Posts By iron paul

April Six

Bill, stomping around
Makes this stoner quite nervous.
Let me toke in peace.

A weaselly face.
A well carved out overbite.
The chinless wonder.

Chad is pretty cool
He has daughters and a wife
But still keeps it real

Big Carl keeps it real.
Chuck Norris calls him at home
When he needs some help.

This dude, Lyle, he’s cool.
I thought he was a penis,
But I was a dick.

And Bryan Bailey?
He’s a pretty weird fucker,
But I still like him.

april the fifth

you can’t control them
but you can control yourself
save your energy

staring up at me
parliament light 100s
was this a haiku?

cold brew, cold brew, yeah
i’m awash in its goodness
black nirvana mug

i pooped outside once
i ate too much granola
right before a run

 

 

“Patterns of Misconduct” Preview Chapter (1st draft)

Dub’s Dump

Right at the end of Sgt. Windsor’s time with our unit, we had a top-down drug screening with the entire HHC portion of the 101st.  This drug screening was a part of an installation-wide effort to crack down on post-deployment drug use, specifically marijuana.

Because the PAD and HHC were on their own, we were responsible for submitting our own samples to the headquarters.  As such, we were free to do our drug screenings away from the rest of the other units, which were normally comprised of fifty soldiers.  Try picturing that, by the way:  an aviation hangar full of people who are all irritated about having to get up too early to pee in a cup in front of somebody.

Oh, yeah… I might have left that part out.

That’s right.  As a part of the drug screening, you’d have to be supervised in order to assure that you don’t spoil the sample.  For those of you who are unaware of how to do such a thing, never you mind.  There are quite a few gross or dumb ways to supposedly cheat the system, but as ineffective as they probably are, the military cuts out the chance of them working even more by assigning a designated supervisor.

But honestly, you get used to people looking at your wiener.  It starts happening right away at MEPS.  There aren’t any shower curtains in basic training, either.  Some people hated it.  I hated it in the beginning, but I also hated fungus and illness.  I got over people seeing Little Devon quickly because of it.

We wouldn’t have too many other drug screenings after this one.  I think we might have had only one more.  I had more drug screenings in the first six months than I did for the rest of my career.  Funny, I had never thought about that until right now.

*****

The day of the screening came.  On the grounds that Sgt. Windsor was the junior of the group (the group consisting of only he and SSG Cooper), he was assigned the duty of “observing” the sample collection.  SSG Cooper further suggested that the experience would be good for his junior companion, as it would no doubt bolster his promotion file.

I felt bad for Sgt. Windsor.  He had a tough morning ahead.  Though there were maybe a dozen of us, this was not dignified for anyone involved.  You see, normally when it is a company-wide collection, it’s a lab tech or a medic who takes the sample.  In other words, it’s normally not somebody you have to see all the time.  I was going to have to urinate in front of my (on-again, off-again) buddy, and then go back to work with him.  I felt bad for all parties involved.

But I handled my business.  I smacked down a Diet Coke when I woke up, and I was able to produce with little issue.  Windsor faked like he was going to knock the jar out of my hand when I turned around, and I almost dropped the thing.  I laughed loudly in a situation that really didn’t have much room for laughter.

When the echo of my outburst stopped, Windsor called for the next soldier.  It was supposed to be Randell, but Dub was behind Randell, raising his hand.  He asked Sgt. Windsor if he could go next, and Windsor agreed.

Hastily, Dub scurried over to the stall where we were supposed to pee, then promptly turned around and took a seat.  I suppose he didn’t know Windsor was in the stall, because they both let out a few startled noises and curse words.

“Dub!”  Windsor shouted.

“Yes, sarge?”

“Where’s the cup?”  Windsor asked

“Oh, I didn’t need it.”  Dub said, matter-of-factly.

“The hell you mean you didn’t need it?”  Sgt. Windsor was somewhere between laughing and screaming.

“I had to go ‘number two,’ sarge!”  Dub replied in earnest.

Sgt. Windsor laughed.  “Well, can’t ya do both?  Can’t ya take the damn cup and stick it down there?”

“I don’t have to do that right now, sarge.”  Dub replied indignantly.

Sgt. Windsor sighed.  “Of course you don’t, soldier.”

