The Black Spot

“In war, truth is the first casualty.” – Aeschylus

A helicopter had burned to the ground just off the maintenance pad. By the time I saw it there was hardly anything left to it. It wasn’t one of ours; at least I don’t think it was. It was quickly cleaned up but it left a large black spot on the ground between the flight-line and the company area that lingered for weeks. Whenever I came in from the flight-line I had to walk directly over the black spot or right past it. I got into the habit of walking a circuitous route around it and gave it a wide berth as this black, lifeless spot on the ground reeked of burnt flesh and smelled of death. When I asked my platoon sergeant for details about it he blamed the dinks. He said the locals used animal blood to make the fire-retardant foam used in putting out the fire. I think I was lied to; I’m almost certain I was.


About The Twentieth Man

Age 67
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