Updated & Had to Add! Arabia (Amman, Chapter The First) “Maggie”

Maggie and Hala Used to Sing This Song around The Office In Amman.

They Were So Charming!

I miss them so much!

(I Have Photos, But They are On My Broken Computer–Shit!)

****

Jordan

How many women have I loved (and lost)???

Better Dust off that TI Calculator

I worked in Amman Jordan for six months.
(Parsons/Bechtel evacuated Iraq at the end of our project—USAID Rural Water Project)

We had completed all the ‘on-the-ground’-work.
Nothing left to do but finalize the paper-work.
We could do this in Jordan.

It was ‘safer

So said Parsons—No need to get anyone else kilt in Iraq—Made sense I suppose.

I protested.
To no avail.

I wanted to remain in Iraq.
Guess what?

My opinions did not matter.
So I flew to Amman.

Parsons maintained an office there.
Employed locals.

An aside/preamble:
Jordan has some of the most beautiful women in the world.
“Danger Will Robinson!” AKA Lance Marcom

I fell hard for one of them.
Working in that office of Parsons’
Her name was Margarete
“Maggie”

She was, of course, an Arab.
But ‘Western-ized and Western- sized:

Meaning ‘Slightly Chunky.’

We fell headlong into love.

This was a monumental fuckup on my/her part.

I knew better—or should have—we both should have…

Known Better

We did, but we chose to ignore

The danger

******

To Be Continued…

Later

Street Cred for Shared Vid: dcck123

*****

Some Smallish Added Value:

Arabia (Amman, Chapter The First) “Maggie”

Jordan

How many women have I loved (and lost)???

Better Dust off that TI Calculator

I worked in Amman Jordan for six months.
(Parsons/Bechtel evacuated Iraq at the end of our project—USAID Rural Water Project)

We had completed all the ‘on-the-ground’-work.
Nothing left to do but finalize the paper-work.
We could do this in Jordan.

It was ‘safer

So said Parsons—No need to get anyone else kilt in Iraq—Made sense I suppose.

I protested.
To no avail.

I wanted to remain in Iraq.
Guess what?

My opinions did not matter.
So I flew to Amman.

Parsons maintained an office there.
Employed locals.

An aside/preamble:
Jordan has some of the most beautiful women in the world.
“Danger Will Robinson!” AKA Lance Marcom

I fell hard for one of them.
Working in that office of Parsons’
Her name was Margarete
“Maggie”

She was, of course, an Arab.
But ‘Western-ized and Western- sized:

Meaning ‘Slightly Chunky.’

We fell headlong into love.

This was a monumental fuckup on my/her part.

I knew better—or should have—we both should have…

Known Better

We did, but we chose to ignore

The danger

******

To Be Continued…

Later

Street Cred for Shared Vid: dcck123

*****

Some Smallish Added Value:

Please Don’t Shit in my Showers (a revisit)

Please show some love.

Dispatches From Afghanistan: Mouses, Goats, and Snakes Oh My!

The Jordanians are coming: Specifically the JAF. (Jordanian Armed Forces) They will be living here in my LSA 2. Wonderful. Each of my tents have a capacity of 120 U.S. Marines. They ain’t comphy, but they cozy and U.S. Marines do not complain. They are Marines. The JAF contingent will top off at one hundred. They have been promised three of my tents. The math doesn’t work for me. I need every tent I have (twenty-four) to serve the Marines who transit through Dwyer on their way to the war.

After some lobbying (and predictions of pissed off Marines who won’t have a tent to sleep in), I got the JAF allocation down to two tents. Why after all these years the Jordanian government has decided to send troops to southern Afghanistan, I am not sure. But I have a theory:  U.S. Department of State. Yep. Not military necessity. Not a request from the coalition of governments already represented here. Not the U.S. Military. Nope. Politics.

