by Jeff Shearer
Thirty-six of us stood at attention under a July sun that felt like the heat lamp at the Stop&Go. Some of us already were starting to look like the shriveled Polish sausages that you find there on a midnight munchie run. Private Boyle was one of us. He’s from Palmer, like me. In fact, exactly a dozen of us were from Palmer. We’d had the same recruiter. We even all had the same “Today’s Army Wants to Join You” poster stuck up on our bedroom walls back home. The one with the picture of a bunch of guys playing scratch football on the beach. At the bottom it read “Talk it over with the guys. The gang that enlists together, stays together.” So that’s just what we did–right after graduation. There was only a handful of kids from Palmer headed to college, and most of them were girls. And none of us were ready to go work next to our dads and uncles at the Kaiser mill. We were hungry for some worldly education. So one Monday morning we all showed up at the recruiting station, signed the forms, and then went and got drunk down by the river. Except for Jimmy Boyle. He sat and watched.