rubbish
Francis Duffy

a Yank, lived abroad for decades. His initial journey was required — war —but thereafter, he went willingly. He returned to the homeland for college (L.A. and San Francisco) and later grad school (UT-Austin, then a fellowship at Hawaii’s East West Center, where Obama’s parents met), then he was gone again.

He learned in college that “deracination”—to lose one’s roots—is how science labels the expatriation process. Yet he doesn’t see the process as one of subtraction, but rather addition. His roots are intact, enhanced via exposure to cultures unlike that into which he was born.

Duffy is also the author of Bar Kafka, the captivating story of Joe Nickerson’s adventures after serving in Vietnam, which was featured in Season 1 of the PenDust Radio podcast.

Fiction
Rubbish

written by Francis Duffy

Rubbish is a short story about Joe Nickerson’s cross-country hitchhiking adventure as he’s on his way to serve in the Vietnam war. As Joe waits for rides, holding a sign that reads “TO WAR – VIA L.A. – U.S. Marine Corps,” he recalls his draft-dodging father, his lioness of a mother, and how his youth in Catholic schools with hard-knuckle nuns made his transition to boot camp easier. Then, when the draft from a GTO passing at 70 mph spins his sign, he has an unexpected encounter with a raven-haired woman named Rita.

Francis Duffy is also the author of Bar Kafka, the captivating story of Joe Nickerson’s adventures after serving in Vietnam, which was featured in Season 1 of the PenDust Radio podcast.

Also on PenDust Radio by Francis Duffy: Unlearn.

© 2021 Francis Duffy  | Recording © 2022 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

The few who knew of my scheme advised against it.

“Violates common sense,” was the consensus of fellow marines. “Hitchhiking coast to coast under deadline pressure of orders to the Vietnam war is daft… And… you’ll be AWOL,” they warned.

The isolation is a lure, indivisible from my chosen mode of travel. My logic’s hard to explain, so when benefactors ask why I’m hitching, I just say, “To see the land.”
…right thumb out but elbow bent while waiting, left hand holding the bottom of a two-by-four. Tacked to its top is a thick rectangular poster board turned narrow side up. On it, I’ve bold-faced my fate.

TO WAR — VIA L.A.USMC

War veterans stop. They know better than me how it’ll be when I get to where I’m ordered.
She cranks up a song I’ve not yet heard….

How does it feel?
To be on your own
with no direction home,
Like a complete unknown,
like a rolling stone…

rubbish
A Yank, Francis Duffy lived abroad for decades. His initial journey was required — war —but thereafter, he went willingly. He returned to the homeland for college (L.A. and San Francisco) and later grad school (UT-Austin, then a fellowship at Hawaii’s East West Center, where Obama’s parents met), then he was gone again.

He learned in college that “deracination”—to lose one’s roots—is how science labels the expatriation process. Yet he doesn’t see the process as one of subtraction, but rather addition. His roots are intact, enhanced via exposure to cultures unlike that into which he was born.

Duffy is also the author of Bar Kafka, the captivating story of Joe Nickerson’s adventures after serving in Vietnam, which was featured in Season 1 of the PenDust Radio podcast..

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