Well in the continuing saga that is my deployment to Afghanistan I’ve decided here towards the end to start including the soundtrack. Or more accurately the song I was either listening to at the time or the one that most suits the situation.
This particular event took place while I was listening to, “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead” by Warren Zevon.
Anyway, so we went out to the police station yesterday. The day was pretty standard. We went out there trained with the cops on clearing rooms, then taught them how to use CLP on their weapons, even showed them a few tricks involving diesel fuel and weapons cleaning.
Then we took a walk down through the market near the police station. This was fun. We got to see an Afghani butcher. Which is basically just a guy with a shack that has slabs of meat hanging from the ceiling, a tree stump sitting out front and an axe. When somebody wanted a piece of meat he just took it down off the ceiling and started wailing away at it with that axe. Not very sanitary but fun to watch.
We got to see an Afghani hotel. Which encompassed a room with wrestling mats down either side of the room covered with a red cloth on which the guests slept. Then there were wooden tables (the kind you would see in an Indiana Jones movie) down the middle. Everywhere you looked there was a hotel guest getting stoned on a hookah full of hashish.
I still cannot quite reconcile how a culture that is willing to kill someone for getting drunk can so wholeheartedly embrace hash!
We ended up rolling out of there around 1300.
This is where my day took a decided turn for the...weird.
So I am in one of those ASV’s that I told you about. You remember, the baby tank. Now remember that this thing is enclosed completely. There are no openings on this thing at all when you shut all the hatches. Its a big, rolling brick.
Now to get out of this place we have to drive down a hill into a river valley, and then back up another hill and onto the road.
So we drive down into the valley and coming down off the road on the other side are about 20 trucks. So we’ve got to wait on these guys.
As we’re sitting there I grab my iPod, splice it’s output into the vehicle’s radio system so that we can all enjoy some tunes for the road. Its my iPod so the first tune is always my choice.
And I put on the aforementioned Warren Zevon tune.
Now right about the time I’m hearing Warren lamenting the weird ideas in his head, I hear a thump. You know a thump like something hit the window.
I look up and to my right and at just about eye level with me there is a star shaped crack in my window. With a nice, circular center that makes me immediately nervous.
I call out to my gunner, “Are there any T.I.T’s around?” (T.I.T.=Taliban in training, our nickname for kids) Figuring that these little bastards are throwing rocks at the truck.
“Nope, I don’t see any.”
Why would he? “Hey, take a look around will you, I think somebody may have just shot the truck.”
“Are you serious? Okay, hey there’s a guy in a house about 100 meters to our 5 o’clock. He’s got something in his hand. I can’t tell what it is.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Staring at us”
Well, as unfortunate as it may be, we can’t shoot him for that.
“Alright, keep scanning I don’t know what the hell happened but rock or bullet somebody is fucking with us and I want to know who.”
“Okay but there are no kids around, they all took off when we rolled down into the valley.”
“Alright, just keep your eyes open.”
Now let me explain a few things first. This vehicle is enclosed, we are wearing radio headsets that are blasting Warren Zevon at the time. If someone did shoot us we wouldn’t have heard it. We usually rely on seeing it, they always come at us with a lot of guns that fire really fast or they fire really big, sometimes exploding rounds. So we concentrate more on seeing them than hearing them. Not to mention, we have to see them to be able to shoot them.
Secondly, its not unheard of for one shot to be fired at a convoy just to fuck with them.
So the question becomes was it a rock or a bullet.
The simple fact is that rocks can crack bullet proof glass if thrown hard enough. But they crack it, they don’t star it. So my money is on a bullet. And it was either a helluva shot, or a helluva lucky shot.
Either way, that thing hit dead even with my eyes and to my right side. Basically, save for the glass this thing would’ve crashed right through my skull about an inch in front of my ear, maybe bounced around in my brain for a bit and then came sailing out of my head. Ending my life and repainting the inside of my ASV a rather lovely shade of brain matter gray.
This is a mind fuck for me. Regardless of whether it was a rock or a bullet (I don’t see how it could’ve been a rock) at the time I thought it was a bullet. And I sat there and stared at the star in the window that I thought was made by the bullet that had my name on it. And I stared at it all the way back.
I wish I knew what else to say about yesterday. But my mind is still having trouble processing it. Ah, I’ll forget about it soon enough. We’re out of here soon.
I still can’t escape the thought that maybe, just maybe, God was trying to tell me something.
I love you Mom...