The hills near Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, a peninsula in the south, were lush and filled with towering, moist green foliage and had its share of lizards, including giant iguanas (six to seven feet). : the green one, and the three-eyed type reptiles. In the flatter area below those high, scenic hills, by the South China Sea, there was plenty of white sand and hardly any trees to provide shade, for US military support groups, during the 10,000-day Vietnam War, back there. by 1971. At the top of a hill above the 611th Ordnance Company, there was a cold shadow of a building, called the Enlisted Men’s Club, it belonged to the Air Force. The Vietnamese girl, with him (Lee Evens) sat at the bar; Lee drinking fifteen hundred canned beers and the girl drinking a glass of Japanese rice wine. It was a very hot night and a song was playing with the words “…silver wings…”

“Should we have another drink?” asked the girl.

Leaning back in his chair, he smiled at Corporal Lee Evens, hands on the table, the bartender, pouring the drink into a small, thick, thin wine glass.

“It’s very hot,” Lee said plaintively.

“Put some ice in my wine,” the girls asked the bartender.

“Two buckets, will that do?” the bartender asked as if he was short on ice tonight.

“Yes, two will do.”

The girl drank a small portion of the wine, sucking on the ice cubes from the top of the glass as if to cool her tongue. She was looking out the side window, at the distant hills, just outlines in the twilight, shadows like coal, but she knew how green and damp they often were.

“They look like the backs of green iguanas,” the man heard her say, her mysterious date for the night.

“I’ve only seen the small ones, never the big ones, and you?” asked the girl.

“I guess so, I mean, yeah, I’ve seen a seven foot one once, with a back like it had a double spine, with spikes on the side of its face, and it was very aggressive, another one I saw once had three eyes.”

The man then drank the beer and ordered a third round.

“I heard that there are two guys, it seems that you have seen both of them!” replied the girl.

“I guess so,” Lee said quietly, moving his glass back and forth on the bar counter.

The man noticed a sign over a small room and a string bead curtain covering the entrance, “What does the sign say? It’s in Vietnamese,” he asked.

“For private use only,” he said.

“What does that mean exactly?” he asked.

“It’s for more personal use, you know, if a man and woman want to drink in private instead of everyone looking at them, but they have to spend a minimum of $10.00 to use it.”

“Should we try it?” she asked.

The girl looked at the curtain, then Lee, there was no one there, she noted, “No, I don’t think we should do it yet, we’re just getting to know each other, right?”

“I guess so,” he replied in a tired voice.

“Do you want more ice?” the bartender asked the girl.

“I don’t know, I don’t think so,” she replied, adding, “it’s refreshing on the rocks though.”

“Well,” said the bartender, “I’ll ask you later, when the ice is completely melted.”

“My tongue is getting cold,” the girl said, and put the glass back on the bar.

“Oh, stop talking nonsense,” Lee said.

“Well then what should we talk about?” asked the girl.

“Are you trying to amuse me? If so, drop it and let’s try to have fun instead, okay?” Lee said.

“Okay I’ll try, I was just commenting on the green hills and the reptiles that live on them, for lack of anything else to say I guess it’s not that witty but then what else can a girl say other than ice cubes and green hills? She said slowly and calmly, as if she was on the verge of boredom.

“I want to try a new kind of beer,” Lee said, “Put some tomato juice in it, I heard if you did, you could drink all night and never get drunk.”

“Are all we going to do is drink and get drunk?” asked the girl.

“Maybe,” said Lee, “why not?”

The girl looked at him strangely; the bartender looked across the bar at Lee, too, with a strange look.

“It’s really green hills this year,” he said. “They don’t really look like iguanas. I just meant that the dark green seems to be the same color as the lizards here, their skin, like the leaves on the trees, and the tall grass, and the tall trees, you know we have one.” of the largest ecosystems (flora and fauna) here in Vietnam, in the world?”

“Do you want another drink?” Lee asked.

“I guess so, why not?” Said the girl; for a moment proud of what she was saying, or trying to say, on behalf of her country (similarly, she lowered her head for a moment as if to calm some feelings, she knew that the war was damaging what was once an abundant ecosystem that provided not only chemicals for drugs, to improve humanity throughout the world, but every day the war continued, the greatest damage to their future way of life; currently, it was the eradication of many species of animals, insects and plants alike, and Vietnam and its people would feel it later, especially if the South united with the North, and the population grew steadily, of course, she was thinking thirty years ahead of her time).

The cool breeze from the ceiling fan blew overhead, and Lee wiped his forehead with his sleeve.

“The beer is nice and cold here, unlike our Company’s Enlisted Men’s Club, it’s warm like a person’s body temperature,” Lee said.

“That’s good,” said the girl.

“No, really,” Lee said, “beer sucks when it’s this hot, I mean it.”

