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Authors: Steve Kluger

Tags: #Humour, #Adult, #Historical, #Young Adult

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BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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Dear Charlie,

Emily Brontë wrote
Withering Heights
or maybe it was her sister. They were both working for the Gestapo anyway, so what's the difference?

Want to hear some top secret war news? The Marine Corps can go to Hell. When they wouldn't let me join I told them I wasn't leaving until they changed their minds, so Capt. Brunner made me an honorary private first class—which means that I get to bring him coffee and say “Next” to the guys who are waiting in line for physicals. Who does he think he's kidding? That was the same kind of job they gave to Mammy in
Gone With the Wind
and she sure as Hell was no Pfc. What a pudding-mouth. And if he calls me “son” one more time, I'm gunna knock his block off. But I think I found out some things you need to know, so pay attention.

Marine
: Playing possum hockey

English
: Shooting the breeze (the bullshit kind)

Marine
: The day the eagle shits

English
: Payday

Marine
: Shower of shit

English
: the bombs at Pearl and others like them

Marine
: Wakey-wakey call

English
: reveille

Marine
: Nervous in the service?

English
: You're supposed to answer with “Well, I sure ain't crackin' up from shackin' up” but nobody knows how come. What a bunch of dopes.

Marine
: Jam it, cram it, and ram it

English
: This already sounds like something you would say.

Marine
: Dugout Doug

English
: MacArthur, from still sitting on his butt.

Marine
: Snerp

English
: Any “ass hole” who gets made Father of the Year by Mrs. Roosevelt and then skips out on everybody just so he can shoot people he doesn't even know.

They also say snafu, tarfu and fubar, but Capt. Brunner won't tell me what they mean. Maybe it's classified. Or maybe he's just a chowdermouth like you.

Pfc. Joey
USMC

P.S. I already went to work on Hazel, so don't worry. First I sent her a rose with your name on it, then I showed her pictures of Cousin Jane's wed
ding, and then last night at the club I asked her to sing “Dat Man of Mine.” I think it really got to her.

P.S.2. Guess who just learned how to play “Elmer's Tune” on the sax? I'll give you a hint. It wasn't you.

P.S.3. By the way. I outrank you. So when I tell you to toe the line, you do it.

Dear Joey,

When you tell me to toe the line, you better be 2 miles in front of me and moving.

We just got issued our 782 gear which we thought was going to be more pants that do not fit. (Mine are so short that you could paint targets on my calfs and Stuke's are so big that he could have four dicks in them and nobody would notice.) Instead it turned out to be our combat hardware. We got 1903 bolt-action Springfields and real bullets and K-Bar knives. They told us not to play with them until we had training, so as soon as they left us alone we played with them anyway. Marantz accidentally shot Shiloh in the ass but it was only a flesh wound. Not even worth the candle. That reminds me. SNAFU means Situation Normal All Fucked Up, TARFU means Things Are
Really
Fucked Up, FUBAR means Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition and FTA means Fuck The Army. So me and Stuke started making up our own. When our top kick gives us a hard time, we
say such things back to him as “SYCKMA, Sir.” Since we are saluting when we say it, he does not ask any questions. If he finds out that it means So You Can Kiss My Ass, they will probably hang us for treason.

So far I am the only boot in our outfit to get my marksman rating, even though the whole thing was an accident. At first it did not look like I was going to cut the mustard at all on account of our rifle range is at the bottom of this big hill with a road on the top, and I kept aiming too high and blowing out the tires of Jeeps and etc. Meanwhile the rest of the squad was at least hitting the targets by pretending they had Hitler or Tojo on them, but that still did not work for me—I almost killed the guy who was driving the bread truck. Then Stuke told me to pretend it was Paul Derringer's face on the target instead. After 11 bullseyes in a row they gave me a ribbon. Stuke thinks he should get part of it. I don't.

Charlie

P.S. Are you sure Hazel isn't wise to us yet? Your laying it on pretty thick.

Dear Goodlookin',

Headlines from the Home Front: our trumpet player eloped with a cigarette girl (between shows), the follow spot blew in the middle of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” so it sounded like I was singing the damned thing from somewhere in the hereafter, Cole Porter says he's writing a new musical for me called
Something for the Boys
(which I'll believe when I see it), and Ethel Merman's favored to win the Triple Crown—they've thrown a saddle on the bitch and called her Whirlaway. Want to switch places? You can hunt for nylons on the black market and I'll go live in a barracks with 75 naked men.

Joey took me to see four movies in three days:
Once Upon a Honeymoon, They All Kissed the Bride, For Me and My Gal and I Married an Angel
. I should have known it was your idea—he's not usually that subtle. During the first double-feature, Cary Grant kissed Ginger Rogers and he whispered to me, “Doesn't that make you stop and think?” So I whispered back, “It sure does. Do you suppose Cary Grant is still available?” He wouldn't speak to me for two hours. Later he suggested that we stop by Tiffany's on our way back to Brooklyn—a detour of a mere six miles—“just to see what's in the window.” (Between you and me, this kid researches his assault tactics better than Eisenhower does.) There were only two items on display—diamond V-For-Victory broaches (a steal at $5,000) and assorted wedding bands “for the soldier in a hurry.” It'd serve you right if I chose the broach.

Before you boys gang up on me again I'll give you one hint, you coward. On bended knee, by candlelight, or in the middle of Yankee Stadium, I'll still say yes. (I'd even be willing to settle for flowers and candy, but you don't have enough ration points.) One condition: when you ask me, make it romantic. Otherwise it's Cary Grant's turn.

