So I spent the mid day driving my parents around to a couple of appointments they had. I am currently parked in my old broken 2006 equinox without ac. I am in a pretty park at least. It is pretty hit out today. As I sit here in the heat it reminds me of a couple of stories I think I want to share with you.
Feels like 101 is pretty hot but I remember a time I almost got myself shot for being a “spooky scary crazy jungle spirit” … I shit you not you can’t make stuff like this up.
So we were in Thailand doing a training exercise in the middle of nowhere jungle. I was the boss at the time, but my guys worked with me not for me. I would like to say looking back that they had a respect for my experience, and I trusted them with my life (not a small part because I trained them). I did however pull rank on nights when the dead middle of the night was 110 on the thermometer with 95% humidity. I took my jungle hammock and wander off and let them figure out the radio watches. “It’s good to be the king” ~Mel Brooks
I maybe should have started with the fact that I spent 8 years in the Marine Corps. At the time I was a Sergeant. So one of the newish guy was on watch and a bit spooked I guess. In his defense, this was a training exercise, but we were in the middle of the jungle. Mostly controlled by warlords, and tigers and panthers to say the least are not uncommon. That doesn’t even get into the poisonous and not poisonous creepy crawlers. But he was a bit more afraid this night in a ghost tale he had heard from some locals a few days before we came to this moist hell. About will-o-whisps. They called them something else, but they are small balls of light that sometimes look like fireballs but tiny.
So here is Tony Draftsman. A good kid maybe 19. On watch in the vehicle that is under camo netting with his loaded weapon and a bit on edge because panthers, and tigers, and wisps oh my! He sees a small fire floating in the darkness bouncing toward him from the depths of the jungle. A faint whistle on the air, some jaunty tune. He watches it in cold terror! He checks his pistol, then grabs the rifle checking that too. Then he bravely pops out of the webbing camouflage nets to challenge this spirit brandishing the rifle almost steadily, and then politely but firmly challenged the spirit and asked it to halt and be recognized.
Let’s change perspective. I set my hammock up well before dark. Then I settled in with a good book. And of course I had Cuban cigars and Mekong whiskey in the couple 12 1/8ths. So here I am a bit toasted can’t sleep and finish my book (it was one of the W.E.B. Griffin novels, I don’t remember which), so of course I go to bug whoever is on watch. In my silky underroos shorts and boots, smoking a fat Cuban cigar, sipping out of the current bottle of whiskey. I had brought 2 more to share as well as a deck of cards. And as I weave through the jungle to not disturb webs larger than I am tall (6’), I think I have to be close. Where did we park that damned truck? Then a couple of noises I was familiar with happened in quick succession. A pistol and rifle chambered rounds and I hear Tony’s strong Italian accented voice challenge me. “Halt and be recognized. What is today’s color?” Now I nearly shit myself in the second before I heard Tony. I do have my pistol in a shoulder rig cause just not prudent to wander the jungle unable to defend yourself.
As you may guess that was awkward but pretty funny in retrospect. Sitting in the car in the heat hoping for a breeze of the lake as I think back to that time in the jungle. This isn’t that hot. Not even close.
I hope you are enjoying my ramblings, and if you have stuck it out this long I applaud and appreciate you. 🙏 Namaste. This heat reminds me of another adventure I had as well, but I’m going to save that for another post. If you all have feed back or want to hear more of something hit me up in the comments. Be well. Laugh a little, and cry a little. You are worth it. Yes you. Also don’t shoot fire fairies at night. They bring booze and smoking herbs.