Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maybe a New Project

"I’ve heard the reports. I’ve seen the news photos. Dog-tired, sweaty and suffering the depth of jet lag that only comes from a trip that crosses fourteen time zones and the international date line, I pay the cabbie and turn my bags over to the smiling Sky Cap at the curb. American Airlines to San Antonio. He nods, and tags the scruffy baggage. He grins at the clothesline. I look around for the war protesters, the name-callers, the spitters. There’s no one beyond the normal airport people going about their business. Maybe some of them are against the war, but none approach me with taunts of baby-killing or any semblance of disrespect. Maybe it’s the scowl and the bags under my eyes, maybe it’s the “try me” glare, or maybe the protesting isn’t as rampant as the media would have us believe. Nobody cares. No one bothers me. I get my ticket and head toward the gate to wait for a departure in a couple of hours.

"A call from a nearby phone booth to San Antonio. No answer. I leave a message on the answering machine that I’ll be home almost exactly on the schedule I had sent in a letter a few days earlier. All the connections have been close to on time. I’ll get into San Antonio about eight o’clock in the evening. I nap in a chair near the departure gate.

"The sun is just setting as the flight touches down in San Antonio. I’ve caught glimpses of the white buildings and parallel runways at Randolph AFB and seen the lights on the Hemisfair tower downtown as we maneuver to land. Passengers file out of the airplane and are greeted by family and friends. I look around, but there is no one there. I retrieve my tired belongings from the baggage carousel and get a taxi to take me home.

"The cab pulls up before the small brick rancher in Universal City. The porch light is on and the living room light glows softly through the window. I drag my bags to the door and ring the doorbell. No answer. My dog, Count, barks from the backyard at the sound of the chimes. I ring again, then rummage through my briefcase to retrieve a house key not used in a year. There’s no one home. I open the back door and Count bounds in, jumping to lick my face and greet me. No notes, no explanations. She still lives here, but she hadn’t lied that night so long ago when I’d told here about the assignment. As Santana might sing, “my house is dark and my pots are cold.” Welcome home."

I've had the urge to maybe pick up and start writing the peacetime fighter pilot book from this point. There are a lot of stories to be told about what is often referred to as WW Cold. The story of how I got from San Antonio to Torrejon Spain and then through four years of deployments, travels, involvements, and career politics might make interesting reading.

The real question is how do I emerge truth and fiction so that in the process of writing the book I don't wind up damaging the lives and families of old friends not the least of which might be my own? The first two books were clearly nonfiction and I made every effort to keep them truthful. This book I would have to make every effort to ensure that no one could ever detect what was actually the truth.


bongobear said...

Write the book...I'll buy it. It sounds interesting!

Murphy's Law said...

Whatever you come up with, I call first in line to buy a copy!

FlyingBarrister said...

Did the Palace Cobra era wife divorce you?

I just finished reading Viper Pilot by Dan Hampton. It's not bad by any means, there are some interesting things I've not read about before. But at the end I wondered, "Did this book have to be written?" It was not about highly important events, it did not memorialize great events every American should understand, and will not change or inform public discourse on defense policy. I don't know if it had to be written. But Hampton did hurt any friends and family. He does seem jaded about a lot of clowns that make it into leadership positions in the USAF.

I'd read your book it you wrote it.

jjet said...

Eddie, you're a fighter pilot.

What's "truth" got to do with it?

Just start off with "There I was..."

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Chris Manno said...

To put it delicately, "Goddam hell yes!"

Been waiting for more; sure, you'll have to do that Mark Berent thing, dreaming up plot lines and character flows (call him--he's fighting to get his Saigon story finished). But your ability to put a reader into your prose, living rather than reading it, is second to none.

Sit back; feet up, voice reco0gnition software engaged: GO.

juvat said...

One of my favorite books is called Fighter Pilots published in 1981 by an author whose pseudonym is Kelly Rollins. It's clearly autobiographical in nature, but he obviously plays with the facts to save the innocent. I'd be willing to bet, given the similarities of his tales of the Thud in Thailand and yours, that you may actually know him. Perhaps that may serve as a model for you. As with the others, I guess I got dibs on S/N 3.

Six said...

I know you can do it Ed and like bongobear and Murphy's Law I'll commit to buying it right now. I'd even pre-pay for an early copy.

Ed Rasimus said...

Barrister, yes she did! I would like to keep the one I've got now.

Anonymous said...

I've told you several times about things that keep me awake at night or drift through my mind after to much red wine. My life turned out well by most people's criteria,nevertheless I always come back to what might have been if..... Be careful my old friend and don't hurt anyone you care about. Jack M

John Venlet said...

This book I would have to make every effort to ensure that no one could ever detect what was actually the truth.

A fine line to walk, Ed, though I think you can handle it with the same finesse with which you piloted fighter jets.

Themav1977 said...

I think you should write that book and I would read it.
If it causes controversy so what? Didn't "Thud Ridge" cause controversy after it was published?

LauraB said...

I have been waiting for the tale for awhile. A part of me presses hard for the truth. Everyone who was there knows what it was...anyone who mattered still surrounds you and cares for you...

But I know what you mean about easing that truth into something alittle more comfortable for the closer audience.

Hell, you can put the set dressing on later. At least get the flesh on the bones of the thing.