It wasn’t a great start to the day. Stumbling to the latrine, still half asleep, I tripped over a rock and fell awkwardly into the bushes beside the jungle track. As I landed a sharp, searing pain tore through my right buttock, causing me to scream out loud in agony. Rolling over I caught a fleeting glimpse of a large ugly viper slithering off through the undergrowth. Two of my comrades came racing to my aid,
“What’s wrong?” asked Jackson.
“I’ve been bitten by a snake,” I panted, “Can one of you suck the poison out?”
“Yeah ok,” said Roberts bravely, “where’s the bite?”
I dropped my strides and showed them. Roberts paled noticeably and fainted.
“If one of you doesn’t suck the poison out, I will surely die.” I cried,
“Alright, alright,” said Jackson, “but you must swear to never ever tell anyone that I did this.”
“Ok, I promise,” I yelled, “just hurry before it’s too late.”
As Jackson began to suck, the pain suddenly became excruciating and in distress I heard him burble incoherently. It sort of sounded like,
“Hells teeth it’s all muck and grass!”
“What did you say?” I screamed with tears of pain rolling down my face.
Awake again, Roberts interpreted for me,
“He says his false teeth are stuck in your arse.”
By then the pain was so intense I passed out. When I came to, I saw two paramedics carrying me on a stretcher and heard one of them asking how I had received my injuries. Roberts wasn’t at all shy about telling them. Unfortunately both medics burst into fits of laughter and dropped the stretcher. I screamed again in unbelievable pain and their examination confirmed the fall had broken my arm.
Quickly they replaced me back on the stretcher and rushed me to the waiting Iroquois. Sadly the paramedics told the helicopter crew how I sustained my injuries, and they were laughing so much they forgot to secure me to the stretcher rack on the side of the machine.
As the chopper lifted off, the downdraft from the rotors blew me off the side and I was travelling at high velocity when I arrived at the ground. Two broken legs they said, though other than that they reckoned I had got off quite lightly.
Hours later I was lying in the recovery room of the military hospital thinking things can only get better from now on, when the Chaplain poked his head in the door.
“Hello!” he said in a chirpy voice, “They have asked me to hand out the mail on my visiting rounds. There is a letter for you and I truly hope it helps to brighten up your day.”
Alone in that dreary hospital room I opened the letter and began to read,
“Dear John,” it said.
“I hope this letter doesn’t reach you at a bad time but I think it only fair that you learn the truth. I have decided to file for divorce. I don’t love you any more, come to think of it, I never really did. I am much happier now, I am in a raging three way affair with your best friend Matt and Sharon, your sister . Don’t worry too much about the children, they aren’t actually yours anyway. Peter’s real father is your old boss Benjamin and Fiona’s real dad is Father O’Brien, you remember the priest who married us.
Just then a visiting general marched into the room and asked in a loud voice.
“What’s wrong with you private? Why are you crying?”
I sobbed out my woeful story,
“I got up this morning and fell over a rock, I got bitten on the bum by a snake and a soldier, I got dropped off a stretcher and broke my arm, I got blown off a helicopter and broke both my legs. Now when I think things can’t possibly get any worse, I receive this, a Dear John letter. This letter is so horrible I can’t take, I won’t accept it.”
The general roared at me,
“Harden up soldier, it’s time you got tough and faced up to the things that life throws at you, instead of lying there crying like a baby. What are you, man or mouse? Give me one good reason why you can’t just accept that letter and get on with life.”
I answered him in my sad squeaky voice,
“Because it starts off, Dear John, it’s not my letter, my name’s Tom.”