The .38 Snub Nose Pistol

Toward the end of Last of the Annamese, as the fall of Saigon gets closer, the protagonist, Chuck Griffin, gives Tuyet (the woman he loves who is in a name-only marriage with his friend, Colonel Thanh) a pistol to defend herself in case the North Vietnamese trap her. Here is the text from the novel:

Chuck holstered his Beretta, thrust the .38 snub nose with a box of fifty rounds into his briefcase, and walked through the fusty heat to JGS—it would be faster than driving through the glutted streets. Still no monsoons. The heat and stench forced him to breathe through his mouth. . . .

[At Thanh’s office,] Chuck walked through the main entrance to the courtyard. Tuyet hastened around the corner of the house. As she came close, he saw the stress lines around her eyes and mouth. He took the .38 snub nose and the ammunition from his briefcase. “I don’t know what will happen at the end, but you must be able to protect yourself and Thu [her six-year old son].”

She eyed the revolver.

“Please,” he said.

Hesitantly, she took the pistol and ammunition and slid them into a pocket in her full skirt.

He sighed. “Thank you. It’s loaded and there’s no safety switch. Be careful.”

“Thanh taught me to fire guns when we lived in Da Nang. I know to be cautious.”

“I’ve got to go.”

She stepped toward him, stopped. “‘No war but this.’ You remember? . . . . As the fighting comes close to Saigon, the birds have gone away.”

Chuck lifted his face to the trees. It was true. No birds. “They were wise.”

End of quote.

More tomorrow.

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