ook! Look, you fucking pussy!



You have to keep your eyes on this field. You can't get sucked in. Set an edge, keep your eyes on your sector. Just like training, just like training...



It's empty, all the locals scattered when the bomb went off. Turn around and look! It's what you came here for, isn't it? To see? And now he's dead and you won't even look?! Don't act like you are doing the right thing, don't say you are following your training. There are plenty of others here now. Everyone else is helping, or crying, or doing something and you aren't doing anything!



There probably isn't anything to see. You can't be sure if there is even anything left, just do your job right now.



Then look at what isn't there! Find a piece of him, do something, get up and move! Now that it's happened, now that you have the story you wanted to tell, you don't even have the balls to face it, to look this thing in the eye and see it for what it is!


Can you move?



I think my leg is asleep. I probably do need to move, check my position. Stay vigilant. Is the helo here yet?


No, I would have heard it. Will it come as quickly since he is dead? Casualty evacuations are considered "Routine" instead of "Urgent", because what can they do for a dead guy, that's what they taught in training. How long do they have on a "Routine?" 24 hours? Could I be in this field, the field of a dead man, for 24 hours?



A dead man? A dead friend! Your dead friend, and you are wondering how long you will have to be here?! If you were half a man, half the man you pretend to be, half the man you write about in your goddamn stories, you'd do something, do anything! Do something!



Stand up. Stand up. Move. That's the helo. It's here now. Ok. There you go, first one leg, then the other. Good thing you didn't have to carry the heavy, electronic counter IED device today, the one that blocks radio signals.



Yeah, yeah, you are right. It's so heavy. How long have I been outside the wire?

Not that long. It's only been an hour. Calm down, you. The helo is here now. Do you remember what to do?



Yeah, I have to clear out the landing zone right? And I'll have to push further out, expand the circle, to give it space to land.



Don't push further out on security, that helo won't touch down yet! There are still a few moments left, you can still do this! Don't walk away. This is your last chance! You coward! You fucking coward!



Go on now, take that spot right there, grab a knee. It's ok. You are ok. Is someone crying? I think I hear someone crying. You can cry later. You'll cry when you are ready. Right now, just be a professional. Just like training.



Why didn't I look? I'll never see him again. Jesus, we were chatting right before the patrol left. And now we'll never talk again. Why didn't I look? Jesus, I'm a piece of shit aren't I?



Yes you are.



Peter Lucier faithfully and honorably occupied the lowest echelons of the grunt hierarchy from 2008-2013, first as a FAST Marine and then an LAR scout. At Montana State University Lucier relentlessly pursues a degree in political science, focusing on using mathematical models to quantify exactly how much Forest Gump sucks. He also serves as RTB Media's Editorial Director; his views are his own. Follow Peter on Twitter.

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