The Policeman's Son

The Policeman's Son

A Story by Kenneth Sibbett
"

A troubled kid, a policeman's son, had two choices. Go to Jail or go to Vietnam. He took the latter and although he lived through it, he would never forget the death of his buddies.

"
It's been said that a preachers daughter is always an easy lay. That’s not always true, but if it was, then a cops kid would always be in trouble too. That is also not true, but in the case of Matt Stovall, it was as true as the sun coming up tomorrow. From early childhood he seemed to rebel from society. His father, the town sheriff, had to get him out of many jams and use his influence to keep him from going to jail, until the last time. When Matt  stole a police car and went joyriding the Judge had had enough. They were going to send him to jail, father or no father. The only thing that saved him was a war. Yes, the Vietnam War was raging and instead of jail, they sent him to hell. 

Matt was hardheaded, just like his father and his father before him. Both his father and his grandfather were Sheriff's of the  Sandy Springs Police Dept. and Matt was not going to be the third. No, he would not walk in his fathers shoes. He would rather dig ditches than even think about being a lawman, especially in the same town his family had lived in for generations. He would go to war, do his time and when he got back, buy a Harley and travel the country, answering to no one. He  would work when broke, ride his Harley and sleep under the stars when tired. He went through basic training at the top of his class and for a reward, got a one way ticket to Vietnam. 

He wasn't scared, he was a survivor , but what he never counted on was how it felt to lose a buddy. To hell with fighting for God and Country, he fought for his buddies and for every one who died, he also died a little inside. Matt did two tours in Nam, coming back the second time so his men would not think he deserted them. They didn't, but he had friends that he wanted to keep alive and in his mind, and his mine only, he had to go to war again with people he had nothing against. Such is life.
 
They were going on a simple reconnaissance mission, just another day of walking and looking for Charlie. Some days you could walk all day and never see a soul. You would see snakes, birds, buffaloes, but never a peep out of the enemy. You could always tell you were being watched. You had that feeling in the pit of your stomach, but the enemy fought on their terms and they did it well. You never took the same route twice. The point man checked for trip wires and the men took turns walking it. Matt, more often than not, would volunteer to take another mans place, because he knew he was coming out of this war in one piece. In fact, he did. But there's physical pieces and mental pieces. He left a lot of his mind behind with his dead brothers.
 
He had 10 days and a wake-up and he was going home. Matt and Sally, a black dude from Chicago were leaving at the same time and even though he worried about the buddies he was leaving behind, he had to get out of this damn country before he blew one of his own officers brains out. They would come in not knowing a damn thing and try and give out orders that no one paid attention to. The officer would report him, they would go to the CO's office and the Commanding Officer would promptly tell the fresh Lieutenant to shut the hell up and look, listen and learn. With that, they would go back and the young officer would do everything Matt said, although they both would act like he was giving the orders. The men knew and let the b*****d think anything he wanted. They followed Matt, he was the one that would keep them alive.
  
They were going on a simple recon mission. Nothing too bad, just a walk-around. Everyone knew that there were some guys who were short-timers and they kept them in the rear. No need to die when you were this close to leaving this God-awful country. A newbie was walking point. Newbies were often ostracized. They were told what to do, but no one ever got too close to a newbie. No one wanted to get close with someone who might die at any moment. Once you were around awhile, this changed, but to get close to someone who didn't know what they were doing was setting yourself up for a heartache.

Just like the newbie walking on that fatal day. He stepped on a land mine. Matt knew it, the others knew it and the newbie damn sure knew it. There's no other sound in the world like that click. Matt, standing at a distance, told the newbie not to move. He needn't have said it, the newbie wasn't going anywhere. He was sweating bullets and pissing in his pants. No one laughed, they probably would have done a lot worse if put in the same position.

In an instant Matt's training that he had used time and time again kicked in. He told the rest of the crew to stand back and told the newbie if he moved he would never walk again. He was standing on what the GI's called a "Bouncing Betty". It was called this because it didn't kill you, well, not always. It would just take off both legs, maybe an arm and put shrapnel all over your body. Matt had trained for this, but had never tried it. Damn, nine days and a wake-up and he was on that big bird to Hawaii. Now he would be lucky to save himself, much less the newbie. Matt took out his boot knife and was about to start digging around the bomb when all hell broke loose. 

The gooks had them in an ambush and his men were hitting the ground. Matt rolled away from the kid standing on the bomb. They crawled off to any cover they could find and started opening up in the direction they thought the gunfire was coming from. All this time, the newbie was stuck, damned if he did and damned if he didn't. He had one man who was badly injured and had his radio man call in a chopper to get him out. A couple had minor injuries but were OK to fight. 

After a thumbs up from everyone, Matt sent two men to cover their rear and started sending grenade launchers in the general direction of the enemy. The whole time the newbie was standing on a bomb and was getting weaker and weaker. Matt looked over at him and felt like a helpless child, not being able to help a brother soldier . Everything got quiet, the firing stopped and you could hear birds again, making the noise of the jungle. He could not risk going to the kid and he knew the kid couldn't stand in that spot for much longer.

