I wasn’t quite right and I knew it. Even with the rags pulled from my ears I could not hear much of anything. The noise had been too great. Counting wasn’t working either because this night was not about getting through, it was about living through. Living through, I knew, was going to take some sort of action, in addition to what had already taken place. Some of the silence of the battlefield was internal, and I had to have more information. I didn’t know if the Kamehameha Plan had worked at all. Just because the enemy artillery had come in on target as planned, and my own as well, did not mean the enemy was vanquished. People lived through the unbelievable carnage and staggered on. I had to get up, but the mud held me like a sardine inside the lip of its oily can. I surged upward but the attack and my recovery had somehow made me physically weak. I struggled like a worm under the jungle floor cover and the layer of sticky mud until Fusner pulled me free. The sound was similar to but much greater, than that of one of the Marines pulling a leech from his neck without the aid of a cigarette.

“Back to the hooch, sir?” Fusner asked, in a whisper I could hear because he cupped his hands over my left ear.