How It Ends

My stomach churns and my head pounds, my sleep schedule is fucked almost as bad as this "war" or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

I spend two four hour shifts in a guard tower. Staring out at nothing. Waiting for that psychotic wiley asshole to hop in his 1977 Ford VBIED and plow through the gate so I can put the .50 cal on him and blast him and the car to shreds, slinging lead until the barrel melts or I run out of ammo, and only after my ears stop ringing would I hear someone on the other end of the radio screaming at me. Gimme my medal sir, shake my hand for the pichur in the paper, outstanding soldier yaddah yaddah, and it all means precisely: $dick.

But nothing happens. I just scan. And think. And think. And think. Too much time to think.

This whole thing ends anti-climactic as hell, that's how I'm seeing it. This crazy trip peaked a long time ago and I've been coming down for a long time, with a bitter-as-fuck taste in my mouth and no patience for bullshit.

But I'm Joe, so it doesn't matter if I got patience for it or not. Still chewing it by the spoonful. Shovelfull. Tractorfull. Om nom nom.

Let's contrast and compare the Then and Now.

Remember how idealistic I used to be? NOT AT ALL anymore. Don't care about anything but going home alive. Don't care what happens to Iraq. At all. Zero concern. In fact, I don't care about a fucking thing but getting out of this Army and trying to reassemble the fucked up mess that I've become, try to get back to something resembling normal so I can go about a normal ARMY FREE life.

Every salute is empty.

Every smile insincere.

Every "Roger" is hollow.

None of this means anything to me anymore. Iraq? Waste of time. I have nothing more to say because I've just been typing and deleting for two hours straight. Catastrophuck.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Back at ya! Bring your ass home safe!!! Sorry grunt Leg!!!
    themorethingschange... said...
    two hours, huh...sounds like we missed out on a lota good stuff...
    Aprillini said...
    your hollowness leaves me feeling hollow...despair...yes, keep your head down and get your ass home safe.
    Earl said...
    The duh's have got your attention and that can't be good. Like driving a car, so automatic it is boring and you don't pay enough attention. Write the story, don't miss the little stuff the birds that others miss, the laundry or the rag that just stands out a little different. Look, because there is so much out there during those four hours. FOUR HOURS - don't they know anything about guard duty? never more than two... must be the new math or the last of the legions... Four Hours? Doesn't anyone walk or wake every two? Never mind, it is your war and y'all will take better care of it than I would. Thanks for writing.
    Jenni said...
    You figured out a long time ago (it feels like it's been forever ago) you wanted to join the Army, and you did it. Yay you. Be proud of yourself...you didn't choose the easy way out.

    Now that's it's almost over, you can choose something else to go after...even if it's just coming home and enjoying what you've missed.

    Maybe you can put your writing talent to use...you seem to have a lot of fans who enjoy reading what you write. =)
    michel said...
    hang in there son. i'm praying for you and pulling for your safe return. i concur with jenni, you are en excellent writer. put those talents to use when you get back.
    Jessie said...
    I third Jenni. I think you should write. Somehow someway. You've got the raw talent. Maybe take some classes and fine tune it so the transitions in the book will be fluid.

    Though, your description of the Army makes me sigh when I consider what my godmom's grandson (try sorting out my family tree one day, you'll create a drinking game) will go through. But, I think, in all honesty it's better to know than to not. I don't think I've ever told you I appreciate what you write, good and bad times. But I do.
    Greybeard said...
    If I tell ya you'll look back on it and feel differently, will you believe me?
    'Cause I do, and you will.

    Viet Nam Vet. Public attitude toward my war was just beginning to change as I left home, and had gone completely sour by the time I returned. I was never spat upon, but just the fact we were told it might be a good idea to wear civvies on the airplane ride home from port of entry was bad enough.

    War sucks. Anyone who thinks it ain't necessary doesn't know Winston Churchill OR Neville Chamberlain well enough.

    I'm proud of you. Most of those I know in my (fairly large) circle are proud of you. Your welcome home will be different than mine, and I take great pleasure in that... many welcoming you will be my "band of brothers", wanting to make sure you get the welcome you deserve. Be proud of what you've done, 'cause millions at least have a CHANCE at freedom because of your service.

    Worth doin'.
    KatieG said...
    You might like this book...

    Going After Cacciato - Tim O'Brien. Takes place in a guardtower.

    Stay safe.

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