Smug Jones

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died and went to meet his Maker carrying himself in a leak proof
plastic baggy. A tractor-trailer rig outside of Pendleton, Oregon
hit him one hot summer afternoon. There wasn't a lot left of Smug;
he was hit square on, at seventy mph in the middle of Highway 82,
with nothing to break the impact of the semi that clobbered him
except his outstretched palms, and a half drunk bottle of Jack Daniels.

Smug had gained a few pounds since his soldiering days and he could
no longer bob and weave a "double box" Diamond Reo like
maybe he once could.

was he out in the middle of Rt. 82 in the first place was only considered
odd by the truck driver, the investigating troopers and emergency
workers. All his "friends" from the "New W Lounge"
just thought it was Smug's indomitable fighting spirit; like the
mouse flipping off the eagle. You see, Smug was a veteran and it
was just a confrontation between a warrior and a powerful machine,
it was… John Henry-esque.

After the troopers and emergency workers scraped and hosed what
was left of Smug off the blacktop and from around the axle of the
big rig his pastor and spiritual advisor from the "Cornerstone
Church of The Full and Defining Truth of Gawd Between The Lines
Biblical Revelation," took claim of his remains in the leak
proof baggy and laid them out in a fine but inexpensive fiber-board
coffin and hoped that there was no between the lines revelation
he had missed, especially concerning glorious resurrected bodies
and such.

preacher thought Smug wouldn't hear of cremation, because, "
we are to come back in our earthly bodies, after the Resurrection
at end times, but could cremation be any worse than this? Sweet

On earth Smug didn't think about this kind of stuff, but as he approached
the Throne of Judgment with his remains clasped tightly in his ghostly
hands like he was clutching his hat, he began some serious philosophical
and theological meditations.

Peter just waived him on through, much to Smug's surprise and excitement,
but he was given a round trip ticket, to which the answer to his
inquiry of "why?" was, "you may be returning to the
gate for another (undisclosed) location." This put Smug on
notice, and he didn't seem so…well so smug.

Now the truth was; and Smug knew it would come out sooner or later;
he did a lot of killing. It was like one big video game to him then,
and it was righteous to boot; it was after all, for "liberation"…
and Jesus, according to the rich, educated, impressive looking,
tough talking older guys in the suits.

see, nothing seemed human to Smug if it was on the other end of
his gun barrel (A trait that was nurtured by the, " rich, educated,
impressive looking, tough talking older guys in the suits")
not even the little girl standing with her father when he opened
up on them that first day while he was so full of infante adrenaline,
and it all became; "a free fire zone man, everything that moved
was fair game." The rote passages once used to get a free drink
to blur the images, now only seemed to bring new images and the
need for more blurring.

It was all haunting him viciously now. He didn't want to talk about
it anymore, the arms and legs flying when a "fifty" at
close range hit someone. Not so cool, but all his barroom litanies,
they all just seemed to pour out, no matter how embarrassing… or
horrifying; everything he ever did spilled out of his guts in this
place. He couldn't doctor it up for the listening audience it all
just welled up and came out like a…confession.

one read the truth in the morning paper or saw it on the evening
"news'" or even in the imbedded pseudo correspondent reports.
No one at home would know how many under-gunned enemy defenders
or non-combatants they killed or how they killed them. No "
body counts" like in Vietnam, or else people might draw their
own conclusions and might have to endure some real reality T.V.
upon their overstuffed couches.

big time corporate media owners kept the stories sanitary, as if
all the enemy soldiers were hirsute World Wrestling Federation villains
and shot cleanly through the heart with silver bullets.

knew differently. Smug knew that what the civilians sitting on their
astounding gluteus maximus's back home were told through their bought
and paid for news media was not what really happened, but only what
they wanted them to hear…and perhaps what they wanted to hear.

the photo op up on the Air Craft Carrier where vicarious warrior,
El Jeffe is seen pretending to be a Top Gun co-pilot (but looks
more like a bumblebee) returning from a mission. Not one reporter
asked him about his actual military status during Vietnam. In all
fairness it is probably a natural self-preserving instinct to keep
from being keelhauled under an aircraft carrier.

Smug wondered in bitter cynicism what was the true cost for that
bit of reelection video footage?

agendas and ratings were the priorities, not the truth; and those
politicians and moneygrubbers that sent the teenager's there to
kill and be killed never saw a dead man outside a funeral home,
and were lying through their flossed teeth and intimidating people
right and left like the real tyrants they were; and if there was
justice, as this place fairly screamed, then the first really were
to be the last.

there were no lies, it wasn't possible.

door swung wide and there stood Christ for Smug's final judgment.

shocking recognition brought Smug to his knees and at the same time
he wept like a heartbroken child as he truly repented, and for the
first time, really hoped in the mercy of Christ, as She… the little
brown girl he once tore apart with a "short burst" was
now all together again; and with the most beautiful smile and gentlest
countenance he ever saw, said, "Father, forgive him…"

7, 2003

Raymond [send him mail] is
a husband, father, grandfather, former Vietnam Marine, Alaska State
Trooper, Highway Safety Specialist, finally, in my advanced years,
a college graduate, and above all, a believer in both faith and


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