Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.
Where am I going? Where have I been? Goodbye American pie. I’ve been to the levy on the other side of Blueberry Hill where I learned how to use a bayonet to kill. It was a thrill. I was only nineteen. I came from a poor family. The Army was my salvation. The Army gave me each day my daily bread, but they would not forgive my trespasses or those who trespassed against me. The trespassers were the enemy. We tried our best to kill them with rifles, mortars, artillery, bombs, and, in my case, booby traps—an exploding edition of Mao’s Little Red Book was so effective. The Commies couldn’t resist, almost by impulse, picking it up. Beee-lam. What a mess. Luckily the Geneva Convention didn’t require post-mutilation clean up. It wasn’t hard to confirm their death. I just left what was left for the rats and maggots. When they blew up, we called it “This magic moment.” If I was working with a crew, when the explosion went off, the singing would commence from the bushes, everybody trying to outdo each other with hokey voices and exaggerated gestures. It was hilarious. As a nineteen-year-old, this was my first job. It wasn’t Burger King, it was blowing up VC and NVA. It was war, and that’s what you do in wars: you kill other human beings.
Two months after I got home, I was at Woodstock—the music festival. I did not talk to anybody ever about what I had done. I considered myself a murderer. I drank heavily, smoked a lot of pot and took a lot of acid. I think my brain became tie-dyed. I was “up on Cripple Creek, down by the river, over the rainbow, on the dark side of the moon.”
Then, I ran into a friend from high school who was a Vet. He told me about this thing called a “community college” where I could collect veteran’s benefits just for going to classes. I did it and loved it. That was just the start. Eventually, I earned a PhD in Chemistry and opened a meth lab in Idaho. I made millions, never got caught, and live quietly in San Francisco with my wife and my dog Bee-lam the eighth.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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