Running in Soft Sand: SEAL Training Part Three. But Truthfully More Alternate Stuff (I’ll Write Another ‘Proper’ BUD/s Post Soon)

I actually know this meme-guy: he was an Instructor in BUD/s Class 158. I Know. I was there.

 

 

A BUD/s Instructor, i.e., a ‘Demigod’

 

Or…

Alternate Titles:

“Lance’s Ramblings from his 115th Dream Stream”

(Sorry Bob)

“Call me if they die.”

‘Semi Consciousness Streams of Conscientiousness’

 

Raining upon My Hit Parade’

‘Nights in White Satin’ – that one makes no sense. That is why I put it in.

Vid Cred: Redbaron863

Or, last and least perhaps: “I have become my Grandfather, or How I became Andy Rooney in One Thousand Words or Less, an essay.”

Gentle Readers, it has not escaped my undying attention that I tend to lean heavily toward the overly-dramatic. The ‘trauma drama’ effect even. Call it a ‘crutch’ if you will.

Yep. Call it that.

This I do know. Therefore, I have (Through my magical powers derived from watching old re-runs of ‘Dragnet’—“Just the facts Ma’am. Just the facts.”—decided to ‘come on back down to Earth, Son’.

–Boz Scaggs: Lowdown)

My (solely appreciated) goal here is to present just ‘them’—just them facts.

I hope I am successful. For y’all’s sake.

When last we left our hero, he was leading his class to their first BUD/s workout. Well, you cannot really call it such: more like a medieval (‘I’m gonna get medieval on your ass’) torture session.

Whatever

 

Even at zero five (‘Zero Dark Thirty?), The Grinder was a hot, miserable place to be, especially NOT designed for yoga or even step-up aerobics, and / or certainly not Pilates. (Gay Pirates?) No. ‘Twas Wasn’t. There is a reason they (Navy) call it ‘The Grinder.” You go ahead and figure out the obvious.

But this day I do not wanna write about Those Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer…

I want to write about this:

I think. I think I am. Therefore I am… I think.

–Moody Blues, With apologies to René Descartes

***

Now Y’all, much of that I wrote late last night. (Under Some Influence)

Didn’t publish. (Thank Baby Hey Zeus). But I woke up this morning

(Praise be to Allah—Ah Ha!) And you, yes you! (My Human Friends) were on my mind:

To MORE BAD News Stories. I shall list them below so that you may share in ‘The Misery’ That is OUR ‘New World’ (You may thank me later. Send cards and letters…)

  1. The Middle East is still throwing gasoline upon their (and our) raging fire

  2. There will probably never be closure nor justice for Michael Brown or his family

  3. Ebola is raging strong (But only in Africa: So, who cares, right? The WHO, that’s who)

  4. ISIS is our new (never heard of till yesterday) National Crisis & Clear and Present Danger (or new best friend for our Military Industrial Complex, off of which I tend to make MY living)—Much hand-wringing and soul searching over that one. NOT! Damn! Put me in Coach! I live for this shit!

  5. My dog has fleas… Fuckin’ fleas. Dogs!

  6. My British GF finds me… well, of late, she don’t (find me)

  7. I dreamt late last night about my favorite dead cat (Her name was Lucia and she was ‘The Cat From Hell’ and I miss her still—probably the only ‘real’ relationship I have ever had with ‘pussy.’)

  8. My blood pressure remains off the chart and I think I may have given myself diabetes: Type Duh

  9. I have been remiss in visiting and commenting on the blogs of my good friends

  10. Maybe I will just go and eat worms. Maybe I like to eat worms…

Now, Don’t let it bring you down, but that is how I woke up. (And I was happy to have woken up… for just-one-more-day…stay?)

And hey!

Don't stay here

Photo taken in Iraq (or Afghanistan) I honestly don’t remember…

There really is no point to this post. Let us just call it “Unconscious Stream of Consciousness”.

And I will most likely, delete it (and y’all know, I am quick on the mouse trigger when it comes to deletion: I see it as a form of… birth control. So read fast!)

So There.

Now to the ‘Meat of the Matter’:

KAREN

I want to write about ‘The Age of Innocence’: The Seventies.

Yep. I tend to live in the glory that was Roaming… You may bail out here. Here, in fact here is your parachute. Be certain to locate the RIP Cord before you exit the plane: Just a word to some wise and hey!

Bon Voyage!

***

For those of y’all who still remain, I want to write about Karen Carpenter. Not ‘The’ Karen Carpenter, but the Karen Carpenter that symbolized how I felt about the Seventies. Yeah, that one. Her.

***

I woke up with Karen Carpenter on my mind (and yes: I have posted about her recently, but I wanted to try to explain why now)

I woke up with Karen and sadly not in my bed, but in my mind.

Why?

