I holstered Tex’s Colt .45 automatic that I had used half my canteen water to boil clean earlier. I had no oil but I knew there had to be some kept by others in the company I could get later. The Colt would operate just fine with no oil at all but only as long as it remained clean, which wouldn’t be for long if the last twenty days and nights were an example.

The brush was thick and wedged well back into the cleft but, working with Fusner and Zippo, while Nguyen faced outward to watch for trouble, it took less than twenty minutes to clear a space where we could all lay down our poncho covers and get through the night. The rain had lessened somewhat but, since it was monsoon season, the rain was never going to leave entirely, for at least the remainder of the month. I’d seen to the wounded and the dead. Morphine had made the visits not quite so agonizing, as the pain from the burns of white phosphorus were dulled to the point where those Marines that had them just breathed so slow and deep it seemed they were as lifeless as the dead.