My entry in the 1st Annual John Kerry Fiction Contest
I posted this in two places, and then left to go smoke cigarettes about it. I thought enough about it to conclude that I had both not spent near enough time on this, and spent entirely too much time on this. I know this, and now at least you know that I do. 'Nuff said. Also I found the "contest" by stumbling on A Small Victory
's entry posted at that blog. And I just found another good one at KerryHaters
, who of course had this linked on their site yesterday.
I can't remember where I originally heard about this but the Mudville Gazette
is having a John Kerry Fiction contest, and you can submit your own in the comments at the bottom. I laughed all the way down to the bottom and thought I would try my hand. Go read a couple fictionalized accounts of "Christmas in Cambodia" and add one of your own. Yes, it's beyond the pale if it can be helped. That's exactly the point. I am not sure if the one I wrote is in exactly the same context when posted here, and I am not even sure that it will make sense to any but those who have followed the whole Swift Boats thing and have watched Kerry make whole speeches on c-span. I am pretty sure I know more about John Kerry than most Democrats. I tried to keep it short, but I could have gone on and on. So here's my shot at it, to try and hang with the cool kids:
"Do you want a sandwich?"
The covert ops CIA guy's dead eyes looked out from underneath the hat that he wore at a rakish tilt, an imprecision that mocked the squarely worn Navy cap on my head. I had been coveting that hat since he stepped foot on the boat. I didn't like him. He didn't seem to get that it was *my* boat. He didn't seem to understand that orders to the helmsman went through *me*. He didn't salute and he didn't seem to pay attention to much of what I said. A guy like that just wants to kill people, and probably rob them blind. A guy like that doesn't offer you a sandwich unless he plans to use it against you. He wasn't going to make me the fool, this SOB.
"I only eat heroes," I said, trying not to scoff at his meager rations. Maybe a little too hopefully, I checked his reaction with an inner smugness.
He only let out a little air from his nose then, and looked away. Damn, that hat looked sharp. I might have said the wrong thing. I only wanted to sound tough. I didn't want him to think I was a cannibal. Or that I thought he was a hero, and I wanted to...I really didn't know what I wanted. I just knew I wanted him to like me, to not call me out in front of the guys if I asked him where a fellow could get a hat like that. I felt if I could just be a little more sensitive to him, maybe we could get along. I knew I was going to have to cover that one, and fast.
"I just mean, well...I don't only
eat heroes, but I genuinely like them, if I am at a place that serves them. These sandwiches here though, are the best that I've seen, now that I've considered it. Yes, that has been quite clear all along, and I may have only just now articulated it correctly but that is what I have been saying."
And I made sure to make the perp thumb at him. I started using the perp thumb because it made me seem forceful but not agressive, but I really started practicing after an aide-de-camp told me that my usual favorite, the whirly-point, was convincing people that I was looney tunes. He said I overused it and other strange body language in concert with a bouncing of my weight from left foot to right that made people think I had a weak bladder. He said "to put it nicely". Well, I took his advice but I fired him, too.
So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I made sure I perp thumbed at him and drew out some of the syllables. He still hadn't looked up from his sandwich, the beast. I was seriously considering threatening him with physical force, truth be told. Here I was, the OIC on a mission into Cambodia on Christmas Eve, being constantly barraged with fire from all sides, from friend and foe alike.
This reminded me of the time I bicycled clandestinely across the border into East Berlin. I made that run, and I would make this one. If I got grounded when we got back to Sa Dec, well so be it. But getting back wasn't going to be easy, and I still had to drop off this inhumane warmonger.
The Cambodians wanted to kill us because we were sneaking into their country. The Vietnamese were shooting at us because we were committing horrible war crimes on their people in our hegemonic imperialist march of brutality across their fair paddies. And our side...well, our side wanted us dead for reasons I am still not at liberty to talk about unless I'm pulling rank on some civilian chump back home on line at the cineplex. And this guy wanted to ignore my carefully reparsed retort? He was a true Nazi, this one. He was like some fascist megalomaniacal dictator, that's what. I was certain he was everything evil, and stood against everything I held dear. I felt myself start to bounce. Left foot, right foot. Left foot, right foot. I'm always ready to pounce, or point. I reminded myself 'ok, watch it with the whirly points. That makes you look funny'
I wasn't going to actually *do* anything,probably, but he had best just think I might mean business, if it came down to it, and he threw the first punch, if I wasn't in a wounded state, or under some other unforeseen onus or circumstance outside my control, but that goes without saying, of course.
