Through A Heat Stroke Darkly

The countdown should have already begun but ol' Suspect here doesn't give two squirts of piss about how long we have left. Not til the last mission is over, then it's time to count days. Until then, it's just the same freakshow every day.

The boys all strap on their fancy high tech super soldier gear, oppressive body armor and an assortment of pads and doohickeys, and plop down on the benches in the Stryker. Prepare your nightvision. Click. Good to go.

The truck transports us to another nowhere neighborhood in a nowhere town of a nowhere country that makes big news and the ramp drops, and all of it is very familiar. Very.

Boots hit the dirt and good God is it hot tonight. Flip the NODs (nightvision) down over the eye and dart your focus in all directions, scanning through a green lens in search of that evil bastard that probably isn't out there.

Down streets, across fields, stepping over trash and concertina wire and donkey shit. Take a knee, pull security, step into the courtyard. Clear the house, wait for the word from someone who actually knows what's going on, step into the street, rinse and repeat. Gargle. Swish. Spit. Wipe the sweat out of your eyes.

My clear lens eye protection glasses fog up with sweat and after wiping them repeatedly with a filthy glove, I say fuck it and take them off. That's me, upholding the standard. Whatever, I'll take the risk of getting my ass chewed in order to see where I'm walking.

Miss a step, ankle almost went. And goddamn this place. God damn these streets, the filth, the fucking stench, the eyes on you, the gear you hump everywhere, god damn the fashionable Oakleys that protect our eyes from whatever.

Someone else misses a step and eats shit, hard. Bite your cheek to keep from laughing out loud.

Now I'm on another roof, looking out at the neighborhood, and I turn around to walk back to the doorway. A wire snags my foot and I jerk it forward. This causes part of a satellite dish to break free and skitter across the roof. Whoops. Maybe if they didn't string wires everywhere so much like spider webs.

I'm dabbing sweat away from my eyes with my disgusting glove and my face is good and red. It's the middle of the night. More houses and more streets and more trash and shit and I have no idea what our overall goal is. Hell, I never do. The only concept I can ever wrap my head around is "pull security".

You know the drill by now. Embrace paranoia and look for that monster in the closet, where's Waldo, trying to spot that threat that isn't there and you know it. But you also know what happens when you DON'T spot it when it IS there.

And so you spend a night keeping an eye out for the Islamic Boogeyman and no such luck good sir, and it's finally time to load back on the trucks and go home, get some sleep.

Wake up and do it again, mid-day.

Rooftops and radiating sunlight, the occasional breeze but never enough. More houses, more kids, more everything and the same thing we've seen for over a year now.

A shop vendor offers me an orange or some version of one. It's swarmed with flies. I drop it in my pocket and go back to looking for nothing. He starts asking me for things. Like my goddamn Oakleys.

I stand on another roof top with a friend, smoking and staring at the most miserable place I can fathom. On the street below, a guy with a tractor and cart throws rusty propane tanks on the ground. The people around him stare up at me and I stare down at them and I feel no connection whatsoever.

We're from completely different worlds, different eras, different EVERYTHING. And I'm just doing my time here. So do me the favor of not asking me for anything, not shooting at me or trying to blow me up, not interacting with me in any way and I'll be out of your hair in no time.

Kindly fuck off.


  1. Kev Brown said...
    A fantastic description of a day in the life, thanks for sharing it with us!
    themorethingschange... said...
    "You know the drill by now..."

    True, we do, but we never tire of going there with you.

    Anonymous said...
    Falling with the NODs reminded me of Ward busting his ass that one night. Haha, good shit

    Anonymous said...
    you make it easy to grasp what it's like over there. thanks dude
    BigD said...
    Hi Suspect,
    How about a comment/paragraph:
    1. I guess I can understand your frustration and anger about not getting to much ahead of yourself...love the freakshow analogy.
    2. Aren't "super soldier gear" and "doohickey" diametrically opposed?
    3. Name this tune: "He's a real nowhere man...livin' in a nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody."
    3. Name this tune: "It's getting hot in here, let's take off all our clothes."
    4. Conjures nasty experiences in a dental chair!
    5. You are the best standard upholder I know...I agree with the fuck it and need to see where you are walking part!
    6. Be careful...dancers and soldiers do not like twisted, f'd up ankles...let the anger out, and who could blame you...makes me angry just reading it!!!!!! I am going to learn Krav Maga so I can kick someone's ass over making you do this crazy bullsh*t every night of the week. Point 'em out to me...
    7. Not funny to laugh at the misfortune of others...good that you tried to hide it. Remind me to tell you about my eating concrete story one day.
    8. Whoops...I love it! This deserves a good f*ck you spidery wires...get the hell out of my way.
    9. Goals are overrated!
    10. Where's Waldo...I will Krav Maga his ass for you and the monsters in the closet too!
    BigD said...
    11.Sleep, however, is not overrated.
    12.Damn the Army and damn the rooftop sauna! It wasn't like this in the brochure!
    13. Don't like the orange swarmed w/ flies part...ewww! I hope you didn't give him your Oakley's. You need those to look cool.
    14. That reminds me, I need you to please stop smoking. It is not good for you. And what I say goes!
    15. Different world is an understatement.
    16. Ditto!
    Also, I really like the song...very somber and fit the mood of your writing, Nine Inch Nails is coming to Baltimore in August...sounds like a road trip to me. I liked the title too...please don't get heat stroke, that is bad for you too! Your whole post made me sad, to hear what you are going through, so I counter with what I hope is humor...hang tough troop, you are some kind of wonderful.
    themorethingschange... said...
    Wow bigd! Ever since I read your post I haven't been able to get Nowhere Land out of my head... still have the album but no way to play it, bummer.

    Suspect certainly has had his share of battles with the Blue Meanies! Amazing to think that movie is older than Suspect is...
    Time flies...
    Anonymous said...
    "Kindly fuck off." Attaboy. I tell you...the heat would kill me dead before anything else. I admire your stamina.
    PS Keep your Oakleys til you get home.
    Anonymous said...
    Close enough. Just get'er done and come back.
    Jenni said...
    "Through a Heat Stroke Darkly"

    sounds familiar...Oblivion?

    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/28/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    membrain said...
    I broke into a sweat just reading this. I can't wait until you're 19 again;-)
    You forgot to add: "So no shit, there I was..." to the beginning of your post.
    Sheena Nichole said...
    I just wanted you to know that ryan; you are my hero and I love you bud!! I can't wait to see your crazy ass when you get back!!

Post a Comment