I have nothing against Jordan or the Jordanian people. In fact, I love them. I lived and worked in Amman Jordan for six months back in ‘07 while working to close out the paperwork on the USAID Rural Water Project we had completed in Iraq. (Bechtel, the prime contractor, had decided there was no point to continually put our lives at risk in Iraq doing paperwork we could just as easily finish in their Jordan offices).

I had a meeting with the Mayor’s Cell here on Dwyer. (The ‘Mayor’s Cell’ is the term used for the administrative branch of the Marines who actually own Camp Dwyer.) All decisions of the Mayor are final. Except, I found out, when it comes to the JAF and their accommodations.  Apprehensive over the impending arrival of the Jordanians, I asked the Mayor, “Does the Mayor’s Cell have any special directive for treatment of the JAF?”

wpid-IMG_0685-2011-06-26-11-39

“Not at all Son. Treat ‘em like Marines.”

“Yessir!” (This was the response I had been hoping for)

With the help of the Labor Department and a few of my staff, I readied the two tents for the Jordanians. We were told to expect roughly one hundred men, so we set up fifty-five military cots in each tent. These tents in LSA 2 are best described as ‘Spartan.’ There are four ‘doors’ which are simply canvas flaps about four feet wide. When the wind is up the flaps flap open allowing Afghanistan to blow inside. The occupants are not allowed to tie the flaps shut, as this creates a safety hazard in the event of a fire—no quick egress. Each of the tents has two HVAC units. They are inadequate for the weather extremes here. The tents are in disrepair. They leak, they sag, they have mold. I cannot get approval from the Mayor’s Cell through DynCorp to provide anything more than patchy maintenance. “A lick and a promise.” That’s all. They tell me, “No more funding is available for LSA 2. Deal with it.”

Continue reading

“Letter From a South Park Jail” Part Two

South Park: Full-Day The First

For those who may not have read Part One,  

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

***

1820hrs: South Park

Checked into South Park and got me a bottom rack—With a Lockable Locker!

My Bottom Rack (with I-Pad)

First time that has ever happened!

Unhappy news is now it is too late to get to the CAC badging office and they are closed on Sundays. Therefore, I waste a day here. But at least I have you now (don’t I?) and can occupy my time with thoughts of us in Dubai in a few short weeks.

And just in case I take a pause from that lovely daydream, I have fetched along Ishmael, Captain Ahab, and Moby Dick to keep me company: just a little light reading.

Sunday 29 July 0830hrs: South Park Smoking Area

Sitting outside in the smoking area surrounded by Bosnians all on one table, Indians on another, Filipinos at yet another, a few Americans strategically placed, and on and on. Oh, and some Brits, also strategically placed.

The Gomers have a ‘work detail’ list. They are dreaming if they broach this subject to me. I am Forced to Be Here; that is all they will receive from me: My illustrious presence and my promise not to kill anyone while here. Every morning at muster, we are compelled to sign in on the Sign in Sheet. Lest we forget, there are signs everywhere to remind us:

“If You Do Not Make Muster and Sign In You Will Not Be Paid. And Furthermore: Not Making Muster Will Result In Disciplinary Action Up To And Including Termination (And An Ass Rendering Administered By Conan Our Resident Barbarian) Thank You for Complying and have a nice day…yada yada yada.”

South Park HQ

Don’t Lose Your Sanity Over The South Park’s Bull-Shit-Enmity

I found DynCorp to be a little too subtle for my taste. I always like to know exactly where I stand with a company I am helping to fleece the Government on the backs of low-paid TCN’s. (OK, I promised I would not ‘dis’ DynCorp. Overmuch.)

0859hrs: South Park DFAC (Dining Facility) Tent

Sitting in the South Park DFAC, such as it is, having some coffee, such as that is. AFN (Armed Forces Network) is on the TV. Yes, there is a television (another first). This is all we ever see over here (was the same in most parts of Iraq, but when I was in Basra, I could watch Al Jazeera—in English–but that probably wasn’t looked upon too kindly) and actually, it ain’t bad.

