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A Look Inside the Story
Viet Nam wasn’t what he
expected, and he’d just thought it sucked during the Crucible test back on the
island; the heat and humidly made South Carolina a destination resort in
comparison to the steam room he found himself in now. Of course, at least he
could get all the grass he wanted here, everybody had it and the supplies never
It had been the
beginning of the sixties but no one knew it yet, nor that it would be a
milestone in American social consciousness. As far as the old man’s home town
went, the sixties were over before they arrived, replaced by John Travolta
dancing around in his cool white lounge jacket and matching pants.
He’d been in-country
long enough to lose the FNG label, but he had so many days and a wake-up left to
go that he was sure that the flight home wouldn’t have him onboard except as
part of the cargo, stuffed in a black body-bag. As his buddy Frank often said,
“Better to just expect the worst.”
For Frank, his expectations had been met shortly after he predicted them.
He didn’t know what time
it was, dark was as close as he could figure it as he hunkered down in his hole.
At least at night, you could usually manage to avoid one of the Goddamn mines
that either Charlie had planted or had been left by some other Uncle Sam squad.
Just keep low, smoke your weed, and forget about the real world for a while, he
told himself as he listened for Charlie.
His former girlfriend,
and once you climb on board for your tour, it was always a
former girlfriend… if she had suggested to him that he’d be using drugs eight months
later, he would have thought she was nuts. Now, he wondered why they simply
didn’t just issue them as part of your rations. Nobody gave a shit, not even the
Like most of the guys in
his squad, his normal state was to be pissed off. It didn’t matter what you were
pissed off about, and if you weren’t… some bullshit directive would get posted
at base camp and then you could get on with being mad about it.
Tonight, the teenager
that even before the military, had mostly given up on being an old man, was
pissed about his cock. The conventional wisdom was that it was the shit they put
in your rations that kept you from getting it up. In high school, before he’d
dropped out, he thought all the crap about saltpeter was a myth. He was certain
of the truth now, since he’d failed to get an erection for at least a week now,
and maybe two. Time passes slowly minute to minute, but damn, somehow the weeks
seemed to fly. He knew that counting down the days didn’t help but talking about
it with the latest unlucky bastard to arrive was about as much fun as you could
get without having your dick up some little cunt.