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Savage Survival

 

Darrell Bain's Monthly Blog - April 2011

The contents of this Blog may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and included.

Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Monthly Blog.
Copyright © April 2011, By Darrell Bain
http://www.darrellbain.com

Responses to subjects brought up by this blog are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

Subjects this month: Arranging a wish, Doggie Biscuit! revised and discounted in ebook form until mid-April, Very aggravating radio interview, Our crazy disease, Why men are attracted to breasts (comments welcomed and will be printed in the May Bainstorming if desired), Awful root canal and extraction for me and Betty, Progress report, Book reviews, Excerpt from Medics Wild, Complete long report on aggravating interview.

Arranging a wish

Veterans Memorial Air Park in Fort Worth, Texas. Home to the OV-10 Bronco Association, the Forward Air Controller's Museum, the B-36 Peacemaker Museum and partners in the North Texas Aviation Centennial committee helped arrange a wish for John Johnson, one of the men involved in my brother Gary Bain’s rescue in Vietnam. I doubt seriously if Gary would have survived were it not for the courageous men who cooperated in his rescue since he had a broken arm and broken leg and was downed in one of the areas where pilots who were taken prisoner were as likely to be tortured to death as sent to a POW camp. To see this and the picture, scroll down to The Days Are Just Packed

But don’t miss the rest of this information! You may want to include a visit to the museum!

The Veterans Memorial air Park is owned and operated by the OV-10 Bronco Association and is home to; the Bronco Ready Room, the Forward Air Controller's Museum and the B-36 Peacemaker Museum. The Bronco Association was founded in 1998. It opened the FAC Museum in 2004, which tells the story of forward air control and close air support from 1794 in France to today, with an emphasis on the Vietnam War. The Veterans Memorial Air Park was founded the same year with the acquisition of a QF-4S Phantom II called "Scooby." The air park contains nineteen airplanes the served as forward air control airplanes, were controlled by FACs or have some significance to aviation in the North Texas region.

Membership is open to all. We are open four days a week, Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 12, Saturday 9 to 5 and Sunday from 11 to 5. To learn more, go to:
 www.ov-10bronco.net or www.facmuseum.org.

Museums like this one serve a vital public function in reminding us of the dedicated men and women who have stood constant guard over our nation‘s freedom since its inception. 

The Days Are Just Packed

Yesterday we had a couple of special visitors at the air park, John "NAIL 16" Johnston and Gary Bain. Gary was a Marine F-4 driver back in 1969 when he was shot down by AAA over South Vietnam. Gary had been conducting a close air support mission under the control of an Air Force OV-10A Bronco flown by forward air controller NAIL 16. After Gary's ejection, John stayed on station overhead for over an hour until his fuel became low. John passed off his role as on scene commander to a "Playboy" TA-4J fast FAC, who stayed with Gary another two hours until he was picked by a Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopter. John and Gary visited us so John could, "sit in an OV-10 one more time." Gary had contacted us a few weeks ago to see if he could arrange this wish for his now lifetime friend. We made that happen for both of them.

Gary Bain and John Johnson

The museum tells a great story, one of those one thing follows another type. Balloons used for observation, airplanes developed to shoot down balloons, tracer rounds invented to make shooting down balloons easier, fighter, observation airplanes used to enhance observation, fighters designed to shoot down observation airplanes and on and on to UAV and people on horseback with sat phones, laptops and GPS to conduct close air support missions of B-52. and the wheel goes round and round.

PS: My brother Gary is on the left, John Johnson is on the right. Gary Bain’s web site address is www.videoexplorers.com . There are some great stories told on his site, including his own account of the rescue, The Vacation From Hell, and other memorabilia.

Doggie Biscuit! revised

A revised and improved version of Doggie Biscuit! has been reformatted for Kindle and now contains the same text as the print version of the book. Doggie Biscuit! will be on sale via the Amazon Kindle store at the discounted price of $2.99 ($4.95 regular retail price) until mid-April. The Y Factor will also be discounted until mid-April.

Additional ebooks available at discount prices from $2.75 to $4.40 via Amazon Kindle url:  http://amzn.to/eYYy6s

Radio Talk Show very aggravating interview

A short synopsis of the interview follows. For those who want to read the entire plethora of what I think were misinterpretations and refusal of the host to listen to explanations of the content of White Odyssey and The Melanin Apocalypse, it is entered as the last subject of this month’s Bainstorming, following the excerpt of Medics Wild. Synopsis: During the hour interview the Host read passages from the first two books above and regardless of any attempt I made to explain my reasoning and the function of the passages in relation to the whole book and the particular character(s), he persisted in typifying each one as stereotyping blacks and/or derogatory toward blacks, which wasn’t the case at all. He even went back to a passage in The Melanin Apocalypse which I drew from an experience of my own when I was no more than four years old, a short conversation with an old Black farmhand. Even at that very young age, it told me that something was wrong with the culture I was in, the segregated South, even though I didn’t know exactly what. I remember exactly how I felt, though, and exactly how the episode went, right down to how the black man I conversed with was dressed. I took the exact episode and implanted it my protagonist’s memory to typify how he felt about Blacks from an early age and how he knew they were being mistreated. But, for heaven’s sake, he took the way the man, a very poor field hand, was dressed as stereotyping Blacks! As if anyone would wear their good clothes to work in the dirt and dust doing manual labor on a farm! It was ridiculous. The whole interview went like that, and as I said, you can read the whole thing at the end of this blog, directly following the excerpt from Medics Wild if you like. Suffice to say that while the Host’s intention is to remove the attitudes of white supremacy from our society, an admirable goal, I doubt very seriously if he’s the type of person who can help the situation. If anything, I believe he probably hurts more than helps if my two interviews are a guide. Comments are welcomed from readers and if there is enough room, will be printed in the May Bainstorming Blog.

