Flashback: There I was, surrounded by dozens of stocky henchman while trying to escape the private island of the odious General Killius.
The disgraced former general turned criminal mastermind went rogue with a cache of the nation’s top nuclear secrets, looking for the highest bidder. I was enlisted on a top secret mission to thwart his treacherous plans.
I twisted my ankle running from a snake. I also needed a drink, more specifically a piña colada. But if you thought there’d be piña coladas on the general’s death trap of an island, you’d be wrong. Plenty of land mines, but no drinks. Not even a Mai Tai!
It was just another job for Uncle Sam away from the cozy comforts of home. After defeating the general, I was relocated to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait for a nine-month Army deployment. And that’s how I got here.
The Real Story
I took some artistic liberties with my backstory, but one thing is certain, there ain’t no piña coladas here either. Arifjan is a forward logistics base and central hub for traveling military and DoD personnel.
If you’ve deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, or someplace else in the Middle East, you know the place.
My normal routine was upended in September last year when I reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky with my Army Reserve unit for our month-long pre-deployment training.
The following month, I was enrolled in an Army leadership school at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
By December, we mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas for deployment processing and arrived in Kuwait by the end of the month.
I haven’t written a blog since August. Such an abysmal hiatus brought me great shame. I flogged myself in the street for miles then watched the new Avatar and Magic Mike movies for penance.
I cleaned toilets around the base, volunteered for guard duty, and ate only military-grade gruel, but none of it felt like enough. Truth is the past six months have been hazy.
I’ve got lots of plans, including my first novel manuscript. Better late than never! It’s piled next to my comic strip drafts and canned foods for the needy. You’d think I have all the time in the world. It also seems that I’ve lamented the same lack of productivity before.
Maybe I’ll learn a new language out here, like Arabic or Tagalog (my wife’s native tongue). Of course, I’d just learn the basics, enough to engage in a few overseas business deals. The ol’ offshore retirement fund is a little light.
Back in Action
It’s time to get some real work done out here. No more yodeling classes, sock knitting, or shadow puppet seminars. I’ll tackle everything on my to-do list for the past year.
Military deployments provide an opportunity to focus without all the diversions of home life. I have responsibilities out here, for sure, but there’s no excuse to not accomplish personal goals and manage my time wisely… at least that’s the idea.
I could go on. It’s already March, and I haven’t even gotten to current events. The past months blurred together in a dizzying haze.
Sometimes I feel like the only writer out there fretting about their lack of output, but I know that’s not the case. We’re all a mess.
And what am I doing out here with the Army?
Well, my friends, that’s top secret.