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Friday, June 22, 2012

A Letter to Harold Pinnicks

What is my name? I don’t even think it ever mattered. My friend? Harold Pinnicks. What is the problem? He’s going crazy, and I think I am too.
It started earlier this week, god it seems so long ago. We were in the truck, moving across the road in Iraq, I don’t even remember where we were, nor do I think it matters. We were to act as security guards for the U.S. Embassy, and as such, we were careless, joking around the whole time, all 7 of us: Harold, his younger brother, myself and the others.
If we had been more careful maybe what happened next could have been avoided.
The truck ran over a mine, engulfing the entire truck in fire as it sent it flying end over end. Our bodies banged around off the sides and each other as the burning vehicle made its deadly roll over the sand.
Harold and I were the luckiest, we sat at the back so when the mine went off, we were the first to fall from the wreckage, with only a broken wrist.
But it was the others who were not so lucky.
When we rushed back to the wreckage, we say the horror of our fellow soldiers. I remember the smell of blood, no overpowering, but ever present. One of the knives we carried was bumped loose and cut one of the guys, he was ok, but bleeding pretty badly. Two of them had broken bones like Harold and I, but they were unable to move.
Then Harold spotted his brother, lying in front with the dead driver. It appears that his neck was snapped and he died quickly.
He looked almost as if he was just sleeping, his uniform hid any damage from our eyes, but his neck was bent at an awkward angle and his eyes and mouth were open in a deathly gasp.
Harold lost it.
He screamed and pulled the body out, letting his sobs free as he worked. He fought off the other soldiers who were able to move who tried to pull him back to safety in case of an attack but he continued to scream for his brother.
He screamed about how sorry he was about making his young brother join the army, a choice he didn’t give him. Harold dealt with such guilt that day and every day after that he was sent back to the states as a danger to himself and others.
He pulled knives at lunch, gripped his gun like we was going to use it, and began writing strange notes, notes about death and betrayal, about how sorry he was to his brother, about how he shouldn’t be alive.
I remember his screaming at night, screams that echoes so deep in my ears, I… I swear they might be my own.
They hadn’t let him leave the asylum since they admitted him, and I’m sure they will never let him go.
As for me, I don’t know how I feel, I mean, it doesn’t even feel like I really exist anymore.

The doctor read over the letter a few times then sighed, “Poor guy.”
“What do you mean?” Another asked, and was handed the letter. After reading it, he asked, “Who wrote this? I didn’t know we had another soldier from the attack.”
The doctor nodded his head and said, “I know.”
Meanwhile Harold was sleeping on the keyboard he used to type up his letter, a look of pain permanently etched on him face.

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