I posted this a month ago and took it down for fear he was somehow be keeping track of me. That day more than 50 years ago is still a vivid memory because I really thought he was gonna off me the day before we left Vietnam. I made a lot of people laugh with this story and some day I’m sure I’ll pay. But not today. 🙂
No shit! He lives… I’m not gonna say his name (because I’m still terrified of him) but when I was in Vietnam with him I witnessed something extremely embarrassing happen to him in a Vietnamese bar. We were in this local village the day before we were leaving the country when it happened. I didn’t think I was gonna leave Vietnam alive because I witnessed it. Arrrgghh!
Just as a little back story, this was a very tough guy. Anybody that had hung out with him in those days had missing front teeth. He was extremely violent and unpredictable but he let me live because I always made him laugh. But not this day. He said, “O’Hearn, I can’t let you live because I’ll end up in one of your stories. I’ll have to kill you.” He kept saying it all day.
I believed every word he said because we were all packing in those days. It took me all day to calm him down. (Which took the equivalent of a trash bag full of weed.)
We left on the same flight the next day and for 19 hours he threatened me with every nasty death scenario he could think of if I ever opened my mouth. That was a long flight.
30 days later, I end up at Fort Hood, Texas for just a couple of months before my time was up. I meet a guy at the PX who was in the same unit with us over there and he invites me over for barbecue with more guys and their wives from our old unit.
Well, everyone loved to hear my stories and I couldn’t hold back on my buddy. I had them laughing so hard one guy almost caught fire off the grill. The wives were howling like banshees. Me and my big mouth.
Their eyes were wide with a mix of laughter and terror because they knew him. Some were even his victims. I’m thinking, “Fuck him, I’ll never see him again.”
So the very day I was getting on the bus for the Dallas airport to go home, a car goes whizzing by us with you-know-who’s scary face out the window screaming like a siren “OOOOhhheeaarnnnn! You guessed it. He knew! They must have told him.
It was my worst nightmare. He was really gonna kill me now. I got back to Boston safely and successfully drank it out of my mind. Until now.
Today is the first time I’ve seen his mug in more than 50 years. I will not sleep tonight. I’m sure of it.
Good night Pete, please forgive me.