13, 2000 -- This is Episode 3
Previous Episodes: Intro , 1
next morning I awoke with a feeling of dread. Would today be another
day that I reneged on a promise to myself? How many times had
I said, as I had the day before, "This time I'll show Dad...,"
only to give up on my pledge the next morning?
My resolve only seemed to last as long as the effects the Alcohol.
Last night it was gin, and now I felt it: splitting headache and
terribly queasy. I felt weak, not like someone who would risk
his life for his country.
it!" I thought to myself, "I can't keep doing this!" I lobbed
myself out of bed and yanked the liquor cabinet open. My courage
Soon I was in my red convertible Triumph heading north on I-91
to Westover Air Force Base--with a little bottle of JB between
my legs. There were at least five hippies trying to hitch a ride
on the ramp. Their care-free lifestyle used to attract me, but
now I felt like spitting on them. "If it feels good, do it" I
Then a few miles up the highway there was another hitchhiker,
and I picked this one up. His sign said, "Back from Hell."
He had a long beard and long hair, and was wearing a green, stained
army jacket. He got into my car without saying a word and without
looking at me. I paused for a second, waiting to see if he was
going to tell me where he was going. But he just looked straight
He looked down at the JB. I offered him some. He almost sneered,
and pulled out a massive joint, lit it, took a huge drag and passed
it over to me. Then he spoke.
signing up, aren't you," he said.
sir, I am," I said.
ready to kill people, boy? " he said.
stuttered out some uncomfortable and meaningless response, which
ready to see you buddies get blown to bits, boy?" he said.
responded the same way again. Then he pulled his right hand out
of his pocket--well, the stump of a hand--and said,
READY FOR IT ALL, boy?" I vomited out the side of the Triumph
while struggling to pull over without hitting anything. The GI
slowly opened the door, walked up the highway and put his sign
back up for another ride.
the time I got to the base and found my way to right office, I
must have looked shaken. And I most certainly wreaked of whisky.
The man that Dad told me to meet looked vaguely familiar. He got
that, "I knew you when..." look in his eye, which quickly transformed
into the "My god, you're stinking drunk!" look.
think we better skip the physical today, son. Let's just go fill
out the forms." Even that was a challenge in my state. But somehow
I managed. Then I came to the last question. "Do you volunteer
for overseas duty?" or to put it another way: "Do you want to
go to Vietnam?"
My hand shook. My life passed before my eyes as I considered signing
it away. I thought of all the good times. My eyes teared up as
I thought of all the sex and all the drugs my friends would have
while I would be fighting for survival in the jungle. "Why do
people kill one another," I asked myself, "when there's so much
to live for?"
Then I checked the YES box. I was going to Vietnam. ------
in Thursday for the continuing story of a Bush who's gone to the