"He was over last night, all long in the face. Like it was the end of the world."
"Aw, poor baby. And I suppose you gave him a shoulder to cry on, right?"
"Well, of course! You think I'm going to pass up a chance like that? I'm just glad Jerry warned me he was coming over. Gave me a chance to get ready. But it was really pathetic. Leslie this, Leslie that. Couldn't understand why she just disappeared...if he weren't so good looking I wouldn't have put up with it. But what the hell. Someone who looks like that, wanna hang on to him, right? I mean, he's gotta be good in the sack."
"Oh, you're awful, you know that?"
The two girls laughed as they gathered their things and stepped away from the booth. They were still whispering and giggling as they passed through the coffee shop and headed outside.
He sat quietly in the booth next to the one the girls had just left. His back was to them as they walked out, and he was glad of that. He was quite sure that all of his friends - so-called friends - knew every little detail now.
He shouldn't have been surprised. Not really. Annie was predatory, he'd always known that. But he'd considered her his friend just the same. Jerry was another story. He was the one that introduced him to Leslie to begin with. The thought that Jerry was in on the big joke with Annie was a real jolt. He and Jerry had practically been joined at the hip...
He looked down at the brochures on the table. Army, Navy, Marine Corps. It was just a spurt of anger that made him go to each recruiting office and get them. He'd just been ready to toss them on his way out when the girls had shown up.
Marine? Snappy uniforms, that's for sure. Tough, too. But "esprit de corps"? A brotherhood? Yeah, right. Like he needed more of that bull.
Navy? He didn't know why the hell he'd picked that one up. He'd gone sailing once with Jerry, spilled his guts over the side the whole trip.
So that left the Army. That might not be so bad. He flipped through the pages. Special Forces...like the Marines. No bullshit about brotherhood. Just tough soldiers.
He sighed, looked out onto the street. Tough soldiers. No crying on anyone's shoulder. No wearing your heart on your sleeve. No getting close, just getting the job done.
No getting close.
Pathetic...no, not any more. Not in the Army. Not in Special Forces.
No getting close.
Not in Nam...