Pajama Sam 4: Life Is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff! - Why It's a Classic Game for Kids of All Ages
The only sounds from beyond the wire are creaking frogs and thedrumming of the monsoon rain. I throw down Maggie’s Drawers. Then, with both hands, I givethe Phantom Blooper the finger. Midnight. The hawk is out. Ghosts are out. The winter monsoon is blowing so hard that it is raining sideways. Meanwhile, the silence beyond the rumble of the rain is growing larger. I sit down in an old aluminum lawn chair on top of an abandonedperimeter bunker at Khe Sanh. Cold bullets of monsoon rain wash mud from my body. With my battered pearl-gray Stetson shielding my face, I lean back and getcomfortable. My right hand is touching the wet metal of a field radio under mychair. Between my bare feet is an M-60 machine gun set up on its bipod legs. I pick up my long black killing tool. It makes me feel less naked when I holdit. A smooth feed might save my life, so I adjust the heavy belt of cleangolden bullets. Every fifth round is a red-tipped tracer. When I am onehundred percent satisfied that there are no kings in the belt, I slam the feed cover downhard and jack a round in the chamber. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon. The Phantom Bloopers laughs, a cold black laugh. Maybe if I ignore the Phantom Bloopers he'll go away. If you tryto debate philosophical issues with the Phantom Blooper, and lose the debate, well, hejust comes right up and kills your ass. The Phantom Blooper has never talked to meand I am very disappointed. I could use the distraction of stimulating conversation. Life at Khe Sanh has always been tired but wired. Now that the siege has beenlifted we need something to keep our mind occupied because boredom makes us think toomuch. Meanwhile, the Phantom Blooper comes every night and the suspense iskilling me. At Khe Sanh Combat Base in Quang Tri Province in the Republic of VietNam, the United States Marine Corps has sometimes lacked grace under pressure, but we havestuck it out, just the same. We have burrowed into this dead hill like
Pajama Sam 4: Life Is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff! Crack Pirates Bay
maggots. We have clung to the burned edge of reality and we have not let go. This is it, the big game. The championship. The Super Bowl. This is the biggest game of your life and you're playing it for keeps. You'replaying with the black ball. A sudden move at the wrong time could be your last. A slow move at the wrong time could be your last. And not moving at all couldbe fatal. The grunts of Khe Sanh hate the Phantom Blooper but we need him verymuch. In Viet Nam you've got to hate something or you will lose your mind.
now, nothing to lose now, nothing standing between him and that one short step into theBeyond. Nothing but me. "I'll kill you," he says, and cocks his arm, threatening mewith the frag. "I'll kill you," he says, and I believe him, because,finally, the New Guy has become a very dangerous person. I can't keep the smile off my face, but I dot try to make it look likecontempt. "Carry on, Private Owens," I say, and I let him go. I do an abrupt about-face and dittybop down the catwalk. I pause. I dig the pull ring from the hand grenade out of my pocket. I flip the pullring across the bunker to Private Owens, who actually catches it. "Don't play with it anymore tonight, Private Owens." Private Owens nods, looking glum and totally confused. He bringsthe hand grenade up to the tip of his nose and picks at the firing mechanism with afingernail, then pokes around with the cotter pin on the pull ring, trying to reinsert itinto the grenade. "Carry on," I say, aiming a forefinger between his eyes. "After I'm gone." Private Owens nods, stands still, and waits, a human Marine monument toan ignorance hard as iron. When you're a New Guy, and the first shell falls, you're a man, butconfused. When the second shell falls, you're still a man, although you're probablysoiling your underwear. By the time the third shell falls, fear, like a big blackrat, has gnawed clean through your nerves. When the third shell falls, you, the NewGuy, like a mindless, terrified rodent, are digging a hole to hide in. You've got to keep New Guys alive until they realize that we're notgoing to win this war, which usually takes about a week. I've walked twenty meters away from the guard bunker when there's thehard thump of an explosion to my rear. For one second I think: tough titty, grease one New Guy. But Private Owens has not blown himself up with personal hand grenade. Another shell booms in. Then another.