Crazy disease

For the last few years both Betty and I have gotten runny noses immediately after we sit down to eat. It is to the point we have to keep a box of Kleenex on the table to get through a meal and we carry a small package of Kleenex with us when we go out to eat. Just the other day in the newspaper I found out that the problem is not allergies or sitting under an air vent but a real disease. It’s called Gustatory Rhinitis and happens to other people. Some are afflicted more seriously than we are, to the point of keeping the persons home and never allowing them to eat out without drawing attention. I guess there’s no cure that I know of, having tried numerous antihistamines but it is nice to know it is a real disease and that we aren’t freaks. The fact that we both have it inclines me to think it must be a viral infection of some sort, perhaps unrecognized.

Why men are attracted to breasts

After a thorough analysis by my no doubt genius-level mind I have arrived at the reason why breasts make babies of grown men. They are always attracted by women’s breasts to various degrees and here‘s how it works:

Reason number one: there is about a million years of evolution causing that attractiveness. It has been pretty well proven that the attraction has, in fact been acquired through evolution although probably altered and/or perhaps somewhat modified by the type of culture a man has grown up in. It is in men’s genes, apparently, one of those attributes like migration in birds that doesn‘t necessarily have a specific gene for the trait but can be attributed to inherited factors such as a sensitivity to the earth‘s magnetism, as an example. No other explanation is needed for this first reason, although smart men manage to look politely without leering.

Reason number two: why added attractiveness may occur. Since the attraction to breasts is already there, it is greatly enhanced by nice looking breasts. That makes sense, too doesn’t it? Again, smart men still just look politely, perhaps a bit longer but still don’t don’t leer. Or if you happen to be having relations with the woman, you’re allowed so long as you compliment her most prominent possessions enthusiastically.

Third reason: now suppose those fine looking breasts you’re genetically attracted to and the attraction is enhanced by their appearance but they also happen to belong to the woman you love? Ah, now the attraction increases significantly to a great degree, multiplied by just about any amount you care to name. You can hardly keep your hands off and if the woman loves you too, she usually doesn’t mind a bit; in fact, she usually enjoys it. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. I sincerely hope you read this closely, then read it again. I’m sure it could be elaborated on considerably by any number of people, but this is the essence of men’s attraction to women’s breasts as I see it, with perhaps a slightly addled brain since my wife belongs in the category of possessing very nice, even great looking features of the type which attract me and all other men.

PS: Betty disagrees with my reasoning. She suggests the attraction is due to the nurturing of babies, but since all men (so far as I know) are attracted to breasts and many are not breast fed, I don’t agree. We finally agreed that our disagreement is probably one of the many differences in thought patterns between men and women.

Comments on this short essay are welcome, from both men and women. I will print them (if they are printable) in the May issue of the Bainstorming Blog.

Awful root canal and extraction

 I did hardly any work at all on either my writing, blog or anything else for well over two weeks in March. First, Betty had an extraction that didn’t go well and she didn’t feel good. At the same time one of my teeth became infected and I was in considerable pain from Friday through Monday when the dentist was closed, naturally. Even after I got antibiotic treatment and some Vicodin, it didn’t make a dent in the pain. I had to use the Oxycontin reserved for when my back is real bad. After the infection was under control I had a root canal. It didn’t go well at all. The whole side of my face swelled up and I was in even more pain. This went on for another week. In the meantime Betty had some sort of bug, perhaps related to her extraction, and was too weak to even drive. Then she discovered a projection of a temporary filling where she’s waiting on a crown that was tearing a hole in her cheek, making it so sore she could hardly eat. I drove her to the dentist and it was filed down so it wasn‘t mangling her cheek whenever she moved her mouth. However, by the time we got home she was hurting worse than ever. It turned out the temporary filling projection had been concealing a worse problem, a bone spur sticking into her cheek from the extraction. Back to the dentist the next day, with her face sore and swollen. The dentist was unable to remove the bone fragment from the extraction but managed to push it back under the gum. Now it’s a week later. She is recovered from the bug but her mouth is still so sore we can’t even kiss properly, something we both miss considerably. It has reached a plateau and doesn’t seem to be getting any better (nor worse, thankfully), but the dentist says he doesn’t want to do surgery to remove the bone fragment so soon after the extraction because it might cause even more problems. Catch-22. So that’s the reason for a rather disjoined and possibly late Bainstorming blog this month!

Progress Report

Because of the above problems I have written very little on the sequel to Apertures this month. After doing no work at all for over two weeks I spent another week getting halfway caught up on a bunch of things and am still way behind on some work one of my publishers wants done.

In the meantime, several of my books are doing really well on Kindle, reaching the best-selling science fiction adventure list several times. They are Warp Point (which recently came out in print as well), Starship Down, Alien Enigma, Savage Survival and my recent work, The Frontier Rebellion, a science fiction/military/political novel of the future where corporations rule America, Earth, and the colony planets in such brutal fashion that it drives them to revolt even though they are vastly out-manned and out-gunned.

Several ebooks that have been out for awhile should be in print soon and will be announced as this occurs. I surely hope I can get in a full month of work in April!

Book Report

Due to all the trouble Betty and I had during the month of March with our teeth I simply didn’t feel up to tackling very many new books. However I did read a few before our dental problems.

The Pardon by James Grippando. The Governor of Florida allows a convict to be executed who is being defended by his son, a criminal defense attorney. From there the legal thriller takes off in so many directions that it is almost impossible to figure out how it’s all going to end. This is the second novel featuring attorney John Swyteck I’ve read and it was even better than the first. I have a couple more in my “to read” stack that I’m anxious to get to. I like a good legal thriller almost as well as I do a good science fiction novel.

