This is a noisy area at night, and I hear every little sound produced by human, animal, and insect.
Finally, at 0330, I get up, head for the shower, and then for a shave. In the process I wake my new hoochmates, who really give me hell for waking them up. How can they know what is going through my mind? The shortest one, has until November to DEROS, while me, I'm leaving Soc Trang, tomorrow!
My stomach is churning, twirling, rumbling!
By 0400, I am showered, shaved, and dressed; and have no where to go! I lay on my back - won't this night ever end? Yes, it does! It is 0700, and I must have dozed off, for I wake in a daze, and don't know where I am.
I stagger to the messhall, the worse dining facility in the military, anytime, anywhere! There I am greeted by acquaintances (I can't call them friends, I'm too short) who make many references to my status; all of them envious of it; most of whom would give their left [well , you know what I mean] to trade places with me. [And, yes, that applies to three few American Round Eyes there, too!]
I am so tired, physically and mentally, that I grab a cup of coffee, take a swallow, and almost gag. I can count the number of times I have taken coffee in my life on my fingers and toes, and I know enough about the stuff that I know this is Godawful! But, I am tired, and have to go to work, so I load my cup of black liquid with powdered milk (ugh!) and sugar, and turn it into a syrupy, baby shit brown mixture, and sit next to the new Province Senior Advisor. The old one, a dip shit lieutenant colonel has been gone for a month, and it is USAID's turn to provide the SA, and this guy, a career state department civilian, seems like a pretty good guy.
At least he is sympathetic to my jitters, and his remarks soon have me smiling, despite my sour disposition.
This is the worse day of my tour! When I should be happy with my short timers status, it is a bad mother! I have been shot at; I have been lonely; I have been scared shitless; I have been drunk and hung over like I have never been before; and this is the worse day of my tour!
My new sergeant (God Dammit, I think his name is Deason, but I don't know for sure!) and I go to the battalion, and for the last time, I make a morning tour. As we walked by the battalion HQ, Major Mong comes outside and informs me two of our guys down in Bac Lieu, working on an Eiffel Bridge, were killed a few minutes ago. No details, just the report.
Untill then, the battalion had had only four or five KIA's the whole year! I don't know their names, and I can't speak their language; but I suffer their loss as if they were US troops.