(No title yet, and I haven’t got very far along, but here’s what I have as of today):
As with many colleges, Cabot College had a fieldhouse. And the fieldhouse was sort of small, and tatty, and aged.
Mel Tarby met me one morning at the fieldhouse. His point was to introduce me to Arvin Blake. I guess that having strangers on campus talking to students was a no-no, but I was a track guy (had just finished 8 by 400s), and Mel was a coach, and Arvin was a stranger.
Mel introduced us, then left, and I was alone with Arvin. Who had a proposal, and what a proposal it was. I would be Gen. William Westmoreland’s bodyguard.
It was a crazy idea. Because I was young (18), because I was fit (4:40 mile), excellent reflexes, more than expert marksman,because I was terminally and absolutely stupid (no parenthetical specs here), he recruited me. And the rest was – well, let me tell you the rest.
It’s Vietnam, 1968. I almost want to stop right here. But I won’t.
The airport could have been a scene, but it was a military plane (just think very uncomfortable seats), and so there was no hoo-hah about passports or problem with languages.
I never met General Westmoreland. I saw him across the room a time or two, but I usually slept during the day because my work hours were the middle of the night. Not that there was much bodyguarding to do in the middle of the night; no, not at all – this idea of being the General’s guard was just a front for what was really going on.
Which involves Dick McNairy, from America’s Dairyland, who had been in Saigon almost a year before I got there and met him. Or rather, was assigned to him, assigned like a _____, I’m afraid.
“What do you want here?” he barked at me the first time I entered his office and saluted, “Colonel McNairy, sir!”