So, whoever the poor sap or saps were who had to give a sample after Dub were not so terribly pleased with him.  Sometimes, I swear I understood why people didn’t like him.  He did some off-the-wall goofy stuff sometimes.  Things like this happen and you just can’t believe the awkwardness of it all.  I felt sorry for everyone, and even a little ashamed for being such a stupid little kid and eavesdropping on such a weird scenario.

And on top of that, we had to wait forever for the dude to pee!  Guys were really starting to get mad at Dub.  Me, I was just saying a prayer for the dude.  I’d seen it happen in basic training and I knew it was a long road if a soldier got stage fright.  We might be there all afternoon if Dub didn’t manage to collect himself.

Fortunately, after about another ten minutes Dub produced a sample, and we were all on our way.

*****

There was a lot I took from this incident.  Sgt. Windsor actually played this pretty cool.  I tried to imagine what would have happened if SFC Smalls ended up being the guy taking our samples.  All things considered, Sgt. Windsor allowed my buddy Dub a lot more dignity than a lot of others did.

Another thing I noticed was that Dub was tragically accustomed to being shamed.  He prostrated himself greatly when the ordeal was over, but the worst anybody did was SFC Cooper, who made a few fart noises throughout the day when Dub was in his midst.  Other than that, nobody said much of anything (save one or two who had to enter the smelly latrine).

It was hard watching Dub carry on.  It was clear that the army broke him.  I’d watch him bumble through these situations and wonder to myself how on earth he made it as far as he did.  There were times just like these when I thought to myself that Dub was incredibly high maintenance.  I felt like the system should have eliminated him somewhere in training.

Much like it should have eliminated me.

And was he really the one responsible for my treatment?  Struck called out Dub’s name when my knee gave out and I was accused of shamming.  Was I doomed because of Dub?  I never really got to the bottom of the animosity towards him or towards me, for that matter.

All I know is that the army just isn’t for everyone.

March 28, 2019

Matthew,

When I was in Kindergarten, we would have these little assemblies where we would have guests.  Sometimes the guests would talk about safety, sometimes they would talk about good habits, but this one time, Matthew… this one time some kids came out and they showed us karate.

My old man watched Chuck Norris from the time I was able to focus on a television screen, so I loved karate.  Five-year-old Pete watched in wide-eyed amazement as these older kids threw coordinated kicks and shouted all in unison.  I was mesmerized.

What struck me even more was that there were girls doing karate.  I was so happy to see that having karate as a pre-requisite for my future wife was not off the table.  I figured the odds of survival as an adult were better if you both knew how to throw a kick.  Neither of my parents knew karate, so somebody needed to take the initiative.

At the end of the demonstration, the karate students all lined up, and they each broke a board.  The students were lined up from the shortest to tallest, so as they cycled through the students, the complexity of the board breaking increased.  For the finale, it was a very tall, masculine girl who broke a total of three boards in a flurry so impressive that young Pete nearly peed his young pants.

After the demonstration, I went through and shook the hands of every one of these mighty warriors.  The youngest one was not much older than I was, though the oldest was in seventh grade.  I understood now that karate wasn’t just for Chuck Norris.  It was a gift I could potentially have.  These kids were just normal kids like I was, and there they were:  kicking, shouting, and breaking wood.  I knew that I would have to learn karate one day.

As we were being led down the the stage where all the karate kids were, there was a board on the side for everyone to look at.  This was the exact same type board that all the kids were breaking.  My classmates would pick it up, a few of them even trying to punch the board in an effort to break it.  What poseurs, I thought to myself.

The teacher took the board out of the hands of one of my classmates, and leaned it up against the wall.  Holy crap.  This was so perfect.  I had to see for myself if I had the gift.

I casually walked up to the board like I intended on walking by.  However, at the last second, I twisted my body and positioned myself with my right foot facing the board.  I pulled back, and I kicked down with all of my might.  With a satisfying crunch, the board broke cleanly in half.

I knew it.

My teacher very quickly came up and collected the pieces.  I calmly asked her if she saw what I had done.  She said she did, but it was an accident.  The kids on stage practiced for years to break their boards.  I broke mine by mistake.  A lot of people tried breaking it before you, anyways.  The board was probably weak.

