The Last Parade

| March 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Last Parade is the For Whom the Bell Tolls of the Vietnam generation. This love story amidst the chaos of war takes you captive and leaves you aching.

Robert E. Lee Taylor

Beautifully bound, easy to read hardcover volumes. Personalized and autographed, first edition copies available for $17.00 including shipping!

The Last Parade

The Last Parade

Sample – “Ten Hut!” 

 

“Ova here, you do not forget. Ova here, you d not forget. Ova here, we learn something every day. We do not… forget.  What we learn.”

 

Dudley paused.

 

“We Rememba!  We Rememba everything!  Because when we forget, someone writes those bad lettas.”

 

He glared his squad.

 

“The vacation is ova!  Now you, every one of you, will be doing night patrols. This is what you trained to do.  There is no room, no time, for people who forget!”

 

He pointed across the column “There are no second chances.  None.”

 

Two steps forward. Halt. Chin up.

 

“Rememba. Your Last Parade!”

 

One minute.

 

“You got off the plane.  You knew. You were not ready”

 

He waited.

“You betta be! Your Vietnam is coming.  Right now!”

 

He straightened.

“Rememba moton!  Motion kills! Motion takes away the night. Takes away the surprise.  The only good motion comes from the other side. From the little people. In the bush. You won’t see much. They neva forget.  They know.  Motion kills.  Rememba.  No motion!”

 

One step closer.

 

“Rememba smell!  Smell kills! Charlie smells you. You die!  Think about it.  Charlie smells you, you die! You wear cologne. You smell. You die.  No motion. No smell. Hide in the dark.”

 

Left face. Two paces. Right face.

 

“Charlie loves the dark. Charlie owns. The dark. He moves battalions. In the dark. He launches invasions. In the dark. He walks unda you, ova you, through you. In the dark. He takes your weapon, your best friend. In the dark.”

 

The heat.  The heat.

 

“And something ain’t right! Right here.  In Ben Cat. Something ain’t right.”

 

“We are feeding them. More than they eva ate.  They’re still hungry.  Where does it go? The medics are busier than Hell! The patients neva come back. You get my drift!  Something ain’t right. “

 

“Every little thing you do can kill you.  And your frienmd  Your very good friend.  Now! Get this straight. Charlie  knows about you.  More than you know.  About him.”

 

He waited.

 

“He’s the little boy or girl gonna sell you his sista.  Charlie is the sista who looks 16 but is 29 with five mouths to feed.  Sometimes Charlie looks like a friend.  He might even have a friendly uniform, but he hates your guts.  You are everything that is wrong in his world. You are. On his block! You are. At risk.  You!  Are at risk. At all times. Don’t eva forget it.  The one time you do, he’ll know, and he will be there.

“He’s the old guy. Wants to know your name.  The old lady wants to see pictures of your family.  He’s the dishwasher.  The shit burner. The bicyclist.  The cute one. The deformed one. The light one. The dark one. He’s the one. Gonna body bag you.  And send you home. Unless. You are ready for Charlie!”

 

Sample Two – Laureen

Ben Cat, South Checkpoint

She walked behind him, placing her hands on his cheeks. “From the tragedy, from the loss, our bond grew. We were meant to escape. I have often wondered. Was it curiosity? Was it fate? It matters not. Never would I have awakened were it not for you. What we have found, others fail to find in more likely places. You are right. Few will understand the tragedy. Fewer will understand us. We will be subject to skepticism. I do not care. For you I will be ever grateful. Someday we shall return with our children,” she smiled.

“Laureen, you know who you are. You will only become more beautiful. Me, on the other hand, I might change so that you will desire me less. You might tire of me?”

Her hands moved to the black scarf. Playfully she pulled the ends tighter around his neck. “So, already you plan an escape! You had better realize there is no escaping me. And, as we grow older, I will be lighter afoot than you. Perhaps from your shadow, I will emerge to lead the way.”

“Ha! From my shadow? That’ll be the day. I am putty in your hands.”

“I see. We have been in unusual forms. But never have you been putty… in my hands.” She loosened the scarf bending to kiss him. “Or, do you forget so soon?”

Sample Three: Oxen   June 1, 1967

“Old Friend, how many times have we walked this path?”

“More than can be counted.”

“Would you not think the oxen would know the way? Perhaps they lead us?”

“They are like my grandchildren,” smiled Mai Nin.

“Ah, then they do know the way,” Ching Phor laughed. “They just need our guidance.”

“At least.”

“But our gait has slowed. It is good they are mindful.”

“The children or the oxen?”

“You are worried?”

“One is north, the other is south. Tranh Nhu Lam embraces tradition, but my little flower, Laureen, embraces the American. As with her mother, she will follow her heart.” Mai Nin shook her head. “To forbid? To encourage? My heart agonizes for them, for Ben Cat, for myself.”

“This time an American. Laureen’s world is a dream, her mother’s dream. And Tranh, he has the heart of a lion, but the experiences of an ox. He is of the village. Do they ask advice?”

“Advice! Who seeks advice from such a decrepit old woman? Did their mother listen? Their paths are as different as their two fathers’, but they share a determination as great as my daughter’s. The only certainty is that my life will end here, where it began.”

Ching Phor laughed. “Then we must stay the course together so that we may enjoy the results.” She hesitated. “This time the danger is greater. Not because the commitment is less, nor because the intruder is unfamiliar, but because their instruments are so unforgiving.”

“But Ching Phor, the crops, they come back well, do they not?”

“Aye, they receive experienced care, Ching Phor began. “Soon we begin the harvest. Our young men will be missed. Your oxen will be tested.”

“Ben Cat will not be disappointed by my oxen. Is it not typical that when the men are needed most they disappear?”

“Only men are surprised by men,” Ching Phor chuckled.

“Aye, they are predictably unpredictable.” Mai Nin turned to her friend. “Do you miss your husband or do you bide your time?”

Ching Phor hesitated. “Life is the same. My husband gave me happiness not fulfillment. Without children, my path has been less complicated than yours, but who will carry on? Ben Cat is my reward. Her children are my children, her elders my parents, her adults my friends. The village has given more than can be returned.” Ching Phor put her arm around Mai Nin. “What about you, are you lonely?”

“Lonely! Ha! With eight stubborn oxen and two ambitious grandchildren, who could be lonely? Their future, their dreams, those are my worries.”

“Then, old friend, you must guide with a steady hand for their future and their dreams are at the crossroad.”

About the Author:

Filed in: My Books
×

Post a Comment