"Please, Manny! I've seen her so many times, I can remember every single detail about her. I can describe her face, figure, uniform, even this one little emblem on the shoulder. . . "
Gonzales paused for a long time; he was speechless. His fist nearly crashed into the coffee table, but he held off just as he was about to strike the glass with all his strength.
"Manny, are you still there?" Ray's voice sounded urgent.
The old soldier managed to contain himself enough to stammer, "Emblem? What kind of emblem?"
"It was a large circle and inside the circle was some creature that looked like a bird with its wings stretched out."
Again that long pause, as Gonzales lifted himself out of his lounge chair and paced back and forth. His eyes narrowed, ears perked. He listened intently, just wondering if they were listening too.
"Ray, be honest with me. Have you ever been to Area 51?"
"Manny, the only time I've ever been to Nevada was to attend a few publishers' conventions in Las Vegas!"
"You've never been to the Groom Lake complex . . . " Sweat trickled down Gonzales' face as he waited for the response.
"I swear, Manny, I've never been there!"
Another pause, but not so long this time. Then an audible sigh.
"Ray, very few people I know have ever seen that emblem."
"Manny, tell me what the hell is going on here!"
"I can't talk about it on the phone . . . "
"I need to know the truth. Can you get me in there?"
"We were only there a couple times . . . Frank and I . . . "
"You and dad? You knew all along, didn't you?"
"We can't talk about this now."
"Damn it, Manny! I'm on my knees here! You got to get me in that place!"
Again the silence was almost deafening as Gonzales thought hard and fast. He was in the thick of it now and there was no getting out. Damn it all! Maybe Ray is the one to help me find out the truth, before it's too late . . . .
He demurred. This was absurd; he couldn't risk his pension, a possible prison sentence.
How the hell would Anna ever understand this? He thought bitterly to himself.
Then the memories came, flooding over him like a tidal wave . . . .
The streets of Saigon were in chaos. The Viet Cong forces rapidly moved into the city. The sounds of air raid alarms rang out for miles around, and people ran through the streets grabbing whatever possessions they could. Nearby buildings were in flames and smoke rapidly filled the area, only adding to the pandemonium.
Gonzales stood in the middle of the tempest, looking for his beloved. He knew he had little time left before the enemy forces entered the city and he would be trapped.
Damn it, Frank, where the hell are you?
Suddenly, there she was . . . his beautiful Anna with her gorgeous brown eyes, long, flowing black hair, and her petite, lithe form. Next to her stood tall, brown-haired Colonel Frank Perkins, his most loyal friend. He and Anna rushed up to Gonzales, pushing through the crowd and out into the open.
Gonzales felt overjoyed, his eyes filled with tears. As Anna came up to him, they embraced. He looked at his old friend tearfully, his gruff voice barely above a whisper, "You saved her, Frank. You saved Anna!"
Colonel Perkins answered Gonzales in a hurried tone, "Yeah, yeah, you can thank me later. Now we have to get the hell out of here!"
The trio rushed toward the end of the city as part of a nearby two-story apartment building fell from above and smashed into the ground behind them. . .