Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

March 30, 1968

by Ken Rodgers

Reveille shook us to the roots of our shivers. Mist hung like funeral shrouds. We chowed down on ham and lima beans, which as the pre-dawn hove into mind, refused to stay in our gullets. We left it splattered on the sides of the trench. We donned our belts and straps, our flak jackets and helmets. We checked the rough hides of our many grenades. The sound of 105s bellowed at the centers of our eardrums. Inside our hearts little fears began to flutter like night moths trapped in a spider's web. We fingered the edges of magazines and packed pockets with extra boxes of ammo. The word went out to saddle up. We wished not to be ridden by the horsemen of war but courage demanded it. Hints of B-52s and Phantoms and the 175s from the Rockpile designed to build confidence. The futile minutes tried to hold us back, tick tock, tick tock. But the only thing left was boot prints pressed in the red mud at the bottom of the trench, Marines leaning against damp sandbags and spirals of smoke rising from Winstons, Salems, and Camels.

Ken Rodgers is a writer and filmmaker from Boise, Idaho. He and his wife Betty recently produced a documentary film, Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor, which you can see more about at www.bravotheproject.com. Ken's latest book is a collection of short stories, The Gods of Angkor Wat, available at Amazon.com.

Thirty-first Flash

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