Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sincerely, Uncle Sam

I am in the middle of a desert, alone, separated from the other soldiers in the firefight. My boots pound the sand, then the paved street, then the grass. I lean against a brick building as if it
is the only thing I can rely on. A towering tree rises to my left, its bright green leaves swaying over an empty field. Its reassuring bulk allows me to close my eyes and imagine all the other places I could be.
I put my M16 on burst and squeeze the trigger slowly with my left index finger. I don’t hit anything: not a building, a car, or a person. It’s like my bullets know the fight isn’t worth it, but I keep shooting, and between shots, I cry out for the other soldiers.
“Wait…Don’t leave!”
I close my eyes and run my palms down the bricks. Even, they are sweating. I realized that if I don’t take cover, I will be killed. I open my eyes and peer around the corner. I see the other soldiers running through the streets, taking cover. I step from behind the building, and it hits me: a bullet in my left cheek, then two more. A man with dark oily hair, bright brown eyes, and crooked overlapping teeth emerges from, behind the brick wall. His bullets sedate me. I am unable to move. I don’t care. The bullets expand gently in my face. Some nights my fingers seem to dissolve as I run them over the gaping holes in my cheek. There is never any blood, any death. I always wake up the same way - staring at my bedroom wall, wondering if I am going to die in Iraq. A good soldier was supposed to run through the bullets, accept that they might get shot in the face, but at least shoot something before they die. Shit, I don’t want to get shot in the face. I do not want to shoot anyone in the face. After having the same dream for a few weeks in a row, I think for sure I am going to get killed in Iraq. I imagine the letter my parents will get notifying them about my death.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hoit,
We are sorry to inform you but your daughter, Specialist Kate Hoit, was shot in the face by a man who didn‘t believe in using shampoo. You should know the Army trained her well but apparently she liked to do things her own way. On the day of her death she separated herself from the other soldiers, hid behind a building, and she was a terrible shot. By the way, her face ate her fingers so we suggest a closed casket. We are sorry for your loss.
Uncle Sam


Blogger 13 Stoploss said...

thanks for sharing, kate. I still have mine, which I wrote about also, but have no idea what to do about them, or whether they ever go away. sure, they have slowed, but they come back...

good work.

5/27/2009 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger olgreydog7 said...

This seems a stark contrast to your post about thongs in uniform. I almost expected the girl who wrote that post to be an excellent shot and to want to shoot someone in the face.

5/27/2009 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Lars said...

a touching, a powerfull beginning.
i wish you the strength and stamina to keep on writing!

- lars

5/28/2009 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Long-time RN said...

Grabs attention and desire to read more. Way to peel back if the segment was recently written. Thanks for posting it, Kate.

5/29/2009 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger GI Kate said...

13 Stoploss-I'm sorry...I know it's rough. That dream went away a few weeks into training before deploying. (I still have to write on your blog. I know I'm slow. I've checked it out, it's pretty awesome!)

olgreydog-Well, in real life I'm a pretty decent shot. This was just a dream. Does anyone really want to shoot someone in the face?

Lars-Thank you! I'm on it.

Long-time RN-I'm glad it makes you want to read more! Hope you and your family are well!

5/29/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger olgreydog7 said...

Fair enough. But, I'd have to say that I do want to shoot some people in the face. Well, maybe some other more painful place. These people do not deserve a quick painless death. I think that would work as a great lead in. As long as the rest brings together the fears, expectations, the reality, and what happens after it all.

6/01/2009 12:22:00 PM  

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