At the time of my public service, the federal government’s top executives took a dim view of the workforce. In their opinion, the job of the head of an organization was to control his subordinates and keep them in line. That meant that I was constantly clashing with my bosses who wanted me to supervise and stamp out innovation—the bosses would decide what should be done, not the workers. But my success rate was far above that of the average manager. The promotions kept coming despite the reservations of my superiors. I reached the SES-04 rank, only two steps down from the top government grade.
Meanwhile, I had known since age six that I was born to write. As an adult, I had a wife and children to support, and writing isn’t lucrative. Being a spy paid the bills. I wrote whenever I could and had gotten a series of short stories published. But I knew novels was where I would excel. So I retired as early as I could so that I could write fulltime. Because of high rank, my retirement annuity was generous. I had no money problems.
My foreign assignments after 1975 were (and still are) classified, so I drew on my years in Vietnam for material to write about. For decades, Americans considered Vietnam a shameful war. They didn’t want to read about a conflict the U.S. never should have been involved in. As a result, I wasn’t able to get my novels published. Then, during the second decade of the twenty-first century, attitudes started to change. So did my luck. A new generation of Americans wanted to know more about Vietnam. Publishers began accepting my work.
I now have six novels and 17 short stories published. I’ve gotten two books published this year. I’m now working on two more novels. Things are looking up. Luck is still with me.
So here I am, an aging man with a history of lung illness that puts my life at risk if I am infected with covid-19. The nation is crippled by the disease, the economic collapse it brought with it, and the self-serving acts of the worst president in our history. But I’m lucky enough to have a steady income, not interrupted by the pandemic. I’m able to stay isolated and safe from infection. And now vaccines are on the way to immunize people like me who were otherwise in mortal danger.
How lucky can one man be?