The Gunny left me with my watery coffee, squatting in the soft-glistening dark. Our company commander was going to the rear to get a silver star, which was no small decoration, or at least it had been discussed that way while I was in training. He was going to get it for something I’d mostly planned and then, with the Gunny’s help, executed. I wasn’t going to the rear for a decoration. No wonder there would never be a medal for saving the kid in the river. I wondered if the captain would be back, or whether there’d be another supply of officers sent in to replace him, and the others who’d not been so fortunate as Casey. And then there was the matter of the grenade. Pilson indicated that I’d thrown it, which was true, but was Pilson’s witnessing of that event, in almost the dead of night, not in fact a near tacit admission that he’d thrown it first? And what would the Gunny do if it was Pilson, his own radio operator before Casey showed up? If it wasn’t Pilson then that left Jurgens, Sugar Daddy or one of their minions. I didn’t trust either, as far as I could throw them.

I tossed the remainder of my cooling liquid, barely recognizable as coffee, into the water flowing by on either side of my boots. How was it that the rain could continue in the heavy volume it was falling? How did that much water stay up in the air long enough and in such overwhelming supply to do that?