Sunday, December 23, 2007



I kept hearing someone call my name as I ran through the jungle, ducking behind trees and blinking my eyes to the flashes of the explosions. Mushy (not his real name)!”

I heard the sound of feet getting closer to me and the light flashing before me got brighter and brighter. For some reason I thought that if I answered the voice and opened my eyes, I would die. I fought to get away from the voice and the light, but the voices got louder. I know now that it was a Vietnam “flash back” dream that had coincidentally clashed with reality!

Finally, I opened my eyes and angrily shouted, “WHAT?!

It’s Don, he’s laying out here in the hall calling for you,” someone said.

What the fuck does he want,” I said rubbing my eyes and looking squinty-eyed up at the bare incandescent bulb swinging back and forth above me.

He’s hollering for you man!

I staggered to the door of our room and looked down the hall, and rubbed my eyes trying to adjust to the light again.

There in a rumpled heap lay my roommate Donald. He was obviously drunk, no more than drunk; he was totally smashed, and just short of hallucinations! He reeked of alcohol and vomit!

I stood over him and began to ridicule him for getting so stinking drunk, but he reached out and grabbed my leg, and tried to reach up higher. Finally, I bent down and put my hand around the back of his neck and pulled him up close to my ear. He was trying desperately to tell me something, but wanted closer.

I leaned over and let him pull himself up to ear. I’m gay,” he whispered letting out a long expulsion of alcohol breath.

I froze for an instant, and then stood up allowing him to drop back to the floor. I’m sorry man,” he said just above a whisper looking up at me. I looked around to see if anyone had heard what he said before, but everyone seemed overly concerned for him and not to have heard.

Donald began to throw up violently. He began to shake uncontrollably and scream between bouts, so we had no recourse but to call the medics. An ambulance soon came and they carted Donald away, with him still saying “Mushy, I’m sorry!

I stood in place for a long time, but finally made it back to our room and sat on the side of the bunk in the dark. I began to feel guilty for not going with him, but for the moment I was embarrassed, and I was confused – confused about my feelings and about what I should do.

A couple of days later I came in from work and Donald was there. He sat silently on the side of his bunk staring out the window. I pulled a Falstaff from the fridge, popped the top, and sat down on my bunk staring out the same window.

He broke the silence first say, “I will understand if you don’t want me to be your best man at your wedding. I should have told ya.”

Yeah, why didn’t you say something? I mean, you and talked about girls and…”

No, you talked about girls…I talked about my sister…think about it,” he said raising his voice slightly.

I really had grown to like Donald and it dawned on me that nothing should change. I do not know how or why I came to the decision, especially in that day and age, but I did.

Nothing changes…I asked you to be my best man and by God you will be…you, you are my best friend!”

You sure ‘bout that?”

Yes, I’m sure, so let it go,” I said taking a long pull on the tall can. What did they tell you at the hospital anyway?”

I had the DT’s…been drinking all day and part of the night I suppose.”



Bruce? What the hell has he got to do with it?

“He was my boyfriend,” he explained, as my eyes got wider.

He was with me before Billy Jean, then you came along, and he came back, now he’s back with her…at least I think he is.”

Holly cow man!” I said, realizing for the first time the world is a big place with strange things going on it. I was never as naive again.

Donald went on to be my best man, and he and Bruce came to Harriman and we had a bachelor party in some little motel room near there. Yep, just me and two gay guys celebrating my last night of freedom! Life is strange, but ain’t it fun!

A few weeks later Donald was called away to the First Sergeant’s office. He apparently had blabbed too much that night to the medics. He was forced out of the Air Force, and I never saw or heard from him again.


Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Mushy, I gotta admit, this title sorta freaked me are such a SWEETHEART & I will really miss your posts! But glad you'll still be hanging around...Merry Christmas my friend! May your cups overfloweth with Christmas Cheer! I know mine will.

Mushy said...

Bless your cups...they fill me with wonder and cheer as well.

I have one more...

Lin said...

Wow, Mushy, what a multiple revelation for a young man of that era to digest. What a wonderfully strong and decent decision on your part to keep a good friend despite the shock and the taboo. I can't imagine the burden of silence and frustration on that poor kid but I can imagine what your friendship afterwards meant to him. You're a genuine sweetheart.

Hammer said...


Somnetimes it takes alcohol to get it out. Too bad he got drummed out of the service.

I knew some closet gay guys and they were good folks. It was obvious to me but they have to come out in their own time.

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Olga is right - and leave my cup alone. The title was a little well,. . . different.
I have to tell you that one sentence - Life is strange, but ain’t it fun! - holds so damn much truth.
Thanks for all the great posts it's been quite enjoyable reading them.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Cookie..... said...

One of the toughest, meanest, sonsabithin Seabee's I ever knew turned out to be gay. This guy had more balls than many of us there, so no one ever suspected.

That was the lesson I learned. His "sexual preferrances" made absolutely no difference whatsoever...he had much more courage than combat and in life...

Mushy...your damn stories sure do bring back things that most of us either just don't talk, or think about very often....keep it up.

BRUNO said...

Now that was a classic "Mushy-boomerang" story, for sure!

COOKIE up there just saved ME some time---I echo his opinion, about "when the goin' gets tough"...!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Yep, It don't matter at all. I used to think it did but about 20 years ago I saw a show on guys in a hospital dying of AIDS, and saw the torture the other guys went through as their loved ones were dying. I saw in that heartbreak that the love was just the same as any other love. We tend to focus on the things they do in bed because it titillates or grosses us out, but their love for one another is just the same, and the pain is just the same. Love is love. It speaks well of you that you could be that cool about it in that day and age.

Anonymous said...

Hell of a story Mushy...I'm glad you are hnaging around..It wouldn't be the same with out ya...

Scott from Oregon said...

Sad to see what a quote from an old book will do to torment people on both sides of the sexuality issue. Some cultures revered their gay men because they believed they had both the male and the female in them, making them more whole.

I've seen the torment first hand in a friend who took ten years to come out. It is never an easy thing to know who are are is considered abhorrant to some.

Jose said...

Shit Mushy, my jaw dropped all the way to the floor when I read the title. You really know how to title a post to make us read from top to bottom. How great of you to keep your word and be true to your friend. I agree with you life is a bit strange but it's hella of a lot of fun.

phlegmfatale said...

That's the problem with repression - it tends to just come tumbling out all at once. Same thing sorta happened to me - was about to go to Europe with a girlfriend for a hell-raising-type-deal, and then she told me just before we left that she was lebanese. I said "cool" and we walked on.

Buck Pennington said...

I encountered relatively few (only three come to mind) gays in my 22 years in the AF; two were discharged for their sexual preferences, I have no idea what happened to the third. And I was long retired when DADT became the official policy.

Personally, I have no issues with what people do behind closed doors or whom they choose to do it with. And yeah, I have more than a few friends (men and women) who bat for the other team...including one who is a former girlfriend (which makes for kinda weird situations when we get together...).

Apropos of nothing, you really made me laugh, Phlegmmy. I've been around the block a few times, but this is the first I've heard (or saw) the term "Lebanese" used in this context! LOL!

pat houseworth said...

George and Jerry(Seinfeld) say.........

"Not that there's anything wrong with that"


I have no problem with long as they don't try to stick it in my someone who deserves "special rights" or those who march in those moronic Gay Pride Parades wearingn dildos as earrings....people are and let live.

Ron Southern said...

Hell of a story! Too bad you lost all track of him.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas,little mouse!

Belton Belle said...

Why don't you look him up via the internet, Mushy! I bet he'd love to hear from you if you can find him.

Mushy said...

I've tried...can't find him.