"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"The Second Tour": by Terry P. Rizzuti

Spinetinglers Publishing
221 Pages
Paper back and Kindle

About the Book:

The Second Tour is a literary novel written in the Modernist tradition that explores the full range of the human condition, from the ultimate altruism (guys charging machine gun nests to save their buddies), to the ultimate evil, (guys killing innocents because they enjoy it).

It's a story about a two or three-year-old Vietnamese girl whose murder haunts the narrator. 

It is also a story about that narrator, a low-level Marine, his descent into spiritual darkness, and his life-long struggle to regain some semblance of a meaningful life.

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Author's Personally Selected Excerpts:

"Hill 602 took three lives the first time. Took Tommy Baker’s lower jaw too. I couldn’t look him in the eyes that saw so clearly through all of us to the horror we saw in his mangled face. No teeth bestowed upon him the look of a man made wizened with age."

"It was a round between the eyes, I think, because as I yelled in his face, it disappeared, replaced with a blood geyser and the sound of a .41 millimeter. His legs slid apart slowly at first, then crumbled in the true Cartesian split."

"Rootie! Rootie! Come closer Rootie."

"I’m here, Benjie, I’m here," I said, clasping his hand on my arm.

"Help me Rootie, my legs won’t move."

"Aw Benjie, it’ll be okay Benj, I’ll give you mine."

"Our voices turned to whispers and our countenances to shame. We left as murderers, our tails between our legs, but it would happen again, inevitably, and each will take his memories to the grave. Life’s a bitch — and then you die."

"It was December, and I was thinking about how miserable Christmas was going to be. The air was cold, my teeth were chattering, the chow sucked. Chow? C-ration leftovers from World War II. The issue date on my box was 1944. This was 1966. We were smoking twenty-year-old cigarettes. Eatin’ meals older than we were."

"She was stomping her foot, prancing like a white mare. Her mouth was moving. She was saying something urgent, lots of something urgents. I could sense that much. But nothing seemed urgent anymore. You wanna know what it was like? I thought. Huh? I’ll tell you what it was like. Nam wasn’t real. Not when I was there. Now it’s real. Now I can think about things like why we were there, what we were trying to prove to ourselves, why we did some of the things we did. I have time now to sort back through it all: the dead, the dying, the barbarism, the atrocity, through everything I can remember to help make sense of it."

"His name was John Blue and he had a chip on his shoulder — in fact, he once told me he’d rather fight than fuck. I believed him, yet there he was looking as though someone had stomped his ass bad. I couldn’t imagine that ever happening. Blue was a twenty-five-year-old full-blood reservation-raised Blackfoot who hated people, but for some reason liked me. All he said, practically without even stopping to say hello, was If you’re ever driving so drunk you see three bridges up ahead, don’t take the one in the middle."
"Nine men’s not enough, said Wiskey, never looking up from cleaning the big gun. I looked at him curiously, wondering what motivated him to say that. C-More looked at him funny, too, and sensed he was losing control of the squad. Square away, he said. You dudes call yourselves Marines or Swabbies? We owe ‘em. We owe all the others, like JB and Bursar and Seldom and Benjie and Lugar. Remember Lugar, Rootie, remember man? They blew the back of his goddamn head off. Stuffed his balls in his mouth and then sewed it shut. Remember man? Them muthers hung him by the thumbs from a fuckin’ tree."

"C-More screamed CHARGE suddenly and the whole squad moved out quickly, zigging and zagging and diving in holes and behind trees, spraying the area like fire fighters, chunks of lead and M-79 rounds exploding on impact. I leapt up too, then fell back down, jerked by Benjie’s tight hand on my arm. I looked at his swollen face, watched it turn ashen and then bluish purple as he held his breath fighting the pain and the inevitable, his whole head bloating out, then caving in quickly as his breath rushed out loud. Tears shot out my eyes I remember, rocking back on my heels looking straight up. Arrrrrrrr…… I clenched and screamed, but the wind swept the sounds to the mere decibels of silence."