Because… of the ‘Age of Innocents.’ I call her one. The first casualty of the sickness that guides us: This American Dream of having to be some other person. A person, in the spotlight who is …. Drumroll: PERFECT!

No one is perfect and certainly not me (though I am pretty close). Yet, no one is perfection. We cannot be. There is no God and if you believe that there is, you are about as far removed from ‘Perfection’ as a Human…

I should delete that sentence, as it is not Germane, nor German, to my point. Let me think on it…

Back to The Seventies: The Age of Innocents (I was innocent; were you? Probab’ly not.)…

I am running on empty now/here.

“I don’t know where I’m runnin’ now; I’m just runnin’ on…

The Seventies.

I would like some thoughts on that/those. From you! And then, having received same, I will continue. Maybe.

Your choice.

Shalom

Salaam

Namaste

Hook ‘em Horns

Peace,

–Lancers

And P.S. I am sorry for stealing all the vid clips. I will (I promise) accolade y’all later–more later–but later)

And: to any readers I have left:

I am in some form of cryxis: I will be, as Shakespeare once wrote, “King Richard is himself again.” once be.

Stay tuned…
Or not: Yer choice.

Peach,

Lanced

Oh! And by the way… Jackson Browne was/is an asshole

Read it here

Bye now…

Casspir The Friendly Armored Personnel Carrier

Fallujah.

Naturally.

Bumping along in a Casspir, a South African armored personnel carrier, on our way to Anbar Province, western Iraq. The year was 2007 and we were under attack.

Perfect.

Perfect? Yes. For you see, if you decide to get shot at in Iraq in 2007, the best venue for that is inside a Casspir. A Casspir is a big, white, heavily armored vehicle. During Apartheid, the South Africans needed such a vehicle; well, the White South Africans did anyway. The first time I heard of “Casspir”

I was somewhere close to Camp Speicher, northern Iraq and this was to be my “commute car.”  I thought instantly, after seeing my first Casspir, that it was so moniker-ed because it was this big white thing and, being an American, immediately thought of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” I was wrong.

There is nothing friendly about a Casspir, aside from the fact that he (it) will save your ass.

Casper_Commuter_Vehicle

Riding in a Casspir is probably one of the most uncomfortable things one can experience. The seats are small. The quarters cramped.

The air conditioning nonexistent. The suspension sans shock absorbers.

The windows, smallish, which open up just enough to point a rifle through, or perhaps allow a round to one’s head. The driver, usually a Wanna-be Rambo with poor grammar and a poorer sense of direction.

No fun riding in a Casspir.

Inside Casper

But on that day, back in ’07, just outside Fallujah there was no better place to be. Casspirs were often called the ‘Best Bug-Out Vehicles’ in Iraq.

First they shot at us with RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades). They fell somewhat short. Following up, they hit us with AK47 rounds. (Those didn’t fall short) Our PLS truck

(Pallet-loading system) lost a windshield. Some of our “light-skinned” vehicles lost windshields and windows as well. “Casper” got hit, but the rounds barely scratched the paint (Thank you South Africa). No one lost his life, but we were somewhat shaken and more than a little pissed off.

Continue reading

Guess I Could Never Do Nothin’ Right: Fuch off My Life In Paris, or Dreaming of Paris–France I am So Ashamed of Texan Me! Je parle Francais Yeah, I Almost Married An Actress Named ‘Kim’

almost Married An Actress Na

As An Aside:

Thomas Jefferson spent half his productive life in Paris, FranceJust Sayin’

***

“He Went to Paris:

I Can Still Smell the Darkness or…

Guess I Could Never Do Nothin’ Right.

Or I Just Need a ‘Round Tuit’

Then I Can Get to — It

An Illusive Tuit:

Jerry Jeff Walker –

“Guess I Could Never Do Nothin’ Right”

Or…

“The Lamp is Broken On The Mantel”

My Mind is Blown and… It’s turnin’ away”

If you listen to nothing else—

Please

PLEASE listen to this one

Mark The Words

Yet another one to not read!

Paris!

I Had a

Wondrous, beautiful Texan GF Once–I played her this song–

She was so wondrous beautiful and Innocent Wife Once–I rectified that…

https://texantales.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=91402&action=edit

She Cried–That was, ostensibly the end of the end of our much cultivated romance. Yeah! I fucked up! Letting her go!

This is An Incredibly Sad Song Please do NOT Watch It

Willy William feat. Cris Cab – Paris 

paris.jpg

And he went to England; played the piano, married an actress named “Kim:”…  She was a good wife… ‘I’ loved her.

This is a continuation, albeit a flashback, to my story of Janet and Random Memories from The Middle East.

