It Never Stops (Neither Of These Terrible Things)

I pressed the PUBLISH POST button and sat back, pleased with myself and filled with anticipation for the mixed reactions my last post would get. And I breathe a sigh of relief, because until then, I'd felt like I had written myself into a corner, and because of who reads this, I have to watch what I talk about. Like a cornered animal, I lashed out with the best I had, pushed the envelop that was pushing me. This would be interesting, I knew, and I went to bed.

My hometown has merged with Iraq. The two have been melded and usurped and twisted and raped together into a dispicable mess.

Our outpost, more of a safehouse than anything else, has been moved. It's no longer across the street from the bombed out, looted, dilapidated Blockbuster. This isn't even the same building that IS across from that sad Blockbuster. It's an Iraqi house, empty and barren like they always are.

I'm at this former safehouse with some girl, God knows who, and two of my younger brothers. Iraqis mill about in the streets. Some, in the house. We bullshit in broken languages, and then one comes in and warns us that some al Qaeda dicks caught wind that we were here, and were on the way.

I don't have body armor or any gear in this one either. And this time, I don't even have a weapon. I yell at this unknown female to grab one of the brothers and get him out and I grab the other one by the back of the neck and practically throw him through the door. He doesn't appreciate this, but I really don't care at this point. She gets both of them out of dodge, who knows where. I walk casually down the street a few blocks to the new safehouse.

This one is also Iraqi, yellow-beige in color, dead bushes growing around it, but instead of a courtyard wall it's primarily an iron fence with shit growing against the gate. Trash and mud everywhere. The color is the same monochromatic lifeless, bleak sandy hue of the most forsaken place I can ever fathom. I shoot the shit with the guy on gate guard.

"You know man, you should probably come inside or something before someone picks you off." Some of my friends are actually quite bright.

I walk inside, and this place is huge, but it's packed with soldiers. Females even. It's like someone crammed the entire FOB into this one large building. The ones I don't know, the ones in the clean uniforms, they ask me to smuggle them some DVDs next time I go out. Most of my friends are working, pulling guard. One of them decides to be an amiable wise-ass and ask when the hell I'm going to pull guard.

I leave. I don't know why I leave. The sense that I really don't belong there, that my presence itself, though appreciated by them, is obscenely pretentious.

And now it's dark out and I'm on the rooftop of that old safehouse again, with nothing but an ACU patterned GoreTex jacket. No weapon. I lay as flat as I can, there are no walls on this roof. Just rubble, and rocks. Instead of the sand color, this roof is concrete, gravelly. For once my uniform is actual camouflage.

I watch from atop while men with their faces covered come out of the woodwork and the locals bend to their will, rather than being shot on the spot. They all tote AK-47s and wear the checkered cloth headresses wrapped on their heads and over their faces. And they go to work, preparing to screw with the collective I belong to. And of course, I'm unarmed.

Except a pen. I pull out my pen and start writing on pieces of rock. I just keep writing everything I see. I observe and gather all the intel I can, and I keep on writing, to pass these on to the guys if I ever get the chance.

Someone shakes me awake. I go to work, with the people who give me shit about being "paranoid", the ones who tell me to stop cluttering the fucking net, while they proceed to talk about bullshit and make idiotic remarks. This is a privelege that I for some reason, do not have.

Each time the radio beeps I become that much more livid. The medic tolerates my bitching because he's a good-natured guy. I fume and cuss and scream a little, shake my head a lot. And then I key my mic.

"Hey, [Stryker behind my truck], when you pass this blue truck here, watch the driver. He's straight up observing our trucks like he's doing an inventory or something."

The radio beeps.

".....Ok..." comes the smartass reply.

So I'm the idiot. Everyone's complacent, because fuck it, it can't happen to THEM. And you know what, odds are, it probably won't, God willing. So why can't I get with the program, say "Fuck it" and join the discussion about college football? Why the hell won't I stop giving a shit about my job, and about learning about this place?

Because you're an idiot and an embarassment to Joes, army-wide. Your job is to pull security and be stupid and ignorant. You don't need to know anything, 'cept when they expect you to know the name is this route or that route, despite the exasperated sighs and Fuck Yous you get when you ask a question.

Nobody along the road waves, they mean-mug us as we drive by. I stare at each and every vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, and I picture what it would look like if one of them was packed with explosives. Would look like a whole lot of nothing to me, that's what it would look like.

At the large FOB we're stopped at, this supposedly GREAT PX for electronics and whatnot turns out to be another bland understocked joke. The books and magazines are all the throwbacks that anyone even pseudo-intellectual would mentally associate with cellophane-wrapped logs of dogshit.

"Stay stupid America, stay docile and stupid..." I say to no one in particular. This PX is civilized and unfulfilling at the same time. The same small generic PX everywhere you go, stocked with crap. NO-XPLODE and MESOTECH and a billion bodybuilding supplements, hemmerhoid cream, an abundancy of "nasal decongestents" (these are also stimulants. Pseudoephedrine is one of the three key ingredients to methamphetamine) though there's no conspiracy here, I'm just pissy.

"Where the fuck are the pills and supplements that keep you from fucking choking somebody?"

I settle on a bottle of B12 vitamins. Says it promotes healthy blood cells or some shit. That's got to be good for you. Better than nothing.

It isn't even that crowded and I still want to flip the fuck out. I don't want any of these assholes around me, never you mind the fact that they're pissed off homesick servicemembers just like me. My pulse quickens and blood boils and I grab Stephen King's "Danse Macabre" (I don't see a tab to underline books) and something else.

Yes, by the grace of God an idea strikes me and my epiphany affords me an opportunity for innocent vengeance that will not only blow off a little steam and make me laugh, but SHOULDN'T land me in much, if ANY trouble.

And if it does, so be it. I've said before that I'll either leave this place medicated or as a Private.

With that, it's time to prepare my dumbass stunt and whittle away the hours until it's time for more Iraqmares and another day of horseshit.


  1. jae said...
    "Stay stupid America, stay docile and stupid..."

    That's the goal of the media all across the country. Keep watching what the celebrities do and for fucks sake, keep shopping.

    Anonymous said...
    Powerful. Moving. Keep writing.

    Anonymous said...
    Have you noticed that you piss in neon color from the B12? Good stuff. Impress your buddies. It'll give you a nice energy kick, too. Great song for another brillian post - keep 'em coming.
    Anonymous said...
    Just tell me this mack-daddy practical joke doesn't involve condoms? ;)
    come home soon!
    Aunt Sandy
    Julie - BFS said...
    "The books and magazines are all the throwbacks that anyone even pseudo-intellectual would mentally associate with cellophane-wrapped logs of dogshit."

    Books for Soldiers can hook you up with better reading material of your choice. Many milblogger/authors have used BFS to feed their literary jones. (Even CBFTW ... lol)

    Any deployed troop can make requests for books, CDs, DVDs or other entertainment items on the web at www.booksforsoldiers.com. For troops whose web access is limited, requests can also be made by sending an email to bfs010 (at) gmail.com.

    Keep writing, and take good care!

    Site Admin
    themorethingschange... said...
    Thanks to Julie for Books for Soldiers comment -- don't know if my Bookshop is involved with them but they send paperbacks to Iraq...

    DANSE MACRABE,holy cow! didn't know it was even still in print--that book is older than my oldest son...maybe left over from VN PX...
    does it smell kinda funky moldy?!

    B12--always better when recd thru skin by way of sharp pointy thing...


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