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He Said To

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Written by Marvin Bell

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 crawl toward the machine guns
except to freeze
for explosions and flares.
It was still ninety degrees at night in North Carolina, August, rain and all.
The tracer bullets wanted our asses, which we swore to keep down, and the highlight of this preposterous exercise was finding myself in mud and water during flares.
I hurried in the darkness-- over things and under things-- to reach the next black pool in time, and once I lay in the cool salve that so suited all I had become for two light-ups of the sky.
I took one inside and one face of two watches I ruined doing things like that, and made a watch that works.
From the combat infiltration course and common sense, I made a man to survive the Army, which means that I made a man to survive being a man.

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