Months before the events inked here, here, here, and here, I found myself in Paris (actually two Paris’s—One Texan—One French). Confus’d yet? Stand by: it grows worse(r)

Let’s back up a mite (mites are hard to back up by the way, militarily that is: damn small and damn slippery, them mites… and they tend to mite-bite one, usually on one’s ass)

We call that “Green on Blue” and if you are following the recent news cycle, you will surely know that, that is inappropriate. But that is just how I roll.

Screw Afghanistan and their pretended bullshit “We gonna take over security of our country…” Won’t happen. Will NOT Happen.

But after ten plus years there (and some several months there by me, after Iraq–got ‘liberated’–now there is yet another joke. I can speak to the idiocy that is ‘our’ foreign fallacy.

I was in Sinai, 1978 and I received a letter from my step-sis. This was not unusual back in those days, as we were still ‘speaking’. She sent me a rather long and boring letter regarding Honey Grove and all the ‘Happenings’ thereabouts. The letter was indeed ‘boring’ until I got to her ‘PS’. It read and I quote (loosely), “By the way, R is marrying J. Jesus-Beezus!”

This was, to me, devastation by way of bad.

Unspeakable news!

‘How could she?! She was MINE. Mine to mine and to have and to hold… just as soon as I finished with my wanderlust. How dare she?!” How DARE she?!

What to do?

Well, I had some R&R time ‘on the books’ so I hopped on a freighter (airplane), and flew back to Texas, ostensibly to break up the marriage, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Problem was, was that I screwed up the dates and the logistics, and arrived not in time to bust up the wedding, but just in time to see the happy couple speeding off fast to Waco and their honeymoon.

Shit!

Never having been more depressed at missing a rendezvous, what to do? Rebound Son! Rebound!

So, I sought out Janet. Let’s call it a ‘bank shot rebound.’ I knew she was working at the Hopkins Lamar (See? To this day, I never know which county I am in)  County Courthouse as a probation officer, so I timed (this time, my timing was spot on) my entrance during her lunch break: Intercepted her coming down the stairs of the courthouse.

“Hey Janet!”

“Lance?”

“C’est moi! How’s Trix?”

“You are supposed to be in Egypt,” she said.

“I escaped,” I said. “Wanna have lunch?”

“Uh… Sure. Why not?” (Why not indeed)

We went to lunch. Then she took the rest of the day. We went to her apartment and drank gin. Later that eve, after I had regaled her with fantastical tales of the Middle of the East, she took a drag from her Virginia Slim and asked, “So are you gonna f*#k me tonight, or what?”

I said, “No Ma’am; I am gonna make love to you—something I should have done five years ago.”

So we did—I did—make love to her.

The problem now became that I had a plane to catch to that other Paris: that one in France. The other part of the problem was that my plane was waiting in Houston. I was about five hours at seventy miles per hour away from my Air France plane at Houston Intercontinental. I had to go. Now.

I hit the road to Houston, not really wanting to go, but I had promised my buddy Bart, Black Bart, that I would meet him in Paris on such and such a day. Naturally, I ended up missing my flight and arrived Paree a day late. On the taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle airport we drove under a bridge and the taxi car lost its windshield to a lone rifle shot. (my theory) “Terrorist?” I asked the cabby? (en français).

“Merde!” Was all he said, as he dodged the flying glass. I did not care anyhow, but this rather happenstance occurrence did not bode well for my first day in Gay Paree.

“There’s my hotel!” I exclaimed as he had managed to (somehow) keep driving.

I paid him off, got out of his now mangled, windshield-less cab and made my way into the cheap hotel lobby. Went up to my room, dropped my shit; then went looking for my buddy. Found him at last sitting on his rack, rather sullen in mood. I checked out his room. It had a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower.

“So Bart,” I asked finally, “What have you done here in The City of Light for twenty-four hours?”

“You see that tower there?” he asked, pointing to the window.

“Yep,” I said. “That would be the Eiffel Tower.”

“Well, since you didn’t show, I went out on my own… and hey! Ya know what, they don’t speak English here? I went out on my own. (You mentioned that) Walked over to that tower, looked up at it—kicked it—and said to myself, ‘Yep. That there Bartamus, that there is the Eiffel Tower.

Then I came back here and took a nap. And would you please tell that France Maid that I do not want no f*#kin’ breakfast? She wakes me up in the f*#king morning with her biscuits (‘croissants’ Asshole) and lousy coffee.”

“Sure Bart,” I said. “I will post a note, en français on yer door.”

“You speak France?”

“Oui.”

“Well Hot Damn then! You be Bogey. I’ll be Bacall.” (of course)

“I weren’t able to bust up the wedding.”

“What?”

“The Wedding.”

“Oh you mean between R and J?”

“Yep. That one, you moron.”

“Yer better off,” he said.

“OK. Then why am I so depressed?”

“Dunno. Did you have any other adventures while you were back In-The-World?”

“Matter of fact, I did. I hooked up with Janet.”

“Bullshit.”