They pretty much broadcast the same shit one gets back in The States: CNN, Fox, ESPN, lousy movies, Andy Griffith, etc. The only way to know you are watching AFN, in fact, is by the ‘Commercials’:

All PSA’s detailing how U.S. Service Personnel are expected to comport themselves and various other things mil-centric. Some of these “Made in the U.S. DOD commercials” are quite professional and slick as Baby Shit, while others are so bad as to be hysterical. I love watching the bad ones–the ones that look like High School Plays.

1015hrs: DFAC

More coffee. Regarding last night’s rocket attack: (Guess I neglected to mention that) My Dear, this is just routine for KAF. As far as I know, it has been at least two months since the Taliban Assholes have actually hit anything or injured anyone. In other words, they usually can’t hit shit.

Point being, please do not worry about THAT.

(I just caught myself looking for the “Save” button on this steno pad. I must be losing my mind.)

1127hrs: DFAC

DFAC

Just returned from PX Mission: Mission accomplished. No apparent casualties.

1134hrs: Picnic Area

Got kicked out of the DFAC so ‘they’ could clean it before lunch time (1230hrs). Purchased an alarm clock at the PX since I have to get up at 0345hrs tomorrow to go to the CAC badging office and I forgot to bring my Dwyer alarm clock with me. “Hell Lance! It’s only money.” I now have three alarm clocks plus my watch.

“As God as my witness, I’ll never be late again!”

‘Picnic’ Area

Ran into an acquaintance from Dwyer. His name escapes me, but he told me Dwyer was slated for closure in December. Hmmmm…. I may be out of a job soon. Maybe they did cancel Christmas after all.

1255hrs: Sitting on my rack…

…after I came ‘home’ and discovered two Gomers with their butts parked on same.

They removed/relocated their butts as soon as I pointed out that I was not (in this case) a very nice person. In case you missed it, I am never a very nice person while I am stuck in South Park.

But then, I am not alone in this sentiment.

Lunch, or as we call it in The Texas, ‘Dinner’, was eat-able. I had the chicken because the other meat offerings were unrecognizable to me.

 Wasn’t bad actually; the chicken (yard-bird?) was burned to perfection.

OK, NOT My Rack

While I was on my PX Foraging Mission, I was also searching for the Gym someone at Dwyer had assured me was ‘Close to the PX’ – didn’t find it and now it is too bloody hot to go on another reconnaissance expedition.  

If you’re wondering how I am able to move freely about, sans escort, it is because ‘they’ changed the rules once again. This time for the better: A First in all my previous South Park experiences. Now those in possession of a valid CAC card are no longer restricted in their movements, bowel or otherwise.

Praise Be to The Great White Cat of the River Nile.

1313hrs: Sirens Again! Then the BIG VOICE:

*ROCKET ATTACK! ROCKET ATTACK! TAKE COVER! TAKE COVER!*

(Don’t these people ever give up?)

Be right back…

1315hrs: Still sitting on my rack

ALL CLEAR! ALL CLEAR!

Glad I didn’t bother to get up.

Probably a false alarm.

How do they expect me to get distressed when the BIG VOICE is female with a soothing British accent?

1405hrs: Sitting on my rack

Waiting on the Gomers to finish cleaning the DFAC Tent so I can get another coffee. I seem to drink heavily when I am on-board (bored) South Park.

Oh, I forgot to tell you… After I kicked the two Gomes off’n my rack, I asked one of them to take my photo (action shot of me writing to you)

Look for it amongst the attachments. It will be the one whut says, “Bad Mutha-Fuckah.”

“Bad Mo’ Fo'”

1435hrs: DFAC

I suppose it is time to explain why I use the term ‘Gomer’ when referring to TCN’s (and everyone else On Staff, for that matter).

During my Iraq Days, I had a good friend (Rick) who referred to the Iraqis as ‘Gomers’. Not sure how he arrived at that, but it seemed to fit at the time:

Gomer, Gomer Pyle or ‘Get Out of My Emergency Room’

(Really. Google it.)

