Monday, July 8, 2013

Mess Duty


Mess Duty


Kenny A. Chaffin

All Rights Reserved © 2013 Kenny A. Chaffin

We’d been out killin’ gooks all night. I hate fuckin’ night patrol. It was on fuckin’ night patrol when they got Billy. Right through the fuckin’ head! His fuckin’ brains spattered right in my eyes. And then after mucking in the swamp all night I get fuckin’ mess duty! Break the eggs, scrape the pans, dump the slop and peel the fuckin’ potatoes. Hell this is nineteen fuckin’ sixty-nine you’d think they’d freeze dry all this shit.
I was out back of the mess tent when sarge stuck his head out, “Get the hell in here, Johnson.” What the hell I thought, did I forget to julian the fuckin’ radishes or what?
Half the platoon was in there all staring at the TV in the corner. The signal kept breaking up, I couldn't tell what the hell was going on, all noise and flickering and beeping. “What the fuck?”
            “Shut up,” someone said.
            I shrugged. I could hear the guns firing from the ships in the bay, like they always were, but it was never this quiet here in camp. The flickering image looked like some guy climbing down a ladder, some strange contraption on his back. It was deathly silent, just the deep throated barrrom, barrrom of the big guns far off. The TV was silent then a high pitched beep and what sounded like the guy struggling to breathe. He took another step, the image flashed bright white. I thought the shells from the guns might have got him but the grainy picture came back, more beeps, a squeal and then static like through our field radios. The picture went black and flickered some more and then you could hear him, “That’s one small step for [crackle] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
            It was all too surreal; I went outside for a smoke. Here we are in the fuckin’ jungle killing gooks in the swamp and that fucker just stepped on the Moon. We came in peace for all mankind. Fuckin’ A we did!

About the Author

Kenny A. Chaffin writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction and has published poems and fiction in Vision Magazine, The Bay Review, Caney River Reader, WritersHood, Star*Line, MiPo, Melange and Ad Astra and has published nonfiction in The Writer, The Electron, Writers Journal and Today’s Family. He grew up in southern Oklahoma and now lives in Denver, CO where he works hard to make enough of a living to support two cats, numerous wild birds and a bevy of squirrels. His poetry collections No Longer Dressed in Black and The Poet of Utah Park and his collection of science essays How do we Know are available at He may be contacted through his website at