Extracts torn from forgotten books
by David Bussell
Jungle foliage hung in ruin, tattered and scorched. The earth lay plowed with shot and shell. A lone voice called out from among the scattered dead.
“Medic!” it screamed.
The wounded soldier pressed his bloody palms to his gut, entrails fighting to escape between the cracks of his fingers like trapped eels.
“Medic!” he screamed again.
From the fog of gun smoke and burning napalm a figure emerged. The soldier squinted through sweat-drenched eyes at the man running towards him. He was dressed not in army fatigues but an alabaster white doctor’s coat. His footwear was a pair of distinctly non-regulation clown shoes, which flapped and slapped against the jungle brush.
“Don’t worry, kid, you’re going to be okay,” said Patch Adams, setting down his doctor’s bag.
“I can’t keep them in,” said the terrified soldier, his innards threatening to unspool onto his lap like a fresh helping of Ragu spaghetti.
“Let go, son, I’ll take it from here,” said the clown-nosed physician.
Doctor Adams went to work on the soldier’s wounds but a moment later a look of intense concern appeared on his face.
“It’s no good, Private,” he said, “they won’t stay down!”
Suddenly intestines were everywhere. The panic-stricken medic pulled fistful after fistful from the soldier’s stomach, tugging out his insides in great red reams.
The soldier cried out in horror, “Oh Jesus, I’m dying! I’m dying”
A big grin appeared on Patch Adams’ face. Suddenly the soldier realized the intestines weren’t intestines at all; they were knotted strings of red hankies.
“Gotcha, kid!” said the Doc, slapping his thigh.
The soldier gasped and coughed up a great clot of blood.
“Why?” he said, before his eyelids fluttered and his body went still.
Patch Adams took off his clown wig and held it solemnly to his chest.
“War is hell,” he said. “Hell-arious!”
He honked his big red nose and winked at the camera.
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