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INDOCHINA
1971

A DIA Intelligence Officer makes a harrowing escape through the Cambodian jungle, after covering the retreat of a special forces unit.

We were on the wrong side of the river, by purpose, in Cambodia, which was fine, for we barely existed, with no records kept. We were in the wrong place, too, one of our rare mishaps, as it turned out, and actually one very early on, of a cascade of unfortunate events that was not totally unplanned for. Always have an out, for there will be those times of woe. We, the intelligence officers, had been inserted along with the DIA, special, ‘troops’, another nameless non-designation, and they with us, for we each supported the other.

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Here we have a poem made from the poetic prose that is at the heart of the story:

GRACIOUSLY WELCOMING
LADY LUCK BECOMING

He believed that luck would never fail—
So he ran like the wind through the jungle,
Surely knowing. He’d what he’d come for,
Now hopeful to find the help at the shore.

The relentless ones were not far behind,
That ill-fated menace of the bad kind.

Miss Fortune laughed, and said,
“No road could be too hard to tread,
For we are fearless. To those, a boon—
For they ever seize the Opportune.”

“I see you, Fairest Happening.”

Just past a sharp turn, in the trees
He suddenly dropped to his knees
And fired into his pursuers mean
As they came upon the scene,
Using all his ammo but for one round,
Then hurried on with nary a sound.

“I am wide aware,” Miss Karma,
“Of this continuing Dharma—
That chance shines as my sun,
For she in turn, happens on everyone.”

“Oh say it is your lot, my friend and lover,”
She answered back, granting him cover.

Listening, he could hear ever more troops
Rushing through the night in groups,
About a half-mile back around the loops.

“I gratefully welcome thee,
Miss Lady Luck of Dice,
Though I may pay a late fee
For my pick up so precise.”

Ms. Destiny Serendipity smiled, saying,
“The game is on; we are playing.
Let joy and innocence prevail;
Believe that luck will never fail.”

He moved on, ever faster, cheating death,
A third wind becoming of her vaporous breath,
It blowing this DIA operative onward
To the shore ever toward.

He could hear the whirling chopper,
But now receding was its Doppler,
He thus grieving of its leaving.

“Am I much too late—still too far?
Shall I curse you all, destined stars?”

“No,” said lovely dear Twist of Fate,
“For you have one bullet left for chance,
Not to use to sleep or dream perchance.”

But the chopper was rising high,
Well into the star-crossed sky.

“Shall to self I take this bullet
Now that the bus has left?”

“Oh, no,” Miss Lucky Break encouraged,
“Do not be at all discouraged,
For you know it shall not be so
And what with it you now must do.”

“Yes, perhaps it shall be so in some plight
Coinciding in a most kempt and hapful night.”

He smiled and then knelt to ground,
And sent his last bright tracer round
Just ahead of the copter now departing,
His minor wounds yet sorely smarting.

“I bless you with all my lucky charms,
My good and well-fated man of arms.”

The door-gunner noted the red tracer
And whence it came of the river vapors.
“Captain, turn back and take a look;
He awaits a fortuitous accidental fluke.”

“I am an uncursed, non-jinxed agent man.
Let my joyous innocence prevail again.”

He jumped into the rescue’s hovering haven,
Directing the door-gunner’s firings, wavin’.

“Fare thee well, my nightly knight,”
Dame Fortune wished upon his sight.
“You recognized me even in the dark.”

“Oh my Angel, you lovely lark,
I might have known it was your spark
That would ever see me through.”

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