A Marble in the Sand

A Non-Fiction Essay By Former U.S. Army Sergeant, Stephen Crowley

3rd Place Winner 2011 Maricopa County Community Colleges Creative Writing Competition

Route Cherry is a road outside of Kirkuk Airbase to the west of Riyhad with bomb craters pot marking its lethal warnings every foot of the way. A road traveled with whispered prayers and curses. The one thing more frightening than traveling Route Cherry is to be parked along side it, waiting. “Waiting for what?” I ask myself.

Route “Cherry”

The Humvee idles, the radio squawks.  “Charlie Niner Bravo, SIT-REP, Over.” Situation Report, that’s what they want. I want to reply with SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up), but I don’t. I just whisper it to myself. I have been in Iraq for many months now. The days blur together. It’s all the same, every mission, nothing changes for me. It wasn’t always like that, but Iraq will condition you that way.

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