Anyway, the moniker took hold. Took hold so well that all in our clique began using it to refer to all ‘others’.

And let me further say it actually became, over time, somewhat of a term of endearment.

Gomer 1 and Gomette 2 Amman Jordan ’08

We started calling each other ‘Gomer’.

Since there were several of us, now all Gomers, things could get confusing. To prevent miscommunication, we labeled each other ‘Gomer 1’, ‘Gomer 2’, ‘Gomer 3’, and so on. I was, of course, ‘Gomer 1’ (and I can prove that. I have documentation—and it was a high honor.)

There were never more than four Original Gomers, or ‘Gomes’ for short, but we did have one ‘Alternate Gomer’, just in case one of the Founding Gomers got taken out by an Iraqi Gomer with a lucky mortar shot.

Ten Gomers and One Gommette

Basra, Iraq ca. 2007

Welcome to the Gomer – Zone

Yes. We all lost our minds in Basra, Iraq, ca. 2005-2008

“Gomer-Zone”

Narrator: Lance Marcom

Cinematographer: Michael Perkins

All Rights Reserved

(Discovery Channel Mockumentary in pre-production)

***

2002hrs: My Rack

Was wonderful to discover several emails from you earlier.

Unfortunately it took forever to load Gmail and by the time I had finished reading them I had no time left to respond. It was time for everyone to start entering their hours on the electronic time sheets.

 We must do this every day and Management has no sense of humor if we don’t.

(Up to and including termination…)

Supper tonight was turkey, which tasted suspiciously very much like the chicken I had for lunch.

Available also was some roast beast, but I had to take a pass on that.

(My sense of self-preservation is quite well refined)  

I went on Walk-About for about an hour this afternoon, but of course it wasn’t the same as when I am ‘Home’ on Dwyer since I don’t have my ankle weights with me.

I’m proud of me for making the effort, at least.

2029hrs DFAC

Coffee. Hell, why not coffee? I probably won’t sleep much tonight anyway and I have to get up at 0345hrs anyhow. Ran into the aforementioned buddy again (still cannot recall his name), not that it matters.

Well, he told me exactly where the gym was and it is NOT where some other buddy back at Dwyer had told me. If fact, it is about as far removed from THAT location as is possible. If I am not too whacked out after the CAC Badging office, I will check it out and report my findings to you.

If all goes well, tomorrow will be my last full day here until I come through on my way to Dubai. I had an email from Shannon today, saying that Mike was still hanging on.

Christ! Firing that jerk is proving more involved than impeaching Clinton (or Nixon).

I was hoping he’d be gone when I got back, but now I’m not so sure.

This DFAC tent is actually pretty squared away, now that I am really studying it. It is small yes, but the Gomes keep it clean and tidy. Not really an easy task, given the scores of people who use it at all hours. I never leave a mess when I depart. I am good that way and am famous for cleaning my own hotel rooms before checking out.

Does that make me weird? Don’t worry though; I’m not anal about it.

One thing that strikes me funny about this DFAC tent is that there are three smoke detectors (that I can see from where I am sitting) that are all clumped together in relatively the same area—about six feet apart. Logic would seem to dictate that they be spread out a bit, but what the hell, right?

Makes changing the batteries much more efficient and less time-consuming, I suppose.

***

Part Three Soon

Please Don’t Shit in my Showers

Dispatches From Afghanistan: Mouses, Goats, and Snakes, Oh My!

***

The Jordanians are coming!

The Jordanians are coming!

Specifically the JAF. (Jordanian Armed Forces)

They will be living here in my LSA 2.

Wonderful.

Each of my tents have a capacity of 120 U.S. Marines. They ain’t ‘comphy’, but they cozy and U.S. Marines do not complain. They are Marines.

The JAF contingent will top off at one hundred. They have been promised three of my tents. The math doesn’t work for me. I need every tent I have (twenty-four) to serve the Marines who transit through Dwyer on their way to the war.

