by OPOVV, ©2015

(Aug. 3, 2015) — ACT I

The curtain rises to the sound of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Charlie McCoy. Sandbags are arranged in a semicircle with an M119 howitzer facing away from the audience. The backdrop is of a valley somewhere in the Middle East. The lighting represents the time of dusk. An assortment of the different services are lounged around a dim Coleman dual-mantle kerosene lantern.

Marine Sergeant: “Well, all I know is I was stationed at Algiers for a year and I never saw any change, not even a hint of a change. From the first day at the gate until my last, a solid 80% of the people that went by in motorized camels gave us the one-finger wave.”

Army Corporal: “I always thought embassy duty was the best. What did you do on your days off?”

Marine Sergeant: “Slept. Never left the compound. Could’ve been on the moon. Flew into the airport and then hustled from plane to chopper, and then a short hop to the embassy compound.  When I left, it was the same, but in reverse. And that was it. Wasn’t worth it, leaving the compound and taking a chance on getting kidnapped.

“There were vans, same ones, day after day, that just sat there, about a block away, and sometimes right across the street, just waiting to pounce on some sorry sucker, like that embassy secretary who left and never returned. They said she ‘quit,’ but we all know better. No ransom; no video; no nothing.”

Marine Private: “Tell us the story of those guys digging up the street.”

Marine Sergeant: “You other guys hear this one? No? Well, this is the story, and I saw it go down myself, so believe it. One day, from one of those ever-present vans parked across the street, the doors opened and about eight guys wearing ski masks set up a little barrier thing; you know, with the orange netting?

“Out comes the generator, one of those little Honda portable ones, so you knew it wasn’t any Public Works crew, and a compressor, and they start to tear up the street. So they dig themselves a hole and then, with great ceremony, place a duffel bag in the hole, and then very gently, fill the hole back up and place the asphalt back on top, like a jigsaw puzzle, see?

“And then, get this, you’re going to like this one. While they were working on the hole, some delivery truck pulls up and then backs up to the  front of the van, so he’s closer to where he has to unload stuff to the store, some stationery/computer store. I guess he had a bunch of paper to deliver. Did you know that paper is heavier than wood? That’s because paper doesn’t have any air pockets: why books are so heavy.”

Air Force Sergeant: “The story?”

Marine Sergeant: “Right. So they pack up all their tools; they even have a flagman out there while they remove the orange netting, and then they all get back in the van, okay? So there’s this delivery truck in front of them, remember? They have to back up in order to leave, so they back up and then pull out and, the idiots, the left rear wheel runs over the hole they just dug and all hell broke loose. BIG explosion. The windshield landed in the compound, over the wall, on the grass, intact.”

Navy NCO: “Intact?”

Marine Sergeant: “Intact, I kid you not. We have it hanging from the ceiling in the mess hall.”

Lots of laughter and back slapping.

Air Force Lieutenant: “That was a good one, Serge. I got one, if you care to hear it.”

Marine Private: “Excuse me for asking, Sir, but what are you doing out here?”

Air Force Lieutenant: “Observing. I got orders to catch a ride to the ‘end of the earth.’ So here I am, observing.”

Navy NCO: “Are you ‘observing’ now, Sir? I mean, how do we know you’re not a spy from the government?” (spits on the ground)

Air Force Lieutenant: laughs “A spy? For what? For the de facto president? For the Joint Chiefs, who endorse these self-destructive ROE’s? For believing that we’re over here ‘changing hearts and minds’ in the smack-dab middle of the enemy’s dirty-filthy-smelly sandbox instead of being back home chasing the heathens out?”

Navy NCO: “Okay, okay, okay. I get it. Sorry I asked. Go ahead and tell your joke.”

Air Force Lieutenant: “No, no joke. When I said I got one, I meant a story, of sorts. Something to tell, is all. Back in the States, or back in the ‘World,’ there was this shooting at the recruitment center in Chattanooga.”

Marine Sergeant: “We heard about that.”

