I Propose a Writing Exercise

The ninehundredpound brains at Powerline have linked to a hilarious scholarly piece by Thomas Lipscomb in Oregon Magazine. A sample:

Drowning in Cambodia
By Thomas Lipscomb
It has been a rough ten days for Senator John Kerry. First Democratic Party moneybags George Soros said Kerry’s name on the Presidential ballot was a dead loser. Then Teresa Heinz Kerry decided to borrow a dead winner’s
rather than a live loser’s last name, reverting to “Teresa Heinz” for public appearances. But the worst day Kerry had was a Sunday answering Tim Russert’s questions on Meet the Press on — (what else?) —-Vietnam.
Asked about his Christmas Eve in Cambodia “seared, seared” in Kerry’s memory, according to one of his Senate speech transcripts, Kerry tried a half-baked variation on the theme: “Was it on that night? No, it was not on that night. But we were right on the Cambodian border that night. We were ambushed there, as a matter of fact. And that is a matter of record, and we went into the rec– you know, it’s part of the Navy records.”
To ambush or not to ambush.

*I’ve bumped this back up to the top since we keep getting entries*

Alas “as a matter of fact,” at least according to Kerry’s own journal, supplied to his biographer Douglas Brinkley for inclusion in TOUR OF DUTY, “that night” Kerry was in Sa Dec in Viet Nam, south of Saigon and fifty miles from Cambodia, writing his parents about “visions of sugar plums.” And it isn’t “part of the Navy records” either. An “ambush” would require an official after action report like the ones Kerry exhibits on his “complete” website. So
either Kerry doesn’t include one on this because there isn’t one, or Kerry’s website isn’t complete, or both.
It gets worse. Under Russert’s questioning Kerry has a burst of sudden recall. “But we did go five miles into Cambodia. It was on another day. I jumbled the two together, but we were five miles into Cambodia. We went
up on a mission with CIA agents–I believe they were CIA agents–CIA Special Ops guys. I even have some photographs of it, and I can document it. And it has been documented.”

Please read the assigned piece in it’s entirety at your leisure. Mr. Lipscomb is a master and loud, rude guffaws will ensue.

Now, for My Proposal and it’s rules of engagement:
1) We are writing a draft screenplay called ‘Smoke on the Water:A Cambodian Christmas‘. (His life being so full of epic moments, I felt the prudent move is to limit it to just this one.)
2) Please keep your narrative/yarn to at most short paragraph. Pick up the action where the previous poster left off and contribute your own flights of fancy for this riveting saga.
3) Use all of your imagination. And as little foul language as possible, a challenge considering the subject matter. Decorative and artful cursing in the course of conversation between players is not expressly prohibited.
Pencils and legal pads at the ready? Grand!
Now have at it and remember, it’s a (Cambodian) jungle out there.

33 Responses to “I Propose a Writing Exercise”

  1. There I was, at my usual post in the gunwale. The rank stench of foetid water hung like a cloud in the stifling humidity of almost Cambodia at Christmas. I could never wash it out of my Ken doll hair.

  2. Ken Summers says:

    It was a dark and stormy night, seared, seared into my memory…

  3. Ken Summers says:

    My faithful companion, VC the WonderDog, was by my side deeping an eye out for Vietnamese teenagers to shoot in the back…

  4. Ken Summers says:

    [red face] “KEEPING an eye out…”

  5. Crusader says:

    Wide awake, I was. Unable to sleep, with the constant pain in my buttocks, a lasting scar from the fight I had fending of attacking rice with my trusty M-79, which I was highly qualified to fire….

  6. Monkeys chattered as they swung through the treetops, masking the sounds of the enemy we all knew to be lurking as we drew almost to Cambodia. Did I mention there were other guys on the boat too? But enough about them…

  7. Crusader says:

    Dreams of sugarplums flowed through my mind as I lay on my cot….err…umm…(cough)…all of a sudden, the Spook we were ferrying asked me about my hair, shattering the silence…

  8. Writing Contest

    Righteous babe Tree Hugging Sister has a writing contest. This could be good……

  9. shannon says:

    . . . and I unconsciously reached for my lucky hat. He smirked around his cigarette as he watched me grope the empty space beside me. A horrible thought: was this how my life was always going to be? Reaching, then coming up empty?

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    Where was it? I had to find it…and damn that howling wind, whistling across the pockmarked face of the Mekong Delta as we slowly chugged up to the headwaters of the Yangtze for our meeting with the Cordon Bleu. Where was it?

  11. Mr. Bingley says:

    and that constant drone of the engines…engines I had put back together with my bare hands.

  12. Crusader says:

    And hearing that chug chug sound (like that of me firing on B-40 wielding children) was when I remembered that the suminabench had pushed my hat off of the sloped gunshield on the Ma Deuce, and gotten it wet and mildewed, so I had had to put it in my briefcase to dry….

