Free Trauma by Daniel Palmer

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Authors: Daniel Palmer
hundred words she asked for turned into a high-impact story that ran over several days and exposed a huge scandal involving the Department of Children and Families. David could always tell where the real story was, and he knew this particular assignment should not be about one triumphant marine.
    â€œThe story is in progress,” David said.
    â€œHave you interviewed Sergeant Thompson yet?”
    Sergeant Jesse Thompson was a Billerica native who’d lost an arm to an IED and was helping other vets overcome their PTSD symptoms with some success.
    â€œHow can you almost interview somebody?”
    â€œI’ve thought about calling him, but I’m working on a different angle right now.”
    David was more interested in the staggering numbers of vets with PTSD. The problem was approaching epidemic levels, with one out of four servicemen and -women returning from combat significantly different .
    â€œThis isn’t The New York Times, ” Anneke said. “We’re a local paper. We’ve never won a Pulitzer, and I don’t think my boss really cares if we do.”
    â€œNever say never,” David responded.
    Anneke sighed. “How much longer do you need?”
    Small community paper or not, he and his boss were still cut from the same stock. Both of them wanted to do good work, important journalism. If a story were here, Anneke would want David to find it.
    â€œGive me a couple weeks. Sergeant Thompson isn’t going anywhere. We can do a flashy piece on him anytime. But I want to explore this a little bit more.”
    â€œYou’re thinking series.”
    He pursed his lips. “The phone’s not ringing to send me back to Syria.”
    â€œWhat’s your plan?”
    â€œI’m going to talk to some vets. The guys who haven’t been helped.”
    â€œGive me some names.” Testing to make sure David was actually working.
    Luckily, he had his notes handy. “How about I give you three?” David said. “William Bird, Max Soucey, and Adam Bryant.”
    Click . Anneke had hung up without a good-bye. It was David’s signal to get to work.

    CHAPTER 10
    The house hadn’t changed much since Carrie left for college. The wall-to-wall carpeting had long ago been replaced with hardwood flooring, and Carrie’s bedroom had been converted into a guest room, but those were minor adjustments. Everything here, down to the round oak table in the kitchen, was familiar.
    The framed pictures on the walls reflected a close-knit family. Usually they filled her with nostalgia, but today they made Carrie think about Leon Dixon. How many memories had Carrie erased with her mistake?
    Carrie broke free of such painful, paralyzing thoughts to look at photos of herself and Adam through various life stages. She especially loved the vacation pictures. Some photos recorded ski trips to the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine, others showed their European adventures, a few had been taken in the Caribbean, and one displayed Howard and Adam riding elephants side by side on an African safari. There were probably as many photographs of Puckels, the shaggy and much-beloved family dog who had died a few years back, as there were of the kids. Carrie had encouraged her father to go to the shelter for another animal, but Howard quoted the comedian Louis C.K., who called puppies “a countdown to sorrow.”
    Carrie noticed Adam’s military portraits were missing. In their place Carrie’s mom had hung a couple landscapes she painted herself. Carrie was impressed by her mother’s latent artistic ability, though Irene credited her teacher for her rapid progress.
    After some time, Carrie wandered into the kitchen, where Howard was warming up the soup. Her dad had a full head of hair, but it was more gray than brown, and thinning. Carrie’s mom had once bought him a color treatment, but Howard never opened the box. “Vanity is a

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