Mystery Solved

reinforced bunker
Looking Southeast Toward An Hoa 

Wednesday, August 21, 1968

Sumo and I reviewed our dry goods order which was to be submitted to FLC today.  Reb added extra shortening to the list, and we gave Fernando instructions on where to turn in the procurement list.  As the Admin truck drove off, Reb hung out while we started preparing lunch.  He told us that the mystery had been solved regarding Margaret’s inheritance.

On the last day of R&R, Reb and Margaret left early and took a bus trip.  It was about a half-hour drive, and they got off at an old cemetery.  Carrying the large bellows camera and tripod over her shoulder, Margaret led the way to a specific grave with a simple headstone.

The grave was for someone named “Mark.”  He was born in 1937 and had died in 1966.  Margaret patiently set up the tripod and framed the photo.  She took two shots before kneeling and touching the stone marker.  It was silent but for a bird call in the distance.

Finally she said, “This is my twin brother.”  There were tears in her eyes, and Reb held her tight.  Mark had died in Vietnam.  He was a war hero in the Australian Army and had served for 8 years before his death.

As they packed up the equipment and headed back to catch the next bus, Margaret filled in the details.  Mark was a cook in the restaurant where she worked.  They had done everything together from birth and were very close.  When Mark joined the Army, the woman restaurant owner offered Margaret the baker apprenticeship.  Then when Mark was killed, she was promoted to manager of the Lounge.  All of these moves were meant to keep Margaret preoccupied and focused on work (a subtle version of suicide watch).  Selling her the Coffee Lounge was a final gesture of thanks for Margaret’s faithful dedication.  The inheritance was from Mark’s military life insurance.

Next Edition:  Collaborative Art

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