After leaving the headquarters building I began to walk along the raised wooden plank sidewalk that led from there to the hooches. Larry emerged from the commo bunker and shouted “Hey, Creeper (my own nickname), wait a minute. I got a message for you from your friend over at 3rd Recon at Tan Son Nhut. That guy, Jerry, sent you one. You want to come over and read it? I’ve got a new record by some guy named Jimi Hendrix that I think you’ll like too.” I quickly agreed and followed Larry back to the bunker, and while Jimi wailed out the question “Are You Experienced?” I read Jerry’s message.
“Glenn. Getting reassigned to Central Europe. Some big problem there. Can’t tell you what it is or I’ll have to bite you. Been good to reconnect. I call you my friend. Send mail to enclosed address. Hope to see you in the real world. Your friend, Jerry.”
I stared at the message for a couple of minutes, forgetting to listen to the soaring guitar of Mr. Hendrix. I had wanted badly to get back to Jerry and reassure him that I had come to believe fully in his story. Everything that he had said and done spoke to his reliability and I had no doubt that he was exactly what he said that he was.
Central Europe meant Russia, with whom we were locked in an embrace of mutually assured destruction if anybody dared to pull the trigger. I sat there in the air conditioned commo bunker completely unaware of the explosive guitar work coming out of the speakers. In my mind’s eye I could see a German shepherd or a Doberman pincer or some such dog loping across fields sniffing for mines or listening to conversations in German or Russian, or counting the number and disposition of tanks and artillery. And I also wondered if I would ever see Jerry again.
I excused myself and returned to my bunk, where I pulled my writing tablet out of my footlocker and wrote to the address Jerry had given me. I told him that I would go home in four months, that I hoped to see him back in San Diego, and once again that I believed in him.
Jerry replied to my letters a few times, even after I got home. I looked for his family’s name in the phone book and there were a dozen or so Warnocks, but none of them were Jerry’s family. None of them admitted it anyway. It’s been two years since I left the Army and Jerry’s letters have quit coming. I don’t know what that means, but I hope that it doesn’t mean that somebody shot a dog that was snooping where it shouldn’t have been, and every day I hope that I will see a dog unattached to an owner trot up to me, reach up, and offer me a paw.