It's the December 11th Daylogfest, woooo!!!!

So.... I was finally able to pass my condolences to the tertiary acquaintance whose child was tragically taken from him in mid-November. It was a natural and organic turn of events, that I happened upon this person. It came about is if it were meant to be just that way, from the very beginning of time.

The house I've been helping to build is coming along -- got walls and a roof now. Too bad it's a process of 'building' and not simply 'growing'!! Not the first house I've helped to erect, and hopefully won't be the last, but definitely the cause of the most disagreement, thus far.

Question of the day:
What is the difference between organic vegetables and inorganic vegetables?

In node auditing news:

junkill is done. I wonder if he'll return to discover the relative flood of upvotes bestowed upon him.

jessicapierce is on page 4 of 11. This one is taking some elbow grease, yep.
hamster bong is on page 1 of 14, by random mutation.

Blessings, all!!

Hello. My name is Mike and it has been twenty six months since I went on deployment. This isn’t really the hard part, however.

The gunfire snaps through the Louisiana humidity, dying in the trees some hundred meters distant from the grave. I’m here for one reason alone, to put another from my team in the ground. For the record, it doesn’t get any easier the second time around.


Arriving two days earlier was an adventure in disorientation and a reunion with those first moments back on the ground in Baltimore. I distinctly recall the sense of being completely anonymous and at the middle of everything. This was the first time I’d been outside in a great long while without having 60-some-odd pounds of crap strapped to my body. Buses and taxis rolled by, vacationers and executives with rolling suitcases ran for the crosswalk. All of them oblivious to the Army fatigues, muddy boots, and close cropped hair.

I suppose it’s easy to ignore someone in uniform when they’re standing in a planter bed, face upturned, eyes closed and smiling at the sun. Its crazy people time, and when you’ve got to make the 2:35 P.M. to Detroit or you’ll lose the Ferguson account there just isn’t the space to deal with that shit.

But this isn’t Baltimore, I’ve been home for over two years, and there’s no room for crazy as expended rounds arc from the chamber to impact the ground with a series of small metallic pings. I don’t feel anything as the casket starts to slowly transit into the earth, no sadness, no anger, no regret, or anything else. Just a large metal box containing what is left of Tim out of the range of our perception. He will, one presumes, continue to exist in some form for a time to come. His remains then go to inhabit the same Schrödingerian realm that all do they-don’t they type things go. Theoretically Tim exists in a physical sense, but the soul is gone and the body is nothing more than meat encased in a neatly tailored uniform. It was a closed casket service and rightly so. The folks at Dover Air Force Base tried to do their best, but what they gave us back wasn’t Tim anymore. Didn’t even look right, either. Russian-manufactured 7.62x39mm AK-47 rounds travelling at some obscene velocity or another have a habit of ruining the delicate structures of the head which make us look like us.

Put this on the list of things that I do not particularly want to think about ever again.


The machine makes the same ding-dong noise used by a legion of computers everywhere to inform the user that new e-mail has arrived. I detest this ding-dong noise as it serves to inform that there are five seconds remaining until another round of thirty pulses start. This is something called TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Mike and Not Mike are now Space Monkeys for really reals. In order to explain how we came to be strapped (literally) into a chair with the business end of a Medical-Grade Giant Fuck-Off Electromagnet pointed at his head we need to back this bus up for just a moment.

Some months ago Not Mike was standing in the garage with a 9mm handgun and a NVG compatible flashlight looking for something that was likely a tree thumping up against the side of the house during a pretty good wind storm. The garage, for a reason I have as yet to bothered to figure out, has a tendency to pressurize itself so that when you do open the door the latch mechanism scrapes. Not Mike hears this, executes a perfect pivot in the darkness, rolls his shoulders forward, and frames the silhouette in the doorway with the weapon sights. Mike is fighting with Not Mike, trying to tell him in vain that he is pointing a Condition One weapon at Rumi-chan.

There are some things that you cannot explain away with a sorry or two. Nearly turning your wife’s head into a canoe at zero two thirty seven is one of them. As a result of this, Mike packs Not Mike into a car and heads on down to the local Military Medical Treatment Facility to have a chat with the shrinks.


“Still having problems with crowds after we adjusted the Effexor?” The new shrink is competent. The last one and I didn’t get along very well. This was primarily attributable to the fact that she spent most of our sessions together clacking away at her computer verifying things I said. I didn’t take kindly to being accused of bullshit; she didn’t take kindly to being called a useless stupid cow. The new shrink, according to the framed plaque on the wall, has a Combat Action Ribbon. This means he knows what is up.

“Not really. The nausea resolved itself, and I’m not shaking so much anymore.” We’re talking during the ninety second pauses between cycles on the machine. I am quite the captive audience, chest strapped down and head positioned to within a hundredth of an inch in the TMS rig. The clamping mechanism hurts a little, but you get used to it after the initial sessions. “I did sell the last of the firearms in the house, too.”

“Good. Bet your wife was happy about that. Nightmares?”

“Not really.” I am lying, we both know this, but it is part of some unspoken contract that it isn’t mentioned.

“You’re still opposed to going on Minipress?” Doc leans back and picks at some invisible speck on his tie for a moment. The ding-dong rings out; he raises his hand to prevent me from answering before the cycle starts.


The magnet fires, pulsing deep into the gray matter in an effort to drive my neurons and synapses into learning a new pathway around the part rewired by living under the gun. Sometimes I imagine it erasing the IED at the front gate, the CH-47 juking to avoid RPG fire while the door gunners rain hate onto the shitheads below, the man with his face neatly peeled away by the blast from a suicide vest, the tendril of brain stuck to an adobe wall slowly rolling toward the floor while accreting a thin layer of dust, Andre, Tim, watching the base cameras blink out one at a time late at night and then staring at cut cables the next morning.


Only it doesn’t. The memories stay there and wait for the right time to come rushing back.

The waiting is the worst part. Waiting to be told that I will go back, that Will or Rodney managed to get me on another team. My uniforms are still hanging in the closet with roster patches, blood type markings, three-day bag packed and ready to go. The evasion charts, headset, PMAGs, NOD mount, flashlight, M4 optics, and the rest of the ‘temporarily borrowed’ theater-provided equipment is still there, the MRE’s still good, the boots with dog tags and 150 Yen in three coins laced into one toe folded neatly at the bottom.

You have to be able to pay the boatman at the river’s edge for the cost of ferrying you to the other side when it is your turn.


Just let me go back. The last tour was to protect and defend those unable, this one to revenge those no longer able to do so on their own.


This machine will not make me forget, just like it cannot induce Them to send me home again.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.