Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Clearance sale on pointless stories

Well, I'm back at Al Asad, the land of milk & honey. In an amazing move that will surely go down in the tomes of history, I have been given two, count em' two days off. I realize that this is a fairly common practice back home, but it's unprecedented out here. I am a wealthy man until Saturday.

This reward is borne from our efforts in Al Qaim, where we constructed a half-dozen SWA (South-West Asia) huts, a large Shock-Trauma Center, several guard towers, and another half-dozen decks for Bedouin tents. We did a bang-up job, and now we're reaping the sweet, sweet reward.

I have a few stories, as usual. Those that have asked me for stories about OIF I were usually given my personal favorite, the tale of Sid the Scorpion and his many triumphs against the worst insects I could throw at him. Well, with all the plywood & whatnot lying about, we managed to find a lot of scorpions and other assorted beasts.


The first match was Sammy the Spider (Camel Spider) Vs. Sid Vicious (Named in honor of Sid, the original champion). They were both about the same size, and the money was on Sid, naturally. As it turns out, this was a good bet. Since Sammy had no size advantage, Sid ended up holding him down with his claws, and stabbing him in the face a few times with his stinger.

Winner: Sid

A day or two later, we put Sid up against a slightly smaller scorpion, with predicable results. Sid took a hit or two, but kept his chin up and won the day.

Winner: Sid

The very day after the last battle, Sid did battle with Fluffy, another scorpion, again slightly smaller. Earlier that day, SSgt Fowler informed us that a scorpion, when surrounded by fire, would commit suicide with it's own stinger rather than suffer the flames. We all decided that the loser of this next battle would be put into the "Ring of Fire", to partake in the scorpion version of Hara-Kiri.

Unfortunately, Sid wasn't holding up so well with all this constant battle. He was slower and took several hits from Fluffy. However, Fluffy, with his considerable speed, was quick to run away at every opportunity. We had to keep pushing them together in order to keep the battle going.

Marines, as a general rule, are not known for their patience. After several rounds of "Push em' together, watch em' run away", Sgt Maus lost his patience. "C'mon, bitch, FIGHT!" he began to scream. Unfortunately, Sid had lost his stomach for battle. I imagine getting stung a few times will do that to a guy.

A chant began to emerge from the crowd. "Ring of fire! Ring of fire!".

"Fuck it, man" Sgt Maus continued, "They don't wanna fight, burn their asses."

And so the Ring of Fire was made. Using Alcohol-based hand sanitizer, A ring was made around the two of them, and set afire.

Fire will motivate anything. Both scorpions scrambled for a way out, passing through the flames, and setting themselves alight in the process. They immediately begain to thrash about. Now, most everyone agrees they were stinging themselves, but I'm not convinced. If you set me on fire, I would be doing the crazy dance too. Sure, you could say "Oh, he's punching himself! He's trying to kill himself so he doesn't have to burn to death!", but c'mon. I'm on fuckin' fire. Of course I'm flailing. I'm on fire.

Winner: Fire

Volleyball, Homoeroticism and Lobster Man.

A curious thing happens when you put a bunch of guys together for months. You start doing things you would never, ever do back home. Like rub sunscreen or lotion into another man's back. In front of the guys. Or maybe someone in your platoon comes up and says "Hey man, I got a big knot in my back. Will you rub it out? I'll rub your back for you!" And you say "Yes."

Pretty soon, you're playing team sports in nothing but a tight pair of PT shorts and shoes. Welcome to the 1st Annual Al-Anbar province Volleyball Championships. Volleyball madness first began sweeping the company about two months ago. It was a small group of die-hards that played every night. Their influence has swept over us, and now volleyball is played every night. Sadly, I have also been consumed by the fever. I call out "Five serving Seven", wearing tight shorts. I clap my hands when we make a point. I scream at teammates when they fail to properly "Set". We all get real sweaty and then give each other high-fives.

Someone help me, because I can't help myself.

I make the mistake of not applying the sweatproof sunscreen, and my back is burned horribly. Every move is extremely painful, and I forget one of the taboos of heterosexual culture. "Hey, hey...Sgt Gonzalez. Wanna do me a favor? Want to rub some lotion in on my back? He acquiesces quickly, because his back is burned too. And so of course I'll rub his back in exchange.

Help me, help me, help me. I can't stop myself.

I'm so red I am given the nickname of "Lobster Man". And hey, while we're discussing sunburns, what the hell is it that makes everyone come up and give you a big old wallop on the back whenever you scorch yourself?

Any Marine: Hey Doody! How the hell are you? *SLAP*

Doody: Aaaaaaaaggghhhh!

Any Marine: Whoa-ho-ho! A little sunburned, are we?

Doody: No kidding, mouthbreather!

Any Marine: Well, I was gonna say sorry, but now..... *SLAP*

Doody: Gaaaaaagggggghhhhhhhh!

So now my body has a little race going: Lung Cancer Vs. Skin Cancer, which one can kill Dave first? Unbeknownst to both of them, I am going to quit smoking and carry a parasol everywhere once I get home.

So that's about all the entertainment I can wring out of my little AQ trip. As always, an update will be put together soon. Apologies to anyone that was stuck worrying about me in light of the Operation Sword situation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your missives with great interest. Condolences to the 1Sgt's family. I hope your CO and injured Marines are recovering with all speed.

Luke T.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lobster- Please help me with an etiquette question. If you found a camel spider in your chow would you still need to tip the Maitre d'?

2:40 PM  
Blogger PirateLad said...


All the injured Marines are on their way to recovery. The worst of the injured, Crabtree, is recuperating on the East Coast. He has undergone (and will continue to recieve) some facial reconstruction surgery, but he'll keep his eye. For awhile there, it didn't sound so good.

For whoever needs the etiquette help, I'm not sure what one should do in that situation. I think camel spiders only live over here. If I found one in my food, there would probably be some screaming involved and a long-held fetal position. Not sure about the tip, though.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More stories. Please.

10:21 AM  
Blogger PirateLad said...

I'll try and remember a story or two I haven't posted before. I just don't want people getting bored with weak stories. I mean, if everybody really wants to hear about how I got my watchband fixed, I suppose I can tell it.

But you know, now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever covered a "typical day" out here. Maybe I can do something with that.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope you're havin' a good 4th of July. We are always thinking about you. Come home soon... there's gonna be a party!!!

Love you,

Dad & Kim

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Home Business said...

Hi Pir eLad, I am enjoying some idle time and looking to see what Freedom from a Job will bring up. Clearance sale on pointless stories is certainly interesting and informative. Freedom from a Job is a good word to bring into the conversation. Great post. Enjoy your day!

9:33 PM  

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