Author: Claudio Sanchez PM
This is dedicated to my language teacher, the man who made me begin to think about one of the worst wars in the history of the universe,Rated: Fiction M - English - Horror/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,106 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 12-01-04 - Published: 11-26-04 - id: 1768392
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Richards sat back in his makeshift tent, unable to sleep. Linc was snoring softly, tossing a little bit as he always did, caught up in some fantasy.
Mike Richards touched the harsh stubble on his face. It would turn into a beard soon if he couldn't shave. He had been out on patrols for the past couple days. You learned quick in 'Nam, he thought. Barely been here a week and already I'm getting brought down by humidity, being on patrols so much I can't shave, and calling air strikes on hamlets that they say have a Vietcong man hiding in. It's so crazy, the way we kill, he considered quietly. But is it worth that much destruction and death to kill one man? They're all sharp. But they ain't so sharp that you can't stop them.
"Huh?" said Richards dumbly, abruptly taken out of his tangent.
"Shrunken heads. Hee, I'm Dr. Livingstone," affirmed Linc, muttering mindlessly in his sleep.
"Oh Lord," sighed Richards, and he retreated back into his mind. God, he was sweating in the middle of the night, it was so humid. Couldn't see a thing.
It had been especially tough on him. He was born and raised in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. It had never been that humid. Never ever. Wiping his brow, he decided that he wouldn't be feeling so hot if he wasn't noticing so much. But it was hard not to notice.
He could remember perfectly when he had been drafted. He had come packed with a heart so heavy he feared that he might lose it the next time he took a dump. He sat next to a man who had volunteered on the plane; he had shouted "Oh look! Rice paddies!" just before they landed. And now here he was, stuck in "the 'Nam."
His thoughts switched abruptly to the Vietcong, the brutal terrorist group they were fighting against. They were skilled as guerilla fighters, and he doubted that he and the other men in his platoon would ever defeat them. But maybe they weren't the villains, the Vietcong men. They were defending their homeland. We're the bad guys in this comic book, bombing the innocent villages, dropping napalm like people drop change, killing before talking.
Richards, struck by a sudden thought, took his helmet and a pen. Working slowly and deliberately, he made the words clear and bold, trying to write it on the already soaked band.
He finished and admired his work, which said:
WAR IS HELL, it said, rising up from the helmet like an epitaph on a tombstone.
The sun also rises, though, and without a wink of sleep Richards sat up and got out of bed. He managed to rouse Linc out of his dreams of shrunken heads and got out of the tent silently and clutching his loaded gun for dear life.