Udorn, Thailand 1966
In an earlier post I wrote about Cool Breeze. (here) The brother from LA, the Compton so called bad ass. In that post I talked about how he had tried for a long time to get me to partake some of his “good shit” and mellow out. If you read that post you know I did give in.
What I didn’t talk about was my reaction to whatever Cool Breeze had put into that “good shit”. Truth be told, I was already feeling pretty good from drinking a good amount of bourbon Cool Breeze kept at his pad and combined that with a few hits off his stuff was too much for me to take. I panicked and headed straight for the door heading back to the compound at full speed.
The small US Army compound was contained within a larger Thai army compound and there were Thai military police at the entrance to the gate. I showed them my army ID and they opened the gate for me to pass. During the daylight hours there was a shuttle that ran frequently from the main gate entrance up the the American compound, but at this hour and on weekends it was hit and miss so I decided to walk the mile or so to the barracks.
I started walking and admiring the most beautiful full moon I had ever seen. I’d never seen such a beautiful moon, why is it so bright? It lit up the winding dirt road that led up to the compound. I heard a noise off the side of the dirt road and a dark figure moved slowly beside me. The eyes followed me and I stared back and finally realized it was a water buffalo that are common all over Thailand. Even on the army compound they populated a large waterhole that was near by.
What are you looking at fat ass? Get back in the water. As I walked further on my solo journey I felt better and better. I felt so good I began to skip along the dirt road. To my surprise that dirt road transformed itself into the Yellow Brick Road as in the Wizard of Oz. I guess I ‘m Dorothy now, or the Scarecrow looking for my brain.
I followed the Yellow Brick Road, singing and skipping all the way up to the second gate which was the entrance to the US compound. The tune “Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road” was stuck in my mind the whole way. The American MP on duty knew me and started toward the gate to let me in. I grabbed the post of the chain link fence and it felt like somebody had put dry ice in my hand. The gate was freezing cold which was funny because it was still about 90 degrees outside. Now my hand is stuck and I can’t let go. A loud “Soldier what’s your fucking problem?” brought me out of it and I was able to let go and head to the barracks not more than 50 feet away. No more skipping and no more singing. Fifty feet to the barracks if you walked in a straight line, I couldn’t.
I found my bunk midway down the barracks and got in the rack. I didn’t take off my clothes but just tucked in the mosquito net around me the best I could and laid on my back looking up. I could see part of the moon through the louvered screen window opening, still bright and beautiful. I closed my eyes and the room started spinning so I opened them and things steadied.
I thought to myself ” I have got to get some sleep”, so I closed my eyes again. No spinning, good. My eyes are closed and I still see the moon only its gaining color and looking more and more like a disco ball with flashing lights. I’m not spinning but it is as the color intensity brightens and its beautiful. Colorful lights are shooting and flashing off the disco ball straight at me and I drifted off into slumber land until the moon shined so brightly in my eyes I woke up. Only it wasn’t the moon it was the sun blasting into the barracks at a low angle that the louvers on the screens that substituted for window panes couldn’t block.
Why am I dressed in civilian clothes in bed with my shoes still on, my mosquito net half torn off and countless mosquito bites on my face, neck and arms. Ahh fuck, I remember, Cool Breeze, the Compton bad ass.
I think I’m gonna be sick.