I Went to The General To Save Some Time, Why Didn’t He Save My Dad in ‘nam?
Everyone needs affordable car insurance, but in a sea of confusing contracts and misleading commercials, how do you pick the right provider? We turned our team loose in an effort to identify the best insurance at the best prices, and we’ve got an answer that might surprise you: For a great low rate you can get online, you should indeed go to The General and save some time! That’s right, even if you’ve got poor credit or a bad driving record. And trust me when I tell you this wasn’t an easy thing to accept, because while The General offers great insurance for as little as $17 a month, he’s also responsible for the death of my father.
The year was 1967. Pops’ mission was to proceed 30 klicks into the Binh Duong province, deep into the Iron Triangle to map the tunnel system the Viet Minh had weaved through the area like a gateway to Hell.
His unit was a colorful collection of characters, for sure, but they were just kids, man. Just kids. They came from the god-forsaken underbelly of America. The towns that time forgot. Their parents were miners, factory workers. Nobodies. This was probably the only thing they were ever going to do with their lives. For most, that proved sadly true.
There was Tonto, a Pawnee ex-con from the prairie land who was only there to avoid serving time. He liked two things: drinking and drinking. Little Mikey was a bookworm. He had a good heart that wasn’t cut out for all this ugliness. All he wanted was a way home to his sweetheart, Nancy. Chipper, well, Chipper was the head case. Once he got his first taste of blood he never looked back. Some thought he saw the face of his daddy in every man he killed. Specs was the band-aid. He patched them up, kept them moving, but didn’t talk much beyond that.
And then there was Captain, as he was known then. You’d recognize him by a different name now, that is if you’ve ever gotten a great low rate online.
They called themselves the “Dogs of War,” but they had no idea what war really was. Not yet. The crazy part was, my Pops kind of loved ‘Nam at first. You can love anything before you get to know it. It’s like shitty insurance that way.
The mission started out on the right foot. My Pops could be superstitious—thanks to his upbringing in the Pentecostal Church—so when the squad came across a village eight klicks in, full of smiling faces, he took it as a sign. Maybe they’d make it out of this after all. God damn it, Dad. Why didn’t you just run?
The boys wanted to keep moving, but The General (as most of you know him) was having none of it. They needed to search the village. Do their jobs.
All of a sudden the air lit up, like a thousand fireflies on the attack. Mikey was the first to drop, popped right between the eyes. Have you ever seen the eyes of the dead? You can get lost in there. Like a crappy insurance website with quotes that never end.
By the time the bodies were bagged and tagged, the unit had been cut in two, and The General, well, he was a changed man. See, he was one of those fancy college boys from a big insurance family back east. The type that hobnobs with basketball players and drives CGI convertibles. He could site every type of insurance from memory—home, car, travel, life, critical illness, income and payment protection, private medical and dental, heck, even pet, but he didn’t know shit about “the shit.” This changed him, though. The light behind his eyes died. Like a shark’s.
By the time they reached the Đồng Nai river, The General was ranting and raving. Charlie wasn’t just the enemy anymore. Charlie was a rabid dog, and one that needed to be put down. Every living local had a date with the grave, and The General would damn well make sure his boys put ‘em there. Women. Children. It didn’t matter to him. Not anymore. He’d taken to collecting kids’ teeth and wearing them around his neck for Christ’s sake. At night, he’d scream in his sleep about giving anonymous insurance quotes, because the V-C were watching. Always watching.
Then, one day, they came across a local deep in the bush. Oh, the things they did to him for information out there where only the almighty could judge. He was a fucking human being, but not to The General. Or whatever was left of him.
My father, he wasn’t having it, God help him. He waited ’till night, when he was on lookout, and cut the kid loose. But The General…somehow, he knew. He was on top of my father within seconds, hands clamped around his throat.
Suddenly, gunfire rang out in the darkness. A V-C unit had gotten the drop by covering their bodies with charcoal dust and grease. They were like ghosts in the darkness. The boys scrambled, but it was too late. They were exposed. Dead men walking.
My father then found himself face-to-face with The General. A smile grew beneath that handlebar mustache as he faded into the blackness behind him. The last thing my Pops heard as a Vietcong’s knife cut into his throat were whispered words on the wind: “For a great low rate you can get online, go to The General and save some time.”
Looking back, they weren’t fighting the enemy. They were fighting the darkness inside. And that darkness had a name. The General. He may not have killed my father with his hands, but he killed him nonetheless. Yea though I walk through the valley of evil, I shall fear no death, only The General.
But, despite all that, if you’re looking for a great deal on auto insurance, you could do worse. For a limited time, use the code: “DEAD DAD” to save an additional 10%.
Katie Goldin’s Golden Rules
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