All Fucked Up
Ad 2:
2002-01-15 22:51:38 (UTC)

Sock It To Me: Phu-Bai

This one's dedicated to the "minute men" of the Bravo Platoon Co.
Two in those uneasy moments of wake when you're screaming for no
apparent reason, eyes blood-shot red. And here's to the children of
these heroes-- who know why, or should

Dad, a 20 something year old kid, left the world as he knew
it behind him in one huge dusty bulge trailing back to West
Coast America. No more Diet Cokes for the arid summer
afternoons. No more sitting in dad's lap while watching the
Ed Sullivan Show in Mickey Mouse pajamas. In short, no more
freedom. However, there was one certain promise lying
omniously ahead in the future-- sheer purgatory. Touching
down in Phu-Bai, Vietnam while all of his buddies back home
were smoking the reefer and getting laid, he gazed shrewdly
around him, black sunglasses adorning his rugged, leather-
like face. Sure, there were plamtrees and tropical weather,
but apart from those sweet indulgences, the place looked
nothing like the City of Angels. Rickshaws and straw huts
abounded, towering the sickly children that played happily
in the miserable dirt roads, unaware of the poverty that
plagued them. Unaware that daily, men who were sent to blow
their brains out were touching down in their insiginificant
country in restless vicissitudes

Immediately, "Ray the Ripper" (his surfing name) was seized
by customs and stripped of all personal posessions, except
for a journal and the St. Christopher medal that adorned
his sweaty muscular neck. To him, the St. Christopher was
not a matter of religion, as he didn't prescribe to any,
but rather, he wore it just as all the other surfers did
back home-- as a symbol of oneness w/Mother
Ocean. "Remember, son" his father's voice echoed
melodically through his sunburnt ears just as it had a
couple of days prior, "You're not a soldier; you're a

That night he slept ascetically on a worn straw mat in a
cluster of shabby barracks that were hurriedly mended
together in an attempt to house the soldiers that invaded
Vietnam daily, hourly. No one bothered w/comfort in those
uncertain times. In fact, it was the farthest idea
occupying their frail minds. The number one concern in
those days were keeping their virgin balls intact. So
young, so naive

The next morning, as a voice hollered "Goooood morning,
Vietnam!!!" through a news radio broadcast, the soldiers of
the Bravo Platoon Co. 2 were jolted out of their tired
bunks, heavily bombarded by enemy shots. "Go, go, GO!!!!"
Sergeant Barnes ordered, screaming his insane lungs
red, "Jackson, you there....Doorman, you there....McAlpine
and Ray, front line, boys and don't give me no
sissy shit either. Don't have time for it." "But..."
McAlpine faltered. "Why you still standing there?!!! This
is the real thing, boys! GO, GOOOO!!!!" Sgt. Barnes
immediately shot back, giving them no time to shower or
even change

"I'm-a-fuckin-die, I'm-a-fuckin-die out here...." McAlpine
perpetually muttered as they stumbled over the tall foreign
grass, holding a rifle and dirk each and attired in nothing
more than white cotton underwear, shiny black boots not yet
broken in, a pouch w/ammo and die-cast helmets. Ray's,
whose band tightly held a pack of Lucky Strikes, was
decorated w/the request: "When I die burry me face down so
that the world may kiss my ass." Sure, when it was written
the very notion of death amused Ray who thought death quite
romantic, but now he was genuinely annoyed by McAlpine's
bitching. The last thing he needed was a best friend dead
at the age of 22. "Dude, shut up!" remarked Ray, hitting
McAlpine w/the end of his rifle in an attempt to install
fear in the dirty blonde, "One more word outta you and I'll
kill you personally, free of charge." He thought the words
over and reconsidered

"I tell you what-- we'll make a pact that if we're ever
seperated we'll meet eachother at the Venice Pier."
McAlpine's beady eyes suddenly came alive w/the mere
mention of Venice, filling his weary mind w/memories of
surfing and strolling along the soft white shores w/Ray,
thoughtlessly chatting about the endless lovers they'd
slept w/upon those very sands in summers long past. "And I
tell you what else," Ray continued in all self-
certainty, "Pull out your dirk, cut your finger and let it
bleed. Then we'll fuse the blood together. Brothers for
life, brah." The pact was made and sealed into eternity,
witnessed only by the shaggy palms that engulfed the smoky
skies above. Rat-tat-tat. The war was on

"Ahhhh!" The scream would be one that would linger through
Ray's ears eternally. It was the voice of McAlpine five
days into the war. Rashly, as if by routine, Ray ran to
McAlpine's side. They were eachother's roaddogs, coining
the term before it became hep. Although unspoken, both of
them knew their love for one another clear as they knew the
daily surf patterns of the Pacific. Ray would never reach
his fallen friend. As quickly as he sprang to McAlpine's
aid, Ray too fell victim to enemey fire as a single metal
bullet pierced through his rough, weather beaten arm
tattooed w/an anchor. Often, his commrades would joke
w/Ray, telling him he had joined the wrong military branch
once they saw the tatt. "I may be in the army," Ray
explained, "But I do believe in the symbolism behind the
anchor." "What's that?" Jackson would sock it to
him. "Well, for one it's a symbol of hope. Sailors hope
that the anchor will soon anchor them into shore one day,
bringing them safely home"

Ray the Ripper arose perturbed on the seventh day, unaware
of the bullets that flew over him in endless tides, nearly
grazing his skin. "Where...where am I?" he managed to
mutter. The small village of Phu-Bai had had it. Piles of
dead soldiers were to be seen every which way, some of
which Ray had personally knew and shared secret dreams w/as
they lay squished upon each other in the layered bunks,
nearly tasting eachother's sweat as is penetrated the
canvas. Silence abounded as thick and tangible as the smoke
stinging his dull brown eyes. The silence scared the fuck
out of Ray, for to him it symbolized death. Not a "fuck!";
not even a "Dig it, man."
"Where am I??" he persisted
"Your'e dead, Ray," a deep, poignant voice
answered. The voice was ridden w/authority.
"But...I can't be dead. I haven't even surfed The
Pipeline yet. Hell, I haven't even gotten laid yet. All
those stories I told McAlpine and the guys...all
fabrication. I..I...."
Ray looked up. He couldn't imagine telling a stranger such
intricate details of his life. He wanted to know where the
authorative voice was emanating from. Behind him stood a
tall, celestial man w/a beard in gauzy white robes.
"Oh, shit. It's God. Hello, God. Nice of you to pay
me a visit in all my splendor"
"Look, Ray. Here's the deal-- as you know, you're
dead. But if you really have it in you, kid, I can reverse
that and things'll go back to how they were. The only
thing, however, is that you have to promise to change your
ways. If you do, the reward will be bountiful. You dig or
not, son?"
"I dig," Ray moaned in pain, at this point not
caring either way.
Immediately, he fell back to the leaden grounds, only to
arise an hour later in stark confusion, remebering the strange
vision of God he had recieved in what seemed like days ago.
But was it real or was it something that had materialized
in his pain? W/a slight heave, he took to his feet and
headed on out of the bloody battlefield, stopping now and
then to remember a fallen friend, examining each as if each
one of them espoused a special history. McAlpine was not
among them

(To be continued)