||Vietnam, me love you long time
||all day, all night. Me love you long time.
Mister Duck was waiting for me at the look-out post, as he had done every morning since the shark attack. I'd had a shock the first time I found him up there, and we'd promptly had an argument. To see him in crisp sunshine, sitting with an unlit joint clamped between his teeth like a cowboy's cheroot, was hard to take. For as long as the initial bewilderment gripped me, I stood gawping while he grinned and tilted his head from side to side. Then I'd said, "It's broad daylight, Mister Duck!"
I said it angrily because I felt obscurely insulted by the brazen nature of his apparition.
"Broad daylight," he replied evenly, "is what it is."
I paused. "... I'm not dreaming."
"Then I'm going insane."
"Do you want an honest answer?"
He shrugged. "I'd only query the tense. But I'm not a professional, so, you know, seek out a second opinion."
I threw up my arms, threw them down again, and sat heavily on the ground. Then I reached out and touched his shoulder. It was as dry and solid as my own.
Mister Duck frowned when I shuddered. "You have a problem?"
I shook my head. "Yes, I have a problem. I'm mad."
"So? Are you complaining?"
"Is that what you're doing? Complaining?"
He cut me off. "If you're complaining, buddy, I'm going to tell you right now, I don't want to hear it."
"I'm just, I'm just," he mimicked. "You're just what?"
"I'm very fucking shocked! Seeing you and... being mad!"
Mister Duck's face screwed up in disgust. "Where's the shock in being mad?"
"Everywhere!" I said furiously. "I don't want to be mad!"
"You dont want to be mad? Well, well. Mind if I pick you up on that?"
I pulled out a cigarette with slightly shaking hands. "Yes. I mind. I want you to go away."
"Tough. Answer this. Where are you?"
"Leave me alone!"
"Where are you?" he repeated.
I covered my face with my hands. "I'm in Thailand."
Through the cracks between my fingers, I stole a glance down to the DMZ. My shoulders slumped as I got the gist. "... Vietnam."
"Vietnam!" A great crowing grin spread across his features. "You said it! You wanted it! And now these are the breaks! In Country, losing your shit comes with the territory!" He whooped and slapped his thighs. "Fuck it, man, you should be welcoming me! I'm the proof you made it! Rich, I am your lost shit! Viet-fuckin'-nam!"
Everyone has a story; this is mine and I am the young, selfish, Vietnam war-obsessed protagonist.
Nice to meet you.