He had his men open fire in the direction of the enemy as he crawled on his belly to the newbie. Just 15 feet away and the kid could stand it no longer. He closed his eyes as his foot slipped off the detonator. Matt ducked down, waiting for the explosion, and nothing happened. It was a dud. A malfunction of some sort.  The kid started to smile and turn to say something and he was shot in the back of his neck, the bullet taking the front of his face off.  He stood still, almost like a statue for just a moment and crumpled to the ground.

"Damn you b******s to Hell," Matt screamed and opened up in the enemies direction until he was out of ammo. The gooks left before the re-enforcements they knew were coming arrived. Out of all the things Matt had seen in Vietnam. The men, women and children butchered, blown up, and abused by both sides, this is the nightmare that would stay with him the rest of his life. This would be the one that gave him night sweats and bad dreams. Just a kid from some friggin' farm town somewhere that could have just as easily been called Lucky for the bomb not going off. If there was a God, he had one hell of a sense of humor! 

© 2011 Kenneth Sibbett


Author's Note

Kenneth Sibbett
This my first story here. Any suggestions will be appreciated. I can edit it or even put something that is not so dramatic. Thanks

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Featured Review

This is a fantastic story! The Vietnam war is a really good thing to write about, given all of the charged emotions our country has regarding it. Your writing is really good, too, and it was fun to read. Just a few grammatical errors I noticed:
4th paragraph: "You would see snakes, birds, buffalo's"- buffaloes is the plural of buffalo, and there should never be an apostrophe when you pluralize something.
Last paragraph: '"Damn you b******s to Hell",'- the comma should be inside the quotation marks, and in my opinion it should be an exclamation point.
second to last paragraph: "and the kid cold stand it no longer."- 'cold' should be 'could'.
Other than my nitpicking, good story, keep up the good work :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Legacy, as a mater of fact, I have been working on Matt, for a while. His life after Nam' and 20 years in the future. I also have five other main characters in a novel I'm working on. I can't give away too many details, but it really gets intense and I have already finished the beginning and the ending. The middle part is the "grunt" work. But, I am in no hurry. I'm giving myself two years. But I hope to have it sooner. I may introduce the main character. He is a real piece of work. Thanks!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Kenneth,

The words are evading me…

Imagery, you have it nailed; quite frankly!

I couldn’t have placed the words more eloquently than Quinn did (bravo…Quinn). To attempt to give you a review that would even compare to the feelings stirred and emotions mixed – I would fail.

Please tell me there is more to read in this story and that it does not stop here… the fact that I need more should say it all.

However, I shall try… You pulled the horse trailer onto a beautiful pasture and told the animals to graze yet forgot to drop the tailgate.


Very well written Kenneth –

Have a great day,

Legacy


Posted 9 Years Ago


0 of 4 people found this review constructive.

Nope. This is excellent just the way it is. It could easily be the beginning of a longer story, as I'm sure you know. You seem pretty knowlegeable of that era and of the military, so I suspect you might have lived some of that. Vietnam--who can ever forget it? I won't.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this is absolutely mesmerizing. i could not stop reading from the second paragraph on. outstanding imagery and character development , combined with a compelling and well told story that grips you in a vise like hold and never lets go. dude, why aren't you talking to an agent? this story, although the vietnam thing has been done many times, would really take off. fantastic piece of writing.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really liked this - the way you wrote made me feel like I was right there, witnessing everything. I think you also made excellent use of jargon, not going too heavy on it, just enough to make it believable. The only thing I might suggest is, since you seem to insist so much on the tie to the policeman father, is there some way you could tie that in with the ending? I don't know if that's your style - there's so much realism here and I realize reality isn't a neatly tied up little package, and maybe it's all far more subtle. But otherwise you might want to explore that. We know Matt survives the war - what happens when he sees his father back home, for example? Regardless, very good, vivid writing. A strong debut!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

ahh, this one's great! i loved the irony, that he would have been fine and then he turned out dying anyway.
but do they actually have buffalos in vietnam? i didnt know that...

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Abba, thank you so much. This is a problem I have that I am really working on. I wish the editing was as easy as the writing, not that the writing is easy either. Thanks for the tips!



Posted 9 Years Ago


This is a fantastic story! The Vietnam war is a really good thing to write about, given all of the charged emotions our country has regarding it. Your writing is really good, too, and it was fun to read. Just a few grammatical errors I noticed:
4th paragraph: "You would see snakes, birds, buffalo's"- buffaloes is the plural of buffalo, and there should never be an apostrophe when you pluralize something.
Last paragraph: '"Damn you b******s to Hell",'- the comma should be inside the quotation marks, and in my opinion it should be an exclamation point.
second to last paragraph: "and the kid cold stand it no longer."- 'cold' should be 'could'.
Other than my nitpicking, good story, keep up the good work :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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9 Reviews
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Added on May 6, 2011
Last Updated on May 8, 2011
Tags: Vietnam, death, fighting, heartbreak

Author

Kenneth Sibbett
Kenneth Sibbett

Whiteville, NC



About
I love writing. Not only writing it, but I very seldom go anywhere without a book in my hands. I can read any genre but fiction is what I love and write best. In the last three years I had came to lov.. more..

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