The second short story in the series is entitled Here Comes Charlie. The soldier has now departed Alpha Company and volunteered for recon duty as a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol). “Lurps” were the Vietnam equivalent of the cavalry scout, riding helicopters instead of mustangs to remote and unfriendly territory. Themes of self-preservation and moral ambiguities, introduced in the first installment, are advanced as North Vietnamese soldiers unwittingly file toward four lurps hiding in the tall grass.
The LRRPs had little firepower and relied on wits and subterfuge to trespass into Charlie’s domain. Here comes Charlie opens with a helicopter insertion.
I scanned the tree line on the edge of the LZ for any telltale bursts; nothing could be worse than for a couple of NVA to empty their AK-47 magazines into a hovering helicopter. For all the goddamned firepower on our side, the endless moment when we slowly descended into their jungle was when Charlie had us, if he was there; the best we could hope for was that he wasn’t. Ready or not, Charlie, here we come.
Later, the four LRRPs find themselves lying in scant brush cover and grass as North Vietnamese soldiers (NVA) bear down on them:
Bellies full, we leaned back on the rucks and sucked on Camels, Winstons, or mentholated Kools. It was nearly dusk when Billy slipped out the backside and disappeared over the edge with a packet of toilet paper and an entrenching tool to bury the evidence that he existed.
A branch snapped. Goddamnit Billy, I thought, be quiet for chrissake. But when I heard muted voices and realized the snapping branches were up the ridge, dread walloped me in the chest like falling off a swing with the wind knocked out of you.
‘Billy, get your ass back here,’ Gary whispered as loud as he dared. ‘Here comes Charlie.’
Here Comes Charlie may be purchased as a standalone eBook for $2.99 or all five short stories may be purchased together in a compilation called Prowl as either an eBook ($6.99) or a paperback ($9.95). Any and all eBook formats of Here Comes Charlie may be purchased and downloaded directly from the publisher or from Amazon and other online bookstores.
THE FULL SERIES