I’m not here—no jungle and no wire. There’s no death and decay, no monsoon, and no dink-stink from the ARVN rice-and-dog stew pot up the hill.
I am back in The World. I am kissin’ Keesha sweet and slow. I am—DAMN!—GodDAMN mosquitoes! Big as goddamn drunken bumblebees. I hate that sound....
Blood. My blood, Blood. I’m lickin’ sticky-red malaria juice off my fingers like the sick dog I have come to be. I drag my poncho tight against the night. Sleep. I need sleep. I am so tired of this white man’s war….
“Blue!” The newbie smacks me rough awake. “You’re up, man. Sorry.”
“Yes, you are, cabrón. You are the sorriest hijo de puta….You know, Garcia, you got to learn howda wake a brother up. Maybe just whisper sweet in my ear like yer momma did.”
“I’m sorry, Blue. I hate this shit.”
“Right. And I’m just in it for the coño.” I check my watch: oh two hundred.
“Jackson says he thought he saw movement. I didn’t.”
I scope Jackson out over there in the corner, all snug as a bitch with three more hours a prime snooze in front of him.
“Jackson sees gooks in his cereal bowl, Garcia. We ain’t had squat since Ann-Margret blew Bob Hope back at Christmas time. And he didn’t cum.”
Garcia don’t get the joke. Fact is, we caught rockets the night before the show and Hope stayed in Thailand or some shit, canceled the motherfuckin’ show.
Garcia pulls his poncho over his head and clocks out. Catching Z’s on guard’s the best we can hope for these days. Rain’s falling pretty good, and it ain’t even the goddamn rainy season.
Shit. I’m too young for this shit. I grab the starlight scope and peep the A.O.—a hundred and sixty degrees a nothin’ but Quang Ngai dirt and razor wire. Not a dink, monkey, water buffalo, or Mr. Two-Step to be seen.
Once I was a bass man, man, playin’ four sets a night and turnin’ down fourteen year-old jailbait. We gigged all over Southern California. Now my sweet ass depends on six claymores, three M-16’s, nine grenades, an M-60, and these other two douchebags, fast asleep in their sweet babies’ arms.
We got three-man bunkers fifty meters apart all along this stretch a Highway One. Charlie’d have to be crazy and invisible to hit us here. Besides, it’s slope New Year’s Eve or some shit. Tet they call it. Charlie be gettin’ laid.
But here’s the skinny, Boss: every second in Vietnam it’s Anything Can Happen Day, without Annette and Darlene and Cubby. Without adult supervision—Jimmy and fat boy Roy. The situation gets to you. You’re jumpy. You get paranoid. You see shit that ain’t there.
I fire up the doobie Garcia left, careful to keep the sweet glowing cherry hidden behind my flak jacket. Only thing I like about Nam is the dope. “Get high cheap and gud.”
A man could start a business here, ya know. Get off on his own supply. Buy a new car someday, back in The World.
Women…fine women…everywhere you look. Sweet as honey. Sweet as money. Sweet as this…this...rush…comin’ on….
Back on the block you could be...a...king. A man could forget…forget this Tet shit…January 1968…kiss my ass goodbye, Southeast Asia…forget…everything….
Back in The World, a man…could…dream…a man could die happy….
Back in The World.
- I was a prisoner in a Mexican Whorehouse
- A long time gone
- How to brush your teeth in a combat zone
- Libber and I go to war
- Fate takes a piss
- Thanks For the Memory
- Back in the Shit
- LZ Waterloo
- Saturday Night, Numbah Ten
Back in The World
a long commute
Andy X Kirby True
a tale of two Woodstocks
Buy a Gun
Dawn at The Wall
Feat of Clay
I was a free man once, in Saigon
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
the shit we ate
Combat Infantryman Badge
Firebase Mary Ann
the 1st Cav
The Highest Traditions
Those Who Forget
Under the Southern Cross
Whither the Phoenix?
A Bright Shining Lie
Apocalypse Now Redux
Hearts and Minds
We Were Soldiers