A cold day in Hue

By Jeff Manthos

It is a cold day in the Imperial City of Hue. Hue is in Vietnam. Vietnam is in hell. The Imperial city
is royally shattered, caving in to the latest war. Amidst this stands a Marine, behind a low stone
fence. It must be cold, he wears his field jacket.

Something bulges inside his jacket, in the crook of his right arm. His other arm out straight,
balancing the M-16 with tired experience, firing rounds at the enemy.

The bulge inside his jacket wiggles and squirms and a cold puppy nose pokes out, followed by a
puppy face and paws, all puppy energy and all held in check by the tender grip of the young

Somewhere back in the States a young man plops down a squirmy puppy and the young dog
chases a tennis ball and jumps into a pond to retrieve a stick. Upon returning, the puppy licks the
young man?s face getting muddy paw prints on good school clothes that?s likely the worst that
will happen here.

Somewhere on the streets of Hue, in Tet of ?68 a young boy of a Marine holds his puppy. There
is no park, there is no pond, there are no tennis balls to chase. Just the deserted streets of Hue,
in Vietnam, in hell where a Marine, fighting for his life and his comrades is somehow
simultaneously able to still be a boy with his puppy