No idea how long, but there I am in that driver's seat all over again. Same seat, different vehicle. For god's sake, they almost didn't let me dispatch it because I'm not even licensed to drive that variant. Like it matters. It's all the same once you're sitting there next to the engine, simmering the sweat out of your pores. Doesn't matter much at all.

Yes, there's optimism to be found here though. All I have to do is drive. And once we're set, all I have to do is sleep. I recline the seat, bury my feet underneath the pedals and stretch my legs, prop my head up against my assault pack. I monitor two different radio nets, and the voices overlap and hypnotize me and before I know it, I'm asleep. Conversations spoken from behind me, somewhere in the truck, voices in the headphones, plays into the weird half dreams I have in my weird half sleep.

Someone reports up that there are guys digging. It's after curfew. There is an AK. And a pistol. Someone gets permission to engage.

BOOM. A group of five guys gets their world rocked. The apocalypse descends on them and a 240bravo opens up with automatic 7.62mm fury. Some manage to run or limp away. One tries to climb under a fence. He's cut apart with machine gun fire.

One of my friends dismounts with a few other guys. They find blood trails. Scouring fields, night vision burning green migraine fury into their eyes, his eyes dart from one spatter to another. He keeps walking until he trips over something. That something is a fresh corpse.

My other friend, the one still with the dismount squad I was assigned to until recently, is charged to help with the dirty work. He searches the mottled lifeless bodies. Missing sandals. Blood. Broken bones. A result of the sheer carnage that anyone with an automatic weapon can unleash at any time.

"Suspect, move forward a bit. One of the other vehicles needs to get through to get some body bags from the MEV (medic stryker)."

This friend of mine from the squad I was yanked from ends up grabbing a wheelbarrow. Tossing pieces into the black rubber bags.

Our company has killed people before, but for some reason, this one just seemed so much darker. The cleanup. Hell, even from the first radio transmission when they were sited, there was this undertone of something sinister about the whole thing. I mean come on, no one is innocent here. Nothing is black and white. It's all just different shades and hues of What The Hell. "So it goes..."

It's the same drill, I drive, following our convoy wherever we have to go to do whatever we have to do. I usually keep the radio off when driving, so that I can only hear the internal communication, so I can hear any instructions I need to.

"Ah man..."


I flick the radio on just in time to hear, "No casualties, just blew some tires. Continuing movement."

The vehicle I had been riding in as a dismount was hit with an IED. I guess it was better hearing it after we already knew that everyone was fine. Close calls are better than bad news I guess. We continued on to our objective, I got the vehicle emplaced, and I went to sleep until it was time to leave. I can get used to this. My own little vacation, in a way.

Regarding the five or however many the final count was that were killed when they were caught trying to screw us, it's weird to think about. They wanted us dead, but they didn't know any of us. Probably didn't want to. To them, they were doing the right thing. And we did our right thing. Nothing is black and white. I'm not sympathizing. It's just the reality of it. Five more stories ended the other night. In the end, that's the only thing that's certain. Not who was in the right, not exactly why things happened, no, the only certainty is that the book closed on five people. "So it goes..."


  1. Rejenia said...
    Billy, be sure and give my regards to the Tralfamadorians, or are you the child trapped in the crusade?
    Anonymous said...
    I'm glad you tell it like it is; we need your perspective. Thank God it was "them" not "you."
    - Lynda
    Anonymous said...
    Dude, nice allusion.
    Seo Link Master said...

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