Sparky, Chuck’s housemate and fellow intelligence analyst in Last of the Annamese, got his nickname because he’s something less than nimble-minded. He appears throughout the story as a foil for Chuck.
In his review of Annamese, Bruce Curley cites Sparky’s speech toward the end. The passage he refers to takes place in their work spaces. It reads:
“You’re getting soupy,” Chuck said. “Go home.”
“Can’t.” Sparky’s eyelids stretched and blinked. “Da Nang fell yesterday. I Corps is in rout. And the safe haven on the coast where all those people tried to flee from highlands? Tuy Hoa. It’s under enemy fire. A hundred thousand refugees are stranded along Route 7B between Pleiku and the coast. No food, no water, no medicine, nothing. Jesus, Chuck.” He ran his hands through his hair. “Did it have to end like this? After 58,000 American military dead, at least a million Communist soldiers, and who knows how many million civilians? Chuck, what the hell have we done?”
End of quote. Bruce notes that Sparky’s questions haunt every page of Last of the Annamese. He’s right. I wrote the book in part to fumigate my own post-traumatic stress. But I wrote it in part to tell the story of what really happened during the fall of Saigon and the years that led up to it. That’s why I made every effort to assure the story’s historical accuracy and completeness, even including details classified until the beginning of 2016, some published publicly for the first time in Annamese. Sparky stands for me in the scene quoted above. He asks the questions I asked:
Did it have to end like this? What the hell have we done?