True Story© You Got Serb'd

     As a great many of you know, Independence Day was this week.  Like a great many of you we celebrated with grilled meat, alcohol and fireworks.
[Note: there may or not have been a stop for Taco Tuesday at a local spot while we were downtown]

     My attention to the first couple of things have been ongoing since early Saturday afternoon for my birthday but the fireworks was my opportunity to REALLY fuck with someone’s holiday this time.

     Nearing the end of the night and fully ensconced in my Crown Royal from earlier and a beer or two in the ballpark, I joked aloud “Damn, these fireworks remind me of Sarajevo in 1995.  Between this shit and growing up in the hood, I might come unglued out here.”
My girlfriend rolled her eyes.
The lady sitting on my left, though?  She hit the metaphorical ceiling.  “Look here buddy, this day is to celebrate America and you’re out here making lame PTSD jokes?  You’re a special brand of asshole!  What about all these ACTUAL veterans out here who actually fought?”
“And how, might I ask, do you know I’m not a veteran?” was my response.  She had nothing, she looked at my lady, then to her daughter on the other side of her before her gaze went down to her shoes.  She produced “…  well, I guess I don’t.”

It was my turn…

“Well, ma’am, allow me to explain!  The year was actually 1994.  I was newly relearning my life in the States after being dragged away to Vietnam and left there still fighting in the fucking jungle years after the conflict ended.  I get a cable from the office of William Clinton himself and I am asked to help with the extraction of a soldier who was apparently some kind of important person had been deployed to assist in the Bosnian War but had become missing in the 1400something-day siege.”

More eye rolling from Mimi, but she wasn’t about to stop me now.

“Well, when the president’s office was clearing me to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, they must have let on in some wording about my skills used in ‘Nam and that I had managed to survive alone for years afterward.  Well, now that they had me in their country and in their armored car, they blew the cover on their little ruse and had actually played the president to get me in there and end their war.
Lady, I had no way out of the motherfucker, armed guards on me 24 hours a day and do not know a GOT damned word of Serbian.”

At this point, everyone in the section was paying attention and listening to my story.  All eyes and ears were on me.  I wasn’t about to stop though.

“I arrived roughly halfway through a siege that was looking like it would go on indefinitely and I brought it to an end in a year and a half.  While I was there it was EVERYTHING one would expect in a siege; Constant shelling, gunshots, doors getting kicked in and all of that shit.  I wasn’t being kept awake, but I couldn’t sleep worth a shit in this situation.  I thought them out of this situation and eventually ended the siege.  So yes, I guess you could make a case that I have a bit of PTSD, but since I was not there in an OFFICIAL military capacity, the government acts like anyone who mentions me is fucking lying.  No VA benefits, no GI bill, no monthly crazy check, nothing!”

She was aghast.  Couldn’t close her mouth.  She whimpered something like an apology and scurried to the nearest exit in the baseball stadium.  Everyone in the section looked at me and watched her