Sunday, August 27, 2006

Life during wartime ...

[With apologies to Gilliard, and the Talking Heads, but I'm stealing the whole thing. - Fixer]

Take a look at the pictures below*.

Somewhere, some son or daughter of the Beltway upper classes is either sneaking out of an apartment after furtive, drunken sex, playing Evercrack or sleeping off a boozy night.

They will spend Sunday over eggs and coffee, maybe watch a Nationals game, hop in the SUV and head to a mall, enjoying the end of the fetid Washington summer and do some shopping. Maybe they'll settle in for some midday sex or smoke a bowl of weed or run or any of the myraid of things that well off people do on Sundays.

Other people, people without such luxuries, will wake up, with rank, sweaty clothing, sore, because concrete makes anyone sore. The smell of piss fills the air. Sleep wasn't much, but you can't not sleep, even if it's miserably hot.

You spit out a little warm water because you'll wait to brush your teeth. A million years ago, you used Mentadent. But the plastic container is way too bulky to follow you here, so it's Colgate, what you used as a kid. And then you bury it so it won't explode in your gear, fucking it up. You shouldn't really have it, but you can't shave, there is no hot food, so the one luxury, beside that bible your uncle gave you, the one he had in Vietnam, is toothpaste.

You stand up, in a room you share with other stinking bodies, none over 24, because it's your turn to watch that street.

When Clint Eastwood did it, in the movies, it was cool, watching the street for bad guys. Now, it isn't cool, it is a deadly business. It is your life in microseconds. The wrong person, with the wrong weapon, and you could no longer exist.

You look at every alley, every gust of wind. It may be quiet in other places, but here, the bad guys, who in your quiet moments think aren't all that different than you, may pop up and start the day up with some gunfire, maybe a rocket.

This is your Sunday, it was your Saturday and it will be your Monday, when you get relieved and get a shower and hope the Halliburton food doesn't make you sick again.

And then there are the people who live in total fear. Who will shoot at you today, the Sadrists, the guerrillas, the police, the Americans, the contractors who have no law. Who will you have to fear today.

At least the Americans can go back to their bunkers and bases and sleep. Last week, some men took the people down the block out and shot them. Dead. Everyone. They were Shia, but who knows why? A crooked business deal, a death squad, who knows? All you can do is live and hope you don't get that knock on the door.

You have no base to go to, no place to hide. All you can do is run your errands, pray to be safe and hope for the best, the best meaning everyone in your house lives to the next sunrise.You aren't going for any run, not if you want to live. Anyone can shoot a running man.

Some days, you think you can stick it out, that it will get better. But some days, you want to leave. Life on the moon must be better.

And then, your sister's daughter never mentions her job. She speaks English, learned it at univesity. They have money, but is she working for the Americans? Is she that stupid? There are people who watch, who make notes. She hopes she isn't that stupid, because you don't know who that could kill.

Sunday. Some people get to rest, some don't.

*[Pic link here.]

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