I was wondering what it would be like to write a book. It can’t be that hard, right?
No man, it’s brutal. It’s like putting your naked soul on display.
Oh, what? It’s just telling a story bro come on.
No really, it takes a lot out of you.
OK, so how did it feel to get published then after all that?
I don’t know, a little relieving and a lot of embarrassing. I mean, I feel like strangers can read my book and know too much about me. The opportunity for sarcasm and scorn is too ripe.
I know, right?
Well how did you decide what to write about?
I didn’t. Actually, it kinda chose me. I just wrote about what happened and made it sound like I was making it up.
Right right. You said something like that a while back. So hey, would you be interested in grabbing a cup of coffee and tell me the story parts that you left out of the book?
Sure, bro, we can do that. Where you wanna go?
I don’t care, You want to take your car or mine?
Yeah I’ll drive and tell you some cool stuff on the way.
Sweet rock on!
The car purred to a stop in front of the local coffee shop, Billy was shaking his head trying to sort out what he’d just heard. If anyone else had said what Tom had said, there would have been laughter. But, Tom was always serious and he never embellished. As he got out of the car, Billy hurried to follow Tom into the cafe. The story continued…
I was laying on my back, you know, with my pack on, my rifle across my chest. I had landed under a tree so the downpour was a little less. More bugs though. Jungles are like that under the trees in the rain. But my head was ringing like a million bells. I could barely think. I remember laying there thinking something about apple pie and a dip in the lake… but after a few moments the ringing started to calm down and I could hear pop-pop-pop. Then like all of a sudden I knew where I was and what was happening, and the warrior training kicked in full throttle. Its like faster than thought, you know? The muscles and the brain act like one piece of a program and everything just becomes done. Like, you can’t think ‘I’m gonna do this then that,’ and then act it out. It just becomes done as fast as the thoughts come. And there is like no thinking, just knowing and doing and then it’s done. I don’ t know how to explain it better. Anyway, I jumped up and instantly shot two guys in the face. My earpiece was crackling so I just started looking for my team while I killed the bad guys. Maybe like the 4th or 5th bad guy, I had this
realization. It was bad. Real bad. I was like, in the middle of all
that, I just thought a really loud thought. ‘Those bad guys are good
guys.’ it broke my momentum you know. Suddenly I didn’t know if I
should shoot or not. Then It was all black. I was coughing and the
air was full of mud and loam and I couldn’t breathe or see anything.
It felt like a million pounds was just squishing me. I couldn’t move
either. I was just being squished and suffocating. . .
Wait what? How’d you go from kicking serious ass to whatever this is?
I don’t know. Its how I remember it. There’s no in between, just moments that I experienced.
Can I get a venti white mocha please? What do you want bro? I’m buying
Oh cool, thanks. I’ll take a venti house coffee.
So I remember a few things but you gotta keep in mind it was really just suffocating blackness, right. So I was pushing around me in the dark but I couldn’t move. Like, my arms and legs at weird angles and I couldn’t move. And the pain was insane. Just pure all pain. I don’t know.. But as I pushed and squirmed and tried to breathe and kept getting mud in my mouth…
What?! What are you like under ground or something?
Look, man, I didn’t know jack from diddly. I was trying to breathe. I was trying to see. I couldn’t move an inch at all. But I kept trying OK. So yeah all of a sudden there was this pinch and a warm feeling in my thigh. At first, I was thinking I got bit by something poisonous. But like in 10 seconds I had this heart-pounding burst of energy. I pushed and squirmed and suddenly I could feel cooler air, I took a huge gasp and just lay there breathing it in for a min. Hey man, we gotta switch tables though, I can’t handle sitting by a window, it’s making me nervous.
Sure, no problem, let’s grab the couch then.
So I woke up and it was still dark, but not like before. I could tell it was almost sunrise. I could see the trees and plants, smell the rain-soaked loam. My head hurt so bad it sounded like a drum going berserk in my brain. But I was buried in the ground. Only half my face was sticking out of the dirt. As I started to try to dig myself out I realized that there was a body in the ground with me. I started freaking out a little. I was like what the hell? I don’t know how long it took me to get out but I finally did, and I dug down to get the other person out too. I dug and dug. The thing is, it wasn’t just one person down there, it was my entire team. Just all a tangled mess of body parts smashed into a shallow jungle pit. Buried with gear and all, I kid you not. I puked and passed out again. The next time I woke up I was being dragged by my foot and I could hear chickens.
Someone was singing off in the distance. It was like Spanish but not
quite. I woke again though. In a bed this time. I was all clean and
smelled like soap. This old guy was cooking bacon not 15 feet from
me. But I had to just lay there because my body didn’t work. I think
I was there for about 3 months of healing and I even helped the old guy with his tiny farm a little bit. It was so confusing for me. You
know. Like, I was on a mission to rescue a VIP from foreign soil,
being a hero. Then suddenly I was just laying in a bed all broken
until I could finally get up and walk around. It really sucked bro.
Finally one day I woke up like normal right before dawn and got dressed to help on the farm just like every other day. But, the old man never came back. I guess he had somewhere to be, I don’t know. The whole time I was there, he had never said a single word. I don’t even know his name. But he saved my life.
Anyway, the next day, since the old man was gone and I had nothing to do, I figured I would pack a bag and see if I could make my way back to the States, get my life back. I found my old rifle bag but it was trashed, so I grabbed a potato sack and started foraging the hut to take whatever I could find. I had no idea how far from civilization I was or how much food I would need. I just started stuffing this potato sack. He had one cupboard and a couple of wooden crate boxes with farm tools and seeds and stuff. I headed out as the sun came up. So I was walking out his front door and I saw this red ribbon tied to a little fence stick. He had these little fences made out of sticks and branches around his gardens… I never saw a red ribbon on the farm before so I thought to myself this might be important. Sure enough up the path a little was another one. I followed the trail of red ribbons, tied to branches and sticking out from under rocks, you know like the guy just stuck them wherever he was every so many steps. It was about noon when I got to the ditch my guys had been buried in. I could tell that
it was there before, but all that was left now was a little
depression in the ground maybe eight feet around and a foot deep at the most. The guys, the gear, everything was gone. But the jungle
still showed the signs of the battle. There were trees that had
exploded, burnt shrubs and stuff like that. I could tell a few things
from the signs so I kinda know what happened. So here’s what I
figure: My team was making our way to an OP – an observational
point where we stop, check compass, reorient etcetera. Then we were ambushed with explosives and heavy gunfire. I guess what happened to me was that I got blown up a little, and by the time I started shooting back, it was already over. They buried us and left us for a cleanup team to take the bodies away. I don’t know why or who, but I have a really, really good guess.
Yeah? So are you going to tell me or leave it a mystery?
I’m going to leave it a mystery bro. Safer that way.
Well, I’m a little scared now.
Don’t worry about it, you’re fine. But hey bro, I gotta get back to the fam. Maybe we can finish this in a few days?
Sure, just let me know when you’re free.
Sure thing, and thanks for the coffee.