Legends and Ghosts
The following story is true.
"Funny how the inexplicable always seems to show up in times of desperation."
It was a strange think to hear... sitting at a little hole in the wall bar in God's no where West Virginia. The man that had said it was sitting next to me... talking to himself... or maybe to no one at all... but his buddy gave a knowing nod.
I didn't give the matter much thought. I wasn't there for a philosophy lecture... I wanted a beer. By that time I'd had four.
By the time I'd had six me and those two ol' boys were becoming drinkin' buddies. Turns out they were regulars... and I wasn't... but tonight I was... at least that's how they put it. It was good enough for them anyway.
After a long while I asked Charlie what he ment... about things happening in desperate times.
What follows... the the story he and Al told me.
"Not the best name for a Ranger in Vietnam is it? Charlie... You can't imagine how sick I was of hearin' the same 3 jokes. Shut up Al... no one asked you."
Al laughed. "See... Charlie here... he and I were Rangers... and well... we saw a lot of things. Oh I'm not talking about plain ol' killing... or man's cruelty to man or any of that college boy shit. I'm talkin'... we saw some strange shit."
"I got this Al." Charlie began.
"There's legends Nate... and ghosts... and that's all Vietnam is... Legends and Ghosts. " He paused... sipped a little whiskey... then he continued.
"It was the start of the dry season... and the little man in the black pajamas had a hard on for his annual offensive. The little pricks had manuevered a whole damned brigade out... and some of our boys had gotten stuck behind them. I tell ya... it weren't no damned good. Thats when they called us. Airlift in there... bust 'em out. Impossible? Of course it was impossible. They were sending two platoons in up against God knows what kind of blocking force... probably at least two companies. But hell... we're Rangers. That's what we do."
Al shook his head a chuckled a bit to himself.
"We were probing for weak spots... some place we could break through... oh... the truth is we could've hammered our way through anywhere we wanted.. but we wanted it clean and neat. Quiet. Fear is important in war... Anyway... I don't want you to believe me and Al were big time players in this deal... we were just scouts... running along picking out victims. Anyway... we were creepin' through the thickest damned jungle on God's earth... not far from the Cambodia border... when we found what we were lookin' for. "
At this point... Al interupted... "Sorta."
"Yeah... sorta. See Nate... there weren't two companies.... there was a whole damned brigade. Dug in. Ready for a fight. Like they knew we were comin'... Like they'd been there a while. But Nate..."
He turned and looked me in the eye.
"Nate they were all dead. Every damned one of them.... "
"Shit man", all said, "I looked at 15 bodies.. not one bullet wound.... just... dead."
We didn't know what happened.. and we didn't care to find out. We radio'd back... we rushed in and got our boys out... and left the NVA to figure out."
Charlie sat there a moment... sipped his whiskey... and shook his head.
Al spoke up..
"See... Nate... when we got to our men... turned out it was an ARVN unit... yeah... don't ask... anyway... man... they were white... terrified... kept mumbling some shit about a... spirit protector. The god Gio'ng or some shit..."
"I need more whiskey" said Charlie.
and I simply replied...
"So do I."
When I got home that night... I did a little research on Gio'ng. Ghosts and Legends indeed.