Russia’s War by Richard Overy, an extremely able writer of military histories is a great book. Russia’s War describes, in an easy-to-read manner, the most titanic struggle between two nations that ever took place on this planet. Most Americans think of WWII as fought primarily by us but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Without Russia’s ability to overcome reverses by inept generals and purges by the NKVD, Germany might very well have defeated England and then, along with Japan, made the war an extremely difficult proposition for us and our remaining allies. There were truly tremendous clashes by huge field armies on each side, supported by air power. Without America’s help in sending hundreds of thousands of trucks and other equipment, even Stalin admitted Russia might have been defeated, but exactly the same could be said of us: without Russian’s tremendous struggles against modern German armies we might very well have lost. At the very least, the war would have been prolonged and many, many more soldiers and civilians would have died.

And that’s the extent of new books I read.

I re-read the Looking Glass (Dreen war) series of four books by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor. It is a great science fiction series and is supposed to have at least two more books to go.

I also re-read The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith, a book which won the Prometheus Award for best Libertarian science fiction. In fact, the author has won this award three times! It is a Libertarian book, yes, but it is also very compelling, very funny in places and very exciting in others with lots of terrific one-liners. It is hard to put down regardless of your political bent or genre preference.

I also re-read the three books of the Axis of Time trilogy by John Birmingham, where an international task force, about three quarters American, from 2021 is thrown back in time and lands in the Pacific Ocean in 1942 just as the Japanese and American task forces are shaping up for the Battle of Midway. Unfortunately, the Americans from different eras begin shooting at each other, neither knowing what has happened. Eventually it is all sorted out but not before a big crimp has been put in war plans with the destruction of most of the American fleet by the naval force from 2021. The real appeal of this book is in the difference in attitudes between the people of the 1940s and 2021. Birmingham does a really fine job in showing us what significant changes have occurred in our society besides just the technological advances. It is worth reading by anyone just for that aspect. And that’s it. Most of my reading was done in bed or in my easy chair while feeling sorry for myself and for Betty because we both felt like we were dying and at times wished we could. Happily, I’m about recovered and Betty is feeling better but on hold for further dental work. PS: It was a bad month financially, too. We probably put one of the dentist’s kids through a year of college, at least.

Excerpt From Medics Wild!

            While Williard was grumpily supervising his shot team and absently comparing this mundane duty with Jason's combat in F-4's and Jerry, his other brother's destroyer duty in the Tonkin Gulf, Sgt. Major Crock, in his capacity as Sgt. Major of the tanker battalion compound had decided to inspect the dispensary area.  Normally, he wouldn't have concerned himself overmuch with the medics, but Colonel Pinkerton’s suggestion that he keep an eye on Sgt. Williard's doings impelled him in that direction.  Surprisingly, he found the dispensary area well policed, with no sign that a jungle juice party had ever occurred.  Mama-San had taken care of that early, and was now busy making up the cots, except for the one Heavy was passed out on.  The tent flaps were raised so that Crock could see into the tent.  He spied Heavy, still passed out.  An odor of alcohol wafted outside and assaulted his nostrils.  Drunk, by God, he thought.  And on duty, too.  Theoretically, the dispensary was open until four o'clock, when the enlisted club opened for business.  He entered the tent and shook Heavy's recumbent form.
            "Whathafuck you want?" Heavy said, cracking a single eyelid and blowing alcoholic breath into Sgt. Major Crock's face.
            Crock waved away the fumes.  "Aren't you supposed to be on duty, soldier?"
            "Naw, I'm sick," Heavy said.
            "You're drunk, Goddamnit.  I'm going to report you."
            "Crockashit," Heavy mumbled, trying to get his brain in order.
            "What was that?  What did you say?"
            "I shaid I'm sick.  Here, look for yourself." Heavy pulled out his billfold and extracted an RX form.  Crock took it from his hand and read:  Patient subject to P.M. lethargy due to FUO.  Unavailable for duty in afternoons except for medical emergency.  The RX carried Captain Harkness' signature.  Harkness had long ago bowed to the inevitable and signed anything Williard put in front of him.  He was scared that if he didn't, Williard might go on strike and force him to see patients every morning instead of playing with Junie.
            "What the hell is FUO?" Crock asked suspiciously.
            "It's a tropical disease, sheargeant," Heavy said.  Actually, FUO was the acronym for "fever of undetermined origin," a catchall term for any debilitating disease accompanied by fever which went undiagnosed.  Sgt. Williard carefully renewed Heavy's RX every week, just in case.
            "Well, who's in charge here if you can't function?"
            "Go see the Junkman."
            "Junkman?  Who the hell is the Junkman?"
            "In the dispens'ry," Heavy said, and passed back out, still clutching the RX in his hand.
            "Shit, I don't believe this," Sgt. Major Crock said.  He might have tried to re-awaken Heavy and quiz him further, but the alcohol fumes were beginning to make him dizzy.  Instead, he headed for the dispensary building.
            Junkman was sitting at Sgt. Williard's desk, staring into space, off on some trip not readily visible to uninfluenced mortals.  Crock waved a hand in front of his face until he came more or less back to reality.
            "Are you in charge here?"
            Pause.  Junkman was so spacey that it took several seconds before words registered.
            "Yep," he finally answered.
            "Are you sober?"
            Pause.  "Yep."
            Sgt. Major Crock sniffed.  There was only a faint residual hint of alcohol on the man's breath.  Junkman stared somewhere over Crock's left shoulder.
            "Well, what's wrong with you then?"
            Pause.  "FUO."
            "I don't believe this shit.  Where's your sergeant?"
            Pause.  "Gone shooting."
            "Shooting?  Who's he shooting at?"
            Pause.  "Men."
            Sgt. Major Crock controlled an angry outburst, barely.  He couldn't hear any shots being fired.  "Specialist, please tell me, who is your sergeant shooting at.  I don't hear anything."
            Pause. "Giving shots."
            "Oh."  It dawned on him.  The medics were off giving shots somewhere.  Still… "Specialist, I think you must be high on something.  I think I better report you."
            Pause.  Junkman didn't speak this time, but a long minute later, he pulled out his billfold and extracted an RX form for the sergeant major to read.  Crock took it.  He read:  This patient is slow of speech and may require several seconds before answering questions due to residual effects of FUO.  Available for duty so long as another medic is present."  It was signed by Captain Harkness.
            "Shit.  Where's this other medic?"
            Pause.  Junkman slowly raised an arm and pointed to the hooch.  "Heavy."
            "Heavy?  What's heavy, you crazy bastard?"
            Pause.  "Him."
            Crock couldn't quite believe it.  "You mean that drunk in there on the cot that's also got FUO?"
            Pause.  "Yep."
            "This is the weirdest fucking dispensary I ever saw.  Do you bastards belong to the same army I do?"
            Pause.  "Crockofshit," Junkman said.
            "What?  What was that you said?"
            Pause.  "Sgt. Major Crock," Junkman said.
            "Ah, fuckit," Sgt. Major Crock said.  He left the Junkman staring into space and walked back to his own headquarters tent.  He decided to consult with Major Hollis about the FUO that these weird medics seemed to be afflicted with, if there was such a thing, and at the same time, report Sgt. Williard for leaving the dispensary occupied by two obviously incapacitated medics.  That would be something he could tell Colonel Pinkerton about, too.  He found Major Hollis in his office.  He was sitting at his desk with his eyes closed, wrapped up in a codeine dream.
            "Major Hollis," Crock said, trying to get the Major's attention.
            Fortunately, codeine is a rather mild narcotic, not nearly so powerful as what the Junkman took in by smoking.  The Major's dream dissolved into a voice coming to him from a far distance.
            "Major Hollis?  Sir?  Are you all right?"
            Hollis opened his eyes and came back to earth, thanking all the Gods that his hangover was gone.  "Oh, it's you, Sergeant Major.  What is it?"
            "Sir, I think there's something weird about these medics we have here on the compound.  The two on duty right now are both acting crazy, but they have excuses from the doctor.  Something about UFO."
            "You mean FUO, don't you?"
            "Well, yeah.  Sir, I think they're really drunk and high.  Suppose we had a sudden emergency?"
            Major Hollis remembered how quickly Sgt. Williard had cured his hangover.  "Well, Sgt. Major, I guess we have to leave medical problems to the medics, don't we?  Gosh, just this morning, I had a terrible hangov--I mean Migraine headache, and Sgt. Williard took care of it for me.  In fact, if it weren't for Sgt. Williard, I don't believe I could have gotten the convoys organized and on the road this morning."
            I can believe that, the sergeant major thought.  "Really, sir, don't you think we should do something about these medics?  They don't act like they're really in the same army as the rest of us."
            "Oh, no, Sergeant.  Believe me, they are all good men.  Just wait until you get sick sometime.  They will take care of you just as expeditiously as they did me this morning."
            "That's what I'm afraid of," Crock muttered under his breath.
            "Crockofshit," Major Hollis muttered under his breath, beginning to slip back into his dream.
            "What?  What's that you said?  Sir?"
            Hollis blinked back into normal space.  "Nothing.  Anything else, Sergeant Major?"
            "No sir, I guess not."  Sergeant Major Crock saluted and went back into his own cubbyhole in the headquarters tent to think.  It was obvious that the compound commander was going to be no help in controlling Sgt. Williard or the medics, but there must be some way.  If ever control was needed, it was with that unit.

