The Book of Acts
There was a bright flash but no sound other than the rush of wind. My body rose and I felt like I was caught in a wave, and I woke from something that wasn’t sleep and I turned to see Joe Hart there beside me dead on the ground. I heard Birdman calling for Billy, and I could hear other voices coming. I knew we’d be shot if they found us. I could hear their strange talk. They were waiting to see what they were up against. It was just us two and the corpses, so I made like there was more. I barked phantom orders and tossed a grenade. Then I crawled over to Joe. He still had the radio, as crazy as that sounds, and I called in for a pick-up. I laid there behind half of Joe Hart for a good hour listening to the Birdman rave. Bird loved the Bible and could talk some good shit. He called them children of Satan and ordered them to cease their perversions of the right ways of the Lord. I could hear them bark in their harsh language as they circled around, trying to confuse us. They were everywhere, I heard them talking low, taunting us.
That’s when Bird called for a mist to blind them. The hand of the Lord is upon thee, he said. He called for a darkness, and Godamn, the darkness came. A mist did risem and it scared the shit out of them. It scared me too, at first, but that was the moment I knew I’d make it home to see you.
Bird kept up his preaching till the choppers came, his voice echoing through the jungle, muffled by the mist he was sure he evoked. When the chopper came at first and I thought it was drums. Then it got loud and I knew we’d been saved. The mist swirled. It came down and blew it all away. He thought it was angels, Bird did, and he proclaimed that to the Vietcong. I could hear him shouting over the whumps of the chopper blades.
Behold ye despisers, wonder and perish, for I work a work in your days, you cannot believe.
I remember rising up through the trees and we took no fire. I saw them scatter likes ants. I had your mother’s letters so I knew I had a boy and she even named you so I knew your name and I said it out loud for the first time.
Solomon, I said, and Bird looked up at me with his face burned to hell and said your boy’s filled with the Holy Ghost.
They gave me the Bronze Star for
that and to this day I can’t even look at it because it rightfully belongs to
Bird. But Bird is dead and buried in a hole somewhere in