“Nope. No bullshit. Why I missed my flight, in fact.”

“Well, I was just about pissed off at you, but now I unnerstand.”

“Thanks for that,” I said.

“Hey!” he said. “Let’s smoke a bowl and you can tell me all about it while we go and kick this town in the ass.”

“Light her up,” I said. We smoked and drank and then off we went stoned and semi-drunk and in Paris (France) Just two more ugly Americans (Texans)

Now Y’all…

I hesitated while choosing the vid to represent this post. Then I swerved onto this one below. It is somewhat depressing, yeah. But, but… This is how I see my life ending up. I hope you will take the time to watch, listen, and comment.

HE Went To Paris:

Vid Credit: 

John1948SevenA

Cheers,

Lance

To Be Continued… Hopefully.

“Losing his hearing, but he don’t care what most people say.”

“Lately I been thinkin’ I just might quit drinkin’...

“I feel like Hank Williams tonight”

Cred: JJ Walker

tex flag

Re-Runs Are Fun! —“Letter From a South Park Jail” Letter The First: Part One (Apology to MLK for Shamelessly Appropriating A Great Title)

“Here, hold this!” said the Texan to his credulous girlfriend as he handed her his half-empty half-pint of Jim Beam, stomped the shit out of the accelerator on his pickup truck and flew headlong into oblivion…

“Roads?”

“I don’t need no stinkin’ roads. I’m going to Afghanistan!”

HaHaHaHa!

*****

I need to be ‘institutionalized’ somewhere far far away.

In a place where life is tenuous at worst and exciting at best and the pay is good and booze is scarce and the women are… well, usually not to be found, except on the Internet.

That is how Lance stays out of trouble…

It works well-enough in theory anyway.

***

The following is Part One of a transcribed letter I wrote to a Significant Other while cooling my heels in Helmand Province and Kandahar, Afghanistan trying to get my CAC renewed (Common Access Card: An ID card for Civilians working with the U.S. Military).

‘South Park’ is, for lack of a better term, A Holding Facility ‘soullessly owned and operated’ by DynCorp International for transients, itinerants, illiterates, sycophants, miscreants, and other sad and lonely temporarily homeless people just trying to travel through, hoping to land somewhere else, anywhere else, and the sooner the better…  

South Park is understaffed, under-financed, under-achieving, under-esteeming, underwhelming, and sometimes underwater.

Airmen worked together to clean up after a flash flood that occurred on Kandahar Airfield Feb. 8. Airmen in South Park awoke in the middle of the night to flood waters reaching approximately knee-deep in height both inside and outside their tents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nancy Hooks)

***

It is also overpopulated, misconceiving, deceiving and just plain infuriating.

Southpark will depress you, repress you, digress you, digest you, and shit you out if you allow it.

Writing saved me from insanity there.

“I’ve gotta go to South Park?”

“You’re shitting me, right?”

“RIGHT??”

***

Saturday 28 July 2012, Camp Dwyer PAX Terminal, Afghanistan 1218hrs

Dear Lady,

I’m sitting in the PAX terminal. We boarded the plane, (Sixties-Era, prop job) a couple of hours ago, but they were just kidding.

After sitting on the tarmac for about forty five minutes they brought us back here. Seems someone forgot to feed the hamsters which are actually responsible for propelling the plane and hence, they died.

We were told not to worry; they are flying in some fresh, well-fed hamsters from KAF (Kandahar Air Field) and once they get those settled into the plane’s power plant, we will be good to go: wheels up around 1430hrs.

So here I sit, thinking of you, Dubai, and Hamster Avionics.

This PAX terminal isn’t too bad, as these places go. (I have seen worse—and better). Like every other facility on Dwyer, it is a tent, but it is a rather enormous tent and they have provided the weary travelers with bottled water and MRE’s. So I am sated, as far as it goes. You see, I really am low maintenance.

Not being inclined to ignore any opportunity to ‘talk’ to you, I am using the tools (pen and paper) I thoughtfully provided myself in the event such opportunity did manifest itself. So here I sit, happily communicating to you using Nineteenth Century Technology. I do hope you are properly impressed.

Page From Original Document

“And what lovely penmanship!” She exclaimed.

“Thank you,” he said.

Looking about the terminal, I have pronounced us a motley crew: About a dozen or so Indians & Sri Lankans, some Filipinos, a smattering of American Expats, couple of Brits, and a few bored Marines scattered about and some behind the counter, whose job it is to search the TCN’s.

The counter has a sign which reads:

“TCN Search Area.”

TCN: ‘Third Country National.’ in case you didn’t know.

“What did you do in The War, Daddy?”

“Son, I put my hands all over aromatic TCN’s.”

“What’s a TCN Daddy?’

“Uh…That’s a very sophisticated weapons system Son.”

“Wow! Cool!”

