Solemn Mysteries

This memoir is about fulfilling the trust a broken veteran put in me, and how I needed to trust someone as well. The photo is of a certificate I received after undergoing the Order of Neptune ritual while crossing the equator between Singapore and the Sunda Strait aboard the USS Ticonderoga.

“Welcome back,” I said.

His eyes reddened, and he gave me a strained smile. “Thanks, I guess.”

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Figment of Reality

This short story is “a muddle of memory and metaphor” I’ve been trying to birth for years. The photo, by anonymous, shows flares, Cobra gunships and assorted noise looking west from Da Nang Air Base. It was nights like these that inspired this story.

“It had to be OK because Figment of Reality imagined these tales of life and death again and again: of armed teenagers afraid and unable to understand; of more nights of rockets, machine guns and terror; of again running to warn my comrades who work on warplanes in the black night; of a flare popping above; of shadows under the wings dancing like fits of death.”

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The Thin Man

This memoir shows how seemingly small acts of kindness can sometimes have larger consequences. Some names and locations have been changed to shield an identity. The image at left is a poster for The Thin Man from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

“Were you a friend of Rick Hansen on Bell Street?” he asked.

“Still am,” I replied.

“I thought I recognized you.” He paused. “You ever?” He let the question hang.

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Convolutions of Fate

This is a memoir about getting what you think you want. The photograph is of me as an old salt on the gangplank of the USS Ticonderoga.

“I was trying not to show it, but he felt my turmoil. He even volunteered to stay aboard with me. His wife and daughter, who I knew almost intimately from his stories, were on the pier. There was no question about where he needed to be. I thanked him and wished him well.

Soon, most everyone was ashore while I just sat stunned. Silent. Stewing.”

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Noms de Guerre

This memoir is all about transit; from civilian to sailor, from teenager to man, and from voiceless cog to celebrant of attainable freedom. Photograph of the USS Sanctuary off the coast of Da Nang, 1969, by William P Jones, MD.

“One thing I knew: Ferguson was on to something. All of us lined up at morning muster had signed away our lives. No exaggeration. The Navy now owned us physically, and even mentally.”

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Come The Revolution

This memoir is about my first few days in a Navy squadron and the changes I went through after meeting my militant first roommate. The photo was taken of me nearby in the Fall of 1969. To be published in the 2018 edition of Ageless Authors Anthology due out this fall.

“Hill spoke: “Smitty, come the revolution, you’re gonna have to go up against the wall.”

I looked at him askance before inspecting an empty locker. “Well, you wake up cheery,” I said.”

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Duck Power

This memoir is about my stunted attempts at political activism while in the service. The drawing is my version of the G.I.’s Against Fascism logo.

“A lot of history went down between my enlisting in the Navy Air Reserve in March of 1968 and arriving in San Diego in September of 1969 to find out where on Earth I would be stationed.”

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Satin Jacket

Satin Jacket is a lightly filtered memoir about the sex lives of techies in the film and video business in the 1980s. Well, kinda. The photo at left is of the logo on the back of my satin jacket.

“I was skinny, none too tall, and sported a large Seventies mustache. But with this jacket, suddenly I was a thing.”

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The Third (excerpt)

This is a short story about a love triangle. It is part of a longer story about identity, sanity, and true love.

“A former Juliet, long tired of our shenanigans but in love with us still, presented a light into our world. She looked into the Painter’s eyes and told him he was what Asia sought, “God help her.”

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