Double Edged Sword: Jack Daniels, King Cobra(not the beer), and an Outside Shower @ Vietnam

Double Edged Sword: Jack Daniels, King Cobra(not the beer), and an Outside Shower @ Vietnam

I promised this to my Spanish friend on WP, CharlyPriest.

I hope you like it.

Semper Fidelis

Still crazy after all these years.  

Double Edged Sword: Jack Daniels, King Cobra(not the beer), and an Outside Shower @ Vietnam

As most of you know, I’m near the top 1% of senior citizens here on WP and Tumblr and maybe even Twitter. I was talking to a friend from Spain who suggested that I share some old “life and war stories” from my “checkered past.” Between raising Twin Nieces and Nephew, 4 Grands (2 sets of brother/sister twins) and enjoying Nature nestled up in the hills of Tennessee (boonies, take a left at Lost in the woods, find a dead end street and when you see the gate across the road, dial 3-668-746-6863 to arrive alive). Or at the sound of Rottweilers, just sit in your car, place it in park and wait for a 25% scaled Jeep, it’ll be driven by my Nieces, and the old guy that looks like Grizzly Adams will be Grandpa George. Don’t forget to bring your insurance card, you just never know what happens back this far from civilization.

Years ago and many miles away, I found myself on an international all expenses paid tour sponsored by the US government, Department of Defense, United States Navy as a member of the United States Marine Corps (not corpse as a certain politician often pronounces it) (it is pronounced as core, as in apple core, for the unknowingly non military folks out here). My job was to crawl, walk, run and sometimes dive into less than perfect ground conditions (mud, creeks, rivers, swamps and the like) and still stay alive. Avoiding multiple dangerous species of wildlife (living in water and on dry land and up in trees), poisonous plants, bothersome insects was the daily challenge. Some unhappy people, like the Vietcong who saw me and my olleagues as invaders, trespassers often decided to make us targets for their wide range of conventional and homemade weapons and explosive devices.

In my first month in country, I was still a novice Marine, I wasn’t the one to walk away from a dare or wager that might cause anyone to doubt my dedication to the Corps or my 19 year old manhood or bravery (I learned quickly the real meaning of Jarhead). I discovered Jack Daniels at a remarkably cheap price, maybe 5% over cost and tax-free, at the local base watering hole. It was so smooth and needed nothing but ice or water to make it the perfect “calm me down after a scary few days of “search, engage and hopefully come back in one piece” patrolling.

Older and experienced Marines or OldTimers in any military branch were always waiting to let you prove yourself in a multitude of “I really should have known better” contests, wagers, and dares on the ignorant and willing “newbies.” Sometimes, with the exception of actual combat, I look back and reflect on those people and realize the OldTimers were the second most dangerous wildlife species on our military post. Number one for me would always be a King, or any other species of Cobra.

USMC King Cobra

One night, my unit, well most of us, had survived a nasty run-in with a VC unit and were ever so glad to be “Home” and given 2 days to unwind. One of the OldTimers was at the end of his last tour before returning stateside for Retirement. Party time was the order of business, as well as someone being selected to accompany him back to main base operations to bring back supplies. The Old Guard decided the Winner of their latest “challenge” would be the Lucky one.

Cheap and abundant liquor, young rookies full of testosterone, and judgments impaired by competition in a warzone located in a foreign jungle, what could possibly go wrong????????????????????????

The contest would actually be very simple, each of us would put $10 into a hat, which would cover the price of the liquor and the remaining monies would be given to the last man standing (should’ve been named last man with surviving brain cells). Not only would someone be the Winner and “lucky man,” but also possibly win a nice bit of change. Fifths of Jim Beam would be set in front of each contender (10 of us were “enticed and encouraged”), at Gunnie’s beginning to sing the Marine Hymn, we would uncap and commence to drink the entire bottle without taking the bottle from our lips or taking a breath. If you didn’t complete both requirements, you were disqualified and “out.”

To be totally honest, after the first bottle, and until I awoke the next morning, the middle part is gone forever. Skip to early the next morning, about 5:30am. I was aroused from my worst hangover ever and the first ever in the corner of an outside shower stall which was also next to an outside latrine (men’s “room”). If that wasn’t bad enough, I was totally naked, and with multiple cuts from an apparent broken glass bottle of Jack Daniels #7 whiskey. Then while trying to assess my injuries, my eyes caught a blurry bloody image of something, and suddenly I was fully awake and began to scream for medical assistance. Of course, it probably resembled the squealing of some school teacher that had just seen her first scorpion up close and very personal.

