So, I’m looking at this car, right. It’s a mess. Yeah, it’s not going anywhere. It looks like a spaghetti strainer. Holes everywhere. Big holes.

I’m thinking, “What’s up with this?”

I’m holding my rifle in my hands like Dudley Doright, all observant and such. I mean, I’m looking around wondering if somebody’s gonna put a round through my skull. Or maybe I’ll carelessly blow myself up.

Crap is strewn everywhere. Not benign crap. You step on this crap and you’ll go home in pieces if you’re lucky. No way. I’m keeping my pieces. Watch the crap. Look at the car. Watch the crap. Look at the car…

A giant Boom! shatters my ear drums every few minutes, but I don’t hunch down because I’m already hunched down and I don’t even realize it. I’m not moving, but I don’t realize I’m not moving or breathing because an AK47, or maybe two, I don’t know, keeps firing somewhere. Whoever’s firing those damn things stop for one damn minute!

I’m look at the car, well, cars now hundreds of them—with holes in them all, but a thunderous Boom! and a thick rising mushroom cloud ahead sobers the buzz, or tunnel vision, form messing my mind up further. I’m transfixed to the point that I fall down again, right on the crap. I’m doing a Fred Astaire routine trying to stay upright. I didn’t even see this stuff. Stupid! Stupid!

So I fall again. RPG rounds, grenades, and mines scatter everywhere. Some other explosive devices are packed in the sand. I’m lying there staring at some explosive device. I can’t tell if the pins are in those grenades. I’m holding my privates, a custom I quickly acquired in the combat zone. Henceforth see potential to be blown up, hold privates. I figured I’[d hang on to something.

I’m waiting for the lights to go out. Good night. One of the few sorry losers to get whacked in this war, this “Desert Storm,” or whatever you call it. I curse myself for being so stupid. I’ve been so careful all of these months. I’ve been three steps ahead all along. Now, I’m floating around in explosive crap wondering if this is it. K.I.A. – R.I.P., with maybe a little inscription saying, “Here lies Surefoot—the dumbass who kept stepping on explosives.”

I thrash about like a drowning man wanting air. I’m angry. I kick and sling explosive everywhere, but I don’t care. I’m sick of this crap, and I’m exhausted—hallucination tired is more like it. How many days have I been awake?

Damn, is my heart bleeding? I can’t hear myself breathing. I’m afraid, again. I know I’m not dead. I didn’t trigger any of the explosive devices even though knowing this means nothing. Is the pin in that grenade? I’ve got eight seconds, maybe, unless they shortened the fuses, then…I can’t concentrate with all those damn explosives rattling the ground. Who keeps doing that? Most of them are dead, right?

The ones I see are fresh. No stench. They look like statues. Hello! Wake up already! But they don’t hear me. It’s hard to tell. Can’t you see me? The glazed eyes give it away, along with the gaping hole through the skull. I don’t want to end up like him.

I don’t like the burned ones, which reminds me of how happy I am that I discarded that hellish-looking Iraqi flame thrower I found earlier. It was fun for a minute, but I don’t need any fuel on my back when I catch a stray round (friend or foe) or fall down again in a pile of this crap I can’t seem to stop stumbling over. Did their entire army stop and dump every explosive device they had in their arsenal? Or maybe some of this crap is ours. Unexploded cluster bombs are nasty.

Damn, vehicles are everywhere. They were cruising northward leaving Kuwait talking about what they were gonna do with all the loot they stole. Or maybe they were talking about looking up an old girlfriend or something. Maybe they were sharing pictures of their kids, swapping funny stories about little Abdul or Hakim. The pictures don’t lie. I’m rifling through this dead guy’s pockets for some I.D. and the photos pop out. I don’t want to look but like some sick voyeur, I do. His I.D. card falls out, too. I wonder what they’re thinking right now. Is Momma wringing her hands while Daddy reassures everyone Abdul will be home soon. His last letter is read again.

“Yes, we will celebrate his bravery and good service—yes, we will celebrate,” they all say, I’m looking at this guy burnt crispy in places. The hero died with a scream on his lips. Where’s the glory? Where’s the honor? This ain’t Hollywood out here. If that’s heroism, I want no part of it.

They’re unaware that I’m hunched over him thinking of them and his dead carcass. They’ll never know what happened to him. They’ll never know me. Maybe his name will be inscribed on a wall somewhere in Baghdad. Probably not. Maybe his father will stand outside each night watching, hoping his son will return from down South, from that war, that damn war. Maybe he’ll curse Saddam, the Americans, his son—maybe even himself. He’ll think of his son every day and cry. No, pictures don’t lie. We’ll have that in common.