After some lobbying (and dire predictions of pissed off Marines who won’t have a tent to sleep in), I got the JAF allocation down to two tents.

Why after all these years the Jordanian government had decided to send troops to southern Afghanistan, I am not sure. But I have a theory:  “U.S. Department of State.” 

Yep.

Not military necessity. Not a request from the coalition of governments already represented here. Not the U.S. Military.

Nope.

Politics.

I have nothing against Jordan or the Jordanian people. In fact, I love them. I lived and worked in Amman Jordan for six months back in ‘07 while working to close-out the paperwork on the USAID Rural Water Project we had completed in Iraq. (Bechtel, the prime contractor, had decided there was no point to continually put our lives at risk in Iraq doing paperwork we could just as easily finish in their Amman offices).

I had a meeting with the Mayor’s Cell here on Dwyer. (The ‘Mayor’s Cell’ is the term used for the administrative branch of the Marines who actually own Camp Dwyer.) All decisions of the Mayor are final. Except, I found out, when it comes to the JAF and their accommodations.

Apprehensive over the impending arrival of the Jordanians, I asked the Mayor, “Does the Mayor’s Cell have any special directive for treatment of the JAF?”

“Not at all Son. Treat ‘em like Marines.”

“Yessir!” (This was the response I had been hoping for)

With the help of the Labor Department and a few of my staff, I readied the two tents for the Jordanians.

We were told to expect roughly one hundred men, so we set up fifty-five military cots in each tent. These tents in LSA 2 are best described as ‘Spartan.’

There are four ‘doors’ which are simply canvas flaps about four feet wide. When the wind is up the flaps flap open allowing Afghanistan to blow inside.

You Can Run From The Sand, But You Cannot Hide

The occupants are not allowed to tie the flaps shut, as this creates a safety hazard in the event of a fire—no quick egress.

Each of the tents has two HVAC units. They are inadequate for the weather extremes here. The tents are in disrepair. They leak, they sag, they have mold. I cannot get approval from the Mayor’s Cell through DynCorp to provide anything more than patchy maintenance.

“A lick and a promise.” That’s all. They tell me, “No more funding is available for LSA 2. Deal with it.”

I made a prediction to Shannon (my immediate supervisor and good friend): “Duck, I said, “There ain’t no way those Jordanians are gonna sleep on cots.”

Why not?” he says, “They Soldiers, ain’t they?”

“Hide and watch what happens when they get here and have a look inside their tents,” was all I said.

Two days later they arrived. I got them checked in, inspected the tents with their liaison officer, and had him sign for the cots. (Over his protestations)

Next day I observed about a dozen Marines off-loading brand new bed frames and brand new, thick mattresses (still wrapped in clear plastic!) from two flatbed trucks.

And I have trouble getting replacement cots for the ones rendered unserviceable due to fair wear and tear.

Again, “Deal with it.”

I got on the phone and called Shannon over at LSA 3, “Hey Duck, get over here to LSA 2. You ain’t gonna believe the shit I’m lookin’ at.”

I couldn’t wait to hear his comments once he saw the Marines struggling to assemble the bed racks and unwrapping the new mattresses.

“Well, I’ll be damned. You called this one Bro. Hey! Those are brand new fuckin’ mattresses. The red ones. The best ones! Mayor’s Cell been telling me they got no replacement mattresses for my LSA Three. Shit-Mother-Fuck!”

(LSA 3 was for permanent residents: CHUs—Containerized Housing Units–instead of tents and beds instead of cots, but money for that LSA’s maintenance was also drying up.)

LSA 3 CHUs

***

Over the next week there was a flurry of construction inside the two JAF tents. The Jordanian officers wanted separate rooms inside the tents.

No problem. Approved. Then built.

These flaps won’t do; we need doors.

No problem. Approved. Then built.

We want our own smoking area with table and benches.

No problem. Approved. Then built.