Incoming means jagged steel screaming through the air,sizzling hot and invisible, hissing and smoking and searching for your face. An old deuce-and-a-half horn nailed to a dead tree bleats; too late. Somebody didn't get the word. Most days we get ten or twelve seconds' warningin which to cover our asses. Marine forward observers on Hill 881 South see muzzleflashes on Co Roc ridge across the Laotian border and radio in, "Arty, arty, CoRoc." BOOM. I double-time in the mud, mumbling an obscene grunt bunker-prayer. I'm just about read to bend over and kiss my ass goodbye when I stumble into aflagpole bearing a tattered American flag and a crudely stenciled sing: ALAMOHILTON. I dive in headfirst. Someone says, "Hey, you fuckingasshole, get your goddamn fucking elbows out of my fucking balls." The air inside the bunker is hot and thick. The bunker stinks ofsweat, piss, shit, rotting feet, wet canvas, vomit, beer, C-ration farts, mosquitorepellent, and mildewed skivvies. But then since I became a night person I've hadthe body odor of a ghoul, so I can't complain. It's black in the bunker; you can't see your hand in front of yourface. Cooing over Armed Forces Radio, the sweetest little blond wet dreamthis side of heaven: "Hi, love. This is Chris Noel. Welcome to adate with Chris. Now here's a song for First Platoon, Deadly Delta, at Khe Sanh,County Joe and the Fish with 'I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag.'" The men in the bunker listen to the song in silence until the chorus,then every man abruptly bursts out singing as hard and as loud as he possibly can:
pate in the mindset of morally disoriented bloodthirsty chucks. Black John Waynehas smoked more than his share of little gold niggers, from Con Thien to the Rockpile anddown in the Arizona Territory. But no longer do I desire to relate to thisoppressive and corrupt environment." The black Marines cheer while Black John Wayne continues, talking withthe tone of a backwoods preacher delivering a fiery sermon: "Black Confederacy secedesfrom your Viet Nam death trip." With one voice the men in the bunker say, "Amen." Black John Wayne says, "Guilty rich kids marching for peace justwasting they shoe leather. Dumb grunts is stopping this evil war, a--men, andthey won't never know the truth back in the World, the truth that the grunts have thepower, the real power, because the fucking pogue lifers and the corrupt politicians arenot even going to admit the facts, not even." Black John Wayne waits for the "Right ons" to die down, thencontinues. "This heavily armed and highly motivated reinforced rifle squad ofhomeboys will go back to the block. We be tin-starred marshals of revolutionaryjustice. With my squad back in the World I could take over half of Brooklyn. Peace through superior firepower! Firepower to the people! History is not over yet! History collects its debts!" The squad cheers so loud and claps so hard that for a few moments eventhe banging of the shells outside is drowned out. I grunt. I say, "We got to have LPs. We're light. A ground attack could walk right over the wire. The gooks know that somethingis going down and until we sky out we're wide open to get hit. I got no time foryour bullshit political rap, J.W. I'm not interested in politics." Black John Wayne says, "Joker, m'man, you may not be interested inpolitics, but politics is interested in you. Or maybe you be here as a tourist? Politics is not hard to understand. Politics is somebody's nightstick upsideyour head. Hey, man, can you dig my progressive talk? Don't you know why thePhantom Blooper is here, man? The Phantom Blooper has come to take your white ass toschool. Bone Six, that bad ol' Blooper, he everywhere, man. He maybe sittingin this bunker with us right now." I say, "J.W., I'm sick of listening to your race-war movie."
Black John Wayne says, "Why, you silly Alabama white trash, youare misinformed. The white man is not the enemy. One day, by and by, you willsee the revolt of the Uncle Tom white people. That's some cold shit, man, but thereit is. "The devil is a green man, the money man. They tell us weare small. But we not small, we tall, we be kings, and the President is not God in ablack limousine. They calling you 'nigger' too, Joker. You just ain't got theword." I say, "Sounds like a giant liquor-store robbery to me, J.W. Rich people got all the money. You take the money away from them. Thenyou got the money." "We won't fight for money," says Black John Wayne, "wewill fight to say that Uncle Sam ain't no damned uncle of mine. Uncle Sam he say tothese Vietnams, you can live, but you can't be men. Dance and sing for us and belittle yellow niggers, Mr. VCs, and we might be big-hearted and let you live. UncleSam say, 'Stick 'em up, your balls or your life.'" Black John Wayne's voice booms inside the bunker: "Whitebread America find it impossible to relate to why these Vietnams standup and fight. The green man don't care about nothing that much no more, he fat, heforgot what it like to fight. They traded in they balls for a split-level house, anigger maid, and a lifetime supply of TV dinners, a long time ago. Dignity, m'man,that's what the Vietnams want, and that's why my homeboys want. I'm a black man witha brain, a black brain, and I am a very dangerous person. We are men! We want our dignity! If they fuck with us, they are going to die. Nobody ever calls me nigger when I'm carrying my grenade launcher." "RIGHT ON!" someone says, and the bunker shakes with shoutsof "RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON!" until everybody is hoarse. I say, "I want LPs. Get me some warm bodies that can movelike they got a purpose, J.W. All I got standing lines are New Guys. Name yourprice. Six cases of beer, next resupply." A shell hits very close to the bunker. Whomp. Thebunker trembles. "What's wrong with these zips?" someone says. "Can't they take a joke?" Black John Wayne laughs. "Mr. Charles ain't even aboutto waste a pretty homeboy like me." He laughs again, enjoy-