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Toppers
The Hilarious Remembrances of Vietnam Vets Darrell Bain and Will Stafford
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-860-5
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Humor/Speculative/Non-Fiction
eBook Length: 81 Pages
Published: August 2011
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Two old coots, both Vietnam veterans, make life hilarious for everyone as each tries to top the other’s stories. Their wives call them lazy. They claim to be efficient. One thing is certain: neither of them will ever be accused of understating the truth!

Tall tales or not (and they claim they’re not), you will find yourself going along for the ride as Darrell Bain narrates the beginning of an electronic friendship between himself and Will Stafford. The two Vietnam veterans hit it off immediately when they run across each other on the web. Darrell is promoting his first novel, Medics Wild and lists it under Military humor. Will finds it there and asks what it is about. And from there on…well, you’ll just have to rev up your funny bone and prepare to be entertained in a way you never have before!

Toppers (Excerpt)


INTRODUCTION

I met Will Stafford over the Internet a couple of months after the publication of my first novel, Medics Wild, a fictitious, humorous rendition of behind the lines escapades by a bunch of zany medics during the Vietnam war. Vietnam was such a traumatic national experience and is still such a touchy subject today that I wasn’t sure how Medics Wild would be received, especially from Vietnam Vets--many of them I’ve talked to see no humor at all in the subject.

On the other hand, it’s been many years since the war and I decided that maybe it was time to lighten up a little. Medics Wild was well received and sales were going great until the publisher ran into troubles. Before this happened, though, I began to search the Internet for some Vietnam Veteran’s groups who might like to read about some of the funnier sides of the war--and that’s when Will came along.

Will Stafford is a natural comic, one of those people who can turn even the most mundane subject into a hilarious skit. As our electronic conversations progressed, my wife Betty began reading them and soon she was hanging over my shoulder, waiting on Will’s next missive with pent-up anticipation, just as I was doing whenever his name popped up on the screen. Eventually, she suggested that our correspondence ought to be turned into a book so others could share Will’s unique brand of humor. He even looks funny. No, wait, I didn’t mean it that way. He looks jolly, sort like an off duty Santa without the beard. And his wife, Karin is pretty, with a twinkle in her eyes suggesting that anyone who takes Will seriously ought to have their head examined.

Will tends to make fun of himself, his job, his childhood and especially his exploits in Vietnam, Don’t let that fool you, though. He is really an authentic hero, a former sergeant who went to helicopter school, got a Warrant Officer’s rating and then a battlefield commission, though the way he describes that event it is more like Sgt. Bilko getting run out of the NCO club for palming an ace during a poker game.

Will has told me so many stories that sometimes I have trouble deciding which are tall tales and which are true. You will have to decide for yourself. Personally, I believe almost everything he has said, with the possible exception of proclaiming himself to be lazy. Anyone who’s done all the things described in this book couldn’t possibly be lazy--other than a tendency to avoid exercise, which he equates with medieval torture chambers occupied by muscle-bound hulks just smart enough to come in out of the rain.

When we exchanged pictures over the Internet, it was easy to see why. The disparity in our relative sizes caused him to claim I was undernourished and he was underheight.

Will doesn’t just tell war stories. Any subject I bring up reminds him of some escapade or another, so many, in fact that just editing and picking the ones to relate starts me laughing all over again. It’s a wonder I ever got this book edited.


***

As Will and I corresponded, a few coincidences popped up. It turns out that he’s from Arkansas, the same state where all my folks originated. We both have some Cherokee ancestry. His cousins played intramural basketball with my cousins. We both spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, and both chose Hong Kong for R & R. We both like to read and neither of us have much respect for politicians. We both--Oh, shucks. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let Will tell his own stories.


***

My agent got me into writing humor, with some small success, but I have to sort of force it. Not Will. He writes as if he were a stand-up comic performing for an audience already primed by Jay Leno. Personally, I think he missed his calling. His stories are so funny, his humor so natural that regardless of what I write, he always comes back with a rejoinder of outrageous humor which I can only admire. Hence the title of this book, Toppers. I look forward to the day it is published and we’re invited to appear on The Tonight Show. Will can start another career then, because Jay Leno will be out of a job and Will Stafford will be inaugurated as the new host.


***

Someday I want to meet Will in person, split a bottle of good rum, and just spend the evening laughing with him and at him until my ribs are too sore to continue--which wouldn’t take all that long!


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And now, here’s the best of Will Stafford (and a bit of me). Enjoy!