Monday, January 28, 2008

Graveyard Shift

"I couldn’t see the makeshift dip cup PV2 Van Wilder spat into, but I heard his deposit splash into the pool of tobacco brown before he answered my question.

“No worries, Sir, we’re doing fine.”

In the limp, ambiguous darkness of the hours between midnight and dawn, I could only make out the outline of my soldier’s shape three feet away from me. We were on the roof of the American combat outpost, overwatching Hell’s ghetto, making small talk to disrupt the brittle chill in the night. I smirked back at PV2 Van Wilder, whose grin I could feel penetrating the black. Due to his contagious good nature and experience with the more jovial moments life can offer those of us willing to play the clown, he had become a leader for the Joes from the day he showed up to our unit. So, doing whatever decent lieutenant would do when making the rounds to check on his guys on guard, I had hurled the awkwardly vague blanket question of “how are things going in the platoon, from your perspective?” at him. His quick reply had been what I should’ve expected – brief and upbeat."


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