JD 7 Broken bottle

Corpsman (medic) arrived quickly, he was 2 stalls over, with towel wrapped around his midsection, and promptly pronounced the snake dead on arrival, apparently it died from brunt force trauma or alcohol poisoning itself. None of the cuts on my feet appeared to come from snake bit, but because of the amount of alcohol in my system, he wasn’t sure if I killed the Cobra with the bottle or it died from biting me multiple times on my feet. At that time I didn’t appreciate his humore, not one little bit.

Later in the day after a little rest and recovery, I still had questions that will probably never be answered. But I learned a few valuable lessons that day: 1) if the winner of a contest is the last man standing, it’s probably a really stupid and/or dangerous undertaking, 2) never take a bottle of JD#7 into an outside shower stall unless you’re willing to defend your life with it, 3) if a King Cobra likes Jack Daniels, just pour him a glass and don’t spill it, remember alcohol abuse, and 4) never drink Jim Beam again without mixing it, it might make you forget the best details of an old war story.


King Cobras don’t share, beware.

USMC Live Cobra

Age Has Nothing To Do With Us Jeremy’s POV

Age Has Nothing To Do With Us Jeremy’s POV(Prose)




Jeremy’s POV (Interlude)

Brett and I have been friends since our time in the military, serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and so many other “exotic” places, that tourists  would never visit- if they knew the real hard truth outside their restricted views.  We would gladly, without hesitation, risk our lives on the battlefield for one another any day. After his precious wife Isabella died of cancer, he withdrew away from all of our former group of friends we’d made since landing here years ago.

Isabella was the perfect woman for Brett and a wonderful mommy for Stasi. I can’t imagine being gone already so many years. Such a beauty inside and out; she had such a compassionate, caring spirit. She was always doting over both Brett and Stasi like they were her entire world. While she was humble, her outgoing nature just immediately  lit up any place she ventured upon. With all her virtues and almost saintly disposition, that would completely evaporate in a second if she thought anyone was messing with Brett or Stasi. Additionally,  if she saw a child or elderly person being disrespected or mistreated, we pitied the perp, because the wrath of a Hellion would descend upon them- like a lioness defending her cubs.  As soon as the situation was resolved though, the Guardian Angel reappeared like nothing had happened and resumed whatever she was doing, without missing a beat.

Gosh, for so long I was slightly envious and even a bit jealous of Brett’s luck and happiness.

For years, I held out hope that someday I would find a woman that would halfway measure up to Isabella as a wife and mother.

When she died, I realized when God made her, he broke the mold and there would never be another. Since then I’ve compared every woman to her, and they have always failed the test.

WAKE UP, JEREMY. Now you see why all your relationships have failed miserably? Your image of the perfect woman was a dream, a fantasy, resulting from an infatuation type worship of your best friend’s wife! She wasn’t perfect, but you only remembered your perception of her as an Angel, almost a Saint. Do you wonder why you and Brett couldn’t talk about Isabella after she passed?

Both of us had clearly lost the most important woman in our lives so suddenly. Instead of helping each other grieve and heal, you avoided each other like the plague. It’s high time to repair this wound and restore your friendship finally once and for all.  Wouldn’t Isabella want the very best for us all, I thought to myself hearing her voice echoing in my head once again.

Fate sometimes intervenes to help us fix ourselves; if we will just concern ourselves with the problems, emotions, and pain others are experiencing instead of pitying ourselves.

This is the first step towards making sure you are the real friend Brett needs now, not later when it’s more convenient for your “busy life” schedule, so damn it, get started.

Stasi has grown up, indeed. Remember, it’s been almost ten years. Did you expect her to remain a 10 year old with slightly crooked teeth forever? Now you’re over the initial shock of Stasi being a beautiful, young woman filled with her mom’s spirit and gorgeous looks, what’s next?

You know something is wrong with Brett. Otherwise he wouldn’t have called in such a panic and entrusted you with the only precious treasure left in his life.

Your only clue is sitting down at the end of the bar, almost 21, definitely a woman on the outside. You can feel the hurt she carries inside from her reaction to your name. She’s not the little girl anymore who you chased around the yard and pushed on the swing set so many times. Your best friend and his daughter need your help and understanding; so you only have one decision to make.

How are you going to make the best of this situation and be the friend Brett and Stasi need at this moment?

It’s only a month, after all. How complicated can this be anyways? There’s no bottles, diapers or 2am feedings, how difficult can this be, really?

Under My Skin, Part Two Collaboration with Angel LaFlare

Under My Skin, Part Two




This is the second part of our collaboration. Thank you in advance for reading my first attempt in many, many years. Many thanks to Angel LaFlare for her nudging, guidance and undying support in finishing this. Two parts down, one to go. Coming soon.  PleaseandFulfill is an off shoot Tumblr account where I follow many talented writers, poets, and diverse artists of many talents.

