Bullets, Bastards, and the “Great Pink Donkey”…
I was conceived the Great American Bastard, July 4, 1967.
My father tugged me out in an ecstatic rage onto the charred face of a North Viet Cong.
I never would have learned this however if it weren’t for my neighbor, who came to my office straightaway one morning to act out the scene in a gross avant-garde telling.
He was very upset (he was always upset whenever I saw him, and I’d supposed long ago he suffered from an acute emotional response) as he portrayed my father struggling to load a soggy rolled newspaper with such an angry display of palsy, then shook his head squaring dead in my eyes. “Just a running shituva life“, which he redundantly concluded as “miserable”.
During his bumbling, he explained how my father spilled a hot mess of bullets into the bloody ejaculate, and no sooner than they’d been loaded — shrapnel hit his genitals with explosive ferocity.
Somewhere in this haze of shock, and pain, he recognized these bullets to now carry the last of his line (for I hailed from a long, terrible lineage of great American bastards) as he discharged me into the belly of a Viet Cong prostitute dalliancing his commanding officer in the next hut.
Throughout his telling, my neighbor emphasized my importance. “Goddamned intellectually special”, to be precise (I noted the strain, for until those interjected moments I had never heard such a large man lose control of the depth of his vocal training in such a winded pitch).
While I’m usually too modest to entertain such hyperbole, it nevertheless inspired a guilty enthusiasm for my newfound heritage. In that moment, my father’s strength became an anecdote of aspiration I came to employ during any social function I was allowed to attend within 500 feet.
Unfortunately, I found myself distracted with his lack of costume, or convincing props aside from the wet newspaper, and squashed, tread-marked cat (which I noted as grossly exaggerated).
As security led him out, he struggled a final, though unrelated vow that this would be the last time I run over his cat — a promise I enthusiastically welcomed as I’ve never enjoyed running them over.
In turn I too called after to assure him– despite his rushed performance of my conception, and his liberal use of the vernacular, he had done the right thing telling me the truth of my lineage.
I found him years later — my true father — spanging outside a coin laundry, and though he was far older than I’d perceived — upon a close, rigid study I concluded it was indeed him.
He was terribly weathered, obviously still wet from the jungle; and dressed in tight PVC fatigues with a pink, rubber strap-on. The damn thing was monstrous, too long and heavy to hang properly without the aid of one of his hands, and at that moment a stinging rush of familial empathy punched my core.
Upon introducing myself, I gave him a tremendous hug, and then helped myself to a generous portion of what I mistook to be whiskey fermenting in a jug spilled onto its side.
All at once, he started swinging his hips — wagging and rubbing his member in a vigorous fit; all the while shouting paranoid vulgarities involving my mother, his last five dollars, and what he referenced as “the great pink donkey”.
Throughout this episode of incoherent depravity, he kept using the name “Charlie”, and at that moment I understood the lengths of which he had been denied basic parental involvement — all my life I had been called Jim, short for James.
My coworkers still inquire about the events of that day, but they never ask me about my father — just the cat.
“Still running over his cat?” they ask, to which I hang my head in frustration, “Yep. He lied.”
But I often fantasize about that day in Vietnam, and as I do I can’t help thinking that as he loaded my bullet in his moment of sexual epiphany, he had indeed saw potential.