So, all of these awesome things are happening and just my luck, the world’s going to end. Damn those Mayans. But if for some reason the world doesn’t end I hope to see you at one of my upcoming events. First off, Rough Men Stand Ready has been doing amazing. We have put every dime that we’ve made from selling them back into an account to fund the next run. We have funded two runs and we’re halfway into funding the third. I will be reading from my story The Broken Man at four readings around Portland next month.
The Broken Man is a story I wrote after my deployment to Haiti back in 1995. I went over there as a teenager and quickly realized that life wasn’t valued the same by everyone. I also felt the toll soldiering has on a person. The story is about how a young soldier deals with the violence, death, and the surreal. Here’s an excerpt:
“The Captain and Sergeant Primeaux went off to talk to the villagers. The rest of the squad surrounded the medic and beaten Haitian still screaming in pain, but as the minutes ticked by his screams died to grunts. Sheehan couldn’t help but look at him wailing there in his own piss and blood. He wondered if the man knew where he was, if the man on the ground knew he was going to die soon. The medic still had more bandages, more gauze, more tourniquets, and probably morphine, but he didn’t use any of them.
Sheehan tried to ignore the grunts and gasps the medic called agonal breathing, the body’s final attempt at getting enough air. The young private decided to focus his attention anywhere but at that man. The villagers had gone back to their shacks except some of the kids stayed outside to see the soldiers so he waved at one.
“Gimme dolla, gimme chocolate.”
Sheehan said he was sorry, but he couldn’t give them anything. The kids were curious and made hand motions for Sheehan to take off his helmet. He could tell by their actions they had never seen white people hair before. They smiled and joked, children no older than ten laughing and playing, less than 5 meter from a man that lay dying, a man they helped kill. The beaten man gasped raspy from the back of his throat and every few minutes he regained enough consciousness to cry low.”
Come out and hear me read with Mike Francis of the Oregonian, Miah Washburn and Tommy Houston of A Rock or Something, and other veterans at these dates and venues: