“Der was 875 hole en da panga from dem shootin at we.”
Jerry had been hired by a small group to carry them up Mahogany Creek. The year was ’84 or ’85 and he was already well into his thirties. The Nicaraguan civil war had reached a gruesome high point and it seemed like there was no end in sight. Many people had fled to avoid the violence but others, like Jerry, had families to tend to which meant they still had to work. So when the small group asked Jerry to drive their panga through the jungle for a quick two-day trip, he agreed.
Like recounting a scene from a sport blooper video, Jerry chuckles as he tells his tale.
“We come aroun de ben, it was jus gettin dark, an we come aroun an der was about six men what start shootin from deh side of de creek. Dem kill deh firs two men in deh front ah deh panga an deh rest ah we jump ova deh side. hehehehe”
War is ugly, but like all of the Nica veterans I have spoken with, Jerry seems to shrug off the gruesomeness and is eager to talk.
So…I ask him…who was shooting at you and why?
“Dem was rebels shootin. Deh Contras. Dem was shootin because we wasn’t rebels.”
“So you were Sandinista then?” I asked.
“No, but in dat time you was one or deh otha, an dem knew we wasn’t rebels.”
“And you jumped out of the boat?”
“Yeah…hehehe…right ova deh side. Dem hit deh otha ones what jump, but I no get hit. Three men dead, two wounded an I was deh onlest one what no get hit. hehehe… When we carry deh panga back, we count 875 hole from deh bullets!”