"...I sit here in my box, my patience being tested. The roommate’s listening or watching some shitty gangsta rap DVD on his new tv/DVD combo he just bought at the PX. We stopped by the PX after having to qualify at the range on paper targets. Qualifying in a combat zone, God help us. Could we possibly do any more admin crap while we’re in a supposed combat zone. We get rodded onto the range for safety, when less than 100 meters outside the FOB there are those that want to kill us. I’ve already had two all night missions this week. God forbid if they give us a few hours of down time. Not sleep time, down time. There’s a difference. Can I have one waking moment not involved in a mission or sleeping? Is that too much to ask? The rap music is trying to overwhelm the music in my headphones. I must escape this place. I have to turn up the volume on my headphones to stay sane. I’m winning the war on what flows through my ears, but my nose is in a losing battle. He’s doing it again. He’s spraying some God-awful cologne or deodorant spray up into the air around him as if to ward off evil spirits.
Take me away Johnny. Sing about God, hurting, killing, whatever, just take me away from this place for just a few moments. I hear a soulful woman’s voice singing with Cash. It’s rapturous, more beautiful than the sweetest smelling rose, lifting me higher, taking me away from this ugly place. It reminds me of being surrounded by dirt and violence and some angel of a girl walking up to me and handing me a rose. God she was precious, and the flower smelled like heaven. What are you doing here little girl? How can something so beautiful exist in such an depraved place? I want to cry out to God to help this girl. I want to protect her. Give her a good life, free of oppression. Rid her and the others of the chains that have forever bound their kind in this land. Protect her and give her peace. Give her a chance. Let her smile forever be. She must be an angel, sent here to remind the sorrowful that there is goodness and beauty on this earth. I hope she stays a long time. I don’t want Him to take her back yet. Don’t leave little girl. You must stay in this place and provide hope. Let her help these people. Give her opportunity. Don’t relegate her to being another field hand, watched over by men who sit idle. Keep her healthy and happy. Let her prosper. Let her dream big and attain them. Send her to school, a scholarship, opportunity. Make her a bright shining light.
Cash’s voice is bringing me back. The awful stench of the cologne has receded. The sleepless night before is behind me. The wasted hours sitting at a traffic circle don’t seem as fruitless anymore. For those hours make this moment that much better. I have three papers in front of me. I need the news. I need to know of something other than this place. They are all days old, but I don’t care. Discarded, they sat on the floor of the PX, with it’s picked through shelves. The Mother’s Day card display is almost empty as well. Only cards for daughters remain. How many people shopping in this shithole have daughters that are mothers? DVD’s, always DVD’s. So many movies, so few that interest me. The magazine rack in the back has been picked through as well. Hundreds of magazines but none with news. I need news, not magazines with girls asses bursting from the cover.
Cash is quoting a passage from Revelation. Take me away, even if it’s Armageddon. Let the Man come around, and I will welcome His embrace. Let the trumpets and multitude of angels sing. Let their voices fill my ears. Let the Man come around, and I will bow down before his throne. Fill this ugly place with your wrath and goodness. Show us your grace. Forgive me...."
(This excerpt taken from my favorite deployed milblogger: Michael @ A Day in Iraq. Post: 'God, Hope and Johnny Cash', 24 April 2005)
G-Man's Site: The Pickle