Charles

Charles

 

Charles kept talking about “them Americans”. As if he wasn’t one of them.

Charles was American. Though the Hawaiian type, he was American alright.

After two tours of duty in the land of Davouds’ and a deserved vacation in the continental US, his wife was now returned home, in Hawaii, back to work. Charles was making it back to Bushistan, again, the next day.

So, on the way, he figured he could stop over for a night in Paris, France.

Never been there before. Probably never would chance again.

So, that night, Charles found himself alone, a bit lost, not speaking the language, not knowing what to do. And now, matches having disappeared, looking for a light for his cigarette on a Parisian street near Richelieu-Drouot, in Paris’ 2nd arrondissement, quite Downtown.

So many people and yet alienation, he thought.

Some French guy cracked: “Bush light?”

The Hawaiian soldier, on transit through Europe, paused and stood guarded. This, after all, is the country of the ‘no liberty fries’ he thought. What did this French fuck mean exactly?

Charles was not in uniform but he knew any wise French asshole wouldn’t take long to recognize he was military. Bush Light? With what he had seen of Paris so far, he somehow guessed, rightly so, that nobody drinks Bush beer in this town.

“Need a light?” cracked again the French guy, visibly amused, looking straight into his eyes.

Then Charles ended up in a bar unlike any joint he knew – a Parisian kind of place he had no idea of – and started drinking with this French verbal fuck.

Charles talked of Hawaii, of his wife, of shit at work. The French fuck was not a fuck anymore and seemed to care to what he was saying. And he seemed also to know a lot about America. Military as well? wondered Charles. Fact is, this verbal French had stories of Bushistan only a guy who had been there would know. But he sure didn’t look like a warrior.

Charles never could really figure him out. He just saw many rounds of beer and chasers and things coming his way. And people were nice and none of them bugged him about being American or military and all. They were curious though, about Hawaii, and Charles had been to Tahiti and they were curious about that too.

And it was dawn and Charles insisted on paying the bill, so they let him.

He didn’t care, he had a great night.
No cigar, no whore. Just a great fucking night in Paris.

Charles remembered it the next day, hungover in his plane to Kabul, or some other Bush fucking war place he was going to.

Ellar Wise

Abstract by Ellar Wise

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