Excerpt from Guns Up! At this point of the book, the main character, John, and his friend, Chan, open fire at NVA soldiers in the dead of the night.
"Ow! Chan! Something just hit me in the helmet! Felt like a brick!"
A numbing explosion blasted me forward. A frag had hit my helmet and bounced to the ground nearby. The flash stayed on my eyes. "I'm hit! God, I'm really hit this time! My back's burning!" I rolled left. "It's the barrel, Chan!" [John rolled over on the machine gun's barrel, which got really hot during firing.]
"Johnnie! Are you okay?"
"God, I'm glad to hear you! Yeah. No. I don't know. There's a lot of warm stuff running down my leg, and it ain't rain." Another rocket exploded to our right, throwing mud around us. "Can you see?"
"Are you hit too?"
"Yes," Chan said. "Listen."
"I don't hear anything."
"Neither do I."
"Think we should call for Doc?""
"Can you see yet?" Chan asked.
"They [The NVA] might be on top of us."
"Have you got your rifle?"
"I think I'm bleeding from the groin, too!"
"No. I don't think so. Chan, feel my legs. Are they okay?" Chan moved closer. He hit my boot. I felt it. "God. Thank you."
"They're bleeding but still there."
"See if you can get the gun ready, I'll call the doc."
I oriented myself and pulled the M60 to me. She felt like solid mud, but nothing was out of place. I still saw spots. Memories of being timed taking the gun apart and putting it back together blindfolded came back to me. The only sound around us was the pounding rain.
"The gun's ready. I don't know what good it'll do. I can't see or hear."
"Corpsman!" Chan's call scared me. A moment later the call was echoed by the position on our left.
I tensed, I tried to straighten my left leg. It hurt. A sense of total helplessness swept over me. Then panic. "I'll never run again!" I blurted.
"I can't play ball!"
"Hold it, you're okay."
"Am I crippled?"
"If you'd avoid catching frags with your fat head I wouldn't be lying here bleeding and having this absurd conversation!"
The exact words I needed. My panic subsided. I found myself giggling and feeling ashamed. I'd always wondered how I would react if I got hit. Now I knew, and my pride hurt more than my knee. Heavy boots splashed into a puddle of mud behind us. My night vision was still a useless series of yellow spots from the blast.
"I can't believe it. Hit you right in the head!" Chan started giggling. "Oh, it hurts to laugh!" He laughed again trying to smother the sound with his hand.
As always, the laugh was contagious. I started giggling and crying at the same time.
"If one of you isn't wounded, you soon will be!" The threatening whisper belonged to Corporal Swift Eagle. Another pair of feet hustled up behind us.
"Is that Doc?" Chan asked.
"We're both hit. Check John first."
"Then what's funny?" Swift Eagle growled.
"The frag. . ." Chain started to giggle.
"It hit me in. . ." I started snickering. I couldn't talk.
"Let's get 'em back to the CP," Swift Eagle said. "Grab an arm."
"Think they're in shock?" Doc asked.
"No. They're both too crazy to be in shock."