(They continued to smoke inside their tents anyway—serious safety violation)

Another safety and health violation concerned food. We forbid any and all food in the tents. The only consumable allowed in the tents was water.

The Jordanian officers had their junior enlisted personnel deliver plates of food to them from the DFAC. (Dining Facility)

I observed some Jordanians washing pots and pans in one of the Ablution Units Yes, ‘ablution’

(For some strange reason this is what the U.S. Military called the trailers which had the showers and shitters. Smacked of religious ritual to me.)

So I knew they were also cooking inside their tents. Of course I confronted their officers over this MAJOR safety hazard, only to be lied to:

LSA2_tents

LSA 2 Tents

“No. No cooking. Just making coffee and tea.”

“Doesn’t matter. It must stop immediately. You are putting the entire LSA at risk from fire.”

Few days later I was visited in my little office by the JAF liaison officer, (a man I had actually become good friends with)

“Salaam,” I said.

“Howdy” he said back. He had been trying to teach me Arabic and I was trying to teach him Texican.

“What can I do for you my friend?”

“We have mouses.”

I had to laugh. “Mouses, eh? You know why you have ‘mouses’, don’t you?”

“No,” he replied softly, studying his boots.

“You have mouses because your folks are bringing food into the tents.”

“Oh no, No food. Just cookies and things like that.”

“Uh huh,” was all I could muster.

“We need traps and poison.”

“I can get you those, but until your men stop eating in the tents, you’re gonna have mice. And guess what comes next?”

Looking up he said, “Don’t know. What?”

Snakes” I said.

“I don’t like snakes,” he said, now looking horrified.

“Well, the food brings the mice and the mice bring the snakes: simple Darwin progression.”

“Who is this ‘Darwin’? He the one with the traps and poison?”

“Never mind. Look, you have to try to stop your men from keeping food in the tents. That’s the only way to get rid of the mice. Or if you don’t want to do that, you may soon discover a snake in your bed.”

“I don’t like snakes,” he said again.

“Listen my friend,” I said as sincerely as I could. “Personally I don’t care if your guys eat in their tent and I am sorry you have mice and soon you will have snakes. This doesn’t bother me at all.”

“But, what if,” I continued, “one of the snakes gets bad info from another snake as to where the mice can be found? Perhaps that snake gets lost and wanders into the wrong tent, a tent with hot and dusty and tired and hacked-off U.S. Marines.”

“Now suppose one of these Marines don’t like snakes any more than you do. Suppose this Marine freaks the fuck out and empties a clip in the general direction of the snake. You see where I’m goin’ with this? Then the Marine finds out the snake was just trying to find your tents. Now you have bigger issues than ‘mouses’, me, and snakes. You have one severely pissed off Marine.”

“I am beginning to understand,” He said.

“Good. I will get you the traps and I’ll have the Vector Control lady put out more poison. Anything else I can do for you?”

“No. Thanks,” he said as he turned toward the door, then looked back and said, “Adyoose.”

I laughed and said, “Mas Salaami.”

Some days later I had a visit from Labor One. (See the Wheeless Wheelbarrow post)  The Labor guys were responsible for the twice-daily cleaning of the Ablution Units, Among myriad other responsibilities.

“Labor One! What brings you to my humble LSA Office?” I greeted him.

“I have problem,” he announced. (His Romanian accent is music)

“Well, I am here to help. If I can. What is the nature of your problem?”

“The Jordanians are making a shit in showers again,” he said.

“What do you mean ‘Again’? This is the first I’ve heard of this,” I said, somewhat pissed that this had not been brought to my attention before now.

“Ya. They make a shit in shower. Sometimes they make a shit in the back of toilet.”

“The ‘back’ of the toilet?”

“Ya. You know, the part that has the water.”

Still somewhat confused, I asked, “You mean the reservoir with the flushing mechanics in it?”

“Ya, They take lid off, stand on toilet seat and make a shit in dere.”

“Unbelievable!”