But I didn’t listen to her.  I broke that board just like I had set out to do.  I copied what I saw my new heroes doing, and the board couldn’t help but shatter under the force of my technique.

She said it was an accident, but I knew better.

I know karate.

Hi-ya,
Pete

March 20, 2019

Matthew,

In a cold, cold apartment on the water.  It’s one of those spots that have always been for transients, even back in high school.  A big house, with a small house on the side.  That’s where I am, the side.

My host is manic.  He’s an old friend, and I know he’s on uppers.  He does weird shit.  I threw out a bunch of food that expired in 2016, and throughout the night he dug through the trash can and put everything back.  he told me that dates don’t mean anything and that we shouldn’t waste food.

But there’s hot water and a good bed.  I slept a lot last night, and I will probably sleep another ten hours when I lay down again.  My body is screaming that it has had enough.

Everything takes so long to accomplish.  It has taken a lot of patience to get to my stopping points.  It’s just a dash right now between living situations.  I’m getting too old for this shit.

The pot is good, though.  You can’t even find regular weed anymore.  Everything is from Colorado or California.  Everything is like a kick in the head.

And thank God for that, by the way.  It’s tough out there.  I’m glad people have stopped being so uptight about pot, even in the states where it is not legal.

Now it’s balls-thirty in the morning, and I can’t figure out whether to lie down or try and get some editing done.  Either way, it will have to be another after a long, hot shower.

I guess I’ll do some work.  A little more coffee and some hot water should clear the fog and frustration from another needlessly difficult day.  It looks as though I have now entered the kind of schedule I kept in grad school.  It’s oddly comforting.  Maybe now I can finally get some work done.

All smooches, no… pooches?
Pete

March 17, 2019

Matthew,

I’m losing track of time. Waiting has become too easy.

The weather is cold. This is my first cold weather in a long time. I wasn’t very prepared for it.

I wasn’t prepared for much, as it turns out. You have to be extremely confident to make a move like the one I just made. I think I was. I think I still am.

I’m still eating my vegetables, but I’ve gained weight. American life has too many shortcuts and conveniences.

I’m on my third dump today. It seems like everything in that department is working fine.

Now I need to quit smoking again.

And maybe take a little less cbd oil next time.

Cleanup on aisle four,

Pete

February 27, 2019

Matthew,

I’m writing this letter from my business class seat en route to Seoul. It isn’t very crowded, and everyone seems to be passed out except for me. There’s a rather obese woman next to me snoring.

Every time a stewardess walks by, they hurry and avoid eye contact. I think I’m supposed to be asleep like everyone else. But I don’t sleep on planes, Matthew. I just don’t. Flying is already weird enough. There’s no way in hell in closing my eyes. I just wish one of these gals would bring me some damn coffee.

They gave me some weird pickled vegetable tart right after takeoff. I keep having to get up and let out my farts in the lavatory. Still, I wish they’d bring me another one. It was actually very good.

I was watching a movie, but the headphones were too tight. They were giving me a headache. I suppose I’ll just read… right after I go release a few more farts.

Break wind,

Pete

December 26

December 26, 2018

Matthew,

Yesterday I ate a bunch of weed cookies and played video games all day.  My wife got me a fitness tracker watch for Christmas.  It was freakin rad.

Somebody please tell 19-year-old Pete everything is going to turn out OK.  I know how scared that poor fucker must be.

Cordially,
Iron Paul, from Space

November 23

Matthew,

I tell myself every day that these are the “good old days.”  These will be the days my mind returns to as my memory begins to fade.  I will remember only that I loved and that I was loved, and I will find comfort and solace in those memories until I am laid to rest.

Life is not sad.  Life is fucking amazing.

Pete

November 10

Matthew,

I am riding in a cab to go out for the day. A few minutes ago, we drove past an alley. For whatever reason, I turned and looked down the alley, and somehow I managed to catch a man pissing by his car. One second later, we drove past a concrete statue of a nude man.

Now, I don’t know why the universe decided to show me two dicks like that, but it’s got me really wary of this day.

I’m going to try to just keep my eyes fixed forward.

Enjoy your day,

Pete