CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY-NINE
“I led a team of two soldiers into the tunnels,” Seth started.
“Why you?” a reporter yelled. “You’re a piano player, composer, rich guy. Why are you involved?”
Seth turned to look at the young reporter.
“What’s your name?” Seth asked.
“Elvis Johnson,” the young man said. “New York Music Magazine.”
“How old are you?” Seth asked.
“Read O’Malley’s fucking Wikipedia page!” Someone yelled from the back.
Seth looked up and grinned.
“So that we’re all on the same page,” Seth said. “How old are you?”
“25,” the young man yelled.
“My agent, my father, and my step-father fought in Guadalcanal. My father was a part of the war effort in other ways,” Seth said. “My older brother was SF in Laos. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t head into the service. That’s what young men of substance and honor did. When I was seventeen, I went to Vietnam with my best friend. We spent two years in the tunnels …”
“Chi Chui!” someone yelled from the back.
“Exactly,” Seth grinned at the person. “I was a kid, 8 years younger than you. 17 years old. Most of the guys in our team were older by ten years or more. I’m one of the few who didn’t get sick from the Agent Orange or kill myself. By a process of elimination, I’m an expert at tunnel warfare. Does that answer your question?”
“Why not send the guys from Afghanistan?” Elvis Johnson asked.
“Who do you think taught them?” another report asked.
“Go on, O’Malley,” a woman said. “We’re with you.”
Seth nodded to the woman and started with the sanitized update.
“A team of us went into the main tunnel only to find the main entrance to the salt mine blocked. In order to get in the mind, we’d have to open the door from inside the mine. That’s common in this kind of situation,” Seth said. “We looked and found the separate entrance. I led a team of people into the smaller tunnel that I had read about in the journal. There’s a mention about a root cellar. We found the entrance to the smaller branch. There were three chambers. Each chamber was booby-trapped.”
Seth looked up to find reporters listening and taking notes.
“Your first picture shows the first chamber,” Seth said. “These children were living in the tunnel. You have an image of their execution order.”
“But that’s the Minister of Arts and Sciences,” a reporter said.
“Exactly,” Seth said.
“Why are they pressed against the wall like that?” a reporter asked.
“We made the assumption that they were gassed. They were pressed up to the fresh air vent,” Seth said. “The bodies smells like onions which could be either mustard gas or arsine which were both readily available in this region of the world at that time. We moved the bodies of the children and continued through two more chambers. We found young men, Nazis — teenagers really — killed upon the booby traps.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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