Trading Sadr City for Orlando

“Ain’t no life like this,” Haverford said as he threw up underneath a palm tree. “Better here then there.”

A cold wind blew in the Orlando night sky and it took out the cherry from the menthol between my fingers. I crushed the cigarette underneath my sandal while I watched former Specialist Tom Haverford reek underneath a palm tree. He was sick from a mix of whiskey, Narragansett, and pepperoni slices that didn’t go down as he hoped. In the morning, Tommy will be fine. In the morning, he’ll get up and get back to work at the plant and forget that we talked about the past and drank too much and still drove home. It was 2:12 in the morning and the liquor began to take hold.

Two women in heels saw us about one hundred meters down the street. The one girl grabs her friend’s arm and bolts for the other side of the road. Her friend laughs and asks “What’s the rush?” and the other girl replied, “shut the hell up.”They shuffled quickly down the street towards downtown and when they heard Tommy reek up more bile I could hear their high heels tap the pavement.

Haverford wiped some drool off with his shirt before staggering back to the sidewalk.

“Aren’t you enjoying it here?” Haverford asked me. “This place is paradise man. Isn’t it?”

I said sure and guided him down the street. He talked about the invasion and Sadr City. “Nothing better than this brother. Nothing. Nothing better than not worrying about getting sniped in the head or getting your goddamn limbs blown off. Nothing better than this brother. No jacked up officers. No sergeants. No stupid privates making goddamn fucking stupid moves. None of it.  Wouldn’t trade this,” he threw his arms up, towards the night air. “Wouldn’t trade a goddamn contract for this.”

Haverford threw up a second time near a red Porsche before we made it back to the Corolla.


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