1310hrs: PAX Terminal, Dwyer

Ok, for amusement, I took an inventory of the MRE’s stacked on pallets here in the terminal:

15 pallets

56 cases of MRE’s per pallet

12 MRE’s per case

Total MRE’s: 10,080 (assuming my arithmetic is correct, a rather liberal assumption)

Posted on each pallet are four signs which read:

DO NOT EAT!

Pending Inspection

MRE stands for “Meal, Ready to Eat,” in case you didn’t know, or in this case, “Meal, Not Ready to Eat.”

(“We done been eatin’ ‘em anyways. Hope we don’t die of ptomaine before the hamsters do, causing our Turbo Prop to morph into a glider…”)

1441hrs:  Still in PAX terminal

Announcement: “Listen up! We couldn’t get the hamsters here, but we’ve drafted a couple of gerbils and they’re fit for duty.”

(‘Now there’s some happy news,’ I mused.)

He continued, “For all those going to KAF, this means now you’re flying non-stop…”

(Guess gerbils aren’t certified for multi-destination air duty.)

“…and your luggage is already back on the plane. As soon as we warm up the gerbils, you fly. Those of you who are going to FOB Shindan, you will follow me now.”

Someone pipes up, “Are we walking?”

There’s one in every crowd…

Having a few minutes to kill while the gerbils are doing their warm up exercises, I return to the MRE pile and rat-fuck a couple of the boxes.

Then I saw another sign which had previously gone unnoticed by me:

‘Rat-Fuck’ is a technical term which simply means, “To open several bags of MRE’s and take only the premium items, leaving the not premium items for the next schmuck attempting to do same.”

An example of this would be taking all the Reece’s Pieces and chocolate chip cookies, leaving only the cardboard crackers and synthetic peanut butter.

***

1600hrs: Airborne

Wheels up and airborne and the gerbils gerbilling their little asses off. Time to destination: thirty minutes.

1613hrs: Flying High (I wish)

I am seated in a window seat. Normally I would take the aisle, but I wanted to describe the spectacular view and with all the beautiful details of this rarified vista below:

BROWN

Perusing the in-flight movie list (from the one inside my head), I select Lawrence of Arabia (with subtitles in Pashtun). I estimate getting about half-way through the opening credits before we touch down. I listen to the wonderful Academy Award winning musical score.

The scenes of the burning desert are so real inside my head that I actually break a sweat. This Special Effect is helped along quite nicely by the fact that the air-conditioning on this aircraft in non-functional. I suppose one of the collateral duties of the deceased hamsters was operating the A/C unit.

1638hrs: Wheels Down

***

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Beautiful Kandahar.”

(I do not doubt his sincerity, but I did detect a bit of sarcasm in his voice.)

“For safety, you are required”, he continued, “to wear your full body armor with your helmet when exiting the aircraft. There really is no danger, but we want you to sweat just that much more. Thank you for flying Gryphon Airlines today and once again, we apologize for the teeny tiny delay we had in leaving Camp Dwyer and we do hope you will… uh, be flying with us again soon.”

(As if we will have a choice)

***

Please look for Part Two tomorrow.

******

“Letter From a South Park Jail” Part Four: “Homeward Bound”

Semi-Subliminal Message for Lance-The-‘Writer’

Interior of a KAF South Park ‘Port-A-Shitter’ in case you have never ‘experienced’ one

This is the continuation of a transcribed letter/email I sent to my Girlfriend (Isn’t she pretty?) while stuck in Kandahar, Afghanistan

***

1423hrs: South Park DFAC

It was a long and winding road which led me back to South Park home base. As I was trudging along, sweating my ass off, I kept reminding myself of the New Yorker’s directions given to someone looking to get to Texas from NYC:

“Head west until you smell shit. That’s Oklahoma. Go south until you step in it. That’s Texas.”

I found my way back to South Park in similar fashion: Followed my nose to the ‘Poo Pond’ and took a left—ran right into South Park. Easy as Poo Pie.

Poo Pond Song

#1 With A Bullet

Street Cred for Shared Vid: JimmyMisawa

Original Artist Credit:  Music and video by Jimmy Moreland

***

Kandahar the Song

Also #1 With A Bullet

(It was a ‘Foto-Finish’)

“Kandahar the song is about life at Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan.  Everything was filmed, photographed, recorded and edited at Kandahar (KAF) except the stuff that wasn’t.  Yep, Rocket Attacks, the Poo Pond and reflective belts are a way of life at KAF.  Enjoy”

Street Cred for Vid:  HeySargeUSA Spillane

***

As soon as I got back and kicked yet another Gomer off’n my rack (What’s wrong with these people?), I went to Flight Ops to see if I could fly the hell outta here tomorrow. I’ll tell you what they told me:

“We’ll have to get back to you on that.”

