General Fiction posted September 13, 2018 Chapters:  ...5 6 -7- 8... 

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Cpl. Joseph goes to meet his fate.

A chapter in the book Baker's Dozen

Flashback 2

by Bill Schott

Ben Baker will fight for his life against a dozen others who are bound to kill him or be killed. 
Chief of Staff, C.C. Connors, has orchestrated this dangerous game to punish and quash anyone who endangers the President’s agenda.
In previous flashback, Connors’ origination of the game was established, introducing the character, Cpl. G.I. Joseph. 

North Vietnam DMZ 1973

Corporal Joseph sloshed through the rice paddies with both exhilaration and trepidation. Connors seemed to have released him to decide his own fate with a one-on-one battle elsewhere.

He was mostly naked, except for a faded, green, military-issue shirt with which he had diapered himself.

The bayonet, which Connors had thrown him, was proving useful on this journey to his destiny. Within the first hour of travel he had disturbed a nest of snakes. He was bitten only twice, though he could feel an effect on his breathing. He snatched one off his right calf muscle and managed to separate its head and glands from the body. It became his sustenance as he picked up the pace in the slow-moving fields.

After a second hour, to his reckoning, and as the sun was passing lower in the sky, he saw a grass hut. It was two or three times larger than any such lash up he'd seen on patrols, and stood as if a gateway from the fields to the jungle.

From within the hut, Joseph heard a wild shriek, as though the person within was being tortured. He squeezed the handle on the bayonet, expecting he would be fighting for his life in mere seconds.

Suddenly, a man came bursting through the wall of the hut. In his right hand was a bamboo stick, sharpened to a knife point but held backwards, as if grabbed in a hurry. On his left arm, huge and flopping about, was a crocodile.

"Oi chua oi!" screamed the Vietnamese. (Oh my God!)

Blood ran from the man's arm, as he went from running and falling in the foot deep water, to being on his knees. The full-grown reptile had pulled the man to a prostrate position with his head bobbing up and down below the water's surface.

Joseph acted instinctively and rushed to the man's aid. Throwing himself onto the six-foot demon, he buried the bayonet in its skull, between and behind its eyes, with the force that drove the blade through its brain. Pulling the knife out, he tried repeating the blow, only to find he did not have the strength.

Sitting down in the water, which covered his midriff, he could only watch the scene in front of him. The man who had been potential crocodile food, rose to standing. His entire left side was red with his own blood, and his lower arm was in tatters. He walked past the corporal and back to the hut.

Barely conscious, Joseph saw the blurry image of the man in front of him, who kneeled down and pulled the bayonet from the corporal's pliant hand.

Managing to muster a bit of clarity within the venom-tainted haze he was in, Joseph muttered, "Didi mao."
(Make it quick.)


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