Friday, February 27, 2009

My fellow short-timers are vanishing one by one, off to the mythical holy ground of civilian life, and new guys appear out of thin air to replace them. I meander from appointment to appointment, hoop to hoop, goose chase to goose chase with extreme pleasure.

Any time away from the unit is good time. The more hours that a uniform doesn't touch my body, the better. The thick medical records, the ETS to-do list, and a sense of bastardly determination are all that I need. Swimming upstream, clawing and fighting my way out, it's a very long process. I'm ready to be gone NOW.

Erase any evidence that I was ever here, turn in all my gear, wage paperwork war and take signatures as prisoners, make no mistake: this is a battle and it IS personal.

Load up the car with whatever material possessions I bother to collect while I Tasmanian Devil my way out, punch the gas and fly out the gate for the final time as nothing but a blur, rear view mirror detached and laying on the floor because we won't need it.

Heaps of uniforms piled in an ominous hill that we'll make reek of combustible fluids and chuck a cigar at the center and dance around the flames, temporarily insane from the rush of freedom I could never be prepared for.

If I were to be fired from a shitty job, I would hug my boss. Fired? That's it? That works out for BOTH OF US!

I gave more than I ever imagined I would, and no hard feelings as long as you just leave me alone and let me leave in peace. Great run, eh? Later homes.

No, now. Ticking down the days is making me lose my mind. Waiting for appointments and paperwork, waiting, always waiting, when it's right fucking there! I can see it, just down there a bit further, that's ETS, man! Fucking move it! Come on, faster faster faster, let's go, give me the leave form dammit, are my orders here yet? Why the fuck not?

Look at that guy, he got out, hasn't shaved in a week! That's so cool! I bet he doesn't even get up until two in the afternoon.

I heard an NCO tell a dude that he couldn't hear him because the dude wasn't standing at parade rest. I thought, yeah you can, that's stupid. All those little weird things that the army does that you learn to accept as being normal, you start to see that no, they aren't. Not at all. We're saluting because Reveille is playing? Why do we even salute? We aren't knights, we don't have to lift visors to show that we're recognizable dudes. Whatever, sure, I'll do it as long as it keeps them off my ass.

But this is good, my ability to think for myself is regenerating, like a starfish that was cleaved in half.

What's that man? You only have three weeks left? Fuck you man (envious verbal assault). But I'm not that far behind, am I? Sunday, that's the 1st of the month, another down. A month and a half as long as everything goes well, and for the love of GOD, please let it.

I need this with every ounce of my being. I have a FEVERISH NEED, ravenous hunger, vampiric compulsion, cannibalistic disregard for everyone else, this is for me, this is mine, GIVE IT TO ME. Dangling on a string above me and I'm reaching for it like a cat, leaping and swiping and growing more irritated. I'm going to get out, I am, really, that's what happens right? I am believing this, even though how can it be real? Guys don't get out, they just disappear, right? Ol' Suspect here sure will. Lost somewhere on the highway between Fort Lewis and Tacoma, trailing like ashes behind me, fading and collapsing on itself like a dying star, replaced with a dormant but wiser version of who I might have been at one point, and god bless and pass the gravy.

I'm going to get out, good God, yes I am. I've never been more sure of anything.


lorraine said...

Suspect: You are one GREAT writer! Every word flows on like a rushing stream over boulders. I know we all have asked that you not stop your blog and maybe I have even addressed this already but sincerely, please keep it up. I know a book would be in the future - which would be on the self of all of us but the regurgitated stuff is the best ever. You will make it out. love lorraine

Infantry Dad said...

Did you hear about 4th BDE being stop lossed?

Infantry Dad said...

Whoops, cut myself off. Seems 5th BD got reassigned to Afghanistan, and they probably need someone to take their place in Iraq?

Jenni said...

you'll be home for the summer...just in time to get your ass whooped in another game of croquet.

wait. you'll be home. not "for the summer"...but home, indefinitely.



Anonymous said...

Good description of how bad you want out, be careful, be smart...I can't help but wonder if this is how you felt when you enlisted! It's been a heck of a good blog, we are going to want all the dirty details of what comes next. z

bigD said...

Hi Suspect,
It is so EXCITING!!! If there was ever a half cleaved starfish filled with bastardly determination is it you! Keep swimming and clawing Ryan, because it won't be long before you'll be sleeping in, growing out your hair, and hangin' with us crazy civilian types.

Suspect, I don't think you will have any trouble "regenerating." Like a butterfly from a cocoon, the "dormant, wiser" version of you will soon emerge and that will be a beautiful thing to behold.

I wish I could join you dancing around the flames at the ceremonial burning of the BDU's.
I have a couple of moves I could bust out to celebrate your freedom.

God(s) bless you Ryan. Six weeks and counting, piece of cake, walk in the park, can of know you got this! :P

rayanne said...

I think you are the best writer out there and I think this post was one of your very best. I felt as if it were happening to me and that takes tremendous talent. I hope you keep writing after you are out and keep us updated on your civilian life.

membrain said...

I'm just echoing others here but surely this post is you at the top of your form. The best since some of the crazy times when you were back in the shit and losing it. You've got your Mojo working again; and all revved up to fly.

Char O said...

Love your articles! Gives me hope!! #out in 2 months