 

Chapter Nine


By the time the shot team was back on the compound, Junkman was coming down from his high and Heavy was just waking up to his second hangover of the day.
            "Any patients come in while I was gone?" Williard asked Junkman.
            "Naw.  Crock of Shit came by, though."
            "What did he want?"
            Junkman tried to revive the memory.  "Just looking around, I think.  He said I was crazy and Heavy was drunk."
            "Ah, shit.  Always problems.  Did he report you?"
            "Naw.  I showed him my excuse."
            "How about Heavy?"
            "He probably did, too, but I doubt if he'll remember."
            Williard considered.  He didn't like the thought of Crock nosing around his dispensary.  There were too many things there that wouldn't bear close scrutiny and Sergeants Major had an inordinate amount of power in the regular army.  Crock of Shit could possibly cause problems if he didn't do something about him, and the sooner the better.
            "Have we got any little brown fucking machines on hold right now?" He asked.  Little brown fucking machines were the term for professional hookers, working as mama-sans or KP's on the compound in their alternate identity.  The dispensary was informally responsible for keeping them more or less clean and disease free.  Williard's hold over them was almost complete, since they depended on him to cure any sexually transmitted disease they picked up.
            "Honeybunch was in yesterday.  Said her mouth was hurting, but Heavy hasn't finished her lab test yet," Junkman said.
            Honeybunch was a hooker who worked at the tanker battalion's informal mess, where the officers and senior NCO's ponied up enough money each month so that they could eat away from the common herd.  Honeybunch was fifteen or sixteen years old and specialized in blowjobs.
            "Oh, yeah, I remember now, "Williard said.  “Just what the doctor ordered.  When she comes by in the morning, tell her to go see Crock of Shit first while he's napping after noon chow, then she can come back later for her shot."  He assumed, and was almost certainly correct, that her lab test would come back positive.  When treating the hookers, Williard always delayed for a day or two with a couple of them for just such problems as this.
            "Do you think he'll go for it?" Junkman asked.  "I hear he's a real straight arrow!"
            "Does a bear shit in the woods?  Besides, she'll probably be finished before he gets half awake."  Honeybunch's reputation was awesome.
            "Got it," Junkman said, glancing at his watch.  "The club's open.  You heading that way?"
            "No, you go ahead.  I need to talk to Heavy."
            Heavy was sitting on the edge of his bunk, trying to lace up his boots.  Every time he bent over, the throbbing in his head increased its tempo so rapidly that he was only able to get a couple of laces done before the pain became unbearable.  He had been lacing for a half hour now.
            "Let me help," Williard said.
            "Geez, Sarge, are you really going to finish lacing my boots for me?"
            "Get real, Heavy.  Here, take these."  Williard produced two APC's with codeine, wondering as he did whether he was doing Heavy a disservice.  The young man was drinking so heavily that if anything ever happened to him while he wasn't watching out for him, there would be no one else to protect him and he would almost certainly wind up in trouble.  For that matter, he worried about what would happen to the whole outfit if he were not around.  They had come to depend on him more than they should to keep the wolves such as Crock at bay and it worried him.
            Heavy grabbed the pills like a drowning sailor clutching at a life preserver.  He reached beneath his bunk, produced a can of beer and swallowed the pills.
            "Thanks, Sarge.  You're a life saver."
            "No problem.  Do you remember Crock of Shit coming around to see you today?"
            "I don't even remember today, let alone Crock of Shit."
            "Never mind then.  I just wanted to tell you that he's going to be coming in on sick call in a couple of days.  He's going to have the clap for sure, but I suspect his lab tests are going to show syphilis and incipient soft chancre as well.  Get me?"
            "You're going to scare the shit out of him.  He's married."
            "That's the idea, but it's not our fault.  A married man like him shouldn't be fooling around with Honeybunch."
            "It's a good idea, too," Heavy agreed, a vague memory of the sergeant major standing over his bunk coming into focus.  "Imagine, that crock of shit accused me of being drunk on duty.  Say, when did he get the clap?"
            "He got it at noon tomorrow."
            Heavy got his last lace tied and wavered to his feet.  "Tomorrow?  Oh.  I remember now.  Gosh, it's dark outside.  How did that happen?"
            "You stuck your head in that blood cooler early instead of late.  Want to come to the club with me?"
            "Sure, why not.  Gosh, I haven't been awake at night since the last time you told me we got hit."
            "You weren't awake long then," Williard said.  The last real combined mortar and sniper attack had occurred just after dark.  Heavy had awakened, grabbed his rifle, then collapsed again and had to be dragged into the bunker.  He didn't really remember the incident, as usual, but took the other men's word for it.
            "I can't help it if I'm a heavy sleeper."
            "It's probably that FUO," Williard said.  One day soon, he was going to have to set Heavy down and talk seriously to him.  It would be a shame to lose him over some drunken mistake when he really had such a lot of potential.  Besides, he liked Heavy, drunkard or not.
            "Must be," Heavy agreed.  "That FUO is nasty stuff."  He downed the last of his beer.

