• Ryan Vestil

The Fly (Exagerated for comic relief)

The night was young, it was D-day plus sixteen, “I think????” about sixteen days from the moment the entire battalion left Camp Ryan and made our push towards the border. It was extremely hot that evening, and every bead of rolling down from my forehead was accompanied by a fly. This was all new to the guys and I. We had been on the move for the past two weeks since crossing the border. This was actually the first time that we found ourselves established in one place. Even though we've been here for a few days now, collectively, we were still in the dark. Where our Area of Operation was going to be was still unknown to the entire crew. Our destination was a secret, we’ve been using ZULU time since we’ve been in country, so the time and the day was lost to us.

Earlier that day, we had set-up camp somewhere within a three mile radius of Al Kut Airbase, a supposed hot zone. This was gonna be the battalions crowning achievement, just beyond the wire was home to the Iraqi Air Force. This was just another way for retarded field grades to earn their battle streamers. That grimy little town of Al Kut and its base was the only thing that stood between Baghdad and the Marines. As things began to wind down, we assembled our tent. It was in an old 1940’s, 1950’s, Korean War relic, that should be on display at a museum of some sort, that we found to be our home. The tent was olive drab, which made no sense considering we were in a desert, but then we were wearing woodland MOPP gear (another layer of retardation the Corps does). It reeked of old moldy socks and pinesol. It was still made out of canvas. It could only confine fifteen of us, but we manage to fit all twenty-one of us, I felt like I was in a sardine can. Having all of us in this relic made the stench even more caustic, since we haven’t bathed in almost three weeks. After we put it together, it still leaned a little to the left because it was held together by an old rickety post that was held together with duct tape and slash-wire. We all knew by then that this was gonna be home for a while.

Four of my men to the left of me were up and playing spades and five more were playing “UNO”. The men sat and bickered about who misdealt for at least an hour, while the rest had already fallen asleep. We knew to take advantage of this down time but for some of us, it was quite difficult to sleep with having a daily diet of NoDose, ephedra and ripped-fuel, they were as erect as an eighty year old mans’ penis on Viagra. Its’ been quite sometime that we all were on solid ground, not in a bed of a moving sand blanketed truck, not face out towards the dry desert air on the gun turret, or standing on the back of a moving HUMVEE as we pull past one of those mud hut towns. This was more bullshit time that we were accustomed to. Sleep had been such a limited resource since crossing over.

Marines are simple beings, a promise a full nights rest by our commander last week gave me quite a chubby. Finally promise fulfilled. Despite the fact that the fighting was just a mile away, by this time we learned to “tune things out”. There was a barrage of artillery and mortar fire taking place at that exact moment. You could hear your occasional fire fight between coalition and insurgents. That hasn’t fazed us at all. I myself just came back from reading Penthouse letters and jerking off and a shave.

As I lay in my cot, covered with two inches of sand from the stirring sandstorm, I day dreamed of hot meals, showers, and sunny beaches. Then it hit me, our aroma combined, could scare off a skunk. Our stench had become part of us by then. You could bottle up our stink and name it “Prison Sex” (as the group dubbed it). It never dawned on me how dire our living conditions were. Despite the lack of sleep, all I could think about was a nice toilet to sit and drop a duecer on. I was fed up of the make shift hole on the ground toilet with a humvee tire for a seat; it wore on me earlier today.

While I sat there on that tire contemplating my future, I watched this one Fly buzz around my “Jarhead”. As the Fly buzzed around me, it slowly lands on the tip of my nose. I then swat at it, it was too fast for me. It continued to fly around, so I kept my eyes on it and wondered what it would do next, I had a chess match going on. Then it slowly makes its descent towards the hole. Moments later, it lands on that pile of shit. Without blinking, I kept my eyes on that Fly. Five seconds later, it starts to make its way back up. Still with my eyes on it, I watched it swirl around like a raging tornado. Next thing you know, this tornado quickly veers towards me. I flail my arms up around my head, as if I was on fire. I stop for a second, to look and assess the situation, not a peep. Next thing you know, I feel this slight tickle on the tip of my upper lip. My worst fears were realized at that moment, for that same Fly that was on that pile of shit was now on my lips. I knew then, I was in hell.

I had not had a shower for more than three weeks. A nice home cooked meal was light years away from reality. Although we had lots of sand, a scenic view of senoritas in bikinis, and a decent set of waves backed up with an off shore wind, at a nice Southern California beach, was only in our imaginations. To add insult to injury, that miniscule little Fly had no remorse what so ever when it landed on my lips.

The more I thought of that Fly, the more I coveted home. I then realized that life at home was not as bad as it seemed, despite the fact that times were hard. It made me appreciate the simplest things in my life, my wife at the time, my son and my unborn daughter; I missed them more and more. My mother, whom I disagree with all the time, I now pine for too. That summer with my Fly, made me realize that things maybe dreadful at times, but it will never go beyond these experiences I had with my comrades in that desert that year. Every time God plays a cruel joke, I always think back to that exact moment of me and my Fly, and then all my troubles just fades away.

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