1738hrs: Sitting on my Rack

Shoo’d the Gomes off… again. I sent you an email few minutes ago, telling you my show-time is 0100hrs for my flight back to Dwyer. I believe it’s a Helo this time. They are slower, but it’s a short trip. On Saturday, I could have walked here and gotten to the CAC office same day before they closed.

The computers here have been acting stupid today, so I don’t know if you got my recent posts. Only thing left for me to do is update my time sheet at 1900hrs and eat supper.

I stole a sleeping bag from the Billeting laundry box so I wouldn’t freeze my ass off tonight. (The A/C works really good in this tent starting around midnight). Problem is, not getting to sleep much. I must confess something: I like a routine.

I do much better when I have a routine. You probably would never have guessed that about me.  

Mike!! 

Hopefully will not still be there on Dwyer whenever I get home, but I had no email from Shannon, so I suspect he remains. Shannon surely would have told me if he finally did leave. I would hope so anyway.

Ode To An Asshole:

***

1915hrs: Sitting on my rack

Supper was yummy. Roast pork(?) and a chicken breast. South Park’s population seems to have doubled today. Trying to find a spot to sit in the smoking arena is an exercise in futility. Time for me to leave obviously.

I’m gonna miss this place.

SORTA…

I am really exhausted now. Tomorrow will be another Long Day, but at least at the end of it I’ll be back in my own bed and in my own hooch.

My Classy, Comfy, Cozy, Crib

***

I’m sad right now a little bit ‘cause I have not heard from you. Hopefully a bit later before I depart for the flight line and most likely another long wait to get on yet another bird… I hope they fed the hamsters this time: “Helicopter Hamsters.” Sounds like a song: ‘Muskrat Love…’ (Lance, you need sleep Son)

2020hrs: DFAC

Tried to sleep. Failed. Ideas of what to show you and do with you and to you in Dubai race around in my head and look for a place to rest.

31 July Tuesday 0021hrs: DFAC – Strong coffee

Taster’s Choice instant. ‘Twill serve. Just got off the computer a few minutes ago and had several emails from you. Happy Now. Some dude was very vociferous about some folks taking more than their allotted ten minutes (I’m not guilty of that. Not Much). Anyway, I had to go.

Got a couple hours of death-like sleep until a Billeting Gome woke me up (very politely) tapping me on the shoulder, making sure I knew I was scheduled to fly. I assured him that “Yeah Baby! I’m flying outta here.” My alarm was about to go off, but I’m glad he woke me up just in case it didn’t.

They have the Olympics on TV now here in the DFAC. I had forgotten about them and I suppose they are well underway by now. I do hope Texas brings home a lot of gold this time! Gotta go and grab my ‘kit’. See? I can speak Brit. Heading to the rally point.

Rally Ho!

0315hrs: PAX Terminal KAF

Been successfully herded from South Park.

0348hrs: Taxi Runway

Didn’t even have time to finish my coffee.

Gryphon Airlines exhibited uncharacteristic efficiency today. I did manage to wolf down part of an MRE I had rat-fucked on the 28th. Not on a helo—thought I would be. A/C on this bird no better than the last one.

Waiting to take off… Plane is full and we have two stops before Dwyer. Hopefully I’ll be home in time for DFAC breakfast, but not likely. Oh, plane holds about forty-six in case you’re wondering.

0404hrs: Airborne!

Escape Velocity Breached!

“Once more unto the Breach!”

On our way! Yippee Ki Aye! Captain is female, Michelle. I love her already.

Homeward Bound!

0519hrs: FOB Shindand

Sitting here in Beautiful Shindand. Well, just sittin’ on the plane which is sittin’ on the tarmac in Beautiful Shindand. I have never been to Shindand, so I have no emotions one way or another about Shindand, but apparently I like writing the word ‘Shindand.’

FOB Shindand

Breaking dusk, a C-130 takes off from Shindand Air Base.

***

It is just before sunrise here and this time tomorrow I should be back in MY Gym on MY FOB. But for now, next stop FOB Ferah. Shindand Gomes are boarding now…

While they are settling in, I’d like to tell you more about this airplane. As I said, she seats around forty-six. I am semi-comfortably ensconced in a window seat, seated near-the-rear of this DHC-8-300, aka: ‘Dash Eight’ and we just ‘dashed’ from KAF to here at twenty-thousand feet and I must assume at about 250 mph, but I’d have to verify that with Michelle, or her hamsters.

Here is a Dash Eight that ‘Dashed’ to the Scene of the Crash.

For brevity in the local vernacular: a ‘Dash Crash’

This is an Eight-Hamster plane: two hamsters per propeller which is in accordance with FAA, ‘Fuckin Afghan Aviation’ regulations. Our Flight Attendant, Gail, is going through her spiel again (poorly) and has informed us that

“No one would like to hear the smoke alarm going off (ya think?), so please don’t smoke Schmuck.”