-H-

Dear Charles,

Mazel Tov! A mensch yet! Whatever gave you the idea?

City Hall is for goniffs. We'll have the whole thing right here. Selmon's Delicatessen agreed to cater, even when they found out it was for you. (Selmon follows the Yankees, he can rot in Hell.) Invite whoever you want but try to keep Jesus Christ in the hall. I'm sure he was a very nice boy with a lovely mother—but we let him in the door, we kill Rabbi Lieberman.

If they send you overseas before we choose your silverware pattern, I'll need to know where I can wire you.

Aunt Carrie

Dear Sprout,

No fair. Foul ball. Kill the umpire. How come you get to be his best man all by yourself & I get stuck in second place? I scored the first unassisted triple play in 21 years, didn't I? I had 8 hitting streaks, right? And so far I'm the only one in South Carolina who's willing to tell him that it wasn't Mickey Owen's fault even though it was. But all Charlie says is, “Ask Joey. It's his call.”

So here's my plan. Let's make him the only guy in history who ever had 2 best men at his wedding.
Sort of like co-captains. One of us can hold the ring & the other one can give it to him. One of us can make the toast & the other one can drink it. One of us can invite people to the bachelor party & the other one can go to it. Sound like a sweet deal?

Everything here is AOK and OSIAS (Our Sergeant Is A Shit-head). They showed us
The Road to Morocco
last night until Marantz fell asleep at the projector and the film melted. So what's the griff on Dorothy Lamour? Is she or isn't she? Will she or won't she? Could you nose around a little and find out? I figure if I can't ask my co-best man, who
can
I ask? (And if she wants to come to the wedding with me, tell her yes.)

Semper Fi, Mac.

Your buddy,

Stuke

P.S. Charlie decided it was time to learn a different song on his sax (which we could have told him a year ago, huh?). So he picked “Elmer's Tune”. Know what? The way he plays it, it sounds just like “In the Mood”. And he couldn't play that either.

P.S.2. Deke Marantz has a bucket full of stories about rooming with Charlie in Springfield, so now we get the other half of it. Deke finally chickened up and admitted that maybe he did piss on the toilet seat a couple of times, but it was better than Charlie who missed the whole toilet and pissed on the floor.

Dear Charlie,

Me and Hazel went to Tiffany's on 5th Avenue and bought the wedding bands (we used your ring from Springfield to get the right size). They cost a lot of dough and since you probably can't swing it on a buck private's pay, we lent you the money ourselves (I put in 3 smackers). While we were there, we saw Ethel Merman buying a big green necklace and she said to Hazel, “He looks a little young to me, dear.” So Hazel said back, “Who doesn't?” Then we left.

Rachel's been letting me buy her milk and eat my lunch with her, but I still couldn't think of anything to talk to her about. Then I had a great idea. So yesterday in the middle of chocolate pudding I said, “I need your help. My buddy is getting married and I'm one of the best men, but I've never done it before and I don't know what I'm supposed to wear. What about my blue pants and the shirt with stripes?” And she said, “Oh no. You have to wear a suit.” Well smokes—of
course
you have to wear a suit. Even a blockhead knows that. But she didn't know that I already knew. So now we talk about different kinds of ties and shoes and etc. One question. How do I get her to change the subject? We're almost down to underpants.

Joey

P.S. They're building Dauntless dive bombers at the Navy Yard and they needed helpers but they told me I was too short. So I snuck in under the coffee wagon and wound up on the assembly line until they threw me out. I even put in a rivet.

Dear Joey,

There's more than one way to skin 2 cats with a stone. But your on the right track. The best way to get girls going is to ask them something you already have the answer to. Then they will think you are dumb and they are smart, and as long as you don't tell them the truth you can get away with murder. But be careful. What if she had even lousier taste than you do and told you to wear yellow pants or etc.? Because if you didn't do it, you would be right back where you started, only worse. See what I mean? It can get dangerous out there. And don't worry about how to keep them talking, on account of that is the one thing they always do better than we do. It comes with the turf like long hair and girdles. So when you run out of ideas just say the first word that comes into your head—even if it is “uranium”—because they can do at least 20 minutes on just about anything. Oh yeah. They also like it when we use colors to talk about their body parts, such as “your eyes are as brown as” or “your teeth are whiter than” and similar types of crap. But this routine has 6 or 7 rules that go along with it and if you do not watch yourself it can be like walking through a mine field. So don't try it until we practice and I say your ready.

Last thing. Never try to win a fight with them. They are always right. If they say that Abraham Lincoln was Chinese, they are right. If they say that Babe Ruth played for the Cardinals, they are right too. Get use to saying “Smokes,
I
didn't know that.” Otherwise you will never get laid as long as you live.

I need to hit the sack. We have another run tomorrow in the early A.M., I think to Colarado. We finally figured out that they only do such things to us to see who croaks and who doesn't. They probably have money on it. But there is a word for this now. TUMBS. The Usual Marine Bullshit. The only reason I have time to write this at all is on account of we were suppose to see your buddy Citizen Kane tonight but when they opened the can the middle reel was somehow gone. Rose Bush my ass.

See you next week.

Charlie

P.S. They said that Capt. Colin Kelly sank the
Haruna
all by himself. What did I tell you? This thing is practically over already.

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
10.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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