The second story in my new short story collection, Coming to Terms, is called “Best Buddies.” It’s about an old man and his dog. Implicit in the story but never specified is the idea that Fred, the principal character, had a son. That’s why he’s so moved by the much younger man and his son who show up in the park while Fred is there. His act of generosity, giving the younger man a half-price coupon for pizza, is an act of pure love.
Fred’s generosity reflects my belief that we all have an obligation to help one another. His act of kindness for the younger man is a small gesture, but Fred lives in a small world.
The next story, “Trip Wires,” is an entirely different kind of tale. It is drawn from my many years working undercover with the military in Vietnam. Its protagonist, the soldier Kerney, does not recognize his own homosexuality. When he meets what he considers to be the perfect man, the soldier Griffin, he cannot rest until Griffin is destroyed. The story is a study of love-hate and its ramifications.
The story told in “Trip Wires” is the basis for my novel Last of the Annamese. In 1974, years after Griffin’s death, his father, a retired Marine officer, volunteers to go to Vietnam to try to win the war that cost his son’s life. Once there, working as an intelligence analyst, he learns that his son was not killed in combat but murdered by another soldier. His purpose for being in Vietnam is no longer valid.