            Sgt. Major Crock appeared at the medical tent two days later, just as Williard had predicted.  He was waiting there just as Williard and Heavy came in from their morning run, sweat running down their faces and soaking their green tee shirts.  How do those bastards manage to run five miles every morning after drinking all day? He wondered.  He should have asked himself the question in reverse.  Williard, and especially Heavy, held a firm notion that it was the daily run which enabled them to drink so much.
            "Good morning Sergeant Major!" Williard said.  "You're here bright and early.  It's not even time for sick call, and we haven't eaten yet."  He pulled a green handkerchief from his back fatigue pocket and wiped his face, then wrung it out and stuffed it back in his pocket.  "Nothing like a morning run to work up an appetite," he added.
            "Sgt. Williard, I need to see a doctor right away."
            "I'm almost a doctor," Williard said.
            "I think I better see one of the medical officers, Sergeant."
            "Whatever you say, Sergeant Major.  I'll have to pull your medical records in that case, of course, and that gossipy Captain Harkness will have to write every little symptom down on your chart.  Let me call my medical records clerk.  He's a real conscientious young soldier, always double checks the records to make sure the captain enters everything according to regulations.  His only real fault is that sometimes he talks too much."
            The sergeant major abruptly re-considered.  "Uh, maybe you could just take care of my little problem before Captain Harkness shows up.  No sense bothering him this early."
            "He won't be in for a little while," Williard said, glancing at his watch as if Harkness was due to arrive soon, rather than poking his head into the tent sometime shortly before noon chow to ask if there were any problem cases he needed to see.
            "Great.  I mean, can we get this done?"
            "OK, come on in," Williard said, as if he were making a great concession.  "Heavy, you better come along too, just in case we have to do some lab."
            Sergeant Major Crock did indeed have the clap, as the slide Heavy quickly prepared and blotted dry proved.  It only took a couple of minutes, but he waited a full half hour before returning to the front of the tent with his report, having been instructed to let the sergeant major sweat for a while.  "Whew!  My eyes are hurting from staring into that microscope so long.  Sergeant Major," Heavy said.  "I hate to tell you, but I not only found Neisseri gonorrhae, but Treponema pallidum and incipient Hemophilus ducreyi right along with it.  You're in bad shape."
            Sgt. Major Crock turned pale.  The only word he recognized from the mouthful of medical jargon was gonorrhea.  "Ohmigod.  What are those other things? Can you cure them?"  Why hadn't he gotten rid of that girl instead of letting her finish?
            "It's the clap, the syph, and the beginnings of soft chancre," Heavy said, "but you gotta talk to the doc here about a cure.  I'm just the lab tech.  I'm sure as hell glad I don't have all that shit, though.  Nice to see you again, Sergeant Major.  I gotta go.  Lots of luck."  Heavy made a discrete exit before the sergeant major could ask him any more questions, such as how syphilis and soft chancre could have appeared so soon after his indiscretion with Honeybunch's mouth.  Those two diseases took weeks to manifest themselves.
            "God, my wife will kill me if I come home with any of this shit," Sergeant Major Crock groaned, visions of divorce and alimony payments racing through his mind.
            "Relax, Sergeant Major.  We'll get you cured."  Williard seemed to muse a bit.  "Of course there have been cases where outdated penicillin accidentally got mixed up with the good stuff.  I remember one case sort of like yours.  That old expired penicillin didn't help a bit, poor guy.  He went back to the world with second stage syphilis and a fully developed soft chancre.  I heard later his wife divorced him and he's having to pay half his retirement in alimony."
            "God, you don't have any of the outdated stuff, do you?" Crock asked apprehensively.  He hadn't quite caught on yet.
            "It's hard to tell," Williard said.  "We try to watch, but some always seems to slip through.  Government contractors, you know.  Them sorry civilians are always trying to make a dishonest buck off of the government.  I'll read the label real close, but you know, sometimes the expiration date is kind of faded.  It's the heat and humidity in them warehouses in Saigon what makes the labels hard to make out sometimes."
            "I can see how that might happen," Sergeant Major Crock said, beginning to see the cards on the table.  God, what if the sergeant really did treat him with outdated medicine?  He folded his hand.  "I'll trust you, Sarge.  In fact, the next time I get over to see your brigade commander, I'll even put in a good word for you.  Colonel Pinkerton, isn't it?"
            "That's him," Williard said.  "I appreciate that, Sergeant Major.  Let's go get your shot.  I'll check that label real close."  So, Crock had already been to see the colonel at least once.  He was glad now he had decided to act so swiftly.  Crock shouldn't be a problem anymore.
            Williard ostentatiously checked the label on the vial of penicillin and allowed Crock to read it as well.  He drew up the thick white mixture in a syringe and injected him in the hip, giving just a little extra twist of the needle to remind him who was calling the shots now.
            "Crockofshit," he muttered to himself as he went off to find out if there was any S.O.S left in the mess hall.  If there wasn't, he might just call the sergeant major in for another shot to be sure he was really cured.  Damnit, here lately it seemed as if he no longer got one threat taken care of than another popped up….

