Blackhumouristpress's Blog

September 26, 2009

Independence and Dependency

Filed under: Short Story,Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 9:32 am
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Independence and Dependency

Wade volunteered in 1968 to fight for the United States of America in the Vietnam War before the government came calling.  His twin brother Warren, left on foot and crossed into Canada through Maine.  One moment he was in Maine and the next moment he was in New Brunswick.  It didn’t look or feel any different at the time.  Warren hitchhiked to Halifax, Nova Scotia and found a job hunting Cod on a really big ship in the Atlantic Ocean.  His brother Wade went hunting small Asiatic people who didn’t know they wanted democracy and freedom.  They wanted equality in the form of communism and in some strange, unexplainable way, it was a threat  to people like Wade in Southern California and other regions of the United States.  That’s what he believed at the time anyway.  That’s what he was told then.
Warren met a bunch of young people who were rebelling against their Scottish upbringing in the highlands of Cape Breton.  They bought a VW bus and decided that they were going to grow vegetables and wine and stuff near Victoria, British Columbia which was only 5000 miles or so away.  Warren smoked a lot of pot, took a lot of pills and fucked a lot of women.  His hair grew to the middle of his back and he had a beard.  Warren learned to play the banjo and got really good at playing Bluegrass music.
At roughly the same time, Wade was walking through the jungle that had recently lost all it’s leaves after a B52 dropped defoliants from the heavens.  Miles and miles of jungle with not a leaf on a tree.  Wade and a colored soldier from some southern state where people protested and white people tried to beat them, came up on a village.  The colored soldier who’s name was Cleveland and had never stepped foot in Ohio, was approached by a small Vietnamese boy who was running fast towards him.  Neither Cleveland nor Wade could understand anything the boy said except the word, candy.  Cleveland who was twenty feet from Wade, suddenly blew into pieces with the small boy.  Wade guessed that the people in the near by village that he and Cleveland were checking on, had strapped a bomb to the boy to kill not just one soldier but possibly many at once.
Warren met a woman in Victoria who held all the beauty and poise that he ever thought would be possible.  Her father was a missionary in Cote D’Ivoire in Africa.  Her name was Joan and she had been born in Africa and lived among Africans and taught poor people about god.  A god that had become Dutch over the course of almost two thousand years.  Joan’s father came back to tend to family business in British Columbia and Joan visited North America for the first time in her life.  Joan fell in love with Warren as hard as he fell in love with her.
Now back in that village, Wade returned with other young men who were thrust into a part of the world that was as foreign as the moon.  None of them understood that they were in a civil war.  None of them understood that most of the people just wanted to live and be left alone.  The people in the village that they massacred believing that they attempted to bomb the American soldiers, were just simple rice farmers who were threatened by the communist troops and killed by Americans who jumped to conclusions.  As they walked from the village, it was Wade who saw the three foot deep, six foot in diameter hole in the ground that would have been consistent with a mine at the spot where Cleveland and the young boy seeking candy, blew to pieces.  Wade never shared that information with the others who had mowed down dozens of innocent crying peasants.
“Remember that my brother is one of god’s children no matter how he may appear and no matter what he may say,” said Warren to his family while driving to their parent’s home to celebrate the United States independence from Great Britain.
Back during the Vietnam War, Warren was the one who smelled and had long unkempt hair and a beard.  Warren was the one who withdrew from society and took drugs and alcohol.  Wade was the god fearing, god loving, patriotic, Nixon loving young man with a buzz cut.  Sitting in the backyard of their parent’s home in Orange County, california, was Wade on one side without a wife, without children, without a home, without a car, without a job.  Wade appeared to be a street bum more than anything.His hair was graying, long, unwashed and uncombed.  Anti-depressants and alcohol, helped to numb the effect of no life and no future for Wade.  Sitting across from Wade was Warren; clean cut and smiling the smile of a well to do evangelist.  His wife and children for as much as they smiled, were very uncomfortable in the presence of Wade.  He smelled and his face sagged.  Wade’s eyes had the look of a zombie.  Wade appeared to be alive but he had checked out years ago.  He mumbled incoherent things to someone who wasn’t there.  Warren reached across the table and took Wade’s hand as the whole family clasped hands and bowed their heads while Warren gave the blessing.
“We thank you, lord… that we can live in such a great country and have such wonderful things with so much hope and so much prosperity.  We thank you, oh lord, for giving us independence and have guided us to where we our today over the course of some 200 plus years… Thank you for allowing us to be Americans.  The greatest nation in the world… Amen.”

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Independence and Dependency Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 9:32 am Edit This […]

    Pingback by Independence and Dependency « John Mark Calahan — October 13, 2009 @ 3:53 am | Reply


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