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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hope Floats - A Story Of Viet Nam {#BlogBattle}

A day late, but here is my entry for this week's #BlogBattle, the weekly keyword-driven flash fiction challenge hosted by the patient and gracious Rachael Ritchey.

This week's Word is FLOAT.

I've been quite ill, and have been very tardy in replying to comments...but please be assured that I read them all, and they mean a lot to me. Illness has kept me confined to the property, so you guys are really my only window on life in The World.

This story is the first in another multi-part 'anecdote' that's just too long for a single entry.

Hope Floats

The L.T wandered over, clipboard in hand. "Got a minute?" he asked, with the professional smile of an officer.

It couldn't be good news, Lieutenants with clipboards never bring glad tidings, so The Dude and Biff  stood up from the everlasting task of greasing the roadwheels, while I slid down from the turret, where I was polishing the viewing locks in the cupola.

"Sure, L.T.," I said. "What's up?"

He looked down at the papers under the bulldog clip, and a small, shy smile started to light up his face. This smile wasn't professional. "How would you guys like some R&?"

"Uh," said The Dude. I wasn't sure if he ever wanted to leave Viet Nam.

Biff was not nearly so cagey. "Yes, SIR!"

The L.T. looked at me. "Make it unanimous?"

"Sure. Why not." Like The Dude, I really didn't want to leave but I figured my reasons were different. I didn't want to have to face coming back, You can't go back and forth through ALice's rabbit hole and stay sane.

But maybe that wasn't really all of it, and maybe I was more like The Dude than I realized. Maybe I really did...well, not like it here. But maybe this was where I belonged.

The L't''s smile went to a hundred watts. "I'm glad to hear that, sergeant, because it means I won't have to kick your butts all the way to Saigon to catch a plane."

Interesting. We weren't being given a choice.

"The Old Man isn't giving you a choice. You had two loaders shot up, and y';all need a change of scenery. That's what he thinks."

The Dude said, "Well, one was a ricochet..."

Biff added, "And Smiley was fratricide."

The L.T frowned. I don';t think he knew the word. "Anyway," he said, "turn the tank over to maintenance platoon, and get to the pad by 1500. Admin bird will take you to Da Nang, and you can catch a ride further south."

He looked down at the clipboard again. "Oh, hey...forgot the best part...where do y'all want to go?"

"What's on offer?" asked Biff.

"Bangkok, Sydney, Taipei..."

The Dude interrupted him. "Bangkok's fine," he said.

"Well, great, I'll put you down for..."

"All of us. We'll go together."

Biff looked at him, horrified. "Dude, I want to go to Sydney!"

"It's overrated. Trust me."

Biff's growl was like a kitten choking on cream, but he subsided, and said, "Well, OK. Bangkok."

"Yeah, me too," I added. "Why not?"

The L.T. grinned. "The Three Musketeers! Remember to have you service A's with you. Won't let you out of the country dressed like...uh..." He took a long look at us, and sniffed pointedly. "Like that."

"Last time I looked at my A's they were moldy," said The Dude

"Last time I looked at mine the moths had gotten them," said Biff.

"lLst time I looked at mine I was a corporal," I said.

"Anyone got a sewing kit?"

f you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing (even more so recently!), but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links (they're 99 cents each). And if you'd like a free PDF, please email me at tempusfugit02 (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll gladly send them


  1. Oh, my the boys are going to Bangkok! It will never be the same :) I was glad to see this in my inbox today, friend. I'm glad you were able to muster the energy to write some. Praying for your strength to increase.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, June! It's hard to write these, physically...typing hurts, which sounds weird...but harder not to, because these stories need to live on.

  2. I imagine they're going to find ways to get into trouble in Bangkok. Looking forward to hearing about that.

    Although I'd have rather gone to Sydney, too. :)