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Georg E Mateos

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Nam, a girl named Thuy
By Georg E Mateos
Friday, November 30, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Some times war twist your tail for the better, giving you a moment of respite and warmth human contact in an otherwise beastly everyday of get them before they get you.

Walther had no idea as to where they had landed, just a general estimate of they dropping too soon of their target.
Say: from Dien Bien Phu, due east/northeast at about one hundred miles per hour speed for one hundred minutes or so…..he was way way too short from the target.
A nightmare of a distance to go walking on enemy territory.
He should have cut short Nha’ts babbling.
And the pilots remarks about short cuts, telling the jerk to keep with his fly plan without improvising, he should had concentrated on the calculations from the briefing which could have told him that the time and place were all wrong.
He should have not allowed to being distracted. Its distraction that kills you in this business, if he hadn’t been distracted, perhaps Nha’t would be alive and at his side now.
No tears after spilled milk.
Start moving, and keep moving, maintaining cover under whatever high vegetation available.
Traveling behind enemy lines needs all the concentration of a chess player and then some, if you hope to live longer.
It is not easy to move graciously, like those soldiers in the recruiting films, through uneven landscape, dodging mean long thorns, while loaded down with a heavy pack and all sorts of gadgets and weapons hanging around the waist or your neck.
Gone was the protection of the team numbers, the extra pair of eyes watching your back, the helping hand if you happened to get wounded, closing the eyes safely, knowing that one isn’t alone.
He would have given his right arm if he could spare one to have Mister Lee pointing the way or Boom-Boom watching his back.
In solitary moments he even missed Roscoe’s company with his civilized conversation.
For a loner, he wasn’t doing a good job being one, getting distracted and not keeping the eyes on the ball which could cost him dear life.

