The Devils in Baggy Pants

On my second day after returning from the first Gulf War, I was walking across across the common grounds of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment when an authoritative voice presumably shouted to me.

“Hey there, soldier! What the fuck you wearin’?”

I looked around and saw The Sergeant Major and snapped to attention and waited for him to walk close enough to talk without shouting. He stopped and put a half smoked and unlit cigar into his mouth and looked me up and down for a brief moment. He removed his cigar and said, “I asked what the fuck you wearin’, Private.”

Read more

A part in war

I arrived at Fort Bragg on a C-5 Galaxy from Fort Benning, and within two days I had been given every vaccination and preventive medication known to the army in an endless series of shots and pills, and they gave us an experimental pill to prevent certain death from nerve agent and reduce it to a something that would be horrible but we’d probably survive long enough to feel more of the pain and misery before being less likely to die; it was pyridostigmine bromide, though I couldn’t pronounce it then and couldn’t recall the name and would have to look it up when writing this, unlike the other injections that I’d get every six months, like the thick and viscous gammu globulin injected into our butt cheeks that took a half hour to dissipate, and the barrage of tetnis, yellow fever, malaria, and other international diseases that America’s Quick Reaction Force regularly received, just in case. The gammu globulin was an immune booster given every six months and was a thick, viscous gel kept refrigerated until injected into our buttocks and made us sit angled for the half hour it took to disolve, so I knew it well. Butt, pun intended, we were never given pyridostigmine bromide again.

Read more

Late Night With David Letterman

I left MawMaw’s house and didn’t know where to go. I was upset and overreacting, like many 17 year olds do, but I was calm enough to know I would have to sleep somewhere that night, and eventually I’d return to school; I didn’t have to now that I was legally able to drop out, but I didn’t dislike it enough to put on my walking shoes and leave, especially with only two months left. I would finish school, but that meant finding a place to sleep for two months. I didn’t want to see Wendy, because every time I considered it I felt overwhelmingly emotional, upset and angry and confused. When I considered Leah’s family, I felt that I had outstayed my welcome; they never said so, but I felt it. I didn’t know where to go, but I was going somewhere, and I flew along I-10 and automatically exited by the new state capital and rode pass the Centroplex and arrived at the downtown wrestling club where I had trained for junior olympics the year before. I hid my motorcycle in the alleyway and let myself in with a key I had made at the same Vietnamese general store that I had copied Coach’s key.

Read more

Wrestling Hillary Clinton

I entered the 1990 Baton Rouge City Wrestling Tournament with a record of 54:13, including 34 pins. I had been pinned six times: four times by Hillary, twice by the Jesuit 145 pounder, and twice and random matches in the fall of 1989. The coaches convened, and I was seeded third. Frank Jackson was seeded second. We had wrestled six times and were 3:3, and every time, each of us won by only one point. Because of the bracketing and in order to minimize surprise upsets of the first seed, Hillary Clinton, neither of us were in Hillary’s bracket. He was sure to defeat the fourth seed, and, assuming we both defeated our first two opponents, the winner between Frank and me would wrestle Hillary Clinton in the finals.

Neither of us were sure that was a good thing.

Read more

Operation Just Cause

Read more

Ronald Reagan

John Hinkley Junior shot Ronald Reagan with a .22 long rifle pistol on March 30th, 1981.

That’s a bit ambiguous, but a .22 pistol comes in three variations, the .22, .22 long rifle, and the .22 magnum. They’re not interchangeable; the long rifle is a bit longer and the magnum a bit more powerful and may shatter pistols not rated for then. Hinkley used a pistol designed to accept a .22 long rifle round, and my dad reminded me that a .22 killed Anne but it was a slow death and she suffered, and any .22 round is a poor choice for killing anything larger than a rabbit despite how good of a shot I was – I was a good shot by then, and he was very proud of me – and that you should never shoot people. If you had a problem with someone, settle it like men and look him in the eye. At the time, Big Daddy had been suspected of orchestrating the death of many people, including America’s most decorated war hero, Audie Murphy, and my dad felt that anyone deserving respect should earn it face to face. At least John Kinkley dealt with his own business, my dad said, and it probably did that war mongering asshole Reagan some good.

