The noise from ops was annoying as hell. I got up from my desk and opened my door to look: seven people crowded around the monitor at the desk of someone I respected. Pushing in, my breast touched a carpenter's arm. He didn't seem to notice. One of the ops officers turned and left, her face distorted with disgust. I saw the screen. A kneeling man. A black sack on his head. Another man stood by him, face concealed under a checkered headdress. With a saw, he dug in, with great exertion, through the kneeling man's neck. I'm still sick.
We met on a forward operating base in Iraq. She was what I thought I needed. I was a year divorced, but I'd dated women before. I thought she was remarkable. An out lesbian, Department of Defense Fire Chief. After four months we committed to each other. During her R&R she went back to the States. She called to tell me she was broke. I wired money. People talked. She hooked up with her ex. When back in-country she told me of her infidelity, the week of partying. I forgave her. But after the next six years, I'd had enough.
I left feeling guilty. I'd made more than two hundred grand, half of it tax-free, at the hand of war. The site leader had been abusing his power. I'd had enough. I'd done what I came to do. I'd paid my bills. I would miss the Marine who approached me for help, describing outposts around town that had generators but no refrigerators. Using my connections, I "drug-dealed" seven uprights and four floor units. I've no clue how many Marines the coolers helped, but they no longer had to drink hot water in 140-degree heat.