By Jack Mandaville I want to make a few of my...
Love in a Hummer
By RU Contributor J.E. McCollough
These stories are not entirely true. There are parts I will tell as I wish they’d happened, or I wish they hadn’t; parts that could have happened, but might not have. Things happen in war that are improbable, or impossible to believe, so don’t feel you have to believe everything you read. War is blurry, whole days and weeks go by without any clear definition, yet there are some moments that are suspended in time with perfect clarity. Memory is imperfect and fragile and has faded in the intervening years, but there are those rare touchstones that can be moments that tie everything together, which is what I’ve tried to do with this story. Filling in the gaps with what probably happened. Maybe.
In the summer of 2004 in Ramadi, after just getting a Dear John from my girlfriend, I met Amanda. Amanda was tall, blonde and pretty. That’s not just a faded memory and she wasn’t a ‘desert princess’ (an ugly chick who gets prettier the longer you’re deployed). I still have a couple of photos and when I look at them now, she was a beautiful girl. I’m sure she’s still beautiful, wherever she is. Clear blue eyes and a bright smile. She was a graduate student in Kansas, and for some reason she decided swinging a hammer in an Army reserve construction battalion suited her. I loved her farmer tan, and her firm ass. It wasn’t serious; of course, it was just good fun, and a distraction for both of us. I think the first time we met was at a poker game that somehow turned into a strip poker game. Midwestern girls, gotta love ‘em!
She was fun, and I needed that. In the middle of all my personal pain after getting dumped, in the middle of endless hours of interrogating Iraqis, in the middle of constant rocket and mortar attacks, Amanda was fun. She always had a smile, at least, as far as I can remember. That smile shone in the middle of a long, dark night. And, the sex was good. I mean, I hadn’t had any in a long time, but, it was good against any standard. Part of it was the setting, I suppose, but she was also just so damn enthusiastic. We shagged in the front seat of my humvee one night, while it was parked out in front of the barracks compound. If we had been caught we would both have been in a lot of trouble. But, that made the sex all the hotter.
Of course, sex in a humvee wasn’t anything compared to sex with a tazer. Yah… a tazer. I had brought one with me on the Ramadi deployment because of how many problems we’d had with kids trying to steal shit out of the trucks in 2003. Our unarmored trucks in 2003 made tempting targets for little Iraqi hands, reaching, groping. What can you do? You can’t shoot a little kid for trying to steal your binoculars or whatever. So, in 2004 I figured one spark of a tazer – without the prongs and lines, I didn’t need to take anyone down – would scare the shit out of the kids so badly they’d stop trying. But, Ramadi was so vastly different than the invasion; I never used the tazer on Iraqis. No crowds gathered around Marines, no one wanted to be blown up. It was extremely useful however, at parties on Army reservists who were trying to to prove to Marines they were tough; and on Amanda, while she was on top.
Don’t look at me like that, she asked me to! She demanded it, in fact. It was definitely rougher than I’d ever had, or had since, but it was fun. As a matter of fact, it was electrifying – to take advantage of the obvious pun opportunity. Amanda and I had crazy, wild, young, hot, sweaty sex in the middle of rockets crashing down in the Iraqi summer. We fucked in the middle of a war; in the middle of misery. I wasn’t over losing my girlfriend, not even close. In fact, I still might not be over her. But being with Amanda made me smile for a little while, I still smile every time I think of her. I’m smiling as I write these words. It was a relationship that had a definite expiration date from the beginning, but it was something I’ll always be grateful for.