(Ed. Note: I reached way down into the archives and re-worked this one)
LSA TWO OFFICE
“LSA”-“Life Support Area”-or in the local vernacular aka: “Life Sucks Ass.”
Yet another email I dispatched from Camp Dwyer, 2012:
Around 1730hrs a truck pulls up outside my office at LSA Two. I didn’t see who was in the truck, but I figured I was about to have a visitor. (I’m really smart that way)
After the truck had been literally blocking my door for about five minutes, Michael J Smith (My Manager, The ‘BBB’, ‘Billeting BIG BOSS’) walks in holding up a pack of L&M cigarettes. Now remember, I have not seen this guy for the day-and-a-half he had been “Back Onboard” Dwyer.
“Anyone in here smoke these?” were the first words out of his mouth.
I look up from my personal emails and say, “Dunno. Lashonda smokes, but doubtful she smokes those. That’s a ‘White-Boy’ brand.” (She was out of the office, actually smoking at this time)
“Well, I wish whoever is smoking these would stop doing it on the bench.” (There’s a bench just outside my office door and it sits in a ‘No-Smoking’ area.)
“Sorry Mike; not on ‘bench patrol duty’ today. Could’ve been anybody; probably a Marine with a rifle or a Jordanian with a goat. Did you drive all the way across this burning desert to tell me this? Or do you have some business here? Oh and welcome back by the way.” (Saturated sarcasm, I’m afraid.)
“Uh,… You do realize we have a ‘serious situation’ on our hands in Billeting?”
(Well, duh. You’re the schmuck who has been gone, not me). I just gave him my best *You’re fucking kidding me, right? Lance, peering-over-his-glasses look.*
He continues, struggling now to maintain his Authority Voice,
“Uh, of course you know everyone is gonna have to ‘get on board’ with all this new responsibility.”
I continue *Lance-looking* him.
“I’m going to want you to run LSA 1 from this office; (LSA 2) are you ready to take ownership of this mission?”
“Sure, no problem,” I said. “But you do realize, Michael, that LSA 1 is over a half-mile from here and I have no vehicle?”
“Uh, I didn’t mean right now. But just as soon as Shannon gets everything settled down. Then we can come up with a plan forward.”
“Sorry Mike, but I’m not in the ‘Plan-Forward coming up with Business’ That’s above my pay grade. But as soon as YOU come up with a Plan, forward or otherwise, I will be happy to follow it.”
*Looks hurt & confused* Mikey does.
“Well, uh” he stammers, “Everyone is gonna have to get on-board with all this.”
“You mentioned that. Anything else? How was your R&R?” I said, hoping to change the subject and also out of mean-spiritedness, because I knew he was going to tell me something stupid. He didn’t disappoint:
“I had the flu for the first week and spent the next week getting over it.”
“Damn rotten luck. Perhaps DynCorp will allow you a ‘do-over.’ Whaddya think?”
*Gears grinding as he searches—in vain—for something to say: painful to witness the mechanics of this*
“Nice chair,” he said finally, plopping his fat ass down in a chair Shannon had liberated from a Marine Corps office in one of the LSAs we were taking over.
“Yeah, Shannon delivered that to us yesterday; nice to finally have a proper office chair in here after twelve months.”
“I have chairs on order for Billeting,” he reminded me.
“Yes, and ever since forever, even before I got here; still no sign of them,” I reminded him.
“Uh, yeah… they’re stuck at the Pakistani border; they’re gonna fly ‘em out.”
“Whatever. By the way, you do know these other two chairs are my personal property, purchased with my personal money, so don’t get any ideas.”
“Yes, yes, I know. I know those belong to you and your office.”
Interior of LSA Tent #24
I won’t bore you with the rest of the conversation; I think you get the drift and the general tenor of it.
I did have one last little bit of wicked fun with Michael before our conversation ended:
“Hey ‘Marvin’, er… ‘Mike’. I got an email from the DynCorp Camp Manager. I believe it was sent to me in error because in the body of text he kept directing his words at you. Come over here and I’ll show you the attachment. Maybe you can figure out its meaning. I’m stumped.”
M.J.S. waddled over to stand behind me. I queued this up and clicked the ‘Play’ button.
I don’t know if he ‘got it’–Michael is somewhat dense–At any rate, he didn’t seem amused.
After leaving work for the day I stopped by the Housing Office in the DynCorp LSA Compound (where there’s a tent I call ‘home’), and caught Shannon there, still working. (See? He does deserve to be Billeting Manager.)
Shannon and Lance
“Mister Duckworth!” I saluted.
“Mister Marcom!” he returned.
“What up Duck?”
*gives me his best ‘exasperated’ look*
“Yeah, I know; they cancelled Christmas. What the fuck’s going on with MJS?”
I asked as discreetly as I could; (there were others present) which was none too discreet I fear, but didn’t matter; All Departments despised Monsieur le Mike, aka Michael J. Smith. (Not sure, but I think the ‘J’ stands for ‘Jagoff’)
“Don’t worry; it’s still gonna happen.”
“Yeah, an’ New Year’s too,” he said.
“Ok, I’ll cool my jets an’ cancel my de-mobe.” (de-mobilization)
“Lance Bro,” (he sometimes calls me ‘Bro’) “Mike went to HR on me today.”
“Get the fuck out!” I said, honestly shocked. “Some brass balls on this guy.”
“Yeah, he told HR he couldn’t work with me anymore.”
“Pardon me a moment Shannon, while I fall down on this plywood floor and laugh my ass off. It’ll just take a sec.”
“Dude, (he sometimes calls me ‘Dude’) I’m serious! He went to HR on me and HR told me later about it and also told me to sit tight an’ chill; he will be leaving us soon.”
“Before Christmas, let’s hope,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah. Listen, Mike came to see me after he left LSA 2. He asked me, ‘What’s wrong with Lance?’ I tole him, I said, ‘Mike, every time you go to LSA 2 and talk to Lance, you come back and ask me this same stupid shit.’ An’ he says, ‘I don’t think Lance likes me. Why doesn’t he like me?’ This mothafucka is stupid.”
“Yeah Shannon, ya think? We all know this. Hell, tell the sonuvabitch to ask me next time, and you know what? It’s not as if I haven’t told him more than once to his face my issues with him. This guy wears me out.” (And I wonder why I have not been promoted)
“Yeah. You’re right.”
“Listen to me Shannon, take your ass on outta here and go to bed; it’s late.”
“Okay Brother (sometimes he calls me ‘Brother’), I’m heading out now.”
“Good. See you tomorrow. Night.”
“Peace out, My Friend.” (He sometimes even calls me “Friend”)
Two Years in Afghanistan And I never Got To See Anything Like THIS BELOW!
All I ever saw were goats, rugged Marines, Indians, Kenyans, Eastern Europeans, Some Ugly Americans, to Include That One I saw In The Mirror, & Sand, Lots of Sand
Born 1985 in Kabul, Afghanistan
Never ANYTHING Like This!
And this was while I was There!
Online Release Date: Valentine’s Day 2011
Suppose I should be grateful for not even knowing what I was missing out on…
Well, I’m not!