2.10.2008

Shorter, Shorter Still

I'm out and walking about, back to the same grind, the same routine, the skipping record patrol patrol pa-pa-patrol trol trol trolllllllllll. It's a nice day, perfect weather for suicide vests, they warn. Don't let 'em too close.

And there I am, climbing across the ramp while it's still lowering, the big green monster shitting another soldier out onto the streets. We walk along the road, and I start to wonder just what the fuck we're supposed to do if someone IS wearing an S-vest. You can't get the people far enough away.

What, the whole point is to not let them kill you with a point blank explosion? To just take a little less and still come out chewed up? Give me a fucking break.

I'm watching everyone. Hey dude, unzip your jacket, pat yourself down. You're already close enough to vaporize me anyway. I know there is no point in doing what I'm doing, but I do it anyway. Because I'm short now. They say this is when you get complacent? No way, not me.

A car turns onto the road towards us. I stand in the road with my rifle at the low ready, cigarette smoke burning my eyes, and I shake my head no at him. Then I gesture that he can either turn or turn the car around, but he can't keep coming this way. Some other guy shouts something to our interpreter. It's ok, I'm told. Let him come.

He pulls up to the house in front of me, his house. Where his little girl has been waving from the gate for the past few minutes. I look like the uptight asshole, but I don't care much. I'm short.

I get tired of the crowd of young boys hanging around me, chittering at me in Arabic, asking me for things. "Yalla, emshee." Go away.

I'm scanning roads and windows and rooftops and intersections and people and everything I can, even though I know that if something were to happen, the odds of me seeing it coming are very slim. The growing sense of desperation and survivalism is directly proportionate to how much time I have left. As my time elapses, my paranoia amps up exponentially, until I'll hop on that bird a shaken, sweaty, blood-shot eyed, frayed out mess, slumping my ass into the seat. Exhaling like a hurricane and then gut-laughing like a fucking madman.

I'm short but I'm not stupid.

14 Comments:

  1. Sisu said...
    Good man! Complacency is the hobgoblin of going home vertical. So, be as uptight as you have to be.
    themorethingschange... said...
    "I'm short now. They say this is when you get complacent? No way, not me."

    I don't know who are "they" are but that doesn't make sense to me either. Maybe its just the way "they" motivate the Joes to stay alert, but it seems counterintuitive to me.

    Heck, I'm nervous for you and I'm sittin' here in my quiet little retirement "casita."

    I'd wager some serious cash that all your loyal readers check this blog first thing every day and will feel greatly relieved once they know you're safely off on R&R.

    You've got this game figured Suspect, and you're playin' smart, so keep your head on the swivel and your mind on the job...

    and know that a lot of prayers are being said for you...

    ~P~
    Ky Woman said...
    What the hell? Are "they" living in fobbitland? How ANYONE can be complacent doing what you do escapes me completely.
    So short timer, You best be keepin hyper alert!

    Oh, I get my dose of eye opener first!

    Prayers from this one too. ;-)
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/11/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
    otherstrykermom said...
    I am willing to bet that "they" always have to have something to point out to those around them.

    Those in more bureaucratic positions must take these sorts of tones (lest they be found "unneeded!")

    Mark Twain said "The critic's symbol should be the tumble-bug: he deposits his egg in somebody else's dung, otherwise he could not hatch it."

    So, let them criticize your shit. You will be on a plane, resting and relaxing while they continue to dig. That is my prayer for you anyway. Hang tight, hang tough and I pray that the days ahead fly by quickly and safely until you are able to enjoy your well earned break.
    Red said...
    Good man. Complacency would get you a nice ride home in a cozy little bag. No one wants to come home that way. Sounds like you're doing the best you can with what you've got.

    themorethingschange... is right. I'd bet that a lot of us are checking in every single morning to see that you're OK, and will breathe a lot easier when we know that you're on your way to some well earned rest.

    Take it easy, suspect. We're praying for you.
    Anonymous said...
    Thanks for posting. I know I check every day...
    Take care,
    Lynda
    mamaworecombatboots said...
    "Exhaling like a hurricane..."

    I sure hope you will continue writing when you get home from there. Pure talent.
    LT Nixon said...
    Suspect,

    I certainly sense a feeling of frustration and boredom over war in general from you. I referenced you on a post at VetVoice to propagate this meme and defeat stalwarts of the paradigm that "War is totally kick ass!". If you don't feel this way, I can certainly take it down. Thanks for sharing your stories!
    Anonymous said...
    Aren't "they" the same people who told you not to swim an hour after eating... that pop-rocks and coke will explode your stomach... "they"
    will always be there. Shel Silverstein called them the "nay-sayers." don't listen to "them" unless you're living out a Stephen King novel...

    Aunt Sandy
    Sheena Nichole said...
    blah blah blah... blah blah blah... blah blah blah, any comment i ever leave on here will be nothing compared to your incredible dialect ry!! but i do know, i love ya kiddo, proud of ya and i hope we get to party it up this summer when you get your ass stateside! i'm going to make a roadie!! ;) haha!! later gater

    sheena
    Sheena Nichole said...
    blah blah blah... blah blah blah... blah blah blah, any comment i ever leave on here will be nothing compared to your incredible dialect ry!! but i do know, i love ya kiddo, proud of ya and i hope we get to party it up this summer when you get your ass stateside! i'm going to make a roadie!! ;) haha!! later gater

    sheena
    Stephen & Kris said...
    I'm off topic, I know. I've been reading your blog over the past few days since I found your plea for some headbang worthy tunes on the Doonsbury site. I hope you get a chance to listen to the Throw Down links I sent you.

    What hit me tonight was your August or September 2007 entry on people asking "What it's like there?".

    My friend's a 1st sgt in the NH NG. He was there for the first Bush as regular Army and again for the second with the NG. I've never asked him that question, I know I'll not understand, he'll not be able to tell me, and then we'll both drift into an awkward moment. He's told me what he wants to tell and that's good enough for me.

    Stay alert.
    membrain said...
    I sure hope that the Suspect and his buddy are on much needed R&R.

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