We’re on target, I’m pulling security in my Stryker. We’ve been on missions all night, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. My head is bobbing up and down.
I reach into my cargo pocket, And pull out an 8oz Rip-Its. Pull the tab, release it’s promising pssssst. Tip my head back and slug a huge chug.
The caffeine infusion hits my brain, My eyes once so sleepy, burst open and alert. My mind once fogged, now clear. My head no longer bobbing chaotically. Now in a disciplined swivel taking note of my surroundings.
Dawn approaches, our hunting session draws to a close. We make it back to base. A toast to you Rip-Its, my golden friend. An essential part of my combat kit.
On freshly washed white sheets,
Wrapped in my rich red blanket.
With my lover laying on my chest.
Cats cuddle at our feet.
The mattress is a vessel into the world of dreams.
I’m deep in wonderful sleep.
Content in the solitude of slumber,
Time reinvigorating my mind,
My body is resting, but my imagination runs wild.
Crystal clear and logical adventures,
That once awakened will seem crazy.
I hold these hours dear,
Prioritize them I must,
Because too few of them will make it tough,
To chase those dreams in reality.
Eddie was number 27 and a cornerback on the football team.
He was a senior and this had been his first year playing.
I was a sophomore, a couple years younger
We’re both on the junior varsity team,
Neither of us were exceptionally talented at the sport,
Our weekly practice routine consisted of getting our ass kicked by the varsity team.
Tough kids, bonding over our scrappy, fool hearted football player existence.
The year is 2001, we’re on the sidelines of an away game versus Los Alamitos.
We’re talking about the girls we liked at our school,
But we were too much of pansies to talk to.
Eddie most likely just made one of his low-key, hilarious impersonations of our coach.
One of the water girls taps us on the shoulder and tells us to pose for a picture,
We turn around and sling our arms around each other and smile.
Our attention goes back to the game,
Discreetly goofing around on the sidelines,
As we wonder when the coach is going to put us in.
“Hey Mexican! Go long!” He yells as he gets ready to pass me the football.
It was almost midnight and we’re playing a pick-up game with a few friends.
Our field: the parking lot of a defunct Levitz furniture store in Huntington Beach.
I’d run and catch the ball, then drive it in for a touchdown.
We’d celebrated as if we had actually pulled that off in a real game.
As graduation approached, Eddie wondered what his next step in life would be.
He didn’t want to join the military and wasn’t sure what to study in college.
He did know he had fallen head over heels in love with a girl and wanted a family.
He was proud when he got an $11 an hour job at the QuickSilver warehouse.
Occasionally, I’d see him riding his bike to work and I would honk at him as I passed by.
The next school year, on my way to the weight room I see his girlfriend.
She has a handmade poster of Eddie as an angel scribbled with signatures.
He was the passenger in a car that lost control and wrapped itself around a tree.
The cemetery workers places the last patch of grass over his grave,
I watch his mother pull out the blades of grass trying to reach him through the earth.
We wouldn’t grow up to be wild men together like we were wild boys.