I felt a large hand grip my left bicep, as I stood gazing with Fusner down into the hypnotic A Shau Valley below. The hand gently guided me backwards. I didn’t resist, turning to see the man I already knew the hand had to belong to.
“Why do you suppose this clearing is left alone on the edge of the jungle, as cleared and clean as it was when it was created?” the Gunny asked, pulling me slowly back to where the jungle smoked, and would continue to smoke for days as the white phosphorus I’d brought down in the night would continue to eat its way deep into the muck under the vegetative covering above. I knew the answer but didn’t answer. When we were back among the bodies and piles of blackened debris the Gunny answered for me.
“Artillery registration point,” he said, squatting down to begin work on one of his coffee concoctions he’d addicted me to, as well. I took out my canteen, poured it half full and squatted down next to him, both of us working our small metal pots over the single burning chunk of explosive he’d lit. I looked back across the bare rock area. The Gunny was right. I wondered how I’d forgotten the danger of being exposed anywhere upon it, and exposing Fusner, as well.