"Shut up, bitch," I say.
Don't know when or how but calling a man a "bitch" is commonplace among us, said in jest, mostly, not always. Man says something stupid or irrelevant, does something half-ass or somehow, someway interrupts the flow of your day, "bitch," you'll call him and everyone understands the innuendo. So, when a soldier from another battalion someway, somehow got on our frequency, interrupting the flow of our network communication I say, "Shut up, bitch, get the fuck off our net" - there's your professional military protocol. He goes silent. Speaks again. Provides his name, rank and serial number and advises me to kiss his dick and get the fuck off his net. He's a corporal. I'm a sergeant first class, senior NCO of my platoon. In short, I outrank him. After providing the same info he provided me I advise him that I will kick his dick until he pisses fire and get the fuck off OUR net. He goes silent. Doesn't speak again. Dick. Interesting word. Dedicated Infantry Combat Killer. But we ain't infantry, we're cavalry. We're the ones who come to the rescue, dig? that is, if we don't need to be rescued ourselves.
Ain't easy for a man to ask for rescue. Help. Never had a problem requesting reinforcements as a soldier in the Big Sand Box. But asking for rescue as a man back in the world is a different story. Shit, what kind of help gets you over a constant state of hyper-alertness? What's that noise? Why is it so quiet? Too much debris on the road. Road is suspiciously clean. Checking the mail, civvie walks by, just walking down the road, probably to the bus stop. Retrieving the mail, watching that civvie walking down the road, better be en route to the bus stop. Nodded at me. Ain't that polite? or a signal to someone else that I can't see whose waiting to . . . ? These things thoughts paranoias suspicions alerts never get the fuck off my net. But I ain't gonna say anything to anybody cause I'll be told to shut up, bitch, ain't you volunteered? ain't you enlisted? ain't you a government puppet who went off to occupy another country and kill its citizens? Another country, sure, but its citizens being killed . . . shit, Saudi Arabians, Jordanians, Iranians, but I-rackies, they were victims of collateral damage, mostly, though there were those who were intentional targets. The some who nodded at us and smiled at us and did their damndest to blow us up. I fucking E goddamn D. Improvised Explosive Device blowing up Dedicated Infanty Combat Killers. And Cavalrymen operating like Infantry. Dismounted, our boots on the ground. Safer with your boots on the ground. IED blow you up when you're mounted, in a vehicle, driving down a road . . . taking the long way home . . . what a lovely day, sun's out and hyper-alert, shining to its fullest ability, bringing the heat, baby, sky's clear, kids are waving at you as you rumble on by, rumbling en route to an elementary school where you'll distribute toys and school supplies, hell, gotta have some relief, not en route to search and destroy - oh, no, that should be clear and sweep, yeah, yeah, that sounds . . . nice . . . like we come with rifles because it makes us look cool. That trigger is just for show. We're here to win hearts and minds, not put two in the chest where the heart is, not put one in the head where the mind is and the bullets are just like marbles or dice, just some shit we carry, ammunition makes us look tough, cool tough sexy, yeah, it's all show, bitch. We deployed to deliver school supplies, that's the mission.
The mission is to survive. Same mission, different war. Same shit, different day. Headache, goddamnit, ain't the same shit on a different day without a headache. Backaches are less frequent, but when they come, Jesus Christ, they come in full force. Figured out my own remedy: ibuprofen swallowed with alcohol. Knocks me the fuck out, gets me the fuck off the net of the world and I feel no pain. No aches. Knocked out bliss. Shhh . . . this is a secret from my VA counselor. He don't know. If he knew he would kick my dick until I'm pissing fire. I tell him I write, he encourages my writing; don't tell him about my homemade remedy. Do tell him I don't take the shit prescribed to me, makes me feel like a worthless piece of driftwood, ain't alert, nevermind hyper, ain't nothing but drifting along during the long day. Fuck that. Gotta be alert. Work. Take care of babies. Ain't no one to rescue them without me. "How about lowering the dosage?" he says. I wanna say, "Shut up, bitch," but only shrug, say it won't make a difference. He shrugs, says it's up to me to make a difference for myself. Uh-huh. Shake of hands, wishes for a nice day exchanged. He's a good man. Dedicated. Got me out of some major trouble. But he ain't a veteran. Never served. Just a counselor employed by the government. Might as well be counseling drug addicts. Might as well kiss my dick.
Sessions ain't much more than dick kissing. Make a veteran hard, make him feel good about himself. Solve shit. Feel good and then it's same shit, different day; same mission, different war. Swallow your pills and feel better, fella. Doesn't solve shit. Medicates the symptoms of the problem, doesn't do shit about the problem. What's my problem? I stare at the stove's burner dials. All four. That's wan-tup-threep-fower. Off, off, off, off. In one direction. Then off, off, off, off in reverse. Stare in the oven. Off. Never turned it on, still, stare, certify, be alert, is it off? It's off, functionally it's off, but it ain't off my net. Stare at the thermostat. Seventy-eight degrees. That's sev en ait degrees. It's working. Temperature is set. Is it working? Stare. Is the temperature set? Stare some more. Stay alert, stay strack, Jack. What's that . . . ? kid screaming. Some kid . . . neighborhood kid screaming . . . . laughing . . . playing across the street. Does he need school supplies? Does he need . . . hey, kid, get the fuck off my net.
Anyone willing to massage my back, get the fuck on my net. Stroke hold nestle my aching head, get the fuck on my net. I won't try nothin', promise. Won't make a move. Just let me lay my head in your lap. Won't ask you to kiss my dick nor do anything with it. Won't call you a bitch, won't say a word. The aches won't get the fuck off my net. I don't - - - what's that noise? why the silence? Gonna stare at the stove now. At the thermostat. Make sure everything is strack. As I stare it's all right if you get the fuck off my net. Don't blame you. But my frequency will remain hyper alert aware of you somewhere out there.
Safe in your bed. Pillow comforting your head. Blanket soft, body slack because I stay strack to give you the peace and the safety, the comfort and the softness, the freedom to call me a government puppet, think of me as a baby killer, an occupier raper bastard bitch in uniform. Well, hell. Your lap is your own. Only . . . do you, would you allow, let . . . just my head, no other part of my body, just my head in your lap. I won't have to wash down aspirin with my buddy Al K. Hall. Sometimes, believe it or not, those who occupy and shoot and kill and demolish and . . . and . . . we don't want our dicks kissed, don't want to call anyone a bitch, just want to lay our heads . . . but it ain't easy for a man to ask for rescue. If he does he risks fuck you, you volunteered, you brought this on yourself you baby-killing bitch, deal with it. It ain't easy. It's easy to wash down aspirin with alcohol so there ain't no aches, no pain at all. Take the ache the alertness the hyper-everything the fuck off my net.