God Talk

26 Jun

Wednesday, May 29, 1968, 77 days

We were driving along some highway, that could have been back in Michigan, but I couldn’t tell. My Dad was driving and he was passing a joint to my mom sitting next to him. I was in the back seat with my sister Sharon. I was waiting for them to pass the joint back to me, when the car stopped at a souvenir stand in a grassy clearing surrounded by very tall trees. We all got out with much difficulty as if we lost our basic motor control for movement for a period and then everything was normal again and we went into the store. There was a blind cowboy, with sun glasses on behind the cash register. Sitting on a chair behind him, was a blind Indian woman also wearing sun glasses.

“Can I help you?”  The blind cowboy asked.

Before I could respond, Larger started asking him something. I realized that my family was gone and in their place were Coatmire, Van Bueran and Larger. The store was different too. It was brighter than it had been and I noticed beads and crystals everywhere. Then the squaw got up and walked out onto the floor, as if she could see, and took a string of beads off a rack and gave them to Farrer. 

“These will protect you from evil.”  She said.

After Farrer paid for the beads, we headed out the door, and stopped at a coke machine.  It was a dime for a 7 ounce bottle, so we decided to wait until we found someplace cheaper. A GTO came speeding by and threw a brick at our car, which hit the grill and exploded the engine. It was my parents 1957 black & white Plymouth with the fins. Just as I was starting to feel depressed about it Van Bueran was holding a bazooka and Larger inserted a rocket in the back. 

Van Bueran pulled the trigger and the rocket took off directly for the speeding 1964 black GTO. When it hit and exploded, the car exploded and the driver was thrown onto the pavement. He was burned almost beyond recognition and was gasping as I looked down on him. It was Mr. Carnute my High school attendance director and discipline officer. I wanted to spit on him, but something inside me urged me to offer him something cool to drink.

I said that we had to go back to the coke machine to get something to drink, but by that time Farrer beat Mr. Carnute’s head in with a tire iron and drenched him with some flammable liquid that he lit. Mr Carnute was burned beyond recognition as he burned with an intensity that prevented anyone from getting closer than 10 feet. Then I realized that I had undergone a transfiguration as I started to glow and floated into the air. Sounds were droning around me, as I opened my eyes and saw that it was 0540 hrs.

I got out of bed and felt dizzy and wanted to cry. I think that my head injury was still affecting me or maybe it was the result of all the mind expanding drugs. After reveille I didn’t feel too bad, but still felt a little strange. Instead of going to breakfast I lay back down on my bunk and slept until Don Williams woke me up to buff the hallway at 0720 hrs.

When I opened the R&U closet, I saw that someone knocked over a can of black paint and the floor and everything on it was covered with paint. I spent the rest of the  morning scrapping paint off the floor and got a little paint on myself, but at least I finished. This morning there was Commanders call so everyone was running around cleaning up, like usual, but they left me alone to clean the paint. I told the BC that I wanted to make an appointment to see the Chaplain.

My shoulders are aching from that 1 1/4 ton I drove yesterday, along with my new workout. I fucked up the supply request form for paint and insulation by putting the carbon paper in backwards, so now I have to redo it. Now I feel stupid for asking about the appointment with the Chaplain. I think that my mind is undergoing a change, and I’m not sure if the head injury caused it, all the drugs, the new ideas or growing up.  Whatever it is, I’ve got to figure it out before I ETS.

The weather is warming up again, and is in the mid 80’s today. After chow I listened to Paul Harvey in the bay, while I worked on a psychedelic drawing of a vision that I saw on the Sandoz trip. After the afternoon formation, Top wanted me to hang a clock in the conference room, and Herbert overheard him. He said that it was easiest to use cammo wire, and when I got some he hung the clock.  Then Top told him to do two others and showed him where to put them.

I wasn’t able to replace the air cooler insulation when it was raining the other day, but since it’s dry again, I went to the Block house and did them all. After work Rublay and I went to the swimming pool. We did laps for about half an hour, and then sat in the sauna, until we were drenched. 

