Figment of Reality

This existential short story, this “muddle of memory and metaphor,” has been in process for at least 12 years. Finishing it is kind of a 50-year celebration. I ended my in-country tour in Vietnam on July 17th, 1970, my 20th birthday. My comrades and I celebrated with a bottle of Johnny Walker Red in a hydraulic-fluid-spewing C2-A on our flight back to Japan.

Although this story is informed by reality, including a reference to the death of a Viet Cong sapper under the wings of one of VQ-1’s EA-3B Super Constellations, keep in mind that this story is more poetry than fact.

The photo, by an anonymous VQ-1 airman, shows flares, Cobra gunships, and assorted noise looking west from the barracks next to mine at Da Nang Air Base. It was nights like these that inspired this story. There were many of these in late April and early May of 1970.

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