Validation from an Unexpected Source

Would you like to read a book that puts you in the shoes of the author?  Or maybe a set of stories so accurate that you become totally immersed and become one with the author of the book?  If so, then you must read “Inside the World of Mirrors – The Story of a Shadow Warrior”!

I came to read this book due to a strange set of circumstances.  I was in a small local bar when a friend of mine, Tom, came up and said he had someone that I should meet and talk with because we had a common background.  He introduced me to Max Taylor.

By way of background, you should understand that I had worked during the Vietnam War doing special intelligence operations.  I left in 1966.  I was a sniper, and ran missions for a rather mysterious American in Cambodia, Laos, and other countries in the surrounding area.  I would get a picture of my target, a map with a location to start my hunt in, and would be sent on my way to negate the target. 

In between missions, I never fit in with the other soldiers that were around me.  I might as well have been a ghost.

When Max and I started talking, I got a strange feeling that one of two things was happening.  Either, #1 – I was with another fantasy idiot pretending to be something he was not, or #2 – I had just met, for the first time, someone who actually had walked in the world that I had lived in.  I strongly suspected that thought #1 was the case, but decided to ask a “Trick” question to find out how real he was.

I asked him “Have you ever seen a naked Ghilli?”  His reply stopped me in my tracks.  He said “Is there any other kind?”  Only a person with real experience with the type of work I had done would make this statement.  A “Ghilli” is a special piece of material and mesh that you used to make yourself disappear in whatever area you were in.  You would weave in foliage into the mesh that matched the area you were going to be working in.  No two areas were ever the same, so the Ghilli Suit always looked different everywhere you went.  You would “decorate” and build the Ghilli to match the area you were going to be working in.  For all intents and purposes, you became a part of the vegetation.  It was almost impossible to see you because you were just part of the jungle, or wherever you were.  A “Naked Ghilli” was always the same, until you built it up.  Only someone who had actually used a Ghilli would understand this.  I knew immediately that Max and his background were real.

I had left in 1966, and he came on in 1968.  We had been travelers that passed in the night, never knowing or suspecting that the other existed.  Forty-seven years ago and 15,000 miles away we had almost met.  Now we were sitting in a local bar.  As we continued to talk, I realized that Max “Validated” my service, and I did the same for him.  It was a surreal experience like looking in the mirror and seeing yourself with a different face.  It was still you, but it looked different.  It was so ironic that after all these years and all the miles, that we would me in a local community bar in Phoenix, Arizona.  Add to this the fact that we only lived about 4 miles apart, and it becomes apparent how we had beat long odds to come to this point.

I don’t know how to I put into words what I was feeling at that time.  It truly was like being in the middle  of a fantastic dream.  It was so unreal and unexpected.  I was going back to a place that I had hidden away inside myself for many years.  The odds of us meeting were almost non-existent, yet here we were.

When I started reading “Inside the World of Mirrors” it was like I had stepped in a time machine.  Every tiny detail stood out so vividly, that I could only read one chapter at a time before I had to put it down.  It was just too much to take in everything that was happening.  We had both walked the same paths in the same shoes, yet have never dreamed that the other existed.

It was almost too much to take in.  I had to take a break ever so often to let myself catch up again.  Even the picture of the stand of bamboo on the front of the book made me feel like I was in a time machine.  As I look back, I realized that everything we had done was stilling going on today.  It will always go on so long as there are people on this planet.  All governments are the same.  This is the way it is, and Max tells you not only what, but how it felt to be involved in this eternal shadow war.

I have lived much of my life “Under the Radar”!  I always have, and probably always will.  If nothing else comes of your reading “Inside the World of Mirrors”, you will come out with an understanding of what really goes on in our world.  The book has been a validation for me and also for Max.  I go to bed with this comfort each night.  Only two words are necessary – “Thanks Max”

Sincerely Joe in Phoenix

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2 Responses to Validation from an Unexpected Source

  1. Mary Lynn Wigodsky says:

    You nailed it! For some of us who have read Max’s book we are ( sadly) learning for the first time a personal account of what really goes on and the burden of this service, and that is important. Ironically I just met someone else who had served in a similar capacity and had crossed paths with Max. I was able to connect with this person much more quickly and understand his background more readily because of what Max has taught me. Thank you.

    • jmaxtaylor says:

      Mary Lynn,

      Thank you for your response to my posting of “Validation from an Unexpected Source.” I can assure you that meeting Joe was a surreal experience. There were a very small number of people who had the job that I had. To have met the man who was there before me, was at the end of such long odds that it was redicuous. When I add the fact that he lives only four miles from me, I shake my head in wonder.
      I appreciate your comment, and value your response. Thank you for caring enough to contact me.


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