisoner of poverty and his poor choices. He wonders if there will ever be another opportunity for him, but now, on the high side of 60, he seriously doubts it. Furthermore, he has no neighbors to inspire him, even if something were to come his way.
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