I was conceived in a hail of bullets, July 4, 1967.
My father tugged me out in an ecstatic rage onto the charred face of a North Viet Cong.
Of course I would have never known this if it weren’t for my neighbor, who came to my office straightaway to act out the incident in an avant-garde telling.
He exclaimed my father then coated this bloody ejaculate over a bullet, and no sooner than it’d been loaded- shrapnel hit his genitals with explosive ferocity. Somewhere in the haze of shock, and pain, he then discharged me into the belly of a Viet Cong prostitute- who’d been dalliancing his commanding officer in the next room.
Unfortunately, I found myself intermittently distracted with his lack of costume, or convincing props aside from a rolled-up wet newspaper, and squashed, tread-marked cat- which I noted as grossly exaggerated.
For some unrelated reason, he then swore to me that this would be the last time I ran over his cat- a sincerity I naturally welcomed as I’ve never enjoyed running over his pets. After he had finished, I thanked him for his assurance, and in turn assured him that he had done the right thing telling me the truth about my lineage.
I found him years later- my father- spanging outside a coin laundry, and though he was far older than I’d perceived; upon a close, and rigid study I concluded it was indeed him. He was terribly weathered- obviously still wet from the jungle- and dressed in tight children’s army pajamas with a pink, PVC strap-on hanging low in place of his penis. Upon introducing myself, I gave him a tremendous hug, and then asked for a sip of what I mistook to be whiskey fermenting in a milk jug spilled onto its side. All at once, he started swinging his hips- wagging, and rubbing his dildo in a vigorous fit while shouting paranoid vulgarities involving my mother, his last five dollars, and what he referenced as “the great pink donkey”. Throughout this episode of incoherent depravity, he kept using the name “Charlie”, and at that moment I understood the extent of which he had been denied basic parental involvement- all my life I had been called Jim.
My coworkers still inquire about the events of that day, but they never ask me about my father- just the cat.
“Still running over his cat?” they ask, fighting back large, sympathetic smiles. To which I can only hang my head and reply, “Yep. He lied.”
But I often fantasize about that day in Vietnam, and as I do I can’t help thinking that as he coated me onto that bullet in his moment of sexual revelation, he had indeed saw potential.