FUBAR: "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition"
The young soldier, wearing military camouflage and carrying a duffel bag, was standing on an off-ramp leaving a truck stop and heading east with his thumb-out. Southeast really, but that's as the crows fly and the interstate has a mind of its own. He was wearing his camouflage because people will pick-up a soldier a lot faster than they will anyone else. He knew it was illegal for him to wear an army uniform and he would probably go to jail if a cop stopped him, but, fuck it. The court-martial was over. He was given a dishonorable discharge, fined all of his back pay and taken off base by the MP's and told to leave town. That simple. At least the bastards couldn't eat him.
He was 14 years old when the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9-11. He had two older brothers who enlisted the next day and fought in Iraq. One died, and the other may as well be dead. When it was his turn at 18, he was standing in line ready to sign his name and step forward and say the oath to protect this country from enemies both foreign and domestic. Man, he was proud that day. His brother called him a fucking idiot and told him Uncle Sam would use him, abuse him and throw him out like garbage. He should have listened. His brother now had no legs, one arm and a face that was pieced together, but until you see it...
That was six years ago and he had done two tours in Iraq in the hottest and most dangerous place on earth. Kandahar was a FUBAR that the brass fucked up six-ways to Sunday. They had old intelligence and it seemed everywhere they went there were IED's and snipers waiting. They used to flip a coin to see who would get out of the Humvee first because they knew, they all knew, a sniper was going to shoot someone in the face. They fought all day to take a part of town, and gave it back at night. It was insane. Everyday taking the same ground and everyday killing the same enemy along with civilians and everyday seeing your buddies die for nothing. Nothing!
After the second tour, they sent him to Ft. Hood to train other young men in the art of dying. He wife took his kids and ran away during his second tour and even though the money kept coming out of his military pay check, he wasn't allowed to know where they were or even see them. All the while he was getting shot at and almost killed in Iraq. He did not know until he got off the plane that there would be no one there to meet him and she had a restraining order against him. They were somewhere and he could not find them and it was then that he went off the reservation. Screw the Army!
His Commanding Officer and NCO explained the situation to him. It seemed his wife had turned over all the emails and text he wrote, along with a few snail mail letters. They showed them to him, but he wasn't a fuckin' idiot, he knew what they said. He hated the military, the officers and everyone in charge. That was all they had? Hell, everyone hates the officers and decision makers. He and his buddies all wrote the same shit, why pull him out of the line? She told them he had beaten and raped her the last time he was home. That was a lie, but that’s how she told it.
He knew then, way in the back of his corner of his heart, that she had another guy and now this was how she was dumping him. Taking everything. Cleaning out his bank account. Taking all the furniture and the Big Screen TV and Xbox and all his games. His truck, which he loved and had bought before he even met the bitch. Everything he bought with his signing bonus, all gone. Even worse, she had taken his kids.
He trained kids who were a lot like him at one time. Patriotic, ready to fight for their country and see the world. Wait until they realized that all sand looks alike and you don't fight for your country, you fight to stay alive and keep your buddy alive and make it through the day. Not for some fucking officer in Kuwait giving out orders in another country, with day-old intelligence. When he wasn't training, he was preparing for a court martial and he had no idea what he was charged with. He had only followed orders. He had killed the enemy along with their wives and kids. Anything that moved was fair game, but he was being court-martialed for something he did here, while he was over there. It boggled his mind.
In the end, the charges were reduced to assault and child abuse when his wife and kids were not even in the state. It was his word against her written statement and his sorry ass lawyer plead it out. He had never, ever laid a hand on his children. He had never, ever laid a hand on the woman he had loved at first sight. Now, here he was with his thumb out, trying to get back to North Carolina. He had less than fifty dollars to his name after six years in a military that he almost given his life to time and time again. With a dishonorable discharge, he would not be able see a VA doctor for his nerve pills, which were the only things keeping him from going insane.
An old couple in a SUV with Georgia license plates stopped and he ran and threw his bag in the back and got in.
"Where ya' going soldier"? said the elderly gentlemen.
"I was in the military myself. Before your time I bet. Vietnam! I sure hope you had better leaders than we had. Now that was a fucking FUBAR, I'll tell ya."
Kenneth Sibbett lives and breathes the South. Although born and living in North Carolina, he has lived all over the world. When young, he thumbed and walked across America and Europe. Many of his experiences come from meeting thousands of different people, with his thumb out. Older now, he stays closer to home and writes short stories, fiction and non-fiction, poetry and is editing his first novel, hopefully to be published before Hell freezes over. He has a popular blog at http://open.salon.com/blog/scanner. Come, put your feet up, and stay awhile.blog comments powered by Disqus