This really deserves a whole chapter to itself. Scott appeared as I was parking my bike in the pace I stayed in Vermont. He told me he was in the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant and was in chage of 44 men after he had returned injured from shrapnel wounds having been in Iraq for 4 years. His job: lone sharpshooter.
He showed me his uniform; he had been decorated with 3 purple hearts and one silver star, the silver star was given to him by George W. Bush. We got some heavy drinking done and I recorded some of the evening. As the alcohol consumption wore on his mood got darker and darker, revealing to me how he operated: “if I had to kill you, I’d do it in a heartbeat… in a war situation, of course” He showed me his rifle which he has used to kill in the field, proud of its smooth action “fast is slow, smooth is fast”….
The Home he lives in with his wife Miranda, it cost $2,400. It snows and is very cold in Vermont winters.
We went up to the service station and I bought us a case of the pissy beer he liked and some of other bits and pieces, On our return we met Harry, a Vietnam war Vet, who did one tour of duty in 1964 and another in 1968. Harry was pretty much blind, a victim of poisoning by agent orange. He could hardly walk but Scott pointed out to me after he left that he had a great disability pension. Harry did not want to talk about the war except to tell me that the had to eat out of their helmet which was used to wash their hands then their feet and then to piss in. Scott added that he often had to crap in his trousers in the field of battle, if you had to stay put. I thought, lucky I have already eaten an hour ago.
“Aim 40 feet above the target, allow for windage, curvature of the earth, turning momentum of the earth. The shell will literally be lobbed down onto the target. It will hit will the force of a car crash and land on top of the enemy’s head, probably split the whole body in two, blow the limbs right off. Its not like in the films when they get a neat bullet hole in the middle of the forehead. The arms get thrown off several feet with the force. You only get one pop.”
Scott told me how he had a visit from the local authorities and had his nine year old daughter taken away an d put into care. He was suffering from PTSD and I guessed they did not want the child to be kept in the trailer with Scott and his somewhat erratic personality.
His wife Miranda turned up quite late and he expounded on the life of Billy The Kid, his hero. There was not much he did not know about Billy the Kid. I staggered back into my sleeping bag, exhausted but still a little nervous about that rifle in the trailer and a very drunk Scott. Gosh. Anyway he made me breakfast which was very kind.