“Can you hear me?! Jesus dude, for a sec there I thought you went deaf! You want a smoke?!”
I glanced down at his hand, occupied by a half empty pack of Marlboros. I shook my head “no”.
The gunner must’ve overheard our conversation and stuck his arm down the hatch, motioning his fingers as if wanting something. Alex retrieved one of the slender sticks and shoved it in his teammate’s hand. The hand didn’t come up, but the gunner down, two gaping holes in his forehead and chest.
“We’re takin’ fire!” I shouted. I unbuckled myself and clambered to the roof of the humvee, gripping the .50 and swinging it to bear. Not a moment too soon muzzle flash lit up one of the windows to my left, a bullet ricocheting off of the roof directly to my side. I opened fire, putting about three short bursts inside and around the window. I saw another tango run across a rooftop and aim an RPG-7 at our vehicle, so I decimated him. A moment later I felt gravity shift and a well of dirt kick up into my face, and then realized that our humvee was on its side; we’d been hit with an IED. I crawled out of the hatch, and fell to the floor, trying to find my rifle. It ended up resting less than a foot away from me; it’s just that my arm wouldn’t move.
“I guess I’m hit.” I told myself, although I couldn’t feel it. I crawled over to my M21 Whitefeather and shouldered it, forcing myself up. Good thing, too, for not a second later about a dozen bullets hit the ground where I was a moment before. I took cover behind my humvee, looking around for any other survivors, and I found poor Alex. Actually, I found his leg before I found him. I ran over and grabbed his drag-strap, pulled him over to the humvee and foraged around in my med pack for a tourniquet and morphine.
“Can you still fight, buddy?”
“Yeah I’m good,” He relayed back to me. “I ain’t got a rifle, though.” I cursed and gave him my sidearm, a Berretta M9.
“This is gonna hurt man.” Alex bit a mouthful of his combat vest, nodding his head to me to indicate that he was ready. I ripped the tourniquet out of the package and applied it to his bloody stump of a leg, Alex screaming all the while. I retrieved the syringe of morphine and began to lift up Alex’s sleeve.
“No,” Alex spat out his vest. “No morphine.”
“Alright man.”I shoved the syringe back into my pack, saving it for him later.
“Ok man, I’m gonna drag you to that hotel over there.” I pointed to it with a bloodied finger. “Now I’m gonna need you to cover me while we run, ok?”
“Yeah that’s cool.”
“Ok. Three,” He racked the slide. “Two,” I let my M21 drop to my chest and grabbed his drag strap. “One.”
I sprinted away from the humvee, Alex in tow and pushing with his one leg. I imagine we looked pretty comical, a one legged man scootin’ along behind some white guy runnin’ like a girl. I heard Alex’s M9 firing behind me as I dragged him across that same ditch with all the armed men to the hotel. He picked up an AK-47 as we went. I kicked the door open to the hotel and gunned it inside. I let go of Alex and closed the door, forcing a chair behind it.
I pressed my radio’s receiver to my throat.
“Command this is Bravo 1, requesting medevac at ‘The Embassy’ hotel.”
“Uh roger Bravo 1, Redneck is en route.”
“Hey man, we’re gettin’ you out of here.”
“Ok, I’m gonna cover this door from behind the receptionist’s desk, and you cover the back door, alright?”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“Okay, here we go.”
“Bomb COVER!” I yelled “RPG, RPG, RPG!” I ran around the kitchen wall and got low, plugged one of my ears, laid my head on my shooting arm’s shoulder and opened my mouth. About a minute later I felt my world shake. Ok, let me give some of these guys a taste of their own medicine. I pulled a frag out of one of its protective pouches and pulled the pin. A satisfactory string of curses in a foreign language followed by a loud boom sounded off through the building. I pied the corner and saw one of these guys sitting in a corner screaming his head off, hands bloody. I went over and flex tied him, drug him in front of the desk as a distraction for any guy dumb enough to enter the hotel. A moment later, I felt a barrel press against the back of my head, and went through a year’s worth of thought process in about a second. I glanced over at Alex, who was unconscious due to a large gash in his head probably caused by some teenager standing over him grinning like a maniac. Another second later, my hand found my last frag.
“No…gun” The insurgent said in heavily accented broken English.
“Alright.” I bent down and set my M14 down on the ground, looking between my legs as I moved. There were about four guys in the kitchen, three with guns on me.
“Go…to…me.” He nudged me with the barrel of his weapon. From what I could remember, this guy carried his AK right handed. I turned to my right side, keeping hands at shoulder level and felt for his gun with my shoulder. There it is. I exploded into motion grabbing the barrel with my right hand, kneeing him in the crotch as I did. He hunched over and I pulled him close, using him as a shield to discourage anyone smart enough to open fire. I pulled his barrel to the side and kicked his elbow. With a sickening snap I disarmed him and fired over his shoulder at the nearest guy. I then proceeded to kick the back of my shield’s knees, fired over his head at the second guy with a barrel pointed my way, and executed the man on the ground. I glanced up at the kid standing over Alex and looking completely dumbfounded by the fact that I singlehandedly killed all of his buddies. He still had a gun, so I pulled the trigger, but there was no bang; it was out. I dropped the AK and retracted my hand from my grenade pouch with the explosive death-gripped in it. I charged the guy, barreled him into the door, knocked the portal off of its hinges, and left him with a nasty surprise. I covered Alex with my body, waited for the boom and was promptly rewarded with it and a burning pain in my left foot. I felt Alex twitch, and I rolled off of him.
“Wow man, you look like crap.” He grinned bleakly. “What’d I miss?”