He moved away and kept moving, half way up the low hills, making a kind of snake path behind, trying not to disturb the vegetation; no that a good local tracker couldn’t follow if he put his heart to it, but he kept going, all that day and part of the night oblivious of insects pelting his face and an occasional thorn stabbing his body as he went forward.
Nightfall slowed his paced down has he was passing through low sierras country.
The night goggles helped, but not that much, and the dots of blood on his face cheeks attracted still more of the biting buggers, he didn’t slapped his face or his neck, that was a noise anybody, anywhere, would identify as a smacking from a hand with five fingers and probably with a knife or a gun near by.
The woman scream wasn’t a scream, more a clenched jaws growl of someone exerting with all the strength she could muster to get free or pissed off at being restrained.
Walther moved forward with stealth after freeing himself from the burden of the backpack.
He didn’t know who or how many were there, or if they were all around…this mission would end in a mini fourth of July in the middle of nowhere, literally, where in the hell he was?
His boots, with very thick soft rubber soles, went over rocks and rubble without dislodging any as he descended towards the dirty road below.
Under the light of the ascending moon he discerned two black pajamas struggling with a third.
When he was near enough, he saw that one of the men was pinning straight up the arms of a woman as the other was trying to remove the pajamas pant from around the ankles of her kicking legs as she was furiously struggling.
They had in mind a little bit of rape.
In any other part of the world she would have been screaming her head off for help, but in this part of the woods…it would attract more to the merry party, so it was better to fight.
Good sense told him that it wasn’t none of his business, that the best was to use the racked they were making and the distraction from whatever duty the soldiers had called upon themselves, to get the hell our of there…and pronto!
Then again, he needed a guide, preferably a local one, which was gratefully enough to not blow the whistle on and that could point him in Nhat’s hamlet’s direction bypassing anything remotely connected with the Hanoi boys.
Mister Lee could had thrown two of his nasty devices in the neck side right under the ear of both men and finished them silently as they tried to free themselves from the sharp steel deep embe dded in their throats.
He wasn’t that good, at throwing knifes…and anyway he was only carrying one if he could.
His hand had moved on its own volition towards the machete leather scabbard and was now holding the blade ready waiting for Walther to make his cotton-picking mind.
The legs hadn’t get the order to jump or anything, but Walther found himself rushing toward the center of the prostrated grunting ensemble with the right arm ready like a tennis players do before smashing down a point out of the court.
Blood shedding wasn’t advisable if somebody came looking afterwards, which you can put your money it sure would be, the blade’s flat steel hit the top of the forehead of the pant’s man, slamming him down like he was hit by a mule’s granddaddy, the other one which hadn’t just registered what was going on, was in the process of lifting his head showing a lecherous smile of anticipation when a silver flash blinded momentarily his eyes and he couldn’t seed the blade that was to crush the top of his skull.
The length time of the action, if one could all it action, was of three…five seconds max, and Walther was already pulling up and wrapping the top of the black pajamas around the heads of the lifeless Congs in case a bleeding occurred and telltales were left behind.
He checked the pulse of both men by placing two flat fingers covering the side of their necks, they were out cold but still alive.
The woman had recovered her pants and was in her way of wriggling them up looking down at him with big open eyes with a not yet evaporated anger mixed with apprehension at the green and black camouflage covered figure that had released her from the grip of her captors.
She didn’t moved or emitted a sound witnessing the swift garroting ending of the soldiers by way of a piano wire expertly applied.
They both knew that leaving they alive signified a payback on any or all the little hamlets and villages around.
Two missing soldiers in the other hand could be interpreted as two new desertions and go looking for them, not for any attacker.
Walther didn’t want to drag the bodies across the dirt and left telltales, so he grabbed the first one under his arm and around the chest and said in broken Viet, which he hoped she understood, “grab his legs.”
She did, and they transported the light but limp weight deep into the bushes where they stepped on soft soil bordering a stagnated water pit.
They lowered the body as near in the water they could without getting bogged down and went back to fetch the second one.
When they reached back the first one, the body had sank two thirds in the fetid morass so they placed his friend head by his foots and lowered him along the water, few seconds after the body started to sink.
The first body was completely covered by the time they were back on the road, as Walther swept the dirt following the traffic traces to delete any traces, the woman retrieve from the ditch few yards back one small and one big bundle.
Walther discarded the branch and waited for her to reach him.
He could see that she wasn’t young or old; with that oriental ageless quality the Far East people have which make difficult to determine how old they are.
But her eyes said of youth, of fire, of life curiosity yet not satisfied.
She looked at his face searching, trying to see what was under all that grease paint, that covered his face like the mask one see from time to time used by performers of ambulant theaters.
“You lost or something?” she asked and Walther thought she was making fun of him.
“Speak for yourself, you weren’t doing so well no so long ago.”
“You American? You escaped prisoner? They looking for you? That will be bad karma for my people.”
“Yes and No and No and I have no idea where or who your people are.”
“Where you learned Vietnamese?”
“Not in Hanoi for sure, where did you learn yours?”
“Funny man, very funny man…but you lost?”
“Kind of…” Walther said and reaching inside his shirt he pulled out the lower end of Naht’s necklace, “I lost my guide a little while back, by accident, he stepped on a very little snake that bitted very big.”
“He a Dao?” she asked looking at the necklace.
“A what?”
“Dao, they wear those for protection from bad spirits, he from tribe on the hills of Lao Cai, not too far from here…three days quick go,” she showed four spread up fingers as she said it, “Dao crazy people, like many gods, bad karma, crazy people…” the last words was said like talking to herself.
“I don’t know where I am,” Walter said, “I been walking all the time west knowing that my chi-cao hamlet is about there, but where there is…”
“You no go now…too dark to see direction.”
“I need to get moving…”
“No, listen to me, many Hanoi people around here, you need to hide for the night, I know place up there,” she was pointing upward the rough terrain climbing the side of the mountain, “there you wash, you eat and you sleep a little…tomorrow you see where to go,” and taking his hand she started to go.
She had left her bundles well concealed and offered to take his.
Being a strong man he declined.
They climbed going around trees, boulders and occasionally laboring from precarious footholds across deep fissures like the scar after an axe blow on the rock.
She climbed like a mountain goat; after a while he was following her like a scared donkey that had refused the offer of sharing his load for some unexplainable and misunderstood sense of chivalry, which only added unnecessary weight to his shoulders and that was trying to pull him rolling down the hill.
The softly sound of a water stream on its way down started to be stronger as Walther climbed up, until his human goat guide disappeared over his head and a distinctive waterfall song deep among the trees up there reached his ears.
At last the need to climb stopped and he came up to the edge of a rocky platform where the woman was waiting without so much as a exertion sign to mach his own shortness of breath.
To his left, water was falling almost soundlessly on a backward leaning flat stone and into a small basin, carved after eons in the rock, too small quantity to be heard from below but enough to be like coming from a shower pipe without its spreading head.
The water was falling from the edge of a natural canopy formed by the stones and that protected Walther’s heads from any displaced rock falling on his head.
To his right, he could see a little cove that he found to be five feet wide by ten feet deep and where you could stand up only if you were a Vietnamese, not a six footer; but it was dry and devoid of any resident insects or other undesirable vermin.
“Here,” she said, “you camp…I go now back to my people, I will come back to show direction, no kill when you hear me coming…yes?”
“Okay and…thanks.” Walther said smiling.
“Nice hotel room ha?” she smiled mischievously back as she was turning around, soon, like a mountain goat, she disappeared among the boulders and brushes going down and was gone.
After dragging inside the little cove his backpack and a gun’s flat wooden case wrapped with a spare camouflage shirt, it was time to sit down and liberate his feet from the boots and socks prison.
He just sat there, inside the shadows, like he was sitting on the beach contently wriggling his toes, letting the wind blow between them with a cooling caress after been merciless manhandled.
Trying to move just a little to change position of his arms supporting his backward leaning body, told him of the existence of a few aching small muscles he didn’t knew were there.
He knew that the longer he holds the sitting position, his body would go like settling cement does, stiffening.
But you can fight so much against fatigue until it let sandman to sneak upon you, your head falls over your chest, and do you know? You are asleep.
He was awaked by a moon, which had traveled long enough in the sky until it could reach with its white fingers between the clouds openings the cove’s entrance.
His head weighed a few tons or so Walther believed trying to keep it up.
With a mighty effort he raised his body until his head bumped on the cove ceiling, took his clothes off and went outside to be greeted by the hot and humid breeze.
His feet went down the basin telling him that the water was cold, but his tired brain didn’t registered the warning, it did when he stepped under the falling water with a thousand volts jolt which forced his surprised lungs into a violent intake of air.
Then, facing the rocks with his arms apart planted straight ahead against the wall and his head bend over, he let the water to run on his body, feeling the overheat going away and a sense of well-being not felt in a long time.
He thought the running water was making him dream as he felt two arms around his waist and the length of a naked woman softly pressing her warm body against his back.
“Nobody take,” she said with her chin pressed on his spine, “I give…nobody takes from me…yes?”
“Yes…nobody takes it from you,” he said it slowly turning to face her.
She put her arms around him pressing her right cheek against his chest with the water running over them, “you like me? you like me…now?
He liked her…twice.