I quietly stowed my camera, knowing that my band of brothers would help me reenact this later. Anyway, whatever happens...he draws blood and I am out of here. Three purple hearts'd probably get me so laid back home, and that's where I'll be heading once I get that baby. And nary a one of these purple hearts so far as bad as some I've seen. What's the use of getting a medal without being able to be completely able-bodied afterwards? I might ever need to have the ability to throw them away, or throw out a pitch at a ball game. Or bat for the home team, if they needed me too. I would, if called. That's more than I can say for *this* guy. I better not say anything though, because that aide I fired told me I throw like a girl. Instead, I deftly tried to knock his hat off his stinking cowboy head. He quickly batted my hand away with surprising strength and rose to meet me. I was getting in deeper, but he hadn't heard the last of my diplomacy. JFK feared no man, and I have his same initials. He had something to say, and in the interest of diplomacy, I let him speak his case. I'm a kind and generous officer, after all.
"You touch me again and I'm going to haunt your short few minutes left in this world, you yellow livered college boy. You swallow your pride before you open your mouth at me again, you got that?"
I could see that I was going to have to get the other guys to go against him. I could take his insults, that was no different than every day at the mess hall. If this guy was going to try and smear me for thinking kindly of him even though he is obviously unbalanced and probably lying as a career, though then that was something worse than any of my guys would do. They might not like me. But my guys would still follow orders. Heheh, they had to. When he shoved me back against the bulkhead though, man that hurt. My whole arm went numb, and I knew it was going to bother me for hours after that, and possibly even bruise. I was sort of out of breath, too. I was going to have to set this guy straight.
"I resent your unprovoked attack, and I condemn it in the harshest terms! I am fully willing to knock you cold, but I only meant that I appreciated your offer of a sandwich and thought it was very kind, sir. And if you had let me finish, I was going to ask to see your hat up close. I like the style, and I'm going to be doing some filming tomorrow back at the ambush site and I thought..."
I used my secret weapon on him then, as I said it. I gave him the artillery point. Arcing and beautiful, my best polished rhetorical flourish. Unabashedly aggressive, I even launched a double artillery point right after drawing out a whirly point from a perp thumb. I told him in no uncertain terms that I thought very highly of the work we were doing here behind the Cambodian border, where I felt a searing pain in my arm that I wouldn't soon forget. I told him it made me really realize that the two of us were the same, that we were both scarred now by the hell that war was. I made sure I drew out the syllables extra long when I said that the Khmer Rouge would loooose, and weeeeee would win. I told him that somehow we'd survive, together even though President Nixon was denying we were here. I knew he must feel deep shame for his war crimes, and probably hated Nixon too. So I let him have it all, you know. I had to give him every chance before I acted, so he would know he was wrong about me and it was nothing personal if I laid him out. That's just sometimes what you have to do if you want to speak truth to power.
I had saved my big guns for last and I thought that maybe, if the timing was right, and nothing was against me, and I thought the other guys would go along with it, and I saw no other reason not to, and he looked away for a second, I might take a swing at him. But he didn't, he just kept looking at me with those dead eyes.
I knew it was time to act, so I straightened up and tried to time my lanky right arm with the bounce from right foot to left. I swung as hard as I could, but my first shot missed.
I barely saw him move, but I sure felt his hardened fist in my gut that doubled me over, and possibly, hopefully, caused something inside to break. I couldn't be sure, but I wasn't getting up just to be safe. He took his hat off and crammed it down on my head.
"You spineless nothing, We're in Sa Dec, not Cambodia. Nixon isn't president yet. You're even worse at piloting this boat than you are at persuasive discourse or fighting.
You can have the blasted hat, just take me back to base before you get us all killed."
I took him back to base, but experiences like these, with the insane and lying hawks who just won't let peace happen, told me everything I needed to know about this war, and the evil Nixites running it secretly, before taking office. I mean after that it was like they almost wanted me gone, like they knew I was on to them. I kept the hat though, as a memento. It's my lucky hat and I call it that 'cause I've been lucky.
posted by M@ at 12:56 PM