Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Whenever John Romero was asked if he was wounded in Vietnam, he always received a confused look when he replied that his eye was lost in Santo Domingo.

A former minor league baseball player with just six weeks left to serve in the Army, John's plans for making a comeback are interrupted when his unit is deployed to the Dominican Republic, and he finds himself in a combat situation. While dodging bullets, he meets a beautiful Dominican woman, the aloof Ramona. She inflames the private passions of the paratroopers that view her from their command post. Romero plots a course to win her affections, but the political intrigue and the carnage in the streets of Santo Domingo conspire to thwart his every move, forcing him to make a drastic decision....

The Goats of Santo Domingo explores the complexity of emotions that arise when one is confronted with a situation in a state of flux, and demonstrates that sometimes doing the right thing can literally blow up in your face.



An Excerpt from: The Goats of Santo Domingo

Copyright © 2013 Robert McEvilla

All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.

A coil of concertina wire stretched down the middle of the street between the sandbags Romero stood behind and her turquoise house. Behind him was a schoolhouse that his unit had occupied since their arrival. The old structure reminded Romero of the Alamo.

“Keep your eye on that house,” Rosen had said to him. “You’ll see her if you get posted at the sandbags; she comes out every morning around nine and reads a book for half an hour—a real beauty queen.” Romero had heard the other men in his squad talking about her. They referred to her as Miss Santo Domingo, the Princess, or the Dominican Damsel.

The door opened on the brightly painted stucco house. She wore a short white skirt, the hem well above the knee. The lawn chair she held was unfolded with a nobility of motion, the way a virtuoso opens his violin case. She sat down, crossed her shapely legs, and opened a book before setting it daintily on her lap. For a confused moment, Romero was convinced she was Carla. He stepped out from behind the sandbags and was a few strides off the curb before the coiled barbs stopped him. The closer view made him see that it wasn’t Carla after all. She was somebody else—a stranger—both mysterious and recognizable. She was perhaps Miss Swanson, his fourth grade teacher to whom he had written his first love letter and hid it in his school bag. There was a bit of Anna about her, too, the little girl who’d lived across the street from him when he was twelve. She was someone who had once held him tight, but not close enough—someone who had left and gone away.

A real Spanish Contessa, he thought.

She wore her black hair up in a beehive, or was it called a French twist? He only knew that he hadn’t seen any other Dominican women wear their hair that way. That style took a lot of hairspray to hold, and hairspray was hard to come by in a city that had been ripped apart by civil war.

She turned a page, and Romero became curious as to what she was reading. He knew he should have waved at her when she first appeared. It would’ve looked foolish to wave after she had opened her book. He stepped back behind the sandbags.

The past two days had been quiet. The latest cease-fire was holding for the most part. Now the mission was to take a defensive position along the northern line of the rebel zone and not fire unless fired upon. The streets were paved, and the buildings were stucco and cinder block. It wasn’t the most prosperous of neighborhoods, but it was better than the dirt streets down by the river where Romero’s squad had cleared out snipers from wooden shacks.

His Spanish Contessa turned another page, and Romero rested his elbows on top of a sandbag and watched. Since the cease-fire, civilian traffic had increased on each side of the wire; mostly vintage American cars and pickup trucks. Three-wheeled scooters throttled past with loads of produce.

The Dominican beauty shifted her weight in the chair. Through the ninety feet that separated them, he could see himself opening the door for her to get into his Buick. They were on a date back home. Romero liked the way she rubbed her hand over the leather upholstery. He introduced her to his buddies, and their noses opened.

A gun jeep from the recon platoon drove by, and the driver waved at Romero. The gun crew gawked at his Contessa. They wore a lewd itch in their expressions. He was wondering what he looked like to her when Sergeant Dixon elbowed him in the ribs.

“Have you been thinking about those drawers, Romero?”

“Too bad she has to live on the other side of the wire,” Romero answered. “Did you ever see a babe that looked so delicate and dangerous at the same time?”

“Dangerous is right—like a black widow. One hump and die.”



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