PoodlesAndNoodlesAs a member of U.S. Army Special Forces, I and most of my fellow Green Beret soldiers were accustomed to sleeping where and when you could, eating anything that was available, whether that be grasshoppers, boiled eel, or. . .whatever. The term “snake eater” had not been applied to us frivolously.

In Korea, however, things may have gone a bit too far for my young team commander.

ODA-213 was one of several teams parachuted in along the DMZ to run security for Operation Brave Shield, a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise conducted annually. Communists from the North were notorious for infiltrating the exercises to create havoc; firefights erupted nearly every year.

To express his gratitude for our services when the teams returned from the field at the end of Brave Shield, Mayor Won Byung Ui of Inchon threw a formal dinner for American Green Berets. It was oriental all the way. We sat cross-legged on rugs around low tables while beautiful Asia girls performed national dances and sang.

The food was delicious and ethnic, served in numerous courses starting with soup by lovely maidens in traditional costume. Things were going along great with rough-looking Green Berets stuffing ourselves with whatever appeared before us, washed down with copious amounts of local wines and beer.

One dish, however, caught Lieutenant Ecker’s eye—a stew of sorts with gravy and dark chunks of meat. Ecker eyed it suspiciously.

“What is this?” he asked of our geisha, pointing.

She hesitated, struggling to explain through her limited familiarity with English. After a few unsuccessful attempts to make herself understood, she threw her hands in the air and exclaimed, “Bow Wow! Bow Wow!”

Sitting next to Ecker, with the girl perched between us, I fished a hunk of meat from the stew and thrust it at him. “Here you go, L.T. Be a good boy and eat your poodles and noodles.”

He turned pale.

When the dreadnought Centurion returns to Earth to make contact with indigent Humans and prepare the way for re-colonization, its crew is stranded on a hostile planet under the dominion of an all-powerful entity called Dybbuk, who has created hell on earth. . .

From Sanctuary, Science Fiction by Charles W. Sasser. Available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and selected other outlets.