J. Arthur Payette Profile

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J. Arthur Payette

Gender: M

Member Since: July 2017

Last online: April 2018

Open for read requests: Yes

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Last Updated Sep 04, 2017


The novel EVIL BLESSING is now available at Amazon.com!!

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Every writer’s work is formed by their past. I am no exception. The Vietnam war, as remote to a high school student as WWI is to me, was a powerful force in my life. That’s because I was in it. I served in Quang Tri province, so close to the Demilitarized Zone that the North Vietnamese army didn’t have to trudge down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to launch rockets at us. They fired them straight from North Vietnam! I served in the military police, and that’s another way of saying I was a cop in Vietnam. I saw a little bit of everything, from bravery and cowardice, from prisoners of war to brazen hookers. It was a wild time.


And very, very educational. I learned how other Americans lived, not just from the enclave of my old college friends, but also those who came from very different backgrounds, such as farmers, hardcore factory workers, and even a few pimps. The pimps were interesting as they were proud of their backgrounds—surprising to me—and turned out to be tough little mothers. If you had to fight one, you best not be alone.


As young men we were careful to wear a disguise when we first joined the army, acting like well put together guys who knew our way around, like how to play good poker or craps, or how to impress women with cleverness so that they’d like us. To a man we pretended to be accomplished seducers. But it’s hard to be cool when you see your friends sitting on a toilet, or are sitting there yourself. We ate together, belched together, trained and ran and sweated together. And in no time flat there were no secrets.


We swore too much, I mean continually, and were miserable trapped in a life where we had to follow orders no matter how stupid. Too often those who lorded it over us had a bad habit of being total retards and we were sure could never make it on the outside.


Once out of Basic Training (it’s not called Boot Camp!) we were free to smoke cigarettes and we did so like chimneys, and promised to all that would listen that we were sure to quit after escaping from the Green Machine. Good luck with that.


So many of us were avid comic book readers, and that really surprised me as I’d given up Batman and such for novels since the seventh grade. Mad Magazine doesn’t count.


For us anywhere other than Vietnam was The World. We called it that. After my discharge I returned to college, then married, foolishly divorced, and eventually took up the air-conditioning trade. Again I truly saw people as they truly are. No one cared as much as a splinter to impress the air-conditioning man. Homeowners, as a group, are more responsible than renters, and druggie renters are in a category of their own. It wasn’t unusual for them to pile pee-covered diapers in their bathtubs, and to leave the roaches in their kitchens alone. The kids, ignored, played in dumpsters and grew up like weeds.


Once retired I wrote. I did good work and wrote some more. A writer is supposed to promote his work to get the word out. Interviews are at the top of the list. Radio, PBS television, that sort of thing. Great in theory but what if you’re that guy with a stammer so bad your vocal cords lockup tighter than a trap even while you’re trying to say hello?


I wrote so I wouldn’t have to talk! What a mess is that?


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