posted a BLOG item 21 days ago
It's late and I'm bored, here's something I was working on before the writer's block turned it's horrible head...
“It’s medication time, it’s medication time,” the nurse said over the loud speaker. The same music waved throughout the halls. Whoever thought of this daily recreation of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has a sense of humor drier the unholy desert that surrounds the hospital.
This hospital is on an ARMY base, a short drive outside the capital city of Afghanistan. The hospital wing, that the mellow tones of late 1970’s mental health is the non-military wing and today was Thomas Ray’s last day as a patient. After four long months, Thomas was going to make the journey home.
“Still can’t leave the gym can you?” Nurse Teri asked and watched Thomas finish his daily mile and a half run. Thomas always wanted to go further, but strict doctor’s orders kept him from it.
“Yea, is it cool to take this with me?” he laughed motioning towards the running treadmill.
“I would think you wouldn’t want any reminder of this place?” she asked and they both agreed quickly.
It was about four months earlier, when Thomas was brought into Nurse Teri’s life. It was about four months ago, Thomas’ life was going 80 miles per hour to a complete stop.
Thomas started his life in Afghanistan four years earlier as a cameraman for CNN. He was brought in for his skills under pressure and came highly recommended by one of the embedded reporters.
As soon as he landed, Thomas jumped into the country head first and had the world grasped in a matter of weeks. As weeks faded and months set in, Thomas was chomping at the bit to see the true action. His hope was answered in a sudden surprise.
“We’re heading out,” flashed across Thomas’ cell. The text was from Alex, he was the reporter Thomas worked with and the first person waiting by the elevator for him.
“Get it in gear dip,” Alex laughed and added, “Our pick up is down in the lobby.” The elevator doors opened; there were two large soldiers and a large stack of forms looming in front of them. These forms were the normal protocol for reporters and crew members in this situation.
“You two listen, do what you need to do, watch your asses, and you’ll be fine,” Staff Sgt. Myers said as Thomas finished his forms and nodded, but something made him freeze.
“Ed?” Thomas laughed and quickly hugged Myers , this was a surprise to everyone around.
“Alex, man this is Edison I’ve known this jackass for most of my life,” Thomas explained.
“What are you doing here?” Myers asked.
“Covering the war and your work, finally seeing some action after 4 years of waiting,” Thomas answered and was quickly pulled to the side by Myers.
“Bro it’s great to see you and all, but there is something you to get clear and clear fast,” Myers said and paused to breathe.
“You head out there and life can change in a blink, you always lived for the moment, it’s only a moment and things can be gone,” Myers finished and gave him another hug.
“Let’s get you out there and get you the hell out of there,” Myers told everyone as they left the lobby.
The city faded into the horizon and the world became a blank slate, an aftermath of eras of destruction. Sgt. Myers sat in the back giving a briefing for the next few days and the private drove. Alex sat listening to Myers, while Thomas checked the gear and prepping for the reports ahead of them.
“There’s a fire a head sir,” the private spoke with a tone that seemed second nature to see what was ahead.
“Kevlar if you got them boys,” Myers nodded towards Thomas and Alex. They didn’t even give it a second thought and grabbed their helmets.
“Give me coverage,” Myers told the privates while motioning Thomas and Alex to get down.
Thomas and the reporter sank to the floor of the hummer, the rest became a blur. The voices became muffled, as Thomas held the helmet tight to his head.
“Kind of like those earthquake drills bro,” Thomas remembered hearing Myers joke. Then the sudden silence lead to the perfect storm of reality, as a rocket propelled grenade hit the ground in front of the vehicle and the explosion sent the hummer flying.
Thomas’ heart sank to his stomach, as the bodies bounced through the air. The impact of the landing shook him back into reality, the blood pools began to form and everyone’s breaths became shallow, some just stopped.
“Who still has an ass on them,” one of the privates moaned. Everyone sounded off, but the other private stayed silent.
“You know the process, let’s get to a safe point,” Myers ordered and the private rolled out of a busted window. The reporter was the next out and Thomas moved slowly, but knew his arm wasn’t right.
“Bro we are a long way from Quint High aren’t we,” Myers joked and waited for the laugh. The moment could of lead to a random laugh and more inside jokes, but the quick triple sniper shot shattered the moment.
“What the hell?” Thomas shouted in a whisper, the sudden fear almost muted he voice. The silence gave Thomas an answer, the answer was stay silent you might just live.
The time slowly slipped away, the moments seemed to move nowhere and Thomas’ heart continued to beat at an ungodly rate.
As the sun began to fade, Myers passed a note to Thomas and kept looking forward.
“”I’d like my loved ones to have a body to see,” Thomas thought and reached for the note.
Thomas looked at Myers and notice he gaze was locked, but he could tell the gears in Myers’ mind never stopped.
Thomas opened the note and was shocked to read the message: “Give it another hour or so, when we get out run like hell Use the rock when you see fit.”
As he finished the note, his shocked feeling grew and Myers quietly passed a grenade.
The cold of the desert night rolled quickly into the remains of the hummer, as the bodies or the reporter and private still lay in the sand. Their pools of blood stained the windows that remained, Thomas could not move his gaze and Myers rolled bolt into his view. The moment had come, it was time to move or die.