Summer School

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
a true story

Submitted: May 15, 2016

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Submitted: May 15, 2016



Summer School (a trilogy)

Here We Go Again

July, 1972, Mission alert. Fall in by landing teams, Full combat gear.
Sh1t! I shouldn't have drank so much last night.

Uh-oh! We're going to the landing pad in trucks.
Not a good sign at all. It's only a mile.
Marines are a very superstitious bunch. The omens are against us already
and it's not even 8 a.m.

Of course we sit on the pad and wait.
Chopper pilots don't like to get up early.
We'll probably sit here until noon! Sweating!
Here come the choppers already. We've only been here an hour.
Everyone looks as scared as I feel.

Ground guides walk backwards guiding the chopper they're facing.
so there are no accidents with so many aircraft in such a small area.

The ground guide for our bird looks hung over too.
He's not watching behind himself. WATCH OUT!!!!!
Too late. He's backed into the tail rotor of the next bird.
He's only 50 feet away, so his head explodes in a red mist all over us.
Blood. Body parts. On our gear, our clothes, our faces.
Hillbilly has an ear on top of his helmet.
Jeepers has an eyeball stuck to his chest.
The rest of us move away from them.

The chopper he backed into is now disabled
so we have to split up and ride in other choppers.
We all cram into the bird. No room.
They make us sit next to Jeepers and Hillbilly.
They don't want any of the bad luck to get on them either.

As we fly off an ambulance approaches.
No lights. No hurry.
This isn't fun anymore,
let's play something else.

How I Learned About Black Humor

We weren't "in" the jungle, we were immersed in it.
We had been hacking tunnels through it since yesterday morning.
Holes, five feet tall
by three feet wide
by a day and a half long. So far.
Clearings were considered to be anywhere you could see
for five feet from where you stood.

And it was hot!
The doc's thermometer said it was 125*.
The humidity was surreal. The leaves were sweating.
Drip, drip, dripping on us in a maddeningly sparse,
yet unceasing rhythm.
Maddening because we had started with two quarts of water each,
and what hadn't been sucked down by this morning had evaporated.
Few of us were still able to sweat.
The jungle had sucked every drop of moisture from us,
feeding on us like some gigantic, green, vampire.

We were supposed to get resupplied yesterday.
But the jungle has swallowed us whole, and they couldn't find us,
even though we could hear the helicopters circling above us
in the green glow that was our sky.

Then Jeepers and Hillbilly died.
Dead when they fell over.
Marines don't quit,
and snow doesn't get as white as they were.

So now we're carrying them and all their gear, as well as our own.
I take the head of Jeepers' litter.
As John picks up the other end I hear him sigh,
"Man, some people will do ANYTHING to get out of carrying their sh1t!"

Military Intelligence

We've been lugging Jeepers and Hillbilly around since yesterday.
We're back to the clearing we arrived at two days ago.
We've been running "patrol patterns".
Civilians call it wandering in circles.

Resupply comes in.
Five gallons of water and ten meals per man.
We unload the water carefully. It is life.
We throw Jeepers and Hillbilly on the chopper
like bags of manure. Non-hacking a$$holes. They don't feel it.
By the simple act of dying, they've gone from good friends
to unwanted burdens adding to our misery.
Besides, we're in a hurry to get to the water.

Five gallons of water each!!!
We are five year olds who got everything we wanted for Christmas.
Thirty minutes ago I couldn't pick up my feet, I was so exhausted.
Now I can raise a five gallon can of water over my head to pour it on my face.
Thank you God!
An hour later we get on the choppers again
and go back to our base.
Our clothes and skin shredded to bloody ribbons
by the razor sharp ends of the vines, shrubs, and trees that we've hacked our way through. Several of us will be getting transfusions.
Most of us will get at least a few stitches.
We'll all get an unknown number of shots.

Back at the landing pad
there is only a fading crimson smear to mark where the ground guide made a mistake.
Screw him, he's dead, we're not.
At least he doesn't hurt anymore.

We will all get falling down drunk tonight.
Drinking to celebrate our survival,
and to honor Jeepers and.....what was that other guys name?
We are all eighteen and nineteen years old with our whole lives ahead of us;
or the next training mission,
whichever comes first.

© Copyright 2018 Keyser Sose. All rights reserved.

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