Face to face, man -- woman, their opposing lips touched in the darkness, in the jungle night of the city streets. She spoke English so he paid her more, besides, her skin was darker than the other girls, darker than most of the Vietnamese he had seen. He wondered if her father could have been black, certainly not American, she was too old for that. Perhaps French, he had heard there were some blacks in their army. He enjoyed how his light skin contrasted to the dark, dark tan of hers and that's why he always picked her.

Above and below, he whispered into her ears as he impaled her with each hateful thrust, arching his back to the pleasure as she recoiled from the pain. He was quick with her once they got down to it. Strange, he could marvel for hours downstairs dancing with her. Downstairs he was gentle; he enjoyed the touch of her skin, her shadow to his reflection. But, once upstairs, as she stepped out of her clothes, he saw her eyes, the same eyes that peered at him through the trees, the same eyes that looked down the gun sights as they aimed.

Silence, silence in the surrounding din, music through paper thin walls, traffic in the streets, and the shouts of commerce on corners, her silence shouted at him. He crawled off her, his cock still wet from her, a mixture of her juices, her blood and his come. He watched as she took a towel and cleaned him.

"I've got to go," he says.

"I love you," she whispers.

"Goodbye, I love you too," he lies, putting the twenty dollar bill on the table, he pauses and then adds a five.

"When will you come back?"

"Soon, very soon," he lies again.

--- --- ---

Deep in the shallow night the cool green drew the fire, the greasy heat of napalm, as life in the trees shuddered in death beneath the Phantom's screams. He thought of her as he buried his bayonet into a woman's chest, her eyes glaring at him as he twisted the blade. Beneath his boot, her silent screams did not warn the other VC. Steam rose from the wound as he held his live arm against her dead one. This one's skin was not much darker than his.

--- --- ---

Months later, her dark silhouette against the bright light is strangely distended. Walking towards her room he gently touched her firm, rounded stomach.

"Can you feel your son?"

"My son?"

"Yes, he is yours."

"How can you..."

"I just know," she replied.

Above and below, he gently held her stomach as she lowered herself onto him. Her breasts hung heavy and full above him. As she began to move, sliding over his cock, he thought of the VC woman. He pressed himself upward remembering how his bayonet pierced the woman's chest. He slipped his hands to his lover's breasts, squeezing them. Love -- hate, same thing, same thing he silently chanted to the rhythms of their bodies. He arched his back, trying to press deeper into her as he came. She pulled back from him a bit, wincing from the pain. She paused as he settled back onto the bed. He felt himself twitch inside her. She didn't move until his flaccid cock slipped from her.

Clumsily, she climbed off him and sat on the edge of the bed. With a small towel she wiped him off. He held his hand to her breast, so white against her dark skin. He looked at her eyes and then turned his head and climbed out of bed. He grabbed his pants and pulled them on, fumbling in his wallet.

"I'll be back," he lied, putting thirty dollars on the table.

"When, when will you come for us?"

"Soon, very soon. I love you," he said kissing her.

"I love you. Come back soon, the baby will be here then."

"I will," he lied again.

Stepping into the muddy streets, he noticed the night glowed strangely red as the fog blurred the neon. His child! He hated her -- he loved her. The VC woman, he killed her -- he loved her. He disappeared into the blood red night, hating the muddy city, loving it.

--- --- ---

She looks into the baby's face and sees its father. The baby's eyes cross, strangely drawn to each other. Then he starts crying at the roar of the helicopter off the top of the embassy. She watches the last one disappear behind the buildings before she cries. Looking at her son, she thinks of his father. How she hates him, how she loves him. Her dark lips touch her son's light forehead.

"Everything will be fine," she lies.

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