I awoke this morning and lay on the couch where I sleep. It was cold in the room, as the sliding back door was open to let the dog out during the night. Wouldn’t you know the dog stayed in all night, and so did the cold.
The back door is covered with a curtain of louvered slats that are supposed to do a fancy quarter-turn twist to open and close at the tug of a draw. Of course the system is broken, like most every single thing else in this single-room studio apartment that the First Daughter and I have shared for two years now.
The draw system is fouled, and even two slats are missing; they broke and fell out too many times to try to repair again. Now a strip of daylight show through that void, and I can see into the back yard… through that narrow crack in the louvers…
I thought immediately of Chainsaw. He has a single narrow crack of sight in just one eye, one that represents a mere 13% of the overall vision potential of that one eye. He constantly swivels his head when he sits in front of you and chats. He moves his head to adjust that 13% so it shines on your face, or your hands, or whatever it is you have to show him while you talk, grinning all the while, that Chainsaw does.
He came to Las Vegas NV one year while I was still living and working there. He came with his wife and daughters to celebrate his youngest “Peanut” daughter’s birthday; his own Small Daughter. We coordinated loosely via Facebook texts, and I admit when the day came… I got cold feet and decided I would wave off.
It had nothing to do with Chain; it was me and the beginning of my withdraw from society. I had already done it to a half dozen brothers who were passing through town. I would have to do it to Chainsaw too. Vegas is not a great place to live if you want to withdraw and die; just too many mother fuckers (BKSE) going there all the time. I hated it.
Chainsaw played dirty back then; probably still does. In fact I know for a fact that he still does. He called me, that inconsiderate yankee-ambushing-fuck called me. Of course I didn’t answer my phone. I never did, you know. But he played even dirtier by leaving a message. He intentionally made it so that I would have to turn my back on his voice, something I would not be able to do.
“So Chik, me and the girls, Rich’s Bitches I call them, will be staying at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino for three glorious days of fun-filled advencha.” Yeah, yeah… I get it, Chain. You can just say ‘Circus Circus’ to us Vegasians (Vegans?)… you don’t have to say ‘Circus Circus Hotel and Casino’ we will know what the hell you mean, for Christ’s sake.
“Hey George, listen…” as he began to end his voice message, and his voice totally shed the charming banter mode and got Kelvin scale cold: “…listen, don’t diss me.” He knew. He could tell I was going to jilt him even over text. That brotha is wicked fuckin’ smaat!
I had to regroup and adjust fire on this moving target. I psyched myself out and hit the road to the Casino, moving finally by foot to the agreed upon link up point. Chainsaw would not be able to see me, so I would have to find him. And I found him right where he was supposed to be. He stood with his back close to wall, out of the way of the throng of people he could not see. He had a collapsible white cane with a red tip folded and clasped by both hands across his waist… and he stared at nothing, with his gaze fixed to the floor about ten feet to his front.
Now I felt worse for even entertaining the notion of standing up this brother. I rushed toward him and filled his 13% of contact with the outside world with my ugly mug. “Who loves ya, Chainsaw!” I announced, winning a tilt-headed grin and extended brotherly hand. He started to snap his folded cane together. “I gotcha, Chain.” I assured him as I lead us both to a booth where we sat and caught up for about an hour.
We went outside later on the veranda for a change of scenery and some air. I mostly listened to what he had to say. I had never yet heard the story of his action in Afghanistan, but this would not be the forum to bring it up.
At a point he wanted to introduce me to Peanut, and his wife Nancy, who I had heard of many times over the years from Chain, who always referred to her as ‘Hot Pants Nanc.’ I address her on social media as ‘HPN.’ Nuff said.
We wandered the halls just a bit, Chainsaw seeming just the slightest bit uncertain where he was at. We doubled back here and there. I was fine. Chain could take all the time he needed; I would have patience. Then we heard a muffled behind-a-door female voice: “Hooo-hooo!!”
“That’s probably her. That’s the Peanut; she’s a hooah…” Colin said then he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing how that had just sounded. Most of us get it, but… so a ‘hooer’ is a fabricated word for someone who might exclaim “Hooo!!” often. Pronounced with the slant of the Bostonian argot, it comes out like “hooah” which is typically the way those east coast Micks pronounce the word ‘whore.’ Just watch a few episodes of the Sopranos, why don’t ya; it will come to you.
