Atomic Age

The Peacekeepers p. 4

2/13/67: After Sampa

Eddie Dowd’s apartment building

NUMBER ONE on the Billboard Charts

“Hey, Vinnie! You listenin to me or what?” Dowd shouted out into the living room, as he finished with dinner in the small galley kitchen. The smells of fish filled the tiny lower east side apartment. It might have been a pleasant smell if Dowd hadn’t scorched it. Instead, it was burnt fish. Dowd didn’t seem to mind much.

“You just wait, pal. This is better than any of that junk you get back home. I know, I know… ain’t nobody do seafood like you cajuns. You tell me that after you take a bite of THIS. The secret is the rosemary rub.’

Corporal Eddie Dowd was one of the lucky ones. When Hill 112 blew to Hell, Dowd got enough shrapnel to mess up his face a little. After the medics sewed him up, he seemed to pick up even more chicks. He was pretty far from the landmine when it detonated. Outside of the pain, Dowd ended up winning the lottery. He got a combat wound serious enough to ship him stateside, without any serious lasting damage.

Dowd’s buddy and NCO,Sgt Porter,on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. Dowd didn’t actually see what happened then, or what happened later that led to his buddy going missing for so long. All he knew was that when the chopper took them out of there, the medics were pretty frantic to help Sarge. That was a bad sign. The chopper set down for only a moment, and from there he got stretchered out at camp. Sarge was apparently a lot worse off. The chopper pilot said they were headed to a hospital ship or something. They never made it. Vinnie and the medics disappeared. It was many months later when Dowd got Sarge’s letter. The two wrote back and forth a time or two, and soon after his pal was coming to New York to pay him a visit.

“Anyway, like I was saying. I heard crazy things about this doc. Some of the boys down at the clinic are sayin he ain’t right in the head. Just be careful ok? When’s this colored friend of yours comin by anyway? She bringin a friend or what? You know, I don’t care so much about all that. It ain’t what a broad looks like on the outside, except how big her cans are, amiright? Aww, c’mon. I’m just kidding around. I mean, I’m kinda kidding.”

Dowd wiped his hands on his apron with the words “Kiss the chef” stenciled in blue, purple and pink screen printing. He walked into the living room to tell his buddy that dinner was about ready. Sarge was asleep on the couch, his feet kicked up, and sawing logs.

“Ain’t that some kinda nerve. You come all the way to New York, and you pass out on me. Guess I’ll just have to eat your fish, huh?”

The buzz of the front doorbell told Dowd that Sarge’s friend was here. Maybe she brought a friend. He kicked some of his dirty laundry in the living room floor out of the way, in a vain attempt to make his oversized closet more presentable. He muttered to himself, and opened the door.

“Hey hey, it’s your lucky day! You hungry?” Dowd opened the door to greet the woman on the other side.


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