“Oh ya. Believe it.”

“OK. OK. I’ll look into this,” I said with a heavy sigh.

His crew was a mite squeamish, so I really needed to fix this little problem.

The problem of course is that all the ablution units had western style toilets. Middle East folks do not like to sit on a toilet. They prefer to squat.  They also do NOT like to discuss anything relating to shit and toilets, squatting or sitting. I would have to approach this one with tact and diplomacy:

“You Shit Here:

NOT HERE:

I had fielded complaints from a few Marines about Jordanians washing their feet in the sinks as well. No ‘small feat’ (pun maybe intended), my aging body could even attempt, the limberness and elasticity having long since gone.

At this point I should explain why the Jordanians were billeted in LSA 2 in the first place. Dwyer had an Afghani LSA which seemed to me more appropriate.

After some enquiry I found out the JAF didn’t terribly much care for Afghans. Why then, since they are not transients, but actually doing Six-Month tours of duty here, are they not billeted in one of the LSA’s for long term residents?

The reason: They wanted to live close to the Mosque. LSA 2 has the only Mosque on Dwyer. It is a tent just like the other tents, but it had somehow been ‘Mosque-a-fied’.  

I confess ignorance of the ways of Islam, so I cannot tell you what that means precisely. But apparently it means a lot. At any rate, I had the care and feeding of the Jordanians for the foreseeable future.

When Ramadan came around, all five DFACs on Dwyer changed their operating hours to accommodate the one hundred or so Jordanians of the JAF.

Basically this meant the evening meal hour was pushed back until after sundown, seriously pissing off any Marine you cared to ask.

This had not been done for past Ramadans even though Camp Dwyer must have had hundreds of Muslims already living and working onboard.

My morning commute took me past the Mosque and the JAF tents on my way to my office on the opposite end of LSA 2.

The day before the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr or Feast of Breaking the Fast, I was greeted by the bleats of two very shaggy goats which were tied up to a stack of wooden pallets.

Between bleats they were munching on a pile of orange peels, apples, and some other items I didn’t recognize.

As far as I knew, the only animals authorized on board Dwyer were the military dogs owned and operated by the Marines.

“Mike’s gonna go ‘bullshit’ when he sees this” I thought as I walked past the goats toward my office. “And I’m gonna love it.” (Note: Mike was the Billeting Manager, and not one of my favorite people. For more on his story please refer to my recent post:

 Emails From Afghanistan: My Boss, aka: ‘That Guy I Wouldn’t Want Running An Elevator For Me’

Every morning at 0700hrs we conducted a meeting of the Military Billeting side of the Big Billeting Department House. This meeting was always held in my office. As folks were filing in that day all had some commentary about the goats.

Persad probably had the most to say, as Persad was always full of opinion (Note: Please refer to Below) 

A Conversation Over a Plywood Wall In a Tent in Afghanistan

“Hey Mar-cone,” he began. “Did ya see dem goats over to the Jordanians?”

“Yeah Persad. Kinda hard to miss ‘em.”

“What dem Jordanian need wid dem goat?”

“Buddy, I really don’t wanna think on that before I get some coffee in me.”

“Well…I tink they don’t need dem goat here.”

“Persad, guess what I ‘tink’? I think I don’t give a shit. We’ll kick it up to Mayor’s Cell. The Mayor must have authorized the goats. I mean, how do you suppose they got past security at the main gate?”

“Mistah Mike, he gonna be pee oh’d ‘bout dem goat. Ya know, he doan like nuthin’ outta ordinary.”

“You let me worry ‘bout Mike.”

“Okay Boss, but dem goat…”

Mike showed up a few hours later and upon entering my office said, “Marcom, do you realize there are goats in your LSA? In front of the JAF tents?”

“Goats? Mike, you know pets aren’t authorized. I ain’t seen no goats. You sure ‘bout this?”

Mike opened my office door and said, “Look down there. Goats!”

