Short Stories for Teachers

The Scorpion [Vietnam Tale]
By:Dennis Siluk

I can’t remember all the details, of that particular evening out on patrol in the Ammo-dump, but Charlie was to have penetrated the area, and we were to go find him, seek and destroy. And so when we got to the dump, I lock and loaded my M16, as always. It was about 10:30 PM, and when we finally did a two hours search, found nothing, and was suppose to go back to the company area, our truck was nowhere to be found. We figured the driver and his assistant was getting high, laid or something. So we found some 155- millimeter-rounds to lay against, all crated, others in boxes, and some simply on containers ready to be moved, I lay against those [the wood-crated ammo stock]. There was about seven of us standing around, the others were still doing additional checks for some reason, down to a lower level area; --I think they were bored and didn’t want to be found resting for some odd reason, and were doing a double check, it was not called for though.

As I shut my eyes for a moment, my thoughts went all over the place, I actually thought about dying, and came to the conclusion I didn’t mind dying then [thinking today might be a good day for it], actually sometimes more so than others I thought like that, today was one of those times I didn’t mind.

Smiley, my friend from Alabama, [uneasily], said,

“Don’t move…” I opened my eyes, and noticed a scorpion crossing my boots, I was going about to swat him off me, then it occurred to me what Smiley had said, ‘Don’t,’ and then he said again [with a warning emphasis],

“I said don’t move, I can get him quicker than you, I’ve done it before…” He was from the south, and always was making jokes with me about being a Northerner and not knowing about bugs and that kind of crap, but he was right, I didn’t know. I noticed he was quite focused on the creature, and so I agreed by nodding my head.

“Don’t make a sharp move, “he added. He gave me a five, that is to say, a thumbs up [in the air] meaning, ‘ok’. All was in order. So he wanted me to do nothing. I wasn’t used to that, but nothing I would do would help at this juncture. Slowly the creature walked up my boots, up to the area of my pants, and Smiley leaned over a little, he knew it had to be soon, for he knew now the creature was going for my warm fabric, not leather, but he was calm and steady, and the back of the scorpion’s tail never went up. The scorpion did a side turn and crawled off my boot and pants, I rolled over a little getting out of its way.

“See, no problem…Chick,” he [confidently] chuckled a little and I stood up, that was the end of my napping.

Dennis Siluk
http://dennissiluk.tripod.com






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