  13. As I watched the swirling black waters, lulled into a trance by the erotic, rhythmic chug, I had a sudden vision of the future and it’s face was…Nixon! Horrified, I jerked awake and realized it had been Rich Little all along. Whew! My painful buttocks eased their alarmed clenching. Weak with relief, I sniffed the air for traces of the enemy…and the sweatband of my hat…

  14. Ken Summers says:

    Running the river was dangerous, like running with the bulls in Pamplona. But that’s me, Primal John. I thrive on danger. My good luck hat, given to me by the CIA guy especially for this mission, shielded my eyes as I pointed my finger and raised my thumb, creating an imaginary gun to aim at the unseen foe. “Pow.”

  15. Mr. Bingley says:

    I was glad I’d remembered it was in the briefcase…right there next to the plans ‘Ol Dick had asked me to look over…bombing plans…mining plans. ‘Ol Dick trusted my judgement, knew he could confide in me. I wanted to tell him no, no Mr. President, we need more nuance than a flotilla of B-52s or a screaming low level run from Puff, but this mission got in the way. It always did.

  16. shannon says:

    Off to the right, I heard snickering, and one harsh bark that sounded like laughter. I whipped my head around, and understood. It was the guys on that other boat. They’d been giving me a hard time — but what grunt doesn’t resent his superiors? They didn’t know what I was giving up so that I could guide them . . .

  17. Mr. Bingley says:

    They couldn’t know. I had a clear plan to guide them, a great plan, one that I decided to use before I decided not to use it.

  18. Jorgen says:

    One needs a good memory when one has lied.
    Ten years from now, he will be claiming that he was President of the USA in 2004. And Reuters, CNN etc. will believe him.

  19. The Real JeffS says:

    Baages? We don’ need no steenkin’ Baages!!

  20. Crusader says:

    But ‘Ol Dick had sent me here, to report for duty. Ugh, another shot of pain from the rice, who I didn’t vote for, reminded me of the pain I saw in ‘Ol Dick when I proudly told him I voted for him, before I voted against him. Even with that checker’d speech dogging me, he still sent me here to Viet Nam, where I am serving, by the way.

  21. But the mission…we had to wrap up the mission and we were almost in Cambodia. Wispy last gasps of the sporadic fireworks were dispersing among moonlit clouds. The spook in the front of the boat rubbed out his doobie against the hull, pocketing the remains. He smiled cryptically at the dark banks, turned to me and nodded at the cargo in the hull. “It’s showtime.”

  22. My cerebral lobe was screaming ‘I didn’t sign up for this excrement from masculine bovines…!!!’ I ran a shaking hand through my perfect hair, my outward appearence it’s usual mesh of dashing, suave and debonaire.

  23. Crusader says:

    But as the spook exited the hull of the Swift and slid into the dense jungle to deliver the goods to the Kymer Rug, the sight caused my mind to drift back to the years of my youth, crawling through the dense brush on my hands and knees, double barrel shotgun in hand, on the prowl for bambi. But the prey over here, like the rice I hit with my blooper, was much more deadly, and would fight back…stinging you in the rear when you least expected it. Hopefully they were to involved with barking at the moon for Tet this time around to even notice we were in their Cambodia…..

  24. Gunslinger says:

    0557 hrs
    We’re about to make a supply stop in Phuc Mei, less than two clicks from the Cambodian border. The humidity, even at this time in the morning, makes my first two “Purple Heart” scars itch. At this point, I’m just glad that I wasn’t stuck marching through the elephant grass with the infantry like a gutsy photographer I once met (I think his last name was Gore…)

  25. Mr. Bingley says:

    He was working on something he called ‘the internet.’ Said it was gonna be big, real big.

  26. Gunslinger says:

    0611hrs
    We moored our boat close to the designated landing point, met our first point of contact, a youth named Pham. A gaunt kid with a winning manner, he immediately offered up four hand rolled cigarrettes for a ride on our boat…

  27. Mr. Bingley says:

    thwat-thwat-thwat-thwat
    My eyes slowly focused on the source of the noise…an eggbeater fan gyrating erratically as it tried to free itself from the confines of the tin ceiling.
    Boston.
    Shit.
    I’m still in Boston. Why hadn’t the people sent me to Washington yet to lead them?

  28. justadigger says:

    Twat twat twat!
    I sudden jerked myself……….awake.
    “Hey who called me that!” I screeched masculinely.
    The coxswain just sniggered and said “LT we’s almost there better get your mamby pamby shit together”.
    I reached for my toilet paper and headed for the back of the boat thingy…err….area…thingamaji…the stern! that’s it…I headed to the stern to take a dump!
    Head held high, ass low, hair fluttering gently in the cool almost Cambodian air.
    God I was heroic even pre-toilet.