Check it out and see if you find something that interests you. I’m pretty confident you will find a lot to enjoy and share.


THANK YOU. I welcome your opinions, suggestions, ideas, and most of all your patience as I start over.



Chapter Two: Under My Skin (Part Two)


By the time Tuesday rolls around, I’m already anticipating my two o’ clock class. I’m really not snappy at all, nor do I care about students being late. There’s just something about that older guy- whose name I still don’t know- that gets to me.

“Good afternoon, Professor Jamieson.”

Shoot me now.

His voice sends shockwaves coursing through my body. I look up at him, seeing his smile, and I nervously shift my feet from left to right.

I’m in a world of trouble, and it’s only the second day of the semester.



Ok, you old Jarhead, it’s time to pay the piper as you come home from your run.

Music just didn’t cut it today.

I can’t get or keep her out of my mind. I need something else to concentrate on. Oh no, what if while I was daydreaming about her body, face, eyes, hair, shoes and that fiery attitude yesterday in class, she actually gave an assignment?  Think, dammit, think. Imagine the board, close in, what was the last thing you saw as you walked up to apologize and explain your tardiness?

Thinking about how she sat there looking down as I walked up,-

Just forget it.

The only thing I see is her face, those ice-melting lips and those hypnotic, brown eyes, Dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmnnnnnn.

——————————————— Wednesday Afternoon (Next Class Block)———————————————-

I’m early with time to spare. Maybe I can explain Monday’s incident.

No, she didn’t want to hear it then, and I will not beg her to listen today. She may still be mad, so I better just to keep it light, professional, polite and remember the KISS method.

No not that one, the one I’m referring to is: Keep It Simple Stupid.

I even wore a polo shirt with a collar and buttons for class today- neon blue. That ought to get her attention… or get me tossed for being 12 again. I was trying to flirt with that 14 year old cheerleader in junior high.

How embarrassingly naïve and silly was that?

I slide in with a kid that has some type of ear growth.  Wonder if he’s had that thing looked at lately.  Maybe I’ll ask later if he needs me to take a look. Heck, I’ve got a decade of battlefield medical experience, just no degree.

As I walk up and greet her with my best, most respectable “Good afternoon, Professor”,   she turns and looks directly in my eyes and for just a millisecond, I could’ve sworn she was unsteady. Maybe I’m not that old after all is said and done.

She probably was just in shock that I was on time and not wearing some old Beatles T-shirt again. Note to self, buy bluer shirts, I think she likes blue. This whole college idea may have been the best one I’ve had yet.

Unlike yesterday, today’s class is flying away from me, soon it’ll end, and I’ll have no excuse to sit here like a knot on a log and stare at this beautiful, intelligent woman any longer.

Damn, she does know her writing stuff, and her voice when she’s not angry, is wow. It’s a bit deep, strong, sultry, did I forget hypnotic?  I could close my eyes, rest her head on my chest and just listen to hear read anything- poetry, prose… Hell, even the phone book.

Maybe I could get her to read my Calculus book; I’d have a  better chance of actually learning that foreign class of math that I may never understand?

You know you couldn’t be that close to her, listening to her voice without moving, no more than 5 minutes, Marine. You’re just built that way internally, you would have to reach out and touch that face, those lips, and….

People are leaving.

That can’t be the end of class already! I’m not finished with my thoughts yet or that daydream of her reading off my chest.

Everyone’s leaving, so it’s now or never.  Go apologize. Get it done and off your chest. If she doesn’t understand, at least you’ve tried your best.

“Excuse me, Professor, do you have a few minutes?”

Remember, the slower you talk, the more time she’s directly in front of you, the voices in my head suggest.  Geez.

“Ma’am, I’m really sorry for my behavior and coarse language at the end of class yesterday. I just wanted to explain that even if it looked like I wasn’t serious about your class or appeared disrespectful by my lateness, that was not my intention. I don’t expect my advanced age to give me a pass in any department or class, especially in the respect department. I made a career of being well prepared for any situation on the battlefield, because if I failed to prepare my troops or myself, someone died. No Marine wishes to be responsible for anyone’s death or injury.

“Yesterday, I really did have a flat; in fact. if you have time. I can show you the repaired tire I picked up from the garage on my way in to class, along with the receipt.”

Taking a breath realizing her eyes haven’t left mine, I continue a bit softer. I hope my hesitation doesn’t show. “Do you think it would be possible to start over so the rest of the semester will proceed a lot smoothly?  I would appreciate the opportunity to show you how serious I take your class and my education. How about it?”

Well the ball’s in her court now, let’s see how this plays out.

Start praying now, Marine!!!!!


Coming soon,  the conclusion, part 3