6

This was part of a collection I read. It was my favorite short story of the book, and I'd really like to find it again.

A boy meets up with a soldier (the bulk of the story is told from the boy’s perspective). They tramp along, occasionally accompanied by an old Vietnamese woman. They stop in a McDonald’s, cold and hungry, but are ignored by the workers. The old woman pays for their hamburgers with “her funny leaf money.” They finally reach “The Wall” (the Vietnam War memorial). It’s then that you realize both the boy and the soldier are dead. The soldier, possibly Jewish, is praying fervently, even frantically at the wall, until it opens up and admits them both.

The old woman, it turns out, lay dying elsewhere, though her spirit was able to travel between the worlds. She kept an eye on the boy, while also able to somehow call the local sheriff to describe where the boy’s body had been hidden by an unknown killer.

4

This sounds like All Vows by Esther M. Friesner but that was published in 1992. Is it possible you've got the date mixed up?

The old woman is called Granny Teeth and the soldier is Sammy. The story is told from the boy's perpsective and I'm not sure we every learn his name.

The scene with the funny leaf money is:

One time I looked back. She (i.e. Granny Teeth) swapped our money for her own. I know, even if I never seen her do it. I saw the girl back of the counter pick up what should've been Sammy's money, only all it was was a bunch of brown, dry, dead leaves.

Sammy is indeed Jewish. For example when he and the boy find the wall and start walking along it Sammy prays:

"Yit-ga-dal ve-yit-ka-dash she-mei ra-ba—" Sammy's voice climbs the wind and the wall and the night like a ladder of angels. "Be-al-ma di-ve-ra chi-re-u-tei—" All the words he sings, they must be the right way for a Jew to pray, 'cause I don't understand a one. "Ve-yam-lich mal-chu-tei be-cha-yei-chon—" It's his voice I understand. I can feel it straining for the sky, crying out, tugging at the one tip of God's sleeve that trails down out of Heaven. Daddy! he's crying. Daddy, why'd you ever go away and leave me here alone? Oh Daddy, Mama, help me, save me, I need you, don't leave me! Mama, I'm so frightened! Daddy, I'm so cold!

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