I added the “Schmuck” because I am in charge of this letter and it made me happy to do so. Well, the hamsters are warming up their little legs, so I reckon, we’ll be departing presently. And… in fact we ARE!

I love my Life!

Airborne now and I see the sun just peeking over a mountain—very romantic. Why does Shindan get to have mountains and Dwyer does not? Shindand looks like Aspen on a bad day, and Dwyer looks like Lubbock on any day.

0613hrs: FOB Farah

Gotta get off here briefly. The hamsters will be taking on Hamster Fuel, probably corn, or corn nuts, or whatever it is that fuels hamsters.

0629hrs: FOB Farah

I love this FOB! Well, what little I have seen of it anyway. It is tiny and nestled in some really cool-looking mountains. As we were landing I was watching for the asphalt runway to appear. It didn’t. We landed on a dirt strip. How cool is that? Not my first dirt strip landing but it caught me pleasantly off guard.

FOB Farah

When I first got to Afghanistan, I was hoping to be sent to a small remote FOB such as this, alas, I’ve been stuck at Dwyer for a year.

Now that the hamsters have refueled and I’ve had a taste of my ‘Dream FOB’ nothing left to do but head back to Dwyer, which should begin in a minute or two.

0655hrs: Airborne Again

Gail told us we have thirty-five minutes to Dwyer and I believe her. Shouldn’t get over twelve thousand feet altitude, “And once again, this is a non-smoking flight.”

“Thank you Gail. It’s been at least thirty minutes since I heard that.”

0730hrs: Home

This concludes our Special Broadcast and we now return you to your regularly scheduled emails, already in progress.

It’s good  GREAT to be Home

Shannon ‘Duck’ & Lance

My Good Friend Lady Lucy

***

“There’s no place like home”

“There’s no place like home.”

***

***

Previously:

“Letter From a South Park Jail” Part Three: “The Bored Walk”

This is the continuation of a transcribed letter/email I sent to my Girlfriend while stuck in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“Here’s Your Sign(s)”

***

30 July 0426hrs: Rally Point

Waiting on the bus and the Gomer to take us to the Badging Office. This time of day Afghanistan is pleasant—not hot—cool in fact. I tossed and turned all night and did not sleep well at all. I kept thinking about Dubai, well specifically about us in Dubai.

There were no Rockets’ Red Glare last night. So that cannot be used as excuse today for red eyes and sleepy Lance, not that I will be required to provide any, as no one gives two shits about anyone else here.

***

Waitin’ On The Bus

ZZ Top

“Have Mercy”

***

0452hrs: Briefing

The Briefing was Brief. Mercifully So

“This here’s the van gonna take you. Leaves at zero five hunnert, an’ it’ll leave without ch’all, so doan wander off.”

0523hrs: CAC Badging Office

We’re told to expect to be here all day. Perfect! (At Dwyer last time I had to get a new CAC, I was in and out in thirty minutes max. Shit! But THEY closed that Badging office. Why??)

0630hrs: CAC Badging Office

No sooner than four hours from now…grrrr. Didn’t bring my sunglasses; didn’t bring any snack, “No phone, no pool, no pets; I ain’t got no cigarettes…” This day is gonna suck.

0758hrs: Boardwalk, KAF

Yes, you read that right: 

“BOARDWALK”

I’m sitting at a table drinking a Mocha Frappe purchased from Green Beans Coffee (Think Starbucks) Come to find out, the world famous KAF Boardwalk lies less than one hundred meters from the CAC Badging Office.

Praise The Great White Cat of the River Nile! (Again)

***

Under The Boardwalk

The Drifters

***

The boardwalk embraces a soccer field but and there appears to also be a hockey court of some kind as well. (No Ice. Duh!)

On the Boardwalk itself are myriad food joints: KFC, Fridays (no booze), Pizza, Juice Bar, Kebab Joint, Convenience Store (called Downtime–If they’re sellin’ ‘downtime‘, I’m buyin’), Trinket Shops, ATT Phone Center, Souvenir Joint, Afghan Bank, Nathan’s Frankfurters, and God knows what else.

Amazing!

I’d heard of this place, but didn’t know it was of this magnitude.

Having a lot of time to kill, I think this will be the place to murder it.

Damn! That mocha thingy was good. I now have a brain freeze.

This is only the third time I have ever had a Frappe. Me! The World Traveler! Ha! Now I’m spoiled. ‘Ruint’ as we say in Texas.

To top that off (my discovery of Le Boardwalk), I ran into my old Filipino Electrician from Iraq days on my way over here. File that in ‘it’s a small world after all’ department.

His name is Hernani and he was, without doubt, my best employee and also a very good friend. I have missed him and it was wonderful to see him again after almost three and a half years.