We stopped at the barracks, and Howard came with us, to go to the show. We stopped at McDonald’s to get something to eat, and then headed into town to the Bijou, where “The Devil’s Brigade” was playing.  The movie was entertaining, but it was on the same line as the “Dirty Dozen”. We got out a little after 2100 hrs. and went to Walt’s Newsstand for a while. I bought a Hippie magazine called “Paper Bag.” Afterwards we went to the USO to shoot some pool, where we ran into John Farmer. 

John Farmer, is another chaplains assistant, assigned to 3rd Group, but since he’s been an E5 since I arrived, he always had a private senior NCO room.  Plus he attended classes at the University of Oklahoma, in Norman, a couple of evenings a week. So he wasn’t around too much. He was taking his prerequisites and wanted to become a minister, so he was going to get his B.A. in philosophy. I shot pool with him and we talked, until 2300 hrs. when the USO closed.

I found out that John was engaged before he enlisted in the Army, but when he enlisted so he could use the G.I. Bill to pay for school, his fiancée gave him his ring back and said that she wasn’t willing to wait three years for him to get discharged, and then spend another 5 or six with him attending school.

“She wanted to have a family right now.”  He said.  “So we decided that it was best for us to go our separate ways.”

This led us to start talking about women in general. “The way that I look at women.” John said. “Is as if they were like another species from man. They have ideas and goals that are completely alien to men. The only way that a marriage can work, is for the two of them to merge the two different directions into one, but each one must sacrifice something. Otherwise one will dominate the other. On the other hand,” he continued, “life is a long road, and to take 5 or 10 years to lay a foundation, is something that is necessary for success and longevity in a relationship.”

“What if you die when you’re 25?”  Howard, who overheard us shouted.

“Then that was God’s will.”  Farmer answered and then continued. “Life is simple. We’re born, we live and we die. In between we have the opportunity to know our source and creator. When we do, we experience islands of peace and understanding in our lives.  These islands are our personal places of refuge and they are temporary. We can help others find theirs, but each has their own.”

“Perhaps we can come to a place as I believe Paul did, where we are able to live consistently on our island. I don’t, I’m inconsistent. I keep jumping off and swimming out and losing my bearings, on how to get back to my island. Today I was reading II Corinthians 14 and I got back for a while. God’s word helps us to get our bearings in life.  The Bible isn’t a book of rules, but of principles, that we can base our lives on. If we are living on our island, then we can help others to find theirs. That’s why I want to become a minister.”

“You don’t have to become a minister to do that.”  Rublay said.  “You’re doing it right now. It’s just in the way that you talk to people. You could be a carpenter or taxi cab driver and do the same thing. Ministers are usually pussies who are afraid of life or don’t want to get a real job.”

“In some cases that may be true.” Farmer answered. “But sometimes ministers are people who enjoy helping other people. Also, my job in the army is being a chaplain’s assistant,which is like an apprentice minister.”

“Yeah, but they help people by convincing them to believe in something that is a fairy tale, so they can ignore the ugliness of their everyday lives.” Howard said with a sneer in his tone.

“Life is sometimes ugly.” Farmer said. “People need to have faith in something beyond themselves to pull them through it. It doesn’t matter what you believe, in some cases. Belief itself has a power of its own. The Bible says ‘seek and you will find’, and that ‘God is a re-warder of those who diligently seek Him out.’”

After we left the USO we stopped at Pancake Villa to get something to eat, before we headed back to the base. Farmer went back to the base in his own car, because he said that he had some things that he had to do in the chapel. 

Howard cracks me up. He is really a character. His attitude and statements kept me in stitches until we got back to the barracks. He’s been everywhere, done everything you talk about and is an expert at every subject that you bring up. I’ve never known anyone quite like him. He doesn’t brag, he just listens as others talk about whatever subject they want. Then he agrees with what they say or makes a comment that he’s done it. Once in a while he’ll come right out and say that he’s done something, but he never tries to dominate a conversation.

I had a really good time tonight, in fact it was one of the best times that I’ve had without getting stoned in quite a while. Sometimes being around other people is enjoyable. I just wish that I didn’t have to have the same bedroom with 4 dozen guys. After I washed up I smoked a Chesterfield King while lying on my bunk. I finally closed my eyes at 0120 hrs.


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