I got up from my desk and slowly walked to the door. Looking out, I said. “Mike. There are goats in the LSA.”

“Marcom, you had to have known this. Stop fucking with me. I want you to go over to the Mayor’s Cell and tell the Mayor about these goats.”

“Michael, this is above my pay grade. You know I never bother the Mayor with my little issues,” I lied. (The Mayor and I were on a ‘first-name basis’ and we were friends).

“Why don’t you, as Billeting Manager, manage on over there and talk to him? Your words will carry more weight. But I figure the Mayor knows already. I mean, he must have authorized the goats. I’d even venture that they have Dwyer ID badges. Did you check to see if they had badges?”

Why he didn’t fire me, I can only speculate. I played a major role in his getting shit-canned months later, but I probably should not detail that here, as I am using his real name and this story is all truth, and I don’t wanna get sued or something and… and… and.

Suffice to say, Mike was not well-liked by anyone I have ever met. I will leave it at that.

Mike kept on fuming, “This LSA is your responsibility. You better get to the bottom of this goat business before close of business today.”

“Okay Mike. Relax. I will sort this out, but that one goat, the one with the baby-shit-brown eyes, she kinda cute.”

He turned on his heel and left my office, slamming the door.

Lashonda remarked, “Lance, one day you gonna push that man too far.”

“Naw. We friends an’ shit Lashonda. It’s all good.”

Lashonda rolled her eyes, then said, “Lance, I love you, you crazy white-boy sonuvabitch.”

(She had been treated badly by Mike in the past and did not favor him at all)

LaShonda

I walked down to the JAF tents looking for my Jordanian friend (the liaison one). Found him and asked about the goats.

“They are for our Eid al-Fitr,’ he informed me.

“Friend, you cannot have goats here. How did you get them past security?”

“They said it was okay.”

“Really? Did the Mayor sign off on this?”

“Not exactly. I told the security men that this was OK with the Marines.”

“So, the Mayor’s Cell knows nothing of this?”

“No My Friend, they don’t,” he said, once again, studying his boots as he did so.

“You do realize I must tell the Mayor, don’t you?”

“Yes,” he sighed, looking up at me. “But if you will give me a few hours, I will make them disappear. Eid is very important to us and we need to have our feast.”

“Okay My Friend, but if you slaughter these goats and cook them in my LSA, I am not gonna be happy. Not even one drop of goat blood better hit the ground of my LSA. Understood?”

Don’t worry. I will take them out of Camp with tonight’s patrol and we will cook them there and bring them back in the morning.”

“Good enough. But I want a plate of roasted goat delivered to me for lunch tomorrow.”

“Hahaha! Yes Boss. You will have it!”

“Shukran,” I said and left him to it.

****

Closing Arguments:

Poo Poo Song:  “Let’s Poo in the Potty”

Arabia (Amman, Chapter The First) “Maggie”

I worked in Amman Jordan for six months.
(Parsons/Bechtel evacuated Iraq at the end of our project—USAID Rural Water Project)

We had completed all the ‘on-the-ground’-work.
Nothing left to do but finalize the paper-work.
We could do this in Jordan.

It was ‘safer

So said Parsons—No need to get anyone else kilt in Iraq—Made sense I suppose.

I protested.
To no avail.

I wanted to remain in Iraq.
Guess what?

My opinions did not matter.
So I flew to Amman.

Parsons maintained an office there.
Employed locals.

An aside/preamble:
Jordan has some of the most beautiful women in the world.
“Danger Will Robinson!” AKA Lance Marcom

I fell hard for one of them.
Working in that office of Parsons’
Her name was Margarete
“Maggie”

She was, of course, an Arab.
But ‘Western-ized and Western- sized:

Meaning ‘Slightly Chunky.’

We fell headlong into love.

This was a monumental fuckup on my/her part.

I knew better—or should have—we both should have…

Known Better

We did, but we chose to ignore

The danger

******

To Be Continued…

Street Cred for Shared Vid: dcck123

*****

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