I promised myself to keep away from this topic, but I constantly lie to myself, it’s easy, like Little Feat sang in Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, “Momma said keep away.”
Going home from
June 1968, the Tet Offensive was in my rear view mirror, the “post mortar attack confession” to the Chaplain was now becoming a “story.” I decided, somewhere flying over the international dateline that I got 30 days at my disposal before returning to Battery B, 71st Air Defense Artillery, the jewel of the 97th Artillery Group attached to the Americal Division, aka the 23rd Infantry Division from the people who brought you the “Mi Lai Massacre” but don’t fuckin’ blame me. Bobby was in
So the genius decides to visit Joyce Altman in
The orange-colored Braniff Freedom Bird lands in
Heckle, heckle, little scumbag baby killer, how many kids you kill yesterday, GI? Yikes! We gotta get outta this place if it’s the last thing I ever do. It’s 12 o’clock and it’s time for lunch so into the men’s room I creep. Thankfully, I had my civies from R&R in my sand-stained duffel bag. Off with the military khakis. On with the paisley cotton button-down and khaki chino slacks. Only the military black shoes could be a giveaway, but it was a chance I needed to take.
I stuffed my duffel into one of those airport lockers, 25 cents I think, bought a pack of Tareytown filters and one pack of Camels, just in case. I needed to look cool for Choice Joyce. Oh, did I mention she sent me a Dear John in March of ’68? Like just after the fuckin’ Tet? Yes, she did. Said she was with child and would I please send her some money to help bring little what’s-his-name into a better life. Later, after much beer, Doyle explained to me that if I sent her money that I was the asshole of the decade. Greeno seconded it, and Monk explained that “you white ofay motherfuckers aint got no soul.”
So I wrote back that I aint sending her no money. A week or so later THE NON-SCENTED, NO S.W.A.K. ENVELOPE ARRIVES.
Back to the cab ride to
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
“She’s at work. Be home about 6,” she says.
“Oh,” is my reply. “Did she have the baby?” I ask.
“Uh, like, where is the baby?”
“Well, Joyce gave him up for adoption to the convent down the street.” (In
“Can you please take me to the convent?”
“Of course, Bobby. Joyce told me all about you.”
UMMM? What could that devil woman from hell have told her baby sister that might even remotely have a friggin’ amoeba-length of truth about me? UMMM?
What a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed little Norwegian looking bambino he was. I did the math. June 1967. June 1968. No way, José. Not mine. But……………