Thuy had with her a thick earthenware wrapped in a blanked containing a steaming kind of aromatic spiced stew that his stomach greeted with an impolite rumbling.
They sat facing each other on the rocky floor, shining wet, legs crossed with the feet tucked under their thighs, unabashedly naked.
Thuy offered a wooden spoon to share the food and they eat in silence, with an occasional grunt of approval from Walther as his stomach warmed up and sweat from the strong spiced dish pearled his forehead and under his eyes.
She had also with her a earthenware pitcher of what seemed to be some sort of local wine, or so he thought and wasn’t to be asking soon what it was. You just swallowed and give thanks for the light head given experience.
After they had finished scrapping the walls of the container, she sat it aside and spreading out the small blanket she lied down with one raised arm beckoning him to join her.
He did, and they, as she put it, liked each other some more, not as frantic as when they were under the waterfall but with the intimacy of two lovers enjoin each other’s emotions mixing.
After, they slept; with her body tight pressed on his side with one of her legs bend over his stomach, and his arm holding her so the night couldn’t take her away.
When she stirred up waking him the first lights of a new day were like a tape of light stretched over the horizon while the rest of the world engulfed in shadows didn’t gave signals of wakening up.
She stood up and retrieving her clothes put them on watching him doing the same, then, she took his hand and led him out on the rock’s ledge and pointed with a stretched arm in the direction of black over light dawn background ragged ridges slightly north from where they were standing.
“See cleaved hump in middle there?”
“I see it,” Walther said, “there’s were Nhat people are?”
“Yes, you go bamboos way… not go down there,” she was pointed in the direction they had climbed up, “see bamboos go, no go jungle way near road, bad karma, bad people…”
After retrieving his gear he went to her and with the fingers of his right hand under her chin he kind of lifted her face, closed his eyes and kissed her with tenderness.
He thought he saw her blushing afterwards, but he could be wrong about that.
She disappeared like the shadows were doing with the sun peeking through the misty veils of the horizon and he abandoned with regret the little cove with the waterfall.
He didn’t know why but the journey didn’t seemed to require the same amount of exhaustion as before, maybe it was because of a lighter heart.
He hiked all day without stands but for the natural body required pit stops after the canteens and a couple of gourds were replenished at the waterfall.
By nightfall he could distinctively see the mountain bulge with the mark of a giant axe blow going one third down from its top.
Light heart or not he was tired, with the straps digging on his shoulders and his feet, that had blessed him for the cool bad, were swollen again.

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Reviewed by LadyJtalks LadyJzTalkZone 9/1/2009
Moments like these are surly a treasure. LadyJ
Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 5/21/2009
Georg, I can see why Thuy is remembered in your memories. I do imagine this story to be fiction, but, as in my writing, the girls come from whisps of thoughts of real girls and real women in my past.
Thanks for bringing this story to my attention.
Your friend, Mark
Reviewed by Harold Hester 12/1/2007
If this story is ever re-written please EDIT and re-edit and re-re-edit. You will find most of the mistakes, change the way a scene is described and stop the reader (or this one anyway) from wondering; “…what is his mission…”, “why did he not describe his equipment rather then call it ‘stuff’”, “knowing the mission would explain the NVG”, “it is difficult to kill (crush a skull) with the FLAT side of a machete”, “stopping this story with ‘swollen feet’ could have been much better if the story had ended and not just stopped. EDIT…EDIT…EDIT. Sorry. My tour in Vietnam has given me a juandice eye for details. BTY...For the english reader if you give the pronunciation of Thuy somewhere would have been nice. Thuy = Towel. Harold
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 11/30/2007
Powerful story line, excellent writing...

Reviewed by Felix Perry 11/30/2007
Another stirring acoount of the real world only somone who had lived it could share...very good.

Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 11/30/2007

Never know where an angel will turn up, or what language they'll speak: yes I do, the language of love. Beautifully penned shining hope amid the darkness of war.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 11/30/2007
I've always believed that angels can appear in many forms, and your story proves that they can appear in deep dark jungles, too.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 11/30/2007
Powerful tale of war, Georg; you take us there. Very well penned; bravo!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in America, Karen Lynn in Texas. :(

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