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
April 2011

Complete report on second radio interview:

Last month I reported on a talk radio interview held with me to discuss my fiction novel, The Melanin Apocalypse. The radio program is devoted to eliminating attitudes of White Supremacy (in reference to Blacks, I think. The host never actually specified).

I was invited to be on the program again on March 6th to discuss another of my books, White Odyssey, and I suggested the host read Robert A. Heinlein’s novel, Farnham’s Freehold, and include it in the discussion. He did and it was.

I thought the first interview went reasonably well although there were points upon which I disagreed very strongly with the host, namely that I was guilty of stereotyping blacks throughout both books. I agreed that there were a couple of scenes where I might have been guilty of stereotyping blacks but I told the host I had included them without really thinking or deliberately trying to stereotype blacks. The other scenes he cited were emphatically not, and never intended as such.

Now let’s move to the second interview. To begin with, I may have some of the following out of order or be paraphrasing somewhat, but I am reporting as best I remember and as honestly as I can, just as I did for the first interview.

The host began with again bringing up a scene I had taken directly from my childhood and attributed it to the protagonist, where an old, raggedly-dressed black man who was working for my Dad (either as a sharecropper or as a hired hand--I really don’t know since I was only four years old) paused at the end of a row he was hoeing and where I was playing on our dirt road. He looked down at me and asked whether I would rather be white or black. After remaining silent for a moment I answered “White”. I was four years old at the time and that was my first inkling that something was wrong with the life lived by Blacks in the deep south in the 1940’s. I felt sorry and guilty without knowing exactly why, and I portrayed the protagonist as feeling the same way. I was accused again of stereotyping blacks because of my description of the way the black field hand was dressed and because of the sad look on his face. Now I ask, how in hell did the host think blacks dressed to work on a farm, whether he was a sharecropper or a hired hand? In a suit and tie? Let’s not be ridiculous. I objected strongly and insisted I used that scene, which had been burned indelibly into my mind as a child, to show that my protagonist (and me as well) disagreed with the way blacks were treated then and at the time of The Melanin Apocalypse. I was only four years old when that scene happened, but I knew something was wrong, even that young, and said so. I may as well have been talking to the wind. It went right by the host.

In The Melanin Apocalypse I had a scene where a mob of blacks were intent on raping a white woman and injuring or killing her companion, my protagonist. There were also scenes in White Odyssey (in this book, colored people control the world and treat whites about the way the Nazis treated Jews, only worse) of blacks killing whites and raping white women as they are sent off to camps where they will suffer slow deaths mining shale oil. The host told me this was typical of whites to depict blacks raping white women and asked me why I didn’t have whites doing the same thing in White Odyssey, when whites on a planet where they were being used as test animals revolted? I told him those scenes were intended to show mob behavior and actions taken by enforcers when coloreds are in power and subjugating whites in return for all the abuse blacks suffered for so many centuries. I also said White Odyssey was intended to show that whites and coloreds could live in harmony if they tried hard enough and that throughout White Odyssey the protagonist’s father was teaching my protagonist tolerance despite the deplorable treatment they were subjected to. Also, I said that a group of people, in this case, blacks in The Melanin Apocalypse, would act entirely different than a normal group if they thought they were already infected with the virus that was shortly going to kill them, especially since a false rumor had been started that the government was responsible for the killing virus to begin with. I also said that both scenes were germane to these particular novels and written to show how mobs act, regardless of color. Again, the host apparently had no intention of listening to explanations. He was determined to show how blacks were stereotyped and degraded in both books. Regarding Farnham’s Freehold, written by Heinlein in the early sixties where in the future after a nuclear war, Africa had escaped harm and now blacks were in control all over the world and had made slaves of whites, he insisted that the book showed that Heinlein was a racist. When I told him that Heinlein was not a racist and that, while I couldn’t say for sure since I hadn’t know Heinlein personally, I believed Farnham’s Freehold was intended to show whites in America of the sixties just how badly they were treating blacks then and in the past, and how would they like it if they were slaves? Sorry, Heinlein was a racist, he said. I said that Heinlein was one of the first science fiction authors to include blacks as regular characters in his novels, just as I do the same today, and that not only was he one of the most respected of science fiction authors since the genre became popular, he was far ahead of his time. Again, it made no impression on the host. It was like he wasn’t even listening to me but following a set agenda where he was bound and determined to depict me as a racist and Heinlein as well.