"Charles Stricklyn is dead. With him are Watson, Wiskey, and Murphy. Everyone asks “Why Rizzuti? Someone upstairs must like him. But why him?” I don’t know why but I’ve got to know. Something’s got to tell me. I say something cause nothing human can tell me. The guys all think I lead some kind of charmed life. They hang around me like I’m a lucky piece, a Saint Christopher medal or something. Can you believe that? People are dying all around me, and these dudes think I’m lucky. It’s raining outside this leaky tent; artillery is firing and enemy mortar rounds are splashing in the mud. Why don’t I take cover? Cause I don’t give a damn. I don’t give a damn about anything. It just don’t mean nothin’ no more."

"I moved toward the front, one step at a time, slowly past staring eyes as frightened as my own, then froze solid again as Baker’s and mine locked in instantaneous telepathy. I looked away quickly, but not before registering one life-lasting color photo of his mutilated face, torn off from the nose down, shredded flesh oozing blood and saliva, dripping like melting cherry icicles, splattering off his flak jacket and boots, his eyes wild and glossy like someone speaking in tongues, his arms and shoulders limp, his hands wringing frantically at rosary beads, his sunken life’s essence hurling toward total completion — He knew it — I knew it — God knew it — everyone and everything abandoning him on this, the afternoon of his supreme and inevitable day."

"McKlusky, plastered, was funnier than shit as usual. Six foot seven, about 240 pounds, he looked like a genetic throwback to more primitive times, the kind of guy who’d wipe his ass on a tree trunk if he didn’t have no toilet paper, just back right up to it and rub up and down on the bark."


"This is truth masquerading as fiction. Viet Nam is the scene. The players are members of Second Battalion of the 26th Marine Regiment. "The Second Tour" is that period time between two realities, the then and the now. The secret is to find a way to accept one reality and live with another. Mr. Rizzuti has described his time in Viet Nam very accurately. It's one hell of a story. I hope he has worked over his First Tour and has it behind him. It is a heavy burden to carry alone. Welcome home!" --Midwest Book Review, Richard Larson, Reviewer

"This book is an essential primer for anyone working therapeutically with veterans and PTSD. This remarkable book raises serious questions, while providing critical catharsis and even more importantly, cogent answers that have given me a new understanding of the plight my patients face." --Darryl Zitzow, [PhD. Clinical Psychologist]

"Rizzuti has unleashed a maelstrom of raw emotions that will haunt you long after you finish The Second Tour. This is vivid blood, guts and scenarios reminiscent of the hell Dante showed us. Real people leap off the pages and their names echo with grief." --Jae

"I did not want to put this book down until completed and then wanted more. Though the picture Terry gives at times can be gruesome, he delivers it with rare sensitivity." --Paula J Fardulis

"...This is a book by a man of courage who understood at last that each and every one of us can break under the scourge of extreme fire, and that forgiveness, both given and received, is our only hope of redemption." --rockymtnbluebird

"This may well be the most harrowing account of modern combat experience written. An engrossing weaving of memoir and fiction, this novel tells a story almost too powerful to be registered by consciousness. I invited three Vietnam combats vets to a graduate English class I taught on this novel. Working through this narrative was a moving, informative, and memorable experience for all of us." --Marshall

"...Rizzuti's story is not an easy read, but it's a damn good one. I hope this book receives the recognition it deserves." --George J. Bryjak

"I enjoyed the story and recommend The Second Tour to anyone who wants to know what these young soldiers had to endure to survive early in the Vietnam War and return home. However, the mental damage had already been done and unlike putting a book down and forgetting about it, this story will continue to play out over and over again in the heads of those men that had experienced it." --John Podlaski [Author of Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel]

"Terry Rizutti pulls no punches in this devastating novel. If you're brave enough to look war dead in the eyes, this book's for you." --Charlene Rubush, [Author]

Other Books by Terry P. Rizzuti:

Heads or Tales
Crap Shoot
Suffering Seacil: For Better or For Worse

About the Author:

Terry P. Rizzuti was born in Oklahoma and spent his early youth in upstate New York. In 1965, he graduated high school, started college that same year at the University of Oklahoma (OU), then dropped out and joined the Marine Corps in early 1966. 

He served a tour in Vietnam as a “grunt” from October 1966 to November 1967, assigned to Golf Company of the 26th Marine Regiment and was wounded in May 1967, which earned him a Purple Heart. 

In December 1969, Terry got out of the Marine Corps and immediately re-enrolled at OU where he graduated with an English Literature degree in 1977. After that, he completed two years of graduate-level literature studies, then went to work at OU until 1996.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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