When Can I Stop Running?

by John Podlaski

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Ebook:
41,543 words
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Synopsis

A vivid depiction of a terrifying night as an infantryman on a listening post during the Vietnam War. Two teenage soldiers, friends and fellow Detroiter's, are alone and positioned in the dense jungle three-hundred meters beyond the barbed-wired perimeter and relative safety of their firebase - their assignment as a "human early warning system", is to listen for enemy activity and forewarn the base of any potential dangers. As they were new to the “Iron Triangle” and its reputation, little did they know that units before them lost dozens of soldiers in this nightly high-risk task and referred to those assigned as "bait for the enemy" and "sacrificial lambs". Sitting in the pitch black tropical jungle - with visibility at less than two feet - one character's imagination takes hold throughout the agonizing night, and at times, transports him back to some of his most vivid childhood memories - innocent, but equally terrifying at the time. As kids, we instinctively run as fast as we can to escape imaginary or perceived danger, but as soldiers, men are trained to conquer their fears and develop the confidence to stand their ground and fight. At least in theory, this is how it's supposed to work. But when enemy soldiers surround their LP - discovery or trying to run will result in instantaneous death...nothing in life had prepared them for this moment in time!

Story Elements

Ratings Factors

Language: Minor profanity used occasionally
Sexual Content: No sexual acts implied or described
Target Audience Age/Stage of Life: Adult only (erotic)
Violence: Death, but minimal violence

Setting

Geography: Vietnam
Realism: A true story to the best of the author's knowledge
Setting Type: Wilderness/Desert/Other outdoors
Time Period: 1970 - 1979

Main Character

Age: Young Adult
Gender: Male
Race: Irrelevant
Religion: Irrelevant
Sexual Preference: Irrelevant or N/A

Styles & Themes

Humor: Moments of levity
Inspires Reader to Feel: Uneasy/Tense
Mysteries & Puzzles: Significant mystery(ies) are core to driving the story
Pacing: Time to savor, deliberate
Physical Action: Frequent action, driven by threat to safety or life by antagonist(s)
Political/Social Commentary: Politics irrelevant to story
Romance: No romantic elements
Genre Mystery
 
Mysteries & Puzzles:
  • Significant mystery(ies) are core to driving the story
  • Thought-provoking puzzles tangentially related to story
  • Puzzles or clues that reader could use to solve mystery(ies) of story

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About the author

John Podlaski

John Podlaski served in Vietnam during 1970 and 1971 as an infantryman with both the Wolfhounds of the 25th Division and the 501st Infantry Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.  He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, two Air Medals, and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.  He spent the years since Vietnam working in management positions within the automotive industry and recently received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  John is a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154 and lives with his wife of 43 years, Janice, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  Both retired in 2013 and spend their days pursuing interests they enjoy.  John published his second book in June, 2016.

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