I finally said mobs are always uncontrollable as he should well know, as are those in power in a police state as depicted in White Odyssey, and that scenes of rape and killing were included to further the plot and for no other reason. I also told the host that while White Odyssey depicted a future world where coloreds controlled the world and subjugated blacks, the second half of the book, when whites revolted on a frontier planet being explored and took control, was designed to show that the two races could indeed be reconciled despite past misdeeds on both sides. I could as well have been talking to a brick wall for all that he paid attention to what I was saying!

In one scene I described a shooting where the person shot was black (not that it mattered one way or another when he complained of the way I depicted the action). Certainly it was rather bloody but what the heck did he expect? For a fight to the death to resemble a game of paintball? No, fighting in fiction has to resemble how it would be in real life if you’re trying to make the scene realistic. As a matter of fact, I read a scene in one of John Birmingham’s books yesterday that could have been inserted in the place of mine and readers would never have known the difference. That was one of the silliest objections by the host during the entire interview. There was another really silly objection I’ll get to in a moment.

Later on, the host complained about the covers of both books, claiming they were designed to show blacks being stereotyped and both were obviously racist. He blamed me for them several times, despite repeated statements on my part that I did not control the covers of my books, the publishers did. In any case, I thought the cover of The Melanin Apocalypse that showed a black man in obvious agony behind the print was a great portrayal of all the suffering blacks have been subjected to over the centuries, and were suffering in the book. And the barbed wire crossing the cover of White Odyssey? I don’t have a clue how he got the notion that some barbed wire was derogatory toward blacks unless he was thinking that since the artist made the barbed wire fence black in order to contrast it with the white background of the cover, it meant the artist didn’t like blacks. I said I really had no idea what was in the minds of the artists and again said I didn’t control the covers, but I certainly couldn‘t see where barbed wire had anything to do with Blacks or Whites either, but was a symbol of confinement camps. I said it several times but he insisted on blaming me for them!! “Racist!”, he said, obviously determined to blame me for the covers and not the artists. Frankly, I saw nothing at all racist in either cover. Just the opposite, if anything.

The silliest complaint by the host of both White Odyssey and The Melanin Apocalypse was his objection to a romance portrayed in both books by the white protagonists and his objection occurred in both interviews. When I tried to point out that most of adult fiction contains romance and that it usually helps to drive the plot and interest in the overall story, he wasn’t interested in that explanation. He wanted to know why the two whites were portrayed having romantic interests rather than blacks, and I told him that the books were written from the white protagonists viewpoint so naturally it was their romance that was depicted. He didn’t seem to understand why I had any romance in either book at all, and continued to berate me for it. I think it is pretty obvious that the host doesn’t read much fiction or he would have understood what I was saying. As it was, he appeared to me to think the books would have been better off without any romance in them. It made me wonder if he was complaining that I didn’t write both books as non-fiction. It seems obvious to me that he hasn’t read much science fiction, or much fiction of any kind.

The host also told me the whole of both books were filled with sexual innuendo, which wasn’t true at all. As near as I can see, the books stuck pretty close to the normal fiction of today in that category, and they probably have even less sex and none of it anywhere near as graphic as many novels portray sex in this day and age. He even said it was sexual innuendo when I gave the name “Humpers” to alien animals which traveled with a humping motion. If that’s not a good example of misinterpretation of events in a fiction novel I don’t know what is, but that is only one of many misinterpretations he made and he absolutely wouldn‘t listen to any explanations or reasoning from me.

When a caller to the program asked me what I was doing personally to eliminate the concept of white supremacy I said I was doing nothing other than doing my best to always treat people the way I would want to be treated. I’ve been doing that where possible ever since I was a kid and a teenager growing up in the segregated south and on into the military for years then back into civilian life. I said that’s all I was doing because I’m neither a crusader nor a demonstrator but a quiet retiring individual who is a disabled veteran. That caller also asked if I thought the Tea Party movement was racist. I said I had no idea since I didn’t know anyone belonging to the Teas Party movement and only knew what I had read, and I had not read anything about it being racist. Somehow I must have missed reading about how the Head of the NPR (National Public Radio, or perhaps National Public Broadcasting, I‘m not sure) was recorded in a private conversation calling the Tea Party members a bunch of white, gun-carrying racists. For which the Head was promptly fired, and properly so. I have no use for public broadcasting to begin with but so long as we have it, its directors should be absolutely neutral about such issues or it will become nothing more than a government propaganda medium, if it isn‘t already. I don’t know since I don’t listen to it nor watch the television programs.

All during the first interview and the second interview the host never once accepted an explanation nor listened to my stated objectives in writing the scenes he complained about. I don’t remember all of what was said but it might be archived on the site.          

At the end of the program he called me a racist several times then stated that both me and Heinlein were racists. I became more irritated at him calling Heinlein a racist than I did him calling me one. Robert A. Heinlein was certainly not a racist and was far ahead of his time in numerous subjects he wrote about. He paid no attention but just repeated that I was a racist despite my denials.

