jimmy’s world by jmforceton

21 Mar

James Edward Farrington – Central Afghanistan June 6, 2004

In the dusty early morning air, mountains rising to the north and south, they were waiting for elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary unit to form up around them after two days in this remote village. Jimmy was at the wheel, and they were relaxing, M16 assault rifles at their sides, a Milky Way wrapper on the seat. Jimmy, a lance corporal, and his platoon leader, Jack Dennison, were in the front seat of Light Horse 1-1, a battle ready, 6.2 liter, V8, diesel Humvee with machine gun mount and anti-tank missiles.

Jack had his eye on two robed Afghan men walking through the assembling convoy, at the same time, swatting at a horse fly that had flown in, past his head. “Jimmy my man, that was a hell of a firefight we up’n walked into night before last. Haven’t seen that much ordinance thrown around, that up close and personal, since I got here.”

“Yea, I was thinking about that last night. Those three Taliban guys must have known they had no chance, but, instead of giving up, they decide to die.” He shoke his head and swatted at another fly that had come in his window. “Shit really hit the fan. One minute I’m driving up behind them, looking like they were strolling into the hills, maybe heading home. Next thing, they’re running hard. I knew we had a problem, even before they turned on us and pulled those damned AK-47’s out of nowhere. By the time that helo got here, my M16 was empty, and all I had left was my 9 mm Beretta and my last grenade. Man, did that come down fast? I mean real fast. That trench they dove into couldn’t have been more than 15 yards in front of us.”

“I know one of your grenades got one of’em. Nice arm by the way. I must’a put fifty rounds into the trench myself, before the Huey’s door gunner finished it. Must’a been, minimum, a hundred round sustained burst. Pure hell fire. That bird must’a been on the other side of the hill when they heard we had contact.” Jack opened his canteen and drank some water. In their rearview they saw that another Humvee was getting in position behind them. “Alrighty then, ’nough shop talk; I was goin’ to ask you, how was that leave I hear you were on in Paris? Joey tells me you were goin’ to meet that gal you met in Berlin?”

Jimmy put the transmission in gear, and black smoke poured out of the dual exhausts as the formation slowly left the village on a dirt road. “Yea, Lisa, I did spend time with her there, but you know it got complicated. She’s smart, beautiful; in Berlin, I thought she was the one. Then out of nowhere, first day in Paris, my cab crashes into some tourists, I meet another girl, Amy, standing in the middle of traffic, and now things are, like I said, complicated. Funny thing is, it’s like Lisa knew before I did. Something changed with her, and here we were – springtime in Paris. I think I was more at home in that dust up. At least I knew what to do. So then…”

“Affirmative to that. Well Toto, you ain’t in Paris anymore. Know what’chu mean though, back home I had three gals, same time, once. Tell you what, I’d rather be caught naked in a minefield. Come to think of it, that’s prity much what happened.” Jack was grinning like a Cheshire cat. “By the time it was over I couldn’t get a date anywhere for 20 miles.”

Jimmy smiled, “You Texans are a piece of work.” Still thinking about Lisa, he gave the Humvee gas as they climbed a short hill. “One night we had dinner. I was decked out, and she was in this red gown. I’m talking spectacular. We had great food, violins, great conversation, but she just wasn’t really there like she was in Berlin.” Downshifting into second, “Another day, we took a bus out to the palace at Versailles. She liked it, but, even more, she loved Marie Antoinette’s hamlet in the garden. Picture a small French country farm and cottage, flowers blooming everywhere, and then you walk in and it’s furnished like a palace. They say no one, including the King, visited without an invitation. She loved the story and everything about the place. Then, next thing I know she’s tearing up? On the bus back she handed me the pamphlet she’d picked up, and there’s the rest of the story. Marie went to the guillotine on the spot where the Obelisk is, in front of her hotel, back in Paris.” They were both quiet for a moment.

 “Anyway, by the end of the week we were getting along fine, but I’m thinking there must be another guy. I think…”

“She find out about this gal, Amy?”

Jimmy decided to change the subject. The convoy had picked up speed now, and the dust was thick enough to taste, the temperature already 80 degrees. “That’s another story. So tell me, where is home for you anyway? I don’t remember you saying.” The truck hit a large pothole.

”Born and bread in Amarillo, Texas. How ‘bout you?”

“Actually born in Egypt, town called Luxor, my mother was a nurse in the hospital there. I…”

“Egypt, I never known anybody born there.”

“Yea, My father was a grad student visiting the Valley of Kings, you know the Sphinx and that stuff, and broke his leg one day. Luxor is close by on the other side of the Nile River, so they met in the emergency room. Long story short, I grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, north of Boston.”

Jimmy was on the brakes, downshifting again as they slowed for foot traffic.

“Spend much time there? Egypt, I mean.”

Jimmy realized he’d made a mistake. He really didn’t need to talk about that right now. He’d only met Jack a few days ago. He loved his mom, and, for him, it was only natural that her side of the family was Muslim. It made his situation in Afghanistan a lot more personal.

Fortunately the radio crackled, “Light Horse 1-1 this is Light Horse 1-6 we have possible contact 8 clicks north of your position.”

Jack answered immediately, “Copy Light Horse 1-6, Light Horse 1-1 ETA 2 minutes.” Jimmy had the Humvee up to 50 as they topped the hill, excited and trying to be ready for anything. The candy wrapper flew out the window.

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2 Responses to “jimmy’s world by jmforceton”

  1. jadamthwaite March 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    I’m still impressed by how you’re managing to link all this together… and now I’m really intrigued about how the story’s going to unfold.

  2. jmforceton March 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    Me, too, but there are a few options presently under consideration. If I could just outline it, and have you people write it, I’d be in good shape.

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