Thursday, July 28, 2011

* WARNING* This post is about Vets and is brutal

I originally wrote this post as part of a meme. For some reason when I went to the Host page a prior meme went up instead of the home page. So I wrote the wrong meme. The meme this was written about was for July 4th and we were to connect our  post to that theme. Sorry about the confusion with this one. I have no idea why the home page did not come up first. I am leaving the post up as I  think it is important. The author of the book I took the snippet from is trying to give a voice to Veterans. His information is at the bottom.


* WARNING* The snippet I chose is intense, brutal, contains foul language and for me is important.  I realize it is long. I chose it because I know that everyday somewhere in the world a soldier is going through this - whether it is a flashback or it is happening in real time. And they did it  or are doing it for us. The people back home. I am not in support  of war. I am in support of our soldiers who have kept us and who continue to keep us free. My son fought in Iraq. He came home with memories like this one and unable to walk on his own anymore. While I do not believe we truly had a reason to be in Iraq, he went and did his job. I am proud of him. Regardless of the reason we are over there my son went believing he was helping someone. He talks of the good people he met over there. Not soldiers he met there but Iraqi citizens. The ones who wanted to be free. The ones who thanked him. The ones he wanted more than anything to help. So now he lives with PTSD and walking with assistance while he waits for new legs. And when asked, he says he would go back and do it again for those people and to keep us free. I hope you read it. I hope you understand why I think it fits the theme.
Mindbenders
I hear the crackle in the middle of my head. Tango Seven—multiple events in your vector, last five minutes. Exercise caution. Sound is a vibration. This vibration grows, echoes, deeper, shimmying through me. We’ve been waiting for action since we started staging. We’re soldiers, we joined up, no one made us. We want to fight. We want to prove ourselves, to find out who we are when the air bends and the fire fills us. We crossed the border two days ago and we’ve spent two days driving, swallowing pills, driving some more and sitting out a sandstorm that lasted six hours where nobody could sleep cause we kept saying to each other, They know this stuff and we don’t—when it stops, they’ll be on us in a minute but they weren’t and then driving driving some more, past blown-out buildings and blown-out tanks and my headphones screaming. 
The waiting is killing. No more waiting. Fight. Fight now. That’s what I want because I don’t know what else to want. And then, without transition, we’re fighting. I hear the CRACK!! over the music and the Humvee right in front of us bounces into the air like a milk carton somebody kicked and we’re almost on top of it by the time we stop. It’s in the narrowest place, of course, wedged between two cinder block walls set close together, between two neighborhoods that hate each other and both hate us and we’re bogged down, nowhere to go, can’t get around it. 
Man Down! Man Down! Monroe is shrieking into the headset and we see the Vee behind us drive right up and Shumwalt the medic jump out to help but he isn’t there more than ten seconds before he’s rushing back to his mount, shaking his head like it’s detached. 
I shut off the music, not that it matters much—the gunfire is louder than the headphones all the way up, loud enough to wake the dead. In which case, start with the medic—his head is severed by rounds from three different directions and then blown sky high by a rocket that takes out his Humvee, throwing it six or seven feet in the air and crushing it against one of the cinder block walls. Some guys scramble out—how are they alive?—they get five or six steps before being cut down. There’s too much fire from all over. These guys have guns and lots of them. 
Half a second later, we’re in the crosshairs. The door and windows of our truck are pounded with bullets. It’s built for that, we’ve been told a hundred times but so many are coming at once that I watch the panel buckling right in front of me, puffing like the wrapper around the popcorn in the microwave. I’m embedded, the writer, the carry-along, an extra, an amusement most times, a burden at the moment. I have a gun in my belt but it might as well be a cap pistol. 
We’ve got to move—Ram it! Monroe tells Gunner, the driver. If his name is Gunner, why isn’t he the fucking gunner, dammit? Nonetheless, Monroe says Ram it so Gunner puts the thing in gear but then all at once, there’s a different banging on the doors, banging and screaming—two of the guys from the medic Vee want in. Get us out of here! I hear someone screaming and Philips opens his door at the same time Grover opens his. Just in time for the poor son-of-a-bitch on Philips side to get riddled six or seven times in his vest—not dead 
but knocked over and that saves him and us. 
For just a second, everything slows down as the guys on the end lean out to pull the two grunts into the Vee. I’m sitting, staring out the windshield, a dazed drugged-up sedation case and my eyes widen as up the road on the other side of the burning Humvee crawls a bus. The local town bus, the rattle-trap skinny-tire flaking-paint Fallujah regular city bus, low-cost rapid transit fucking bus on its rounds, following its route, the driver doing his usual civil service job of looking exactly ten yards ahead of him and no more. And now he’s opening his doors at the bus stop—which just happens to be in the middle of a firefight. And as the doors are open on both sides of our Humvee and a thousand rounds are flying at us and Gunner is about to drive right over the flaming fucking Vee in front of us to get out of here, I see a procession of soldiers in uniform filing neatly off the bus. Like they paid their fare downtown and waited politely with their guns for twenty stops from there to the war. And now they’re lined up, joining the rest of the warring neighborhood factions, shooting at us while the last two start setting up a rocket launcher and aiming it right at me. 
“Gunner GO!!!” I yell and Gunner puts the thing in gear as they haul the last soldier in through Grover’s door. Right then, Philips takes a round right in the neck that spurts all over the cab and he slumps to the floor. The rest of us all lean over to grab him and pull him up. At that instant, I hear a sharp hiss and raise my head a fraction, a millimeter, a milli-millimeter or whatever’s smaller than anything—and see a rocket, the one launched by the bus soldiers, hovering right in front of my nose, passing so slow, so slow I can read the serial number on the side, right through the cab of our Humvee, screaming in one door, across the aisle between front seat and back and then out the other door without touching a thing, a person, anyone or anything. It explodes against the cinder block wall, happily about five yards behind us as we jump the other Hummer. My nose is singed black for a week. It’s three days before I can hear much of anything, even Metallica. But Gunner hit the pedal at the right time and we will live, at least a little longer. 
Ted Krever. Mindbenders (Kindle Locations 805-846). 
Ted is trying to do something to help Vets by offering them a place to tell their stories. If you are a Vet, or know a Vet who may be interested, please direct them to his website. He is  an honest man with a lot of integrity and respect for our Vets. Please go to his blog, scroll down and read Vets- Better Off Dead?- July 26, 2011
My Vet Story from ‘Mindbenders’ (Part One) - http://wp.me/p1twy1-c3 
‘Mindbenders’ excerpt 2 – Greg in Iraq - http://wp.me/p1twy1-cg
http://tedkrever.com/blog/my-books/mindbenders/
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