Dec 3, 2008
Another Sunset Over The Barrel Of A Gun...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 1204 hrs.
Well its been a bit since the last time I wrote. Why? Because we have been stuck on 96 hours of guard duty for about 56 hours now. Only about 40 to go. If we aren't in the towers then we are down as the reactionary force if something happens. Loads of fun for me. I can't even take off my uniform to sleep. But whatever, its the Army.
Now lately, I have been feeding the Taliban tiger. Some of you nice folks out there were kind enough to send us some little cans of tuna. So I figured that I would make nice with the beast and see if I couldn't make a new friend. Needless to say, a little bit of tuna goes a long way...with a cat.
So anyways, what has happened that makes me laugh. Well its a bit disgusting, but it was hilarious. So be warned. We got stuck up in a tower again, and the neighborhood kids are learning that we will give them stuff so they are coming around more and more. Last night a couple of these little shits showed up outside the wire near the tower and started asking for stuff. So we launched a few muffins, bags of candy, and a couple of bottles of water out to them.
Well apparently we have been spoiling these little guys, because they took one look at the water and set it on the ground and stomped on it. We were like, "What the fuck?" To which these ankle biters responded, angrily, "Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola!" Now they are actually coming up to the towers with shopping lists. So we sent a few cans of that out there to them. Now we didn't try to hit them with the cans, I mean we tried to tell them to get the hell out of the way so that they could just pick up the cans off the ground. But they were having none of it. They all ran to catch the cans like a herd of single girls at a wedding fighting over the bouquet. And of course since there were like 10 of them all trying to catch these cans at once they couldn't do it, so yeah, a few of them got tattooed by them. But hey, we warned them.
Next, they decided to push their luck. They started talking to us in Afghani, and apparently children think that distance and volume will change the fact that I don't understand your language. So they are talking to us in Pashtu or Dari or whatever it is, and we look at them with the blank stare of a stripper trying to comprehend calculus. Well when they realized that we had no idea what they were talking about they moved right up to the wall and at the top of their lungs started yelling at us. I don't know, but it sounded an awful lot like the teacher from "Peanuts".
Finally they realized that we were not going to understand what they wanted unless they figured out another way of telling us. So they started pretending that they were washing themselves. So we, being the astute observers that we are, understood that they wanted soap. So we started yelling out to them, SOAP?. They looked at each other and then looked to the oldest amongst them, and he nodded, at which time they all started yelling in unison and jumping up and down, SOAP, SOAP, SOAP. Well who the hell carries soap with them to guard duty. I mean we had hand sanitizer but we needed that. So we told them, "tomorrow". Which royally pissed them off. And then they responded to what I can only assume they perceived as a slight. They looked to the oldest one again and he said something to them. At which time they all lined up, yelled "TOMORROW" at us, and proceeded to drop their drawers and start to wag their little tally whackers at us! Yeah, that's what they did.
So you have two heavily armed GI's in a tower staring out at 10 midgets who are now swearing at us in Pashtu, and shaking their pocket rockets at us. Suffice it to say, I didn't get off the ground for about 15 minutes from laughing so damn hard. I can only imagine what that sight would look like to a party who had no idea what was going on.
Finally, we got it across to them that they should come back tomorrow and we would give them soap. Now I was planning on giving them some liquid soap, but no more. Now they are getting the eight bars of Irish spring my buddy Paulie sent me in a care package. Projectile cleanliness you little shits. Watch yourself junior, you flash me and I am going to bean you with a bar o' soap. I think I'll bring my slingshot with tonight. I'll tell you how that works out tomorrow.
Alright, enough of the nasty stuff. After all that entertainment we settled in for what would become an exceedingly long shift. Now normally, being stuck in a tower looking out over the landscape in a country where there are people you know are trying to kill you, is a maddening job. First, its incredibly boring looking at the same thing over and over again. Second, its incredibly hard to keep your guns up for that long and do a good job of watching. But every time something moves, or you hear a sound, your awareness rises to levels I haven't felt in a long time. You tune in to everything. You hear everything, you see everything, your eyes narrow, your ears come flying wide open, your brain loses all superfluous activity and concentrates completely on everything in front of you. Your palms start to sweat, you lean forward on your haunches and your eyes start to dart from side to side and up and down. Your forehead scrunches up so hard that you start to get a headache, and then you hold that until you are satisfied that it was nothing. That is about the only way I can describe what happens to you up in those damn towers.
But then they went and made the shit worse. Who made it worse? The damn NCO's and the intel people. Someone told someone else, who told a "terp" that the Taliban were going to take a shot at us last night. So eventually the information filtered through about 900 people and the wonderful Army game of telephone began. Every person who gets a piece of information puts their own spin on it, and some of these dickbags go so far as to exaggerate, and even add a little bit of their own "intel" and then send it on. So by the time it gets to me (the guy who is actually going to have to fight with whatever it is) it has gone from something fairly minor, to something completely different. For example: Say there was reliable intel that said we were going to receive mortar fire during the night. Not that mortar fire isn't a big deal, but the Taliban can't shoot these things that well around here. They usually launch a few at us that fall harmlessly to the ground. They explode, everyone has a movement and we get on with our day. After we send a few back that because of superior technology fall right on the fucking heads.
However, when that piece of intel goes through the "telephone" by the time it gets to us. Mortar fire has become, a battalion of Afghani Arnold Schwarzenegger's are teleporting themselves into our barracks rooms with nuclear suicide bombs and will annihilate everyone and everything for 100 miles.
I mean, its not that bad, but you get the idea. So then that raises your awareness even higher. To the point where you won't even blink until your eyes feel like they are on fire.
So then I spent the rest of the night like that...and of course not a damn thing happened.
But it wasn't completely lost, I got to watch the sunset, but I had to watch it over the barrel of a gun.
First thing when I get home. I am watching the sunset without any of that shit around me.
Anyways, I am done for now.
I love you mom...