  29. Business at the back finished, I moved with almost all the lithe grace of Cambodian tiger, accepting one of those smokes from Pham. The spook was already staging equipment bags near the boarding ladder. He spoke softly “Gimme a light Pham, then go.” I took one last deep hit off the pungent weed, then flicked the butt over the rail. I watched as it bobbed slowly away, almost to Cambodia.

  30. justadigger says:

    “Pass me those Kymer Rugs” hissed the spook as he slipped over the side of the
    Swift “there ain’t nothing like a good night’s sleep on one of these!”
    “Hell I might even go into the rug running business when I get me back to civvie street”
    “Wow I will remember that Mr Spook Sir” I burbled, dribbling gently on my smock.
    “I will smear it in my mind”.
    I paused for dramatic effect…hair aflutter….I sensed the poignancy of the moment…or was it this almost Cambodian weed?
    “Man youse dribbling down your shirt” sneered the Spook “now hump your sorry ass outta here and don’t forget come back for me tomorrow at dawn!”
    “Yessir!” I saluted smartly nearly knocking myself over.
    “Goddamit don’t salute in Injun Country…..” his voice was cut off mid-sentence….much like his head…well the top part of it anyway.
    It all kinda happened in slow motion….my snappy salute…..the widening maddened eyes of the spook…my great hair…..the sudden pink mist that was his head…my great hair….his homeless hat careening through the almost Cambodian pale cool air and into my hands….my delight at such a great catch…me smoothing my hair and trying on the hat…it all happened so………..
    “Sniper!” yelled the coxswain as he suddenly gunned the engine of the Swift.
    The roaring thrust of the boat threw me against the fore 50 cal which throatily and admittedly unexpectedly burst into lead spitting life spraying both the jungle and the bow of the Swift as I took command of the situation instinctively.
    “Rice!!!” I screamed as I found my balance and put a well aimed burst into the deck.

  31. Holding what I was now sure was a lucky hat clamped to my head with one hand, I strained mightily, lifting the barrel mouth off the deck. Training the sights on the foggy shoreline, I rained death off the bow clear, almost, to Cambodia.
    There was nothing but silence from greenbelt as the boat idled warily offshore. The violent chatter of the gun had torn a swath through the jungle at hand, silencing the sniper.
    “Rice THIS, motherflocker” I thought with quiet confidence. With my lucky hat firmly entangled in my perfect hair, I motioned for the chief to put us back in the riverbank. We had to pick up the spook and Pham, flailing in the mucky waters almost like guppies in a Cambodian blender.

  32. John Qerry says:

    Humidity mixed with diesel fumes and smoke from American cigarettes and Almost-Cambodian Red doobs in the impossibly thick air. The paper fell languidly over the top of the roller and the back of the typewriter, exposing its pale belly to the single sniper-shot strikes of the keys as I recommended myself for yet another citation. A Bronze Star this time, and my third Heart, the talismanic Purple Heart that would free me from this miserable working-class crew and their non-photogenic third-world war. Even my hero and idol John Kennedy (“JFK the First”, they’ll call him someday) wouldn’t have been able to make himself look good in this war. It wasn’t supposed to be like this! No, not like this, when I had asked Lyndon to arrange “something small, bloody, and quick” to get my War Hero ticket punched. But those Texans, curse them!, they never know when to stop.

    But manfully ruing over the vagaries of Fate weren’t going to get me back to the exclusive townhouses of Boston, so after another two weeks of it I decided (firmly this time) that Vietnamese syphilis was indeed an enemy-inflicted wound (for certainly no *friend* would make it hurt so for me to unrinate!), so I would carefully, studiously, manfully submit the paperwork for the third Purple Heart, buy the first plane I saw at Tan San Nhut, and Icarus-like fly myself back to my awaiting destiny back in the World.

    Three weeks in a hell like almost-Cambodia can really change a man.

    Strangely though, as I rummage through the dead spook’s gear (perhaps he has something worthwhile in here, an enemy pistol or something…. nothing, only that worthless hat — how am I ever going to spin a convincing war story about a friggin HAT), I find his bank book. Well, Mr CIA Man, seems like you had a few things going on the side here! Naughty, naughty fellow. That’s quite a stash you’ve squirrelled away. Noveau riche and ill gotten, to be sure, but… perhaps I can ennoble it? A curious progression for a fortune: from Vietnamese pimps to American spies to the great Forbes-Kerry patrician estates of Massachussets. But what’s this? Joint account? Damn! All that nice tax-free money now belongs only to your wife — widow now (I TOLD the crew I was sorry! It’s not like no one else has ever accidentally loosed a burst of .50 caliber onto their own man before. Well it is, but that’s not important). Wait… a greiving widow with lots of money? Oh, I’ve got such a dastardly cunning idea!

    Father, you would be so proud of me. Where can I get a haircut and a clean uniform?…

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