Chapter 10 – Go Ask Alice

“You were going to tell me about your up-country trip…..”
“My world was still pretty small when I got to Saigon too, I will admit. But it’s still growing by the minute.
“Yes. I recall. We talked about that. I know it grew while you worked with me. So it grew again when Suel sent you to fix the radar? Something you’re about to tell me.”
“Yes yes, I will but I think my world more than grew, became surreal. An alternate reality, with people I’d met earlier popping up and disappearing randomly, fantastic stories swirling around, yet credible people insisting they were true. With explanations of physical things I saw that were impossibly vague or completely nonsensical.”
“The way you tell it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. You know that song by Grace Slick. It was still popular when I arrived in 73, you know the one, ‘Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.’ I can hear it now.”
“Oh, yeah, Jefferson Airplane, unh ‘White Rabbit’, but I didn’t need mushrooms. It was crazy enough already.
“When I got back to Tan San Nuit on that Thursday, Sgt. Pigeon picked me up at the AA terminal. After the freight was unloaded, there was my pile of test equipment cases and one lone Samsonite Suitcase left. I remember it had a military stencil on it in white paint: Something “L-P/U.” It actually looked like it belonged there. Halftrack must have painted it the night before. So anyway, Virgil appears with his blue Honda and collects the suitcase and Pigeon is none the wiser. We took all the test equipment over to Suel’s office.”
“What’s the significance of the suitcase? You talked about them having suitcases of money back in the day. Is this another one?”
“I’m assuming that but I never opened it. I just know that we couldn’t leave for Saigon until it showed up from Bangkok. Halftrack wanted me to be the courier. I told him I wouldn’t touch it once we landed at Tan San Nuit but he could pile it in among my test equipment.
“Hmm. Suitcases of cash money. What were they trading?”
“ I’m assuming it was cash money. I suppose it could have been gold. Either way it would have been heavy. It turned out that DB and Virgil had found a way to launder their Piasters that didn’t involve me. DB was able to make a big buy of black-market M16s and Halftrack brokered them to someone he knew in South Africa. At least that’s what he told me. I learned not to believe everything he told me but I do know that the shipment went to Rangoon. So they were headed in the right direction.”

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