Same As It Ever Was

Same As It Ever Was

Well, things have gone back to normal here. After a week and a half of things being quiet on the FOB, we’ve started getting incoming again. For some reason they have more or less turned off the outgoing, too. They’re a lot harder to hear, since it now is more windy and rainy than it used to be, though they don’t seem to want to attack in the rain. On one of the last iterations, our security guy called the all clear just as the heavens opened up and poured a heavy rain on us. I raced out of the bunker, and only had a smidgen of key trouble before I realized I hadn’t locked the door in the first place.

One day I was taking care of an issue whilst reading up on my Russian grammar, since I have not really gone back over the rules in some time. I was engrossed in the rules for the accusative case, which defines your direct objects. It’s pretty basic for what it’s worth, but I’m trying to be thorough. It was approximately 2:19 PM. That old familiar whistling cranks up, with the accompanying vaguely sick feeling. This simply isn’t fair. How can this happen twice? Anyway, this one is headed right for me, I can just tell. It gets louder and louder. It must be a laser guided rocket, it’s heading straight for the container. I struggle to accomplish my basic objective – must get the pants back up. That’s all I hope for; all that I want out of my last bit of luck. Dignity in small doses. You ever try to crouch and pull your pants up at the same time? It ain’t easy, I can tell you, but I made it look good!

(Nah, kinda doubt that. I bet I looked more so than my usual idiot.)

This one is going to hit right outside, and the sandbags aren’t going to help, and some of me is going to end up in the shower, I’m quite sure of that. That will be kind of convenient I guess, but there’s gonna be drain problems I bet. As success moves up to waist level, I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that in my final milliseconds I made it. For some unknown reason I feel a final cringe may help, so I execute that with precision.

Anyway, thankfully it was a dud. The rocket, I mean. I sprint out to the bunker, but that’s that for this attack. I wasn’t worried about any following rockets simply because I knew I could be in the bunker before they’d hit. Now of course, I reserve a separate category for cringing in the bunker, but it’s a different sort of experience, not comparable with “fuck, I’m dead.” I’ve caught the pattern here though, and there will not be a third time. I simply can not go near the bathroom anywhere in the vicinity of 2-3 PM. They must have some kind of spy on base watching me, those evil bastards.

The next day three rockets go by overhead somewhere; I don’t hear any explosions. I don’t like rockets, but dud rockets are their less offensive cousins. Security man proclaims they were outgoing. Umm…no the hell they were not. They don’t even sound remotely similar.

Speaking of outgoing, that’s a pretty shocking experience too. It’s what I like to refer to as “really fucking loud.” The worse part is that you don’t know it’s coming…err…going, I mean. I was walking between the office and the hooch when they lit one off outbound – I damn near fell down. Now I try to look cool whenever possible, but I don’t even attempt to hide things like that. The first one is terrifying, the next several are startling, and after that you hardly even twitch, and later sleep through them.

We had a nice salvo the other day, while I was standing in the boss’s office. It’s not my section of camp, though there is a bunker right in front of his office. We ran out, around the HESCO, no wait that’s not the entrance, keep on going around it’s the next turn, except it isn’t, and maybe it will be the next one, but wait! This must be mathematically impossible! Are we in some kind of maze or alternate dimension? I’ve been running for a half hour now! Finally, we round the 9th corner and are inside.

I guess it’s pretty much back to normal then. The only other changes are some new noises that you have to discriminate against when pondering incoming vs. anything else. They’re doing more construction and loading / unloading in the lot next door, and they keep dropping things with a bang, though it’s a different type of bang. Switching over to heat means the fan isn’t blowing all the time like it does on the A/C setting, so it’s a lot quieter. Now, not only can I hear my heater go “CHUNK!” when the relay trips off, somehow managing to shake the container, I can hear Terry’s over on the far side of the container, too. Never had that problem in the summer. Oh, and the other night while we were milling about, we had a couple of random bullets come in and go “tink!” off of somebody’s container. I guess the last is good ol’ fashioned thunder. It’s kind of strange here. You get this low rumble that just goes and goes, 20 seconds or more in length. Now it’s not something you’d mistake for explosions, but it really is quite strange. I’d never heard that kind of thunder before.

Things had been dead quiet on the outgoing side, so the bad guys began filling the gap with incoming. Now they have moved the guns and are re-registering them. They are in a slightly different position now, which of course is close to the DFAC. We having supper when the sent a few out. It was slightly deafening, and came with the nice concussive thump that you don’t always get. For some reason I have always liked the thump. Don’t know why. It was funny how everyone in the chow hall gave a little start when the first one went off, and just a tad less for each of the next several rounds. There was a great deal of little smiles, snickers, suddenly flushed expressions…shared looks of “jeez, that scared the hell out of me!” to the feigned “I’m such a bad ass not even the first round surprises me anymore!”

Good times! Less and less of them all the time! Yaay!

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