The girl looked up as if she were trying to imagine the rest of the night with this soldier she had just met today, in her village, with whom she agreed to spend the afternoon and evening, as long as she paid the bill, but that was all. what he was doing, paying the drink bill.

“Do you mind, Mr. Bartender, if I open the door a bit and let in some fresh air, the fan doesn’t work?” Corporal Lee said, a slant in his voice.

The bartender didn’t say a word and Lee took that as a no.

“I’ll buy you a cold beer, Sergeant Henry,” the girl said to the bartender as if she knew him, “let the air in for a few minutes, then we’ll close the door again, so the mosquitoes and flies stay outside?”

“Come in,” said the bartender, as he wiped down the counter.

“What should we do, Lee, after we leave the bar?”

“We’ll find out then, whatever you want to do I guess.”

“What’s bothering you, I mean I want to make you happy if I can,” the girl explained.

The Girl looked at the private room with the beaded curtain; she reached out her hand to touch his.

“Do you think if we hold hands and then go into that private room, we’ll both be happy?” asked the corporal.

“Oh yeah,” she said with confident certainty, “you don’t have to be afraid of me, a lot of people go in there and they all come out eventually,” she began to chuckle slightly.

“And I assume you have in the past?” Lee asked, like a brat.

“Well,” said the girl, “if you don’t mind, that’s fine with me, we don’t have to go in there.”

“If you really want, we can,” Lee replied, his tone lighter than his previous dialogue.

“No, it’s okay; it seems like you really don’t want to,” said the girl.

“I care about you,” Lee said.

“I know,” said the girl, but you get so easily upset, I mean, if I talk about hills and green iguanas, you think it’s funny, but you don’t have anything else to say to me, I’m just trying to make conversation. .”

“I get like this when I’m bored, I think,” Lee said.

“You want to make love?” asked the girl.

“If I do, you want some kind of arrangement, I mean a payment, something cheap with me, right?” Lee asked.

“It’s perfectly simple, yes!” the girl said directly and now almost coldly. “Then we can do it.”

“What do you mean do it?” Lee asked.

“I don’t care where we do it, or all that about me, I need the money and I would like a boyfriend, my old man went to the United States and paid me a third of his check to be his stable, but I care about you, And I worried about him.” He said without any emotion, his face as white as the evening sky.

“I’m not sure if I want to do it with you, if you feel that way, I mean that’s a lot of money you’re talking about, what if your boyfriend comes back?”

“He’ll be back in three months, and then our affair will be over, but I don’t want you to do it with you if you feel that way.”

The girl stood up and walked the length of the bar, looking out the window at the hills, the dark, gloomy green hills full of water dragons and iguanas, tall trees and foliage that reached to the edge of the hill, towards the target. sands of Cam Ranh bay.

“We could have a lot of fun for three months,” the girl added to her now monologue, “I mean, I could start tonight if you want.”

“No, I don’t think we can, I don’t want to spend all that money and have someone I have to pay to take care of me. Just leave me and take care of someone else the same way when the time comes, I’m not so desperate for sex and a woman actually the desire to have you is gone and i feel like i don’t have to pretend anymore and i don’t like lizards and i don’t like hills i killed us by a seven foot lizard a few weeks ago “They have big fat eyes, and I don’t feel anything for the death of that ugly lizard or for our parting, from their ways. You’re not really good for me to be honest.”

“Okay,” said the girl, “but you have to realize that you soldiers come and go, leaving us girls pregnant and never looking back, I’m no worse than the rest, surely no worse than you, the soldiers”.

She sat down next to the corporal again and they both had their drinks, drank them down and he ordered another round, looked at her and she at him.

“I’m perfectly willing to buy you drinks for your talk time, and I’m sure it will be our last date, but I think I like you more as a friend than a lover.”

“It means a lot to me that we can get along,” the girl said, “and it’s okay for you to say what you said, could you please not talk bad about me to your friends? Let’s see each other?” asked the girl.

“I don’t care about anything you’ve done,” Lee said, then that song came on again…silver wings, “Shut up!” she said, listening carefully to the words.

Picking up his hat and hand, he left the bar, still listening to the song, looking at the dark sky, not afraid of giving the wrong impression, “How do you feel?” she asked the girl.

“I feel very good,” he said, “nothing is wrong with me, it’s a beautiful night, with a good friend, what more could you ask for!”

And they walked along the white sand beach, to the town where he had picked her up, he gave her $3.00 to give to the Cowboys, a gang of kids in town who would stop her before she got to their cabin. , where she and her mother lived, she paid the gang not to beat her or rape her, they knew she was with an American, they always knew which girls dated American soldiers, and Americans had dollars, and $3.00-bucks it was the price of safety.

Written 3:00 AM, 12-31-2008 (Lima, Peru)

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