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Shovels and Assholes

Dec 28, 2010 • 6 comments • 2774 views

Get yer asses out there – that’s what they were telling us. Get out there, and get yerselves blowed up like everybody else, is what they were really saying.

XO comes down and tells us, get ready, get yer asses ready and right quick. He’s slapping lazy boots off chair backs, kickin and spittin -get yer fukin asses ready, get movin, get yer asses to the trucks, MOVE MOVE MOVE.

Our feet drag, we shamble, create delays one stretch and scratch and rubbed eyeball at a time. Then Sergeant R says: Let’s get this shit over with, and we speed up a bit, but just for him.

Get yer asses out there – out to the road they mean, fuckin dirt road of death. That’s where we’re going, where everybody goes, coz that’s the only way to get going anywhere unless you fly, and we’re just legs, so we never get to fly. We hafta take the road. The road is where we’re going now, coz somebody said they had to get somewhere, even tho we told em taking the road would get you nowhere. But they said they hadda get, so we let em go, and lo and behold they got themselves blowed up, just like we said was gonna happen.

So, they got themselves blowed up and out went a squad of QRF, and wouldn’t you know it, the QRF gets there and gets blowed up, too. So they got two smoking trucks out there now, and the QRF squad calls for somebody to come get THEM, and out goes the other QRF squad, and sure as hell, right there in the same spot, BOOM, and now there’s another truck down on that narrow piece of shit road.

Well, now they got three trucks there, smoking in craters, and night’s coming, and they ask for somebody to come get them, to rescue the rescuers, and this process, no shit, goes on FOUR MORE TIMES, and what do you know, BOOM, they’re out with seven, SEVEN fucking trucks in craters. Well, the helos go back and forth all evening, picking up the dead and lucky SOB WIAs, leaving the rest of them poor fuckers out there to guard the trucks that ain’t smoking in a crater, trucks that can’t turn back coz to the front of em and to the back of em are holes filled with metal and fuel, on a road that’s rising cliff on one side and droppin slope on the other.

So, it’s our turn to go and don’t we all know it, cursing all them gone before us, and we’re just reluctant mites on a falling scab, going out into the sunset to rescue the rescuers and all their predecessors. Our one blessing, it’s a short drive, and just outside of sight of the FOB there’s the whole mess of em. Sergeant R stops us a good 300 meters from the conflagration, and we walk up on them kids, and they’re all anxious and white, sweating silver in twilight. They’re happy to see us, even tho we’re looking down on them for being such dumbfucks.

Sergeant R, he’s taking stock, and he asks the seventh set of guys what’s going on, all the way down, till he gets to the original assholes that got us all out here in the first place. Sergeant R talks with them awhile, and they show him the contents of their canvassed cargo trucks, and he comes back laughing like hell, and we ask what’s so fuckin funny he can laugh when we’re all out here in darkness, and he twitters down and says: “Boy’s, that’s the Provincial Reconstruction Team started this whole thing. Today they’s supposed to deliver a second load of shovels to the town up the road - they delivered the first load day before yesterday.” And Sergeant R keeps chuckling to himself coz he knows the villagers been putting them shovels to good use, and now the PRT knows it, and now we all know it, but only Sergeant R is laughing.

Sergeant R, he tells everybody to abandon their trapped trucks, to load up on ours, and he crams them full like Mexicans in a minivan, and he asks for the radio, and he calls up to higher, and tells them we’ve fallen back, and the enemy are everywhere, and we need air support ASAP, and to bomb the road choked with craters and trucks. We sit back a couple clicks and watch them flyboys blow all them trucks, and the craters, and the shovels, blow them all to hell, and that fucking road collapses down the cliff side, and dams up the river a hundred feet below with trucks and earth, and we watch it all burn, and we whoop and holler, coz Sergeant R took out the road, the only road, and it will be a long time before anybody hasta go anywhere again.

Also appears in:

The Poetic

Dec Challenge

Hey, thanks for this, MReel. Reads like a poem… Are you a vet?
12.28.10 •
still in brother...in the sandbox right now
12.28.10 •
Thank you for your service, MReel! Army? Marines? We're very pleased that you could take the time to send us this. Anytime you want to write dispatches about your experiences over there, we'd be pleased to post them.

Stay safe, my friend.
12.28.10 •
Like this short story? This work was posted as part of our current creative contest. The Convozine December Challenge is to tell a story in 1000 words or less. If you like this work, please give awards to the writer.

On December 31st 2010, the 3 most awarded entries will win Readers' Choice awards. For more details and instructions: http://convozine.com/conversations/7685
12.28.10 •
Nicely told. I too am military. Sergeant, Michigan National Guard. Stay safe outside the wire bro.
12.29.10 •
MReel,I want to tell you that you are very appreciated by many people, even though Im sure at times you cant feel it.I cant begin to imagine to be in your place, but do know you are being thought of.Thankyou for giving yourself for others and sharing you stories.They are so extroidanary and beautiful.Be well and safe,Amy
01.26.11 •
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