And then, to cap the whole series of instances in the two books, White Odyssey and The Melanin Apocalypse, which he said either stereotyped blacks or were derogatory toward blacks, he again stated that I was a racist and that all my writing was filled with racism and stereotyping of blacks and that if he had his way about it I would never be allowed to write another book! (italics my own). He said that when he has admittedly read only those two of my books, yet he said all my writing was racist! He said this again after I told him I had written about fifty books and the only two that dealt with racial issues were White Odyssey and The Melanin Apocalypse and that The Melanin Apocalypse was written more as a warning about the possibilities of genetic advances being used for genocidal purposes rather than trying to explore racial issues in fictional form, and that I wrote White Odyssey as sort of a counterpoint to the incidental (but necessary in the book to make it seem real) racial issues in The Melanin Apocalypse.

His statement that I should never be allowed to write another book strikes me as a very good example of fascist thinking at its worst, wanting to ban an author and his books, like Hitler did for many books and authors he didn‘t like, particularly Jewish. I didn’t bother trying to explain any further that, in any case, both books were fiction and I was both warning against genetic engineering being used for genocide and attempting to tell a good, exciting story while I was at it, and in the other book pointing out that in the future whites may not necessarily be in charge of society, but quite the opposite! He made no attempt to understand my writing at all or me at all. He obviously had an agenda and was sticking to it come hell or high water. He strikes me as the type of person who resembles religious fanatics, those types who know what they know and no amount of reason, logic or explanations will ever change his or her mind. It is sad in a way, I think, when anyone becomes so fixated on an agenda that they lose all sense of proportion.

There were a couple of more places where my writing was grossly misinterpreted. The host objected to the nickname “Fridge”, given to a large black man while he was in the military in the same unit as the protagonist, and they became lifelong friends. He said it was stereotyping Blacks again. I tried to explain to him that in the military, particularly in close-knit combat units, nicknames were given to each other as terms of affection, usually describing them in some way and in no sense was either stereotyping nor derogatory. He still objected, which told me plainly that he had never been in the military and probably knows very little about military life. When I told him how I went into the military at seventeen years old and found that it was well-integrated and that I liked it that way, he simply ignored the statement and retreated to the same old rendition of “stereotyping”. When I described my attempt to elevate the job and pay and training of a black maid at my first civilian job of Chief Technologist of the Medical Laboratory in a hospital, trying in my own small way to increase the status and pay of blacks at a time when blacks in hospitals in the South worked as maids, janitors or kitchen help and weren’t allowed to do anything else. I told how I tried to get her trained as a Clinical Laboratory assistant, drawing blood from patients and assisting with laboratory procedures, which would help her with more pay and advancement and into a job held only by whites at the time, and how the Doctors who owned the hospital refused to allow it, stating that they didn‘t want a maid drawing blood from their patients! Of course those doctors never stopped to think that the maid was doing that kind of work because it was all she was allowed to do regardless of her innate talents and intelligence. The story was passed over as if I’d never said a word.

At one point in the interview (I don’t remember exactly when) I made the statement that we all carry some cultural baggage from our youth and the way we were raised, whether black, brown, pink, white or polka dotted--makes no difference. Hard as we may try we can’t simply get rid of all that deleterious cultural baggage with a snap of fingers. We can try though, which I’ve done all my life. That was passed over, too, as if I’d never said a word about it. The host was sticking to his agenda that my books and me personally were both racist.

In White Odyssey I told of whites trying to imitate dress and manners of affluent blacks and coloreds by wigs, false noses and skin colors. The host thought that scene was terrible, but under the circumstances depicted in the fictional novel,  I believe it would happen--just as some blacks today use hair straighteners and skin lightening creams. Did he happen to think of that, or if so, did he mention it? No, of course not.

I will say again that I think his intention to try to wipe out the attitudes and practices of white supremacy is a laudable goal, but I have very serious doubts that he is a good spokesman for his cause if he is conducting other interviews in the manner which I was subjected to both times. If anything, I believe his absolute refusal to listen to reason or explanations of why an author writes a certain way is hurting rather than helping his agenda and cause. He was polite enough during both interviews that I have no complaint on that score and at the end he said “I could be wrong” but I seriously doubt that he meant it because he followed the statement immediately by stating again that both Heinlein and I were racist and I shouldn‘t be allowed to publish any more books--even though he had read only two of mine of the fifty or so I‘ve written and has no idea what is in the others.

I stuck it out through the whole hour-long interview without either losing my temper or simply cutting the interview short, even though I feel I would have been fully justified in doing either or both. Instead I stayed with the program for the full hour and then thanked him for having me as a guest.

Since my memory is far from perfect I may have misquoted the host in instances, but I don’t believe so. At the most I have paraphrased some of the comments made by both the host and myself. Also I may have left out some of the interview that the host considered more important than what I wrote here, but I see no purpose in listing any more of the ways my writing and my interview remarks were completely misunderstood by the host.

If you are interested in reading both interviews he conducted with me, and if they are archived on his site, you should be able to find them somewhere at the url below. Frankly, after writing all of the words above I have no interest in re-visiting it, although I did look up the first of the host’s comments. A scene from one of the books was displayed on his web site where he puts the word “Nigger“ in parentheses to replace whatever word I used (certainly I didn’t use it in there or in that context) suggests strongly that’s the word I wrote in that scene, which is not true. Any time I used the word  it was in the context of a character speaking and almost always one of the bad guys! Also on his web site he names me as the author of the two books and states that I am a “Suspected White Supremacist”, which is definitely not true, and in the interview he didn’t use the word “suspected”. He stated baldly that I was a racist! Again, not even remotely true.

I doubt if the host stopped to think that what he has done is give me a heck of a lot of publicity for my two books, The Melanin Apocalypse and White Odyssey! As I’ve heard, any publicity is good publicity when it attracts readers!

And in case anyone wants to know, yes, I will send the host of the show a copy of this April issue of Bainstorming when it is due out in April. The url of the host’s program follows if you want to look at it:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/victim-of-racism

 Darrell Bain

 

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