American Bullet

Bullets, Bastards, and the “Great Pink Donkey”…


I was conceived the Great American Bastard amid a hail of bullets, July 4, 1967.

My father tugged me out in an ecstatic rage onto the charred face of a North Viet Cong, and forever since that moment of my father’s degradation I had been cursed with the touch of death.

Of course I would have never learned this if it weren’t for my neighbor, who came to my office straightaway one morning to act out the incident 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. “Saddled with you on top of it all…. Just a running shituva life“, which, he further noted as “miserable”.

During this bumbling incarnation, my neighbor showed how he’d spilled many bullets into the pool of 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 this bullet now carried 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 urged the realization that I was in fact, special. “Goddamned– intellectually special”, to be precise (I noted the strain, for until that moment 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, desperate, 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.

I thanked after him for his sincerity, and in turn assured that, despite his rushed performance of my conception, and his liberal use of the vernacular, he had done the right thing telling me the truth about my lineage.

I found him years later — my 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 asked for a sip 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 extent 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 held that bullet in his moment of sexual epiphany, he had indeed saw potential.

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