S. Sgt. Mac? That guy you gotta watch out for. He’s got your back, no doubt, but I’m tellin you, you watch him. He’s a crazy mofo, I tell you. Marco, you remember that night? Ya, of course you remember. Objective Osborne, not a month after we got here. Can’t forget that shit. Okay, okay, I s’pose I’ve had enough to rehash this, but, man. Man…okay.
Corporal Salazar takes a pull from whiskey inside a Mountain Dew bottle and chases it with a slug from a Rip-it, caffeinated drink. His brow tenses, and he exhales slowly. The whiskey smells strong. The small room is lit with a single fluorescent panel. Marco turns down Metallica playing over a portable CD player. Salazar extends the bottle to me. “Take this,” he says and continues,
Okay, so, me and Marco here and Lewis and jeez, who else... Oh yea, Pigpen, that fucker. All of us and Sgt. Mac, we roll up to this bastard’s house middle of the night in this Iraqi ghetto…. like all of Bagdhad, isn’t by now, right? Haha! But yea, I mean this place is the worst. Trash and shit everywhere. Literally, the shit and piss smell outside is so strong it makes your eyes burn. Random ass wires and cables hang so low across the roofs they’ll rip the gunner right out. And that’s a tip to you, man. Watch out for that shit, that is, if your ass ever gets out. Fuckin cherry. Haha Jeez.
Okay, yea, yea, right. So, all us roll up, the driver drops the ramp, and we stack on this bastard’s house.
He pauses. His jaw clenches.
God! This bastard. I swear…
He pounds the metal frame on his bed.
Right, Marco. Am I right? Haha, jeez. Alright. He’s got this rickety tin door Sgt. Mac. makes quick work of with the shotgun, and you know, Mac's gonna blow the lock and kick the door and be the first one in, every time. And he does this, and we flow in right behind him. I’m second, Marco’s third, Lewis fourth, and Pigpen, I don’t know, probably rollin in shit outside, lovin it, for real, haha! Com’on Marco. What? Fuck you. That’s right. You want to tell it? Huh? Yea, fuck you. Pass me that bottle.
He takes a swig, chases it with Rip-it, slowly exhales, and continues,
Right, right, okay. First room. Clear. But there’s one more. The door is a curtain, and I’m the nearest to it. Sgt. Mac on the other side and Lewis behind me and Marco Behind him, Pigpen wherever. The stacks on me, right? Yea. Once I feel Lewis push me, I flow into this other room, muzzle to the corner,
[He points to the corner of the small room like his hands are on a rifle]
[His hands swing left]
And there he is... the bastard, with his hands up, walking toward me. So, I grab his filthy man-dress with my non-firing hand, swing him around to Marco, and Marco here throws him to the floor…right, yea.
And the whole time, this bastard’s saying stuff. Speaking Haji, right. And I think, whatever…that’s what I think at first. But well, turns out he’s sweet talking his ol’ lady, just not into anything nice….you’ll see.
His old lady is crouched, unveiled on the floor, in the corner, about 10 feet away. And I can tell even through my NOD’s, she’s crying. She starts sobbing something back to this guy, who Marco’s got his fucking muzzle on, the bastard.
So, I’m thinking I’ll just grab this lady…you know. That’s what I think. I’ll just grab her no big deal, we will put her with the bastard, search the room and roll out, like we always, do. Again, no big deal. But I start walking toward her and Sgt. Mac stops me.
“Lassuna Portaka,” He yells at the girl… which, I’m stopping a second. Fuck you, Marco. This is important, okay. That’s what you say, remember it. lassuna Portaka means put you hands up. Say it. Lassuna portaka. Alright, Remember that.
Okay…where was I, right. So now, I want to see her hands too, so I say, “lassuna portaka,” and before long, the whole rooms saying it, but she doesn’t respond, just sobs more. “Where’s the terp?” Sgt. Mac. calls in, “Send us the terp,” and it turns out he’s right behind us, normally was. And he starts talking haji too. So, there’s this three way going, everyone kinda yelling now and confused. Then the girl stands up and starts walking toward us with her hands still tucked into her dress.
Lassuna Portaka I yell, I mean, everyone’s yelling now, and the terp, just goes, like, “get out!” He backs up and says this, and I’m like, the fuck? I turn around looking at him, and I hear Lewi call out, “Landslide! Landside,” Cause, yea… this girl…this bitch, yea, she has a grenade, And…Jesus. Sweet Mother Mary, you know Marco. Sweet Mary.
I turn back around, and start back peddling, tripping over this shit all over the place, thinking…I don’t know. And yea, then I hear it… 3 shots in quick succession, right into this bitch, this fucking bitch, three shots from her chest to her head. Sgt. Mac put them there…Jesus. She just slumped backward.
About ever body got out the room except me and Mac and well, the bastard still lying on the floor but now with his hands on the back of his neck, elbows shielding his face like a baby, and, you know…there’s the dead bitch. And the grenades next to her, but I imagine if she pulled it, we’d been dead already. Still, Sgt. Mac looks over and tells me to get in the other room already, so I do.
About 5 minutes go by, and I tell you what, Mac comes out with the bastard, dragging him by the collar, and the bastards looking roughed up, blood all over his face and well, you know...God.
He gets quiet. Locks eyes with me. I stare into them like two darkening abysses receding deeper and deeper. I break contact.
You like that story he snaps, Huh? You fucking Cherry. You like that? Next kill is mine, bitch. Next kill is…Marco, Hold on. Hold on, Marco. Yea, maybe it is best you fucking leave!