Air Force Lieutenant: “But you didn’t hear about one of them having a gun and firing back. And chalk one up for the Navy: out of all the soldiers, airmen, and Marines, it was the sailor that had the gun. And because the Pentagon was so inept, and because of their ineptness, five of their troops got killed — that’s one more than Hillary got killed, by the way — they’re going after this sailor to take the heat off of themselves. Make him a scapegoat; sacrificial lamb; someone to point to.”

Navy NCO: “Whenever I stood guard duty, I’d have a round in the chamber with the safety ‘ON.’ The rules were to carry unloaded, but what’s the point of guard duty if you don’t have anything to ‘guard’ with? Look what happened to the USS Cole.”

Marine Sergeant: “Like the bad guys are going to wait around for you to load your weapon.”

Army PFC: “I went through four years of college with a .32 in my pocket, and all of the schools I went to were so-called ‘Gun-Free’ zones.”

Air Force Sergeant: “So how come you’re not an officer?”

Army PFC: “It would be two years extra. This way I serve my time and still get the benefits.”

Navy NCO: “Smart. So, Sir, what are they going to do to the guy who brought a gun to a gunfight?”

Air Force Lieutenant: “Court-Martial; Dishonorable Discharge.”

Army Corporal :“Same as they did to Lakin.”

Air Force Lieutenant: “Laking?”

Marine Sergeant: “That would be LTC Terry Lakin.”

Air Force Lieutenant: “Right. I remember: the ‘Can’t embarrass the president kangaroo Court-Martial.’”

Navy NCO: “You see, they don’t want nobody who can think for themselves. I’m going to catch some Zzzz’s (pronounced ‘zee-ease‘). Who has first watch?”

Marine Sergeant: “You do.”

Laughter all around as the curtain lowers to the sounds of Charlie McCoy’s rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” 

End of Act I.


Curtain rises to the sound of a gaggle of F16’s taking off. Stage is set as a mess-hall tent. A podium is at stage left. Tables and chairs are arranged in a semi-circle in front of the podium. Same group as in the previous act except for the speaker.

Army Captain: “Okay, now that we can hear ourselves think, let’s get this over with. All of you are to listen to this lecture and then I can sign you out, as in out-of-here so you can go back to the States for your 30-day leave or, in the case of our Navy, be discharged.

“Will the Navy NCO please stand? There you are. I got to ask you this; it’s a formality, I know, but I still have to ask it. Do you plan to re-up? No? Won’t change your mind? You know, the government spent one heck of a lot of money training you.”

Navy NCO: “Sir, yes sir! They sure as heck did, sir. I can throw a grenade further and more accurately than anybody else in this Godforsaken hell-hole — forgive my French — and can shoot better than most, skills that’ll surely serve me well as a civilian. Plus I can fix any radar, radio, hydraulics…in short, everything that’s in a missile, everything inside a missile I can fix and make fly. But no, thanks, I’m getting out, thanks just the same. Besides, I got a date with a girl at an airport.”

Army Captain: “I was prepared for that. You see, the Navy’s inherent ability for impertinent remarks are known, and appreciated  — don’t get me wrong — far and wide.”

Navy NCO: “And you know why that is, sir? Because they put you in the middle of the ocean and go around and around in circles. That’s what the Navy does, no kidding. So whenever you see a ship leave port, you know they’re going to just go around in circles for awhile.”

Laughter all around.

Army Captain: “Okay, that’s enough. Pay attention now. When you get back to the States, you’re not to engage any civilian in any conversation about Islam and Muslims and what you’ve seen over here. You’re not to talk about how they treat their women, children and their animals. Just get it out of your mind.”

Navy NCO: “I hope that doesn’t apply to me. Heck, as soon as I hear wheels-down, I’ll be 100% civilian.”

Army PFC: “Sir, we didn’t give up our First Amendment rights when we joined the service, or at least I didn’t.”

Army Captain: “Look, all I want to do is read through this list here. I read; you listen, okay? This isn’t some sort of discussion group.