Read more

Wrestling Hillary Clinton

In November of 1989, the Belaire High School Bengals battled the Central High School Lions in the Lion’s Den, a nickname for their multisport gymnasium. They laid out their maroon colored mat between the basketball goals, and filled their side of the stadium seats with enthusiastic fans. Hillary was somewhat a local hero, an undefeated state champion and the Capitol Lion’s team captain. It was Wednesday afternoon, immediately after school, and only a few parents made it to either side because all but the stay at home mothers were working. Belaire’s bleachers were empty because most kids were in their own after school programs and wouldn’t drive through downtown to reach Capitol, especially because it was considered an unsafe neighborhood; but, for the first time in Belaire’s history, we had a team so big that we had a first string team, varsity, and a second string team, junior varsity, and our side of the bleachers had a respectable crowd. The Lions had a large team, too, and we had agreed to host junior varsity matches before the varsity teams met.

Read more

The Magic of David Copperfield

My dad went to prison in 1985, coincidentally just before his father was being released from prison early due to poor health. They hadn’t spoken in years, and would miss each other as Big Daddy left his Big House in Texas and my dad moved into his higher level security federal prison in Arkansas with a year and a half sentence as a drug dealer, part of the increased penalties the war on drugs hoped would scare people into not smoking marijuana. By 2020, marijuana is legal in more than half of the generously phrased United States, so I don’t think the war on drugs is working.

Read more

The Magic of David Copperfield

My grandfather was released from prison early because his health was declining and he wasn’t expected to live much longer. He had developed diabetes and what was generalized as a heart condition, and, because he had remained addicted to amphetamines and a few depressants in prison, his overall health had deteriorated and he was thinner and hunched over and had to sit often when I saw him in 1987, almost a year after his release. It had been seven years since I had seen him pull a knife on my dad, and I had seen him in the news weekly and had recognized my earlier mistakes of thinking Big Daddy was Brian Dennehy; and, it had been two years since my dad had gone to prison. I didn’t realize he had been released, but I had coincidentally walked from Granny’s small home to Grandma Foster’s small home a few blocks away – Grandma Foster was Big Daddy’s momma, and my dad had lived with her when he met Wendy – and she answered the door with the biggest smile I had ever seen on her and reached up and held my cheeks and said how happy she was to see me. She told me to come in that Edward was home; I thought she meant my dad, whom she also called Edward, but then I saw the room full with huge men that blocked my view, I knew something was different. Uncle Kieth was there, towering in front of me, and behind him were my great-uncles, Big Daddy’s little brothers, Doug and Joe Partin, both huge men who had always looked up to their older brother. Doug had taken over as president and business agent of Teamsters Local #5 after the national Teamsters finally stopped Local #5 from paying Big Daddy in prison, and Joe had become a football coach at Zacharay High School and then their principle, and remained uninvolved with the Teamsters. My cousin, coincidentally named Jason Partin, but much bigger and a football star for the Zachary High Broncos was there, and so were a splattering of other cousins and ex-wives that I knew of but rarely saw. All were a part of Big Daddy’s family after Mamma Jean had left him, and only Kieth took me around them, and that was because of Grandma Foster. Both Kieth and my dad had lived with her at some point in their childhood, after the FBI had found them hiding with Mamma Jean’s family, and Grandma Foster had always shown them unconditional love and acceptance, just like she had me.

Read more

Rambo and the War on Drugs

In 1985, the summer before the space shuttle Challenger exploded, my dad picked me up from Wendy’s house and drove us to Clinton, Arkansas. The trip took three or four joints, about eight hours, and we’d pick up groceries in Clinton before driving the final 30 miles down the winding State Route #1 to his cabin. Sometimes we’d watch movies in downtown Clinton’s two-screen theater that played mainstream movies a year or two after they were released in national theater chains. My dad’s cabin was without electricity, so he probably didn’t see Brian Dennehy portray Big Daddy in Blood Feud in the 1983 two part movie, but in 1985 he took me to the Clinton theater to see Big Daddy in Rambo: First Blood, which had also been released in 1983. Of course Big Daddy wasn’t in Rambo, but Brian Dennehy was, but I hadn’t seen Big Daddy since 1980 and everyone had told me that Brian Dennehy was Big Daddy, and all the actors in Blood Feud called him Edward Partin, so I naturally assumed Big Daddy was also an actor portraying the sherif who locked up Rambo, a physically intimidating former Special Forces solder and Vietnam vet with PTSD portrayed by Sylvester Stalone, the famous actor who also portrayed Rocky and other fighters and gangsters, and course Big Daddy was big and rough enough to lock up Rambo.

Read more