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colors of the American flag. The lieutenant leaned over to help him and invoked, "Put that fucking pistol away!" Pointing toward Wisdom the captain screamed, "Take that son of a bitch back to company headquarters! And if he gives you any trouble, ram your feet up his ass!" As the captain was trying to overcome the difficulty that a bloated panda faces in regaining his footing, Kenny was tied to a fixture inside an armored personnel carrier and driven back to his company area.

After the first sergeant was briefed, Kenny was led into his office at headquarters. The topkick was an old soldier right out of the movies. The veins in his face were broken from whiskey, and his neck was thick-red with wrinkles. His enlistment had begun in Asia back in '44 when he served in Burma against the Japanese, and now it was ending while an undeclared war was being waged in that same part of the world. He didn't want to hear any bullshit, he just wanted to know whether the private standing in front of him was trying to punk out of that war, or was truly bat-shit.

Kenny's brain was completely jangled with tension, and when the first sergeant asked him for his full name and service number, he flipped out and started to scream hysterically. The shrillness of his tantrum forced everyone to cover their ears and the first sergeant yelled for his men to "Get him outta here! Now!" Kenny screamed all the way to the hospital. He only stopped after a doctor ordered him strapped in a bed and locked in a private room.

The doctor reviewed Wisdom's file and later reported to the captain that the young man's previous high performance record as a soldier convinced him that he went bananas at the bazooka training area because of some severe strain and he recommended his immediate transfer. The next morning Kenny was wrapped in a straitjacket, strapped into an ambulance, and driven north to the Letterman General Hospital at the Presidio military base in San Francisco.

The neuropsychiatric building was a separate annex of the hospital. It had been constructed at the turn of the century by the government to house inmates who became criminally insane while imprisoned at the federal penitentiary on Alcatraz. When the foot-thick, steel-plated, front door opened, and Kenny saw the three-hundred-pound black orderly standing inside, grinning--the name WASHINGTON on a plate pinned to his uniform--he moaned. They sat him on a bench in the receiving room, and he wondered what sort of fun and games were in store for him and how long it would [end page 227]


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