5.20.2007

De-Floured In The Purgatorium

What does it sound like when one's "cherry" is "popped" in Iraq? Does the mind scream "No, no," while the body urges, "Yes, yes"? Hahahaha, no. No, it sounds more like this.

"Suspect! Wake up. Get your gear and be at the motor pool by [Oh-Dark-What-The-Hell O'Clock]."

Of course, there's lots of sitting around, and who knows what time we finally rolled out on. Doesn't matter, not essential to the story.

I've never been out of the wire before. I'm driving. Can't have your cake and eat it too I guess. We start our exodus from the FOB. Empty highways that once were probably really busy, now it all belongs to us, road warriors in big green caged monsters. Palm trees, green bushes and brushes along with the sand. There's actually something to look at. The green stands out so much, and its welcomed by me, that's for damn sure.

The entire time, I scan the road, the sides, everything, looking for something out of place, so that we don't get blown sky high. But everything looks out of place. Trash everywhere. Chunks of concrete. Rubble. More trash. Cars on the side of the road. I wonder absent mindedly if its going to explode as we pass. One minute its a clear road in front of me, the next its cracked periscope lenses and black smoke everywhere.

It doesn't explode. Groovy.

I flip a switch next to me to cut out the company's radio chatter. I only need to listen to the vehicle commander anyway. Beige buildings off to my left and right, flat tops, balconies, I'm half expecting rugs to be hung from everywhere.

There are kids here and there along the side of the road. Adults too. You're in the Raq, dude. Stray dogs. They look like normal dogs for the most part. Mutts, anyway. Not one purebred in this whole country I don't think. But some of them even have ALL FOUR of their legs. Some don't even have permanent limps, because they haven't been hit by enough cars yet.

People glancing, people staring, little kids waving from the sides of the street. There's trash everywhere, its not third world, but definitely second world. Someone described it as the worst ghetto they've ever seen, with exponentially more degradation.

Iraqis are astonishingly skilled drivers. They can weave and dodge obstacles like you wouldn't believe. When traffic isn't suiting them, they'll cross the median and drive along the wrong side of the road, weaving through, with barely any space. And no one so much as flinches. Its like at every second, they know exactly where every inch of that car is and how much space they have before they hit an obstruction.

We arrive at our destination and I watch ahead of me through my periscopes. Little kids everywhere. That's a good sign I think. People coming, people going, and we're just chilling. Little kids wrestling in the street. They're always in the street. And they're everywhere. They come out of the woodwork. Every family must have its own litter or something. Birth control? What the hell is that?

One kid grapples with another and slams him to the pavement. We don't dare give them anything, because then they'll swarm us. They'd never get away from the vehicle. And no one wants to accidentally run over a kid.

"So what happened on the mission, what was it about?"

Shh. OPSEC. Hahaha. I'll tell you what I can some other time. Pretty worn out now. But let me tell ya, you probably won't hear anything about it, because only good things came from it.

There's always more to say, more to write, but not tonight. Sorry one and all, tired. So damn tired. Tomorrow is another day, and who knows what it'll consist of. For now, whatever: Mission One is taken care of.

Happy Trails.

2 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    One good thing read from this mission explicitly is that you and the others got a look at what's there and came back. Thanks for the descriptive look...green is nice! Little kids playing is good. Take care,...4/2 mom
    Anonymous said...
    I am so very glad you are still writing. Be safe and know you are being thought of by many of us.

    -Forest

Post a Comment