With Drawn: Part 17 — KIA

AfghanContinued from: With Drawn: Part 16 — Words Unheard

It was a Corporal Grey Hendrickson that told Joanne and Jacob about what happened to David Grist in Afghanistan. Grey Hendrickson did not know Joanne or Jacob, nor did he know David Grist. It was Grey Hendrickson’s job simply to inform David Grist’s next of kin that Sergeant First Class David Grist had been KIA.

KIA meant that Sergeant First Class David Grist was “Killed In Action.” It was not referring to a car company of the same name. Jacob always thought it was strange that Kia the car company would name its brand after something as unpleasant as a soldier being killed. Jacob had heard once that the car company Chevy had named their car Nova, which means “no go” in Spanish, so Jacob figured that maybe sometimes car companies aren’t very good at naming things.

Grey Hendrickson gave no real explanation to Jacob and Joanne as to what actually happened to David. He only informed them that Sergeant First Class David Grist had been killed in action and that he, Corporal Hendrickson, was very sorry for Joanne and Jacob’s loss.

Often someone will tell a person mourning a lost family member that he or she is sorry. Most of the time, people who say sorry for a person’s death have no involvement whatsoever in that person’s death, yet the person apologizes as if he or she was somehow to blame. Perhaps Corporal Hendrickson was actually apologizing on behalf of the United States Army, which was responsible for Jacob’s father’s death.

Anyway, after Corporal Hendrickson said he was sorry, Corporal Hendrickson left, never to see Jacob and Joanne again.

Joanne cried for three days straight.

Jacob didn’t cry at all.

Jacob’s lack of crying was not due to Jacob not caring that his father was dead. Jacob cared very much. He was very sad that his father died. The reason that Jacob didn’t cry was because Jacob didn’t cry over things.

Dennis Walsh, David’s best friend, was there to comfort Joanne.

No one was there to comfort Jacob.

Jacob comforted himself by drawing in his sketchpad.

It turns out that it was another soldier, a Specialist Timothy Wilcox, who told Joanne and Jacob about how David Grist had run into the Afghanis’ home to try and save a family before a missile had blasted the home into rubble. A teary-eyed Specialist Timothy Wilcox told Joanne and Jacob about how David’s three-man unit was on patrol and how they had taken a detour into a small village. They took that detour into that small village because a passing convoy had told them that there was unexploded ordinance on the village border, the villagers telling the convoy that insurgents had left the unexploded ordinance as a trap for U.S. soldiers.

Unexploded ordinance is a fancy name for a bomb.

Insurgents is a fancy name for people that soldiers were supposed to kill. In history, sometimes insurgents are considered good guys—like the Greeks fighting against Persia—and sometimes they can be considered bad—like the Vietnamese fighting against the United States. In our own country we’ve had good insurgents like the Minute Men, and bad insurgents like the indigenous tribes that lived on the continent now known as America before a lot of white people took it over. These tribes were known as Indians. Today, it is politically correct to call people of the indigenous tribes that lived on the continent now known as America: Native Americans. Although why they would want to be known as Americans is a mystery.

Timothy Wilcox told Jacob and Joanne about how the three-man unit, which consisted of himself, Sergeant First Class David Grist, and Sergeant Lawrence Meeks, entered the village. The three men were part of a bomb disposal unit, so it was their job to dispose of unexploded ordinance.

In the village’s center, a group of Afghani children were playing soccer. And sitting on the stoop of one of the houses was an Afghani woman in a burka.

A burka is an oversized dress that some Muslim women wear. The dress is so over-sized that it covers her entire body. It even covers her head and face. Some Muslim women wear this dress because it is a rule stated in their religion that says they have to wear it. Muslim men don’t have to wear this type of garment, probably because it was Muslim men that came up with the rule in the first place.

The woman in the burka on the stoop of the house held a baby in her arms and she had two toddlers, a boy and a girl, sitting at her hips. Sergeant First Class David Grist was regarding this sight when it came over the radio that the very village that they stood in was targeted for an airstrike, and that the house with the woman and children on the stoop was thought to be harboring insurgents, and that house was the airstrike’s intended target.

Sergeant First Class David Grist began yelling to the children playing soccer to run. And all the children did run, screaming. And David yelled for the woman and the toddlers to run. And the woman and the toddlers did run. Only problem was, they ran into the house that was targeted to be blown up.

Before Specialist Timothy Wilcox or Sergeant Larry Meeks knew what was happening, Sergeant First Class David Grist darted into the house. And then… Boom. The house was turned to rubble.