“Oh… no I didn’t… no I did NOT say that!” Chain lamented and we both reverted to a spastic thunderous laugh. “Come on Chain, Let’s go meet the hooah.” And we did. The next day I came back and had lunch with Chainsaw, and brought my two youngest kids to meet Uncle Chainsaw. That was the last time I saw him.
This was a classic baited ambush.
The Abraham Lincolns had a routine mission in an area they’d been working. I got caught up in the mix with them when I asked to tag along with my routine mission. While conducting said routine operations, we were ambushed…by the bitches with the G-3s.
It was, in fact, the first time we used air support inside Pakistan, had an AV-8 Harrier dropped one 500 pounder—fact check that bitches! Remembering this was 2002; I was already long gone on MedEvac when that ordnance was dropped.
I am in no way hacking on anyone present that day…well, maybe myself for getting hit.
The Abraham Lincolns were very professional, and I did enjoy the short time with them.
But I ran my ship my way! Anyone who was under my charge wore their full armor on missions, or they could sunbathe in a guard tower; I cared not.
Wearing armor was not for uniformity, not because I was told to, but because it increases one’s odds of survival in a gunfight—PERIOD! I’ve seen it work, and I’ve said “too bad” when I saw a wounded brother who didn’t have his shit on. Some people say I’m lucky… still waiting on some others.
I’m alive today because I had my helmet where it belonged; on my head.
The helmet was breached by a 7.62 X 51mm NATO round, or a .308 caliber, for my civilian gun peeps, at a range of 80-100 meters away. I could have made that shot myself, hopping up and down with my G-3 like that guy was. What a loser he was. The helmet is guaranteed to stop a NATO 9 x 19mm Parabellum dead in its tracks, an event I witnessed for myself in a laboratory setting.
Being med-evacted is about a pain in the ass! Everybody wants to cut your clothes off, or stick you.
Medics; “1sg, we need to check for other wounds.”
Me; “Got it, but there ain’t any, I’m telling you.”
“But 1sg, we HAVE to check.”
“OK,OK…” I relent.
“We’re gonna cut off your uniform”
“The fuck you are! If you do, you’ll need a medic more than me. Put your fucking scissors away and help me, or get the fuck out of the way…and who’s got a dip?!?”
I’ll never forget the IV bag was ice cold, and the fluid hurt more than the bullet wound. Blah, blah, blah, I take a Black Hawk ride to higher up on the medical food chain.
All the while saying “FUCK!”
I arrive where I had left just days earlier, and where my boss/friend was located. There was an ambulance waiting on me. With a medic on each arm, we walk right past the ambulance, with me bitching up a storm about not wanting to be sent home. After all I really thought it was just a nick, and that I’d be OK in a day or so. Kinda like, “EVERYONE; get off my nutts!”
I get pushed even higher up the intensive care echelons…head injury looking pretty STAT. OK, whatever… I ain’t going home; I have a job to do. A few days rest. I accept that.
Funny thing…a nurse, kinda mean, call sign ‘Nurse Ratchet’ meaner than a humiliated hornet, had my head in her lap until properly released.
MRI Doc: “1Sg, Shut up! You have a hole in your skull about the size of a G-Shock watch—YOU ARE GOING HOME; game over!” My G-Shock watch took on a whole new meaning to me.
The first thing to mind: how am I gonna explain this one to Nanc (Chainsaw’s wife)?
I want a hook flash now! (a phone line to the states). What do I get instead? Some moron who couldn’t have screwed things up any better, unless he did it on purpose.
That’s right, one ‘Captain Dipshit’ aka casualty assistance dude.
“I need a good contact number, 1Sg.”
“I want a hook flash!”
“Hook flash, Captain!”
“Look 1Sg, this is my job!”
“Fine! Fuck you!” I relented, and he proceeded to do exactly what I predicted…fuck everything up. Now I’m calling my teen daughter on her cell phone. If I could find him to this day, I’d bitch slap him.
And so it went
(Featured Image: 1Sg Colin ‘Chainsaw’ Rich takes a spell out from a patrol to beguile some local young-uns. Photo courtesy of Colin Rich)