“Now, I read. You listen. No talking about Islam and how, well, what you’ve seen over here.

“Next is no talking about the Rules of Engagement and how bad they are to our side.

“No talking about the unfair promotions, equipment gone ‘missing’ from the base, and how you can’t trust anybody over here. And that means no mentioning that any of our troops were killed by getting shot or stabbed, literally, in the back and reported as death caused by a ‘pavement improvement device,’ aka as an IED.

“Okay, that about does it. Now I know I’m going to regret this, but it says here I’m supposed to open this forum to a ‘question period.’ So, any questions?”

Navy NCO : “Sir, last night we were talking about this soldier at the Chattanooga recruitment center.”

Army Captain: “Oh, boy.”

Army PFC: “The one that brought a gun to the gun fight? You heard about what they’re going to do to the guy?”

Army Captain: “Soldier, the orders were clear and concise: no weapons. Cut-and-dried case.”

Navy NCO: “No way, sir. I don’t know what kind of training anybody else got, but in the Navy we were trained for survival and to think on our feet. I know orders are orders, but when the orders are obviously wrong, we were taught to basically treat them as suggestions, as in ‘I know this is a stupid order — remember all those who were gunned down in Ft. Hood like sitting ducks? — so if you don’t mind, I’ll just bring my own personal weapon of choice to a gunfight and, by the way, it will be a gun.’ How about that?”

Loud applause. The men stand as the Navy NCO stands on his chair and bows.

Army Captain: “Orders are orders, sailor.”

Marine Sergeant: (stands and addresses the group) “Captain, I’m sorry, but I have to side with that sailor (God forgive me — laughter) who had more brains than the idiots who fly desks at the Pentagon. Our troops have been nothing but sitting ducks, thanks to that Muslim in the White House.”

Army Captain: “That’s enough, Sergeant. I can have you thrown in the stockade for disrespect to the Commander-in-Chief.”

Air Force Lieutenant: “I’m sorry, but we were taught to survive, and letting a Muslim have the upper hand isn’t doing anybody any good.”

Army Captain: “You know, even though I agree with you, I can’t say anything.”

Navy NCO: “And that’s the problem, isn’t it, sir? I mean, if the military stood up to Obama, I mean, when Lakin was in that joke of a Court-Martial, why, we probably, in all likelihood, wouldn’t even be here.

“No, this is all wrong. This so-called ‘war’ against terrorism is just one big joke, just like the Vietnam War was: a joke. The joke was on the troops then, and the joke’s on the troops now, and nothing’s being done about it, not then and certainly not now.

“But this time the enemy is right in our very own back yard. Millions of Muslims in our country. No wonder we kill ourselves: what’s the point of fighting a war that you’re not going to win; answer me that. If only 10% of the Muslims in America went on a savage killing spree, like the Mau Mau uprising in Africa, why, that would be A MILLION psychos on a killing spree. And for what?

Army Captain: “Time’s up. You all heard what I read off, so you’re all cleared to go home. Enjoy yourselves. And, this is off the record, conceal carry for not only your protection, but for the protection of any non-Muslim in our country. Good luck.”

The men stand up and start for the exit.

The Navy NCO catches up with the Marine Sergeant.

Navy NCO: “Hey, Sarge. Got a sec? (“Sarge” nods) The other night you mentioned ‘motorized camels.’. What the heck is a ‘motorized camel?’”

Marine Sergeant: “You’ve been in-country for how long? Six months? And you haven’t figured them out by now? These Muslims are living in the 6th century; they’re trapped in a time warp, and as long as Islam is around, there will be people just plain left behind. Time marches on, but they don‘t. Now about those ‘motorized camels?’ Think. It’s no coincidence there are so many Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan. Detroit? A ‘motorized camel’ is a pickup truck.”

The Navy NCO and the Marine Sergeant break out into laughter, as others around them follow suit as they exit stage right. Stage lights dim as the curtain lowers to the sounds of The Riders in the Sky singing “Happy Trails.”


Semper Fi




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