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This is the Mellow War

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I loved Ted Lavender as heavily as a girl I’m friends with loved Tom Hamilton.

I should have known. I should have known; it’s Viet-Nam.

It was a mellow war. Brains left mellow—yellow brains and pink brains and black brains and brown brains—all over the grass hut walls as the jungle had an afternoon tête-à-tête with the gentle sky. A time so mellow you talked to friends in dark places and when they invited you over to the other side, you said, “Hell, why not? Any place has gots to be better than this,” and joined them not asking any questions even when the ground turned to magma and your tongue into ash.

But The Things They Carried was a work of fiction. A thankful lie told with a glassy smile and a very real memory.

They stoned on fear.

I cried.

I should have known; it’s Vietnam.



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