Fort Worden











On Monday, Willy was jumped by the International White Race and held against the flag pole in the National Cemetery at the Presidio while they explained they were not about to stomp him because he was a nigger, because he wasn’t a nigger. If he had been a nigger with a white man’s name like Jefferson Davis they would have beat him because he was a nigger with a white man’s name, but since he was a white man with a nigger’s name, or so they understood because they didn’t personally listen to race music except James Brown who could sing as good as any white man, it was their opinion that he, Willy, was a race traitor for at least not changing his name to something white like Nelson Rockefeller.

As the first punch landed, a squad of Marine MPs rose from behind the gravestones, seized the International White Race, beat them half to death and placed them on a military transport to the U.S. base at Khe Sanh in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. They arrived in time to participate in Operation Niagara which successfully forced the North Vietnamese Army to end its 75-day seige of this strategically unimportant U.S. base, whose defenders knew they’d won when the rats deserted the base to feed on the cooked body parts of the enemy. All three were honored for their role in Operation Niagara and promoted.

On Tuesday, Willy was transferred to Fort Worden, which was odd, because it had been decommissioned in 1953. Once a major fortress in the “Triangle of Death” guarding Puget Sound from Oriental invasion, it was now a State of Washington juvenile detention center. Willy barracked in a former officers’ residence, a decayed Victorian house in the Jeffersonian style which fronted on the former parade grounds where delinquents played football.

Odder yet, he received a letter from Mona.

Dear Will,

I know this is a real surprise because I wasn’t ever going to write you after what I did which was to break up with you. Still I kept the picture of you we took in the photo machine where I pulled my tits out and one of them youre sucking which I keep under my pillow. I really thought breaking up was the best thing to do and I admit I imagined someone better coming along but its been almost five months and nobody has and the girls still call me Mustang Sally anyway. Mustangs are cool cars I realize and I imagine us in a Mustang up by Whiskytown Lake with me bouncing up and down on your big dick (see I said it in a letter!!) and holding on to the windshield cause the Mustang I imagine is a convertable.

Willy loved her rounded script. It reminded him of her body.

Everything has gotten real wierd since you left. I mean it was pretty wierd before but now its wierd on the personnel level. Your friend Dwight died. I know you said he wasn’t your friend, but that’s the thing a person who was his friend would say and you were the only one who payed him a visit in the hospital, not even his own parents who have moved to San Diego somewhere. Then one day I came home and the wall-to-wall carpet in the living room was gone. I been working at the bra factory. Your mom got me the job, she was real nice about it even though I broke up with you. It’s only ladies who work there I guess you know, exept the bosses, so theres no chance in hell I’ll meet boys there. Just kidding. Maybe thats what your Mom thought.

Anyway! The rug was gone and Mom wouldnt say nothing at first. Then she said it got stained with red wine exept she dont drink red wine or wine at all as you know. Then she got drunk one night which she doesnt hardly and was yelling at the TV to stop making her life difficult. She said shes sorry she got you drafted, but I dont know how that could be since she’s only a secretary down there and its those shitheads like Billy Buck Rogers who make the decisions about who goes and who gets defered. And she “explained” that the TV bled on the rug and ruined it. She was watching the news, this was that time when the Viet Cong attacked our Headquarters in Vietnam, and they were pointing at some body on the ground in the yard there and his blood ran out and where the grass in the Embassy touched the TV screen the blood kept on going and drooled over the edge and dripped on our carpet. She tried like hell to clean it up but it wouldnt.

I guess you think she is nuts and maybe she is. She goes out at night more and odd hours, I think she’s got a boyfriend. I wish I did. I mean youre still my boyfriend since I don’t have another. I guess youre putting your big dick in a lot of girls where ever you are stationed at. I dont get jealous. I just wish I had it in me. Remember when you fucked me on homeplate at the Elks Club? And you shined your flashlight on my behind and it must have looked like the full moon? I get nuts thinking about that. And our last time in the car, even though I did you and had to get myself off at home, crying. You probly never think of me now that youre in the Big World.

Mom sends her love. I mean she would if she knew I was writing to you.

You could write me. I dont think Mom would mind any more.

Love (sort of, it depends on how you feel),


Dimly across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca lay Canada, where no one ever fought in foreign wars. Willy looked up from the Fort Worden pier, saw the Seattle-Victoria ferry gliding from American fog to Canadian fog, returned to writing.

Dear Mona,

Do you really want me back?

Crumple. Off the pier, into American waters.

Dear Mona,

I’ve been thinking about you a whole lot.

Crumple. Hit the trash can.

Dear Mona,

Fuck you you fat bitch. I hope a bra machine mistakes your head for a tit and squashes it flat.

Dear Mona,

I really miss you. I’m still in the U.S. I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you where. I think I’m a secret. As far as the Army is concerned I’m in the Twilight Zone. I’ve trained for heavy earth moving equipment, U.S. Army Engineers, and they’ve stashed me in some scenic dump for juvenile delinquents which isn’t even a real fort and has nothing to do with the war or anything real. I feel like mysterious forces are determining my fate but they can’t make up their minds what to do. The Canadian border is out in the water about 25 miles away. I could cross over to Canada so easy. If you came here we could fuck on the pier and nobody’d care, so I guess it wouldn’t be any fun. Or in the middle of the parade ground with all the juvies watching. There you go.

Dear Mona,

I hope you give some teamster at a truck stop on the new I-5 a blow job and choke to death on his cum.

Snap, crumple, pop. Feed the fishes.

Two weeks later as Willy sat on the steps overlooking the parade grounds watching two kids beat up a third in workmanlike silence under a tree and making soft talk to Brandy Something and trying to figure whether her being 15 and sent there for running away from her family situation which meant being beat by Daddy between suckings of Daddy’s cock disqualified her from having moves put on her by an Army private with nowhere to go, a grey car he had seen cruising the ground pulled up before them and an MP Sergeant no less, leaving the car door open, asked was he Private Wilson Pickett, Army Engineers, etc and being confirmed of that showed him orders to report this day to the Commanding Officer at Ft. Lewis, a real fort near Tacoma, pack your gear NOW, private.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Of course it’s important, why the fuck you think the Colonel sent his car. I don’t know. You’ll find out, was the Sergeant’s end of the conversation, spaced over two and a half hours, one ferry, three bridges, and many small wooded peninsular towns with houses like his own in Redding. only more resigned to fog and damp. Willy took to counting Dodge Darts, his own waiting faithfully, as machinery does, under tarp in his parents’ driveway. Mining machines from the 1850s still hold down claims for miners older than dead up by Shasta. What does machinery know? I shoulda written Mona.

The CO of Ft. Lewis was OUT. His secretary swiveled Willy’s folder, held out a ballpoint pen to the Sergeant, “Sign there,” as if for lost property returned to base. The pen didn’t work. The next pen didn’t work. “Military equipment,” she muttered, rooting for pens in her top drawer, which gave Willy time to read the cable stapled to the folder.

Fm: Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam [that'd be Westmoreland].

To: CINCPAC   [that'd be someone else ].

Subj: Crossover Man.  [that'd be .... c'mon, no]

Send him. Now. Keep him alive. Firebase Mordant, I Corps.

Which was where Willy found himself 28 hours later, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where the sun, moon, and stars had all been processed, like him, into something unknown.

“Is that the same moon?” he asked a soldier flopped against sandbags, smoking.

“I don’t know,” said the soldier, “I’m not from around here.”