Author Topic: Combt Outpost essay  (Read 4142 times)

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Offline Towards_the_gap

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Combt Outpost essay
« on: May 06, 2014, 14:29:48 »
Mods - Feel free to move this to an 'Afghan Memoirs' sticky if so desired..

Found this last night, thought it was worth sharing....

Shared in accordance with the Fair Dealings Act.. and so on.....

Punching the Clock
           from A Small Hammer

The beeping of a watch alarm tunes into the darkness, almost imperceptible but passing through the room like a spasm through muscle tissue, stirring from sleep the shapes lying in the gloom. It is 0330 hours. The dark and heat are suffocating, inarguable facts – closing on every man like a moist fist, making reptilian, prehistoric shapes of them; featureless save for the clicking-open of eyes, the shuffling of disembodied limbs, the yawning of sleep-cobwebbed breaths. The room makes a better cavern – square windows massaged into its walls mudded up with sandbags and cardboard to kill the harsh light during the day and keep out the dust. The dust exists – it lifts and settles and is stirred, empties out of the mud with the heat at dawn, filters back in with it at dusk, the movement of air through the hallways and doorways of the compound like the movement of air through a pair of clay lungs.

Waking up is every man's private ritual. Our sergeant snaps out a lighter and cigarette and casts his face in muffled red light, twisting and warping his visage like iron in a forge, punctuated with smoke. He won't put his boots on until he's finished, and he puffs away, his breath leaving carcinogen footprints. A few of the boys lumber upwards, slimed with sleep, sitting off the edge of their cots crooked and formless like furniture in an abandoned home but for the lizard glint of their eyes in the dark. The oven heat of the panjwaii has left them slippery with their own sweat even in their dreams, entering their mouths and nostrils and tasting like talcum. One or two simply continue to lie in their unzipped bug-bars – waiting for someone to kick them awake, as if pretending to sleep longer will make them more rested. Others move forward headlong, fighting fatigue with velocity, sliding into their dusty fatigues and squeezing into their hiking boots and breaking out through the canvas doorway into the dark predawn chill of a Kandahar morning.

More at link

Offline ArmyDoc

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Re: Combt Outpost essay
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 21:44:51 »
Thanks for the link.  The author, Andrew Macinnes, has the ability to capture the small, everyday details in his story that give it "realism". I hope we'll be seeing a longer version of his work in the future.