He has been here at KAF for three years now he tells me. Poor guy has been working all over the Middle East for at least twelve years, sending all his money back to the Philippines to support his wife and family.

Now here is an honorable man. I truly admire and respect him.

Hernani aka “Nani”

One of the Most Honorable Men I have ever been privileged to know

Camp Wolf Anbar Province 2007

***

0907hrs: Boardwalk, KAF

I snuck a couple of photos—not sure on KAF about photography—best to be cautious. I suppose I could just ask, but where would be the fun in that?

Since I was starving to death, I purchased a toasted bagel with cream cheese from a joint called YO Time. The ‘O’ is a clock. Clever.

 The bagel was mediocre, the cream cheese probably made from powder, but it hit my spot and I feel much better. The airfield lies in the direction I’m facing and I’ve been observing various aircraft come and go. So far about half a dozen helos, a couple of Predator Drones, couple of cargo planes, and I swear, I think I saw Air France landing.

Bored Walker

There is a large white blimp suspended overhead. We had these in Iraq. They serve as the Eye in the Sky. ‘Gomer, watch yer ass.’

I forgot to mention that the soccer/hockey field has a jogging track circling it. I may have to try it out for a walk-about, but it is already getting hot and I really don’t want to look like I just ran in front of a fire hose… (I tend to perspire…uh, no… Sweat. A lot, when I’m working out. But that’s OK. People who don’t sweat in the desert die of heat stroke) before I get my ID photo taken.

0959hrs: CAC Badging Office

Decided better return here to see how far I’ve moved up the list: Twelve in front of me now. Looks like they have been knocking out about four per hour. “Warp Speed Mister Zulu!”

1025hrs: Boardwalk

Needed more caffeine—wanted another one of those orgasmic frappes, but my self-discipline kicked in—Diet Coke—Ah! Tasty.

Before I left the badging office, I inquired to the Soldierette behind the counter, “If I have ten in front of me do I have at least an hour?”
She laughed. “Yes Sir. At Least.”

*heavy sigh*

The Boardwalk has really come to life in the past hour. Quite a cosmopolitan crowd here: U.S. Mil, civilians of every stripe, NATO forces, Afghani shop keepers, TCN’s and… Lance. (I deserve my own category—I have worked hard to be certifiable.) It’s disappointing that there are no hockey or football (See, I didn’t say ‘soccer’ this time in deference to my audience) matches going on. Probably that sort of activity happens only at night.

In November.

In The Rain.

After Sundown.

When it’s cool.

***

I discovered this gem which was filmed during the same time I was in Afghanistan.

“I Find TGI Fridays In Afghanistan – Kandahar Boardwalk Tour” – Mike Swick

Mega Thanks to You Tuber OfficialSwick for the share 

***

Anyway folks are walkin’ around the B’Walk stopping here, stoppin’ there, buyin’ food, eatin’ same, shootin’ the shit, cokin’ an’ smokin’ and if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was in Atlantic City.

But I know better…

GOD BLESS THE USO AND THEIR SHOWS!

***

We do have lots of beach here, just no water. And they do sell beer. Non-alcoholic beer. Why even bother? Might as well drink camel piss. Probably could get that too (for medicinal purposes) now that I think on it.

1112hrs: CAC Badging Office

Only three in front of me. I can see the light. Read an article in Stars & Stripes about the casualties of contractors during the rebuilding efforts in Iraq. Finally someone is giving credit to those who died doing this work!

Personally, I lost two friends there in 2007. Not best friends, but friends—killed by a roadside bomb. We were in Anbar Province at the time.

The story cited 719 killed, but the number is probably over one thousand: the USG folks estimate… according to the story. I know the number is much higher even than that.

1151hrs: CAC Badging Office: NEXT

Once saw a buxom brunette wearing a T-Shirt which read, “You can’t be the First, but you can be Next.” (Okay. I stole that line from Larry McMurtry… Please don’t tell him.)

Well, I’m next in line for the CAC’ing Experience. Feels like Christmas Eve.

Sorta.

1242hrs: TGI Fridays

Yep. I’m sitting in a Fridays in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Believe this shit?

Iraq was never like this!

This is almost the Real Deal.

Just need a frosty pint of my favorite Irish Stout to make it so much more Real…

*sigh*

Needless to say I am now the proud owner of a brand new Common Access Card, or CAC. This one is good until 31 July 2013. I am sure you are dying to know what I ordered at Fridays.

Chicken Sandwich.

Gawd!

I must be boring. Well, I am, after all, in training and must treat my body as a temple. I was staring around at the décor here and I must have looked like an idiot because a Gomer wait-person came over and asked if I needed any help.

“No thank you,” I said. “Just never been to the Big City before.” He left, probably certain now that I am an idiot.

After I eat, I must try to find my way back to South Park. This should prove interesting.

Part Four:

***

Previously: