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Woody

Woody got broken in Vietnam. Just a boy soldier in the Big Red One, he left his childhood buried in the charred green of Hobo Woods. He dug the grave himself, filled it with what he was, sang softly over it, covered it with foreign earth and moved on.

The Big Red One, the Big Bloody Red One, made him this promise, “No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty first.” The Big Red One kept its promise.

“Woody, you’re on point!”

Again.

The terrified head of a camouflaged Chinese lion dance snakes through sultry brooding jungle sniffing the fresh scent of Ho Chi Minh sandals. Little feet. Why should such little feet make you shake?

Wake up, Woody. It’s just a dream. That terrified face will fade into now. Again. His pain is gone. And that’s just the noise of the street, typical city noise. Nothing to worry about.

And those footsteps, those tiny feet you heard, just kids playing. Such tiny feet. Why should such little feet make you shake?

Woody got broken in Vietnam. They gave him a medal.

They put him back in the box with the other toy soldiers.

KONA LOWELL is the author of The Solid Green Birthday and Other Fables and runs the Dolphin. He lives in Hawai’i and can be reached through his website: konalowell.com