The Book Bandits gathered today to write. I understand that Riz and Jennifer are providing the prompts and Anita shared today’s set with me along with an exhortation that I should do something with them. They are:
- Miracles occur;
- I went to the woods
- Save one man at a time
I stood with my kids, looking at the tree line. They wanted to go on a hike in the woods. I wanted to take them but tree lines scared me. People hid inside tree lines and shot AK47’s at you and the day was changing. It had gotten oppressive and humid. The heat bore down on my shoulders like it hadn’t done in a long time. Things were changing, time was changing; the quiet day suddenly became noisy. Small arms fire was clattering around me and I ducked low. It was easy to distinguish the sound of an AK47. The AK sounded different than an M16. A lot different.
I pulled Emmy and Therese low into the grass of the LZ. Where was Linda? The kids needed her she had to come and get the kids. They shouldn’t be here. I hoped we wouldn’t be seen. We had our wounded nestled low in a shallow ravine not far from where the girls and I crouched. We were waiting for a medevac. I listened closely but couldn’t hear the sounds of the Hueys. Where were the Hueys?
The AK fire was more concentrated now and someone, about 50 yards to my left popped a red smoke. Maybe they could hear the choppers, I couldn’t. Then I felt them, that hard thump, thump, thump that rattled my teeth first and then moved deeper to shake my bones. It was unmistakable and the sound made me feel safer. I smiled, when I felt the wash of the first one coming in hard and fast. Automatic weapons fire raked the treeline from the open door of an accompanying gunship and the evac bird hovered low, never quite touching down. I took the girls and loaded them in. I went back to help move my injured comrades. We could only save one man at a time.
When the Hueys left, whisking my daughters to safety I crouched low and waited for the signal to enter the woods.
Voodoo was next to me maybe 15 yards to my left. He was calling my name. He shouldn’t be doing that – he was drawing attention to himself, putting himself at risk, but he wouldn’t stop.
“Santa Fe, hey Santa Fe,” he yelled. “Come back man.
“Hey Santa Fe, you’re scaring me. What’s happening?” His voice slowly changed and he started calling me by my real name, “Bobby, Bobby?” He put his arms around me and Voodoo became Linda. “Bobby, are you all right? Come back to me Bobby.”
Suddenly it wasn’t 1969 anymore. The AK47’s were replaced by the sounds of birds and the day was cooler and dry.
“Linda,” I said, “did you get the girls? Are the girls OK? Are they safe?”
“The girls are fine,” she said, “you scared them a little bit but they’re OK. Thanks for saving them. Are you OK?”
I took her hand and we started walking back to the picnic table, “Yeah, I’m fine. You know, I love you.”
“I love you too Bobby. I love you too.”