quasi in rem

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Mudville Gazette's has announced its First Annual John Kerry Fan Fiction Contest!

Here is my entry:

As the swift boat gently glided through the afternoon Cambodia swampland, Lieutenant Kerry and his crew began to notice just how accutely quiet it had become in the surrounding river delta.

Granted it was better than the alternative. For aan American soldier in Vietnam, trapped miles inside Cambodia, the only thing creepier than the silence of a river delta was all the Christmas carols.

South Vietnam, also known as the Land of Christmas, had long celebrated the important holiday. Traditionally South Vietnamese would drink large quantities of spiked egg nog, wander into Cambodia, and fire off their guns as an homage to St Nguyick. It was a tradition as old as Christmas itself.

Earlier in the morning the crew had been pelted with chorus after chorus of "Deck the Halls" echoing through the swampland from unseen voices. At this point, they would sooner go to their graves than have to hear one more chorus of "Fa la la la la, la la, la la." Especially since the southest Asians were not always consistent in their pronounciation of l's.

But still the silence was chilling. Thankfully the two CIA frogmen who were getting a free ride into Cambodia, broke the tension and approached Kerry with a Christmas present they smuggled on board just for him.

The gift was wrapped in palm leaves and bailing wire, but since he wasn't expecting anything from his rag tag band of brothers, it was the prettiest gift he had ever seen. He tore through the wrapping as his crew looked on in anticipation.

It was a hat.

"That's the official secret CIA symbol there." noted CIA Agent Stuart Townsend of the red dot inside two concentric red circles featured prominently on the brow of the cap.

"It's on the back too." noted his CIA compatriot, Henry Jones. "You make sure you wear that everyday."

Kerry noticed that neither of the two CIA operatives was wearing a similar hat, prefering a full camo hat with a wide brim. Jones and Townsend immediately saw the look.

"Umm, we don't get to wear the hat until we've been in country for at least 90 days. That is the super secret special agent hat there." Jones explained.

With an uderstanding grin, Kerry took the hat and placed it on his elogated skull. Kerry wanted to record the moment for posteriety.

"Do you guys mind if I take a picture?"

Not at all they responded and Kery quickly began to organize the shot. He called out his long time gaffer, Hehn Lo, who had been best boy at his Ahn Tre shoot earlier in the year, to clear the deck of the extra equipment and get a light reading. His cinematographer, Dat Nguyen, had come down with scurvy earlier in the week and so he had to make do with his brother Tran for the camera work. Tran was fine, he had shot all of the cool background scenes in his "Welcome to Vietnam" montage earlier in the year, but he just did not have the artistic flair of Dat.

Fortunately, Hehn Lo had figured out how to draw power off the boat's battery to rig up a truly exceptional backgroud lighting display to create a real 'golden hour' feel to the shoot.

"Now just act normal, "Kerry directed as Lo turned on the lights, "But keep ducking every few seconds as if we are under constant fire. About thirty seconds into the shot, one of you fall off the boat and I will jump in and rescue you .... ready with the scene marker Mr. Lo!... Action!"

Tran carefully filmed the two men regiving Kerry the hat as they ducked from invisible incoming sniper fire, Kerry stood steadfast and motionless at the prow of the boat. Like Washington crossing the Delaware. All of a sudden Johnson fell of the side into the waist deep canal and Kerry jumped in after him and quickly flipped him back on deck.

"And cut! That's going into the archives for sure!" Kerry exalted. "Mr. Lo, check the gate and set up the craft sevices table! It's a wrap."


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