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Short Story

The Ultimate Adventure

A Prequel to The Corridor

The Ultimate Adventure, or A Half-assed Alice’s Restaurant Imitation or How a Peace Loving Poet Ended up a U.S Sailor in Greece Supporting a Military Dictatorship or Notes for the Next Novel


Autumn, 1971.  He was sure the only reason he had graduated from high school was due to the fact that his parents were both teachers in the same school system. The embarrassment of his being denied a diploma would have been a scandal no one could have tolerated, not even the teachers who hated him most. His failure would be seen as their failure and heads would most certainly have to roll.

Some months later when he had decided to enlist, the treatment he received from his family was unexpected and unwanted. His parent's pride with his joining the Navy unnerved him. They threw a party, invited all his relations and half the neighborhood.  Except for coming upstairs to grab a beer out of the frig, he hid in the basement.


During those last days of freedom he was given unlimited access to the family car.  No questions asked.  His parent’s relief at him no longer bringing shame upon the family was so strong you could hear their collective sigh all over the neighborhood. His father kept stuffing twenty-dollar bills into his shirt pocket. He could do no wrong.  This was surreal to say the least, after eighteen years of Calvinist morality and stoicism, they were almost giddy with tolerance and generosity.  He half expected his father to buy him a prostitute.

Maybe they thought he was not coming back.  He had, after all, volunteered for the SEALs, the Navy's equivalent to the Green Berets, and had voiced his desire to serve in Vietnam.  That must have been it! His folks thought he was going to get greased in the jungles of Vietnam!

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