Updated: Nov 14, 2019
I was able to attend the Wednesday Writers Whatchamacallit Zoom group again today and our writing prompt for this week was: In honor of Veterans Day, use someone you know that served and write a story about them.
My contribution is about a dear friend of mind whom was injured in Desert Storm. I've outlined his story before, in my memoir, I Am Nobody. However, I've talked with my friend once before about writing his story but as of yet, we've not gone down that road of adventure. Anyway, this short story is just a snippet of what he endured in Iraq.
Dedicated to all the veterans I know, I hope you enjoy:
The dust was unrelenting. It choked and clogged everything, making it not only difficult to see, but almost impossible to keep machinery running—and I needed my bike. The word from above will come down the line any minute now, and I have to get this thing running now.
My commanding officer stops by, offers a hand, but I turn him away, saying I have it under control. And I do, I really do. It’s just a matter of getting the filters cleaned, gears lubed, and all back into place in time. I’m almost there.
I pause in my efforts, looking out across the expanse of desert. To put into words the beauty of this place is difficult—it’s easier to just tell everyone that it’s hell on Earth. But I’d be lying—there is beauty in the wasteland before me, across the trench that marks the boundary between Kuwait and Iraq.
The trench—an abomination dug by man and machine, it’s a scar that will forever mark the events that will soon transpire here. I’ll soon be jumping it with this bike as I scout through the cracked ground, in search of the enemy. An enemy hiding in camouflaged holes, an enemy ready to shoot on site, and enemy ready to kill the lead man—the scout on the bike.
I place the last filter onto the engine and kick start it to life. It hums and rumbles but otherwise, is ready. I’ll sleep right next to it. It’ll be a light sleep, because when the word comes, I’ll have to mount, start it up, and zoom across that expanse of brown as the rest follow behind. I’m a scout. It’s what I do…and when the time comes, I’ll do it without question.
I'll do my job and I'll do it well.
I’ll do it until my bike is disabled and I have to resort to riding with the medic in a jeep. I'll do it until the moment the bullet strikes me in the head, throwing me to the ground. The bullet which saves me from the rocket-propelled-grenade. The grenade that destroys the jeep in which I'd been riding. Until the helicopter comes and takes my broken body up and away from the desert.
I'll do my job and I’ll do it well.