The moon and the stars were out in numbers in that way they are in Afghan, so bright you don’t need your NVGs or your headlamp when outside. As 0200 arrived I made my way from my team room in the compound to where Hospitalman Apprentice Joc Doe Nepergast slumbered in the squad tent so I could pass him the radio for his turn on watch. He barely mustered, “Got it,” before tucking himself away back into his cocoon of black and green bags, outfitted with just a hint of corpsman nastiness in the way of his giant Chuck Taylor slippers tucked under his cot. As I tried to RTB to my own slice of heaven inside my cot, I felt a distinct rumble from deep within my loins. Not like the rumble you may recognize if you’ve spent any considerable time inside Tar Heels chugging AMFs or blue motorcycles, a gentle caressing reminder that you are making your way down a dark road that may end with you being spitroasted by some hog of epic proportions on the dance floor and maybe in your barracks room if you can go long enough without making allusions to sodomy. No, this rumble is something foreign. Something Asiatic. From that part of the world where washing hands is overrated and toilets are for he-she’s.

“Just sleep it off pussy,” I chide myself as I lay down and curl into the fetal on my broken cot. “We have to patrol in the morning and you’ll just fart this thing out anyway…powdered eggs…” Powdered eggs, that wonderful delight of the deployed. A call to arms for our squad, a farewell we give to each other in case some of our less talented comrades poke a pressure plate a smidge too hard and wake up in Camp Bastion missing at minimum a hand. “At least you’ll be getting spoon-fed powdered eggs, pussy.”

At 0345 I am awakened by the most fearsome sounds of battle, of death, of misery. The enemy has breached the wire, and by that I mean my bowels. I sit on the edge of my cot and prepare to make the 8-10 meter sprint to the lovely lavatory facility on hand at OP41. That horseshoe of sandbags that we worship after eating too much native rice and “meat”, 20 feet to paradise and 72 single ply sheets of MRE toilet paper.

“Just stand up, you won’t make it if you don’t get up,” I tell myself and so I do get up. However I am completely bent over, 45 degrees at the waist. I can’t move, I’m frozen, I’m Corporal Upham while my squad mates are beaten death. Only it’s just me and my hole getting beaten to death. “Stand up straight and run.” And so I do. And in that effort of standing up straight a brown avalanche erupts from my admittedly dirty tube and makes its way to my compression shorts with enough G Force to make Neil Armstrong quake. I start running, and as I do, filth, vile, and doo-doo flow from my backdoor like war crimes in Saudi Arabia, thick and warm. I stumble past the burn pit and as I do, with shit streaming out of my ass I manage to projectile vomit whatever else my stomach has decided it no longer has use for. I finally make it to the sheet used as a door for the head, with the raucous laughter of one Lance Corporal Bertier ringing in my ears, as his evening on post has just given way to an evening of Hershey Park themed Water Park Shenanigans.

Thankfully the under armor compression shorts have managed to hold all 3 gallons of freshly squeezed Taylor juice without so much as a drop on my long Johns. And that’s the last time I shit myself. Happy Thanksgiving.

Bertier and Casper