The teary-eyed Specialist Timothy Wilcox told Joanne that he was very sorry. He even begged Joanne to forgive him. And then he was gone, never to be seen again.

This did not mean that no one could physically see Timothy Wilcox any longer, or that he actually disappeared. It meant that most people that had known Timothy Wilcox would never know what happened to him.

What did happen to Specialist Timothy Wilcox was that he was arrested two days later by Military Police. Specialist Timothy Wilcox was what was known as being AWOL. AWOL means: Absent Without Leave. Timothy Wilcox was not allowed to be anywhere that the Army didn’t say he could be. And the Army did not say that Specialist Timothy Wilcox could be at Joanne Grist’s home. In fact, the Army didn’t even say that Specialist Timothy Wilcox could be in the United States. He was supposed to still be in Afghanistan.

While Specialist Timothy Wilcox was speaking with Joanne Grist in the United States, Sergeant Larry Meeks was in a military prison in Afghanistan. He had been AWOL as well. In the future, he and Specialist Wilcox would be in jail for a long time due to other crimes.

The story that Timothy Wilcox told to Joanne and Jacob, about how Sergeant First Class David Grist had sacrificed himself in an attempt to save a family, was a lie. But because he told this story to Joanne and Jacob, and because the true story would be very embarrassing to the United States Military, the Army had to use his story as the official account of the incident, even though the story he told was logistically unbelievable.

A General Warren Longbottom was in charge of signing off on the official account of Specialist Wilcox’s version of the incident, which was now officially the true account of Sergeant First Class David Grist’s death. Before signing the documents that spelled out this new “official account” of the story, the general said, “This is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.”

It was true that the three United States soldiers were in that village that was attacked. And it was true that David Grist was in that house that was blown to rubble. But the three men were not in that village to remove unexploded ordinance. And David Grist was not trying to save a family.

The true story was this: Sergeant First Class David Grist, Sergeant Larry Meeks, and Specialist Timothy Wilcox were freelancing as a security detail for an Afghani warlord’s opium shipments. This Afghani warlord also happened to be a high ranking official in the Afghani military and the appointed governor of the Helmand Province. The three soldiers were in that village to meet up with a drug smuggling convoy that they were supposed to escort safely across the desert. The three men, unlike in the account given by Timothy Wilcox, had no idea that a strike was coming. For one thing, they would have no reason or capability to intercept such an order. And even if their radios had picked up such an order, they wouldn’t have heard it anyway. When the order for the strike was given, Tim was gambling with the other Afghani men on a fight to the death between two roosters, known as a cockfight. Larry was in a back room injecting heroine into his veins with a syringe. And David had snuck off to the warlord’s home to have sexual intercourse with one of the warlord’s many wives.

Sexual intercourse is when a man puts his penis into a woman’s vagina. Or, as we learned earlier, one could say he was putting his dick in her pussy.

When it was time for the three soldiers to rendezvous with the drug shipment, the three men emerged bleary-eyed from the prospective houses in which they’d been. It was Tim, the sharpest eyed of the three, that recognized the distant glint in the sky above them. Timothy realized that the glint was most likely a Predator drone airplane.

Fearing that the drone was running a reconnaissance mission, the three United States soldiers scattered to hide in the buildings from which they had just recently emerged.

The Predator drone airplanes were equipped with state-of-the-art reconnaissance equipment, high resolution cameras and the such, but they could also be equipped with bombs and missiles. This Predator was armed with missiles.

David Grist, in running back into the house from which he’d just emerged, returned to the warlord’s home.

And, of course, being armed with missiles, the Predator was not on a reconnaissance mission. It was, instead, on a seek-and-destroy mission. And it sought to destroy the warlord’s house. The very same house in which David Grist was hiding.

It turns out that the true story of what happened was even more asinine than the account given to Joanne and Jacob Grist by Timothy Wilcox.

There is an expression, “Go figure,” which is what people sometimes say when a true story is stranger than a fictitious story.

“Go figure,” is what General Longbottom said after signing off on the new official account of what had happened to David Grist.

That official account now stated that David Grist had sacrificed himself to save a family from an errant Predator missile strike, rather than the fact that he was hiding in an Afghani warlord, drug kingpin’s home after secretly having sexual intercourse with one of the warlord’s many wives, and, instead of running to safety, thinking he was well hidden from a drone’s reconnaissance mission, he was blown to smithereens.

Go figure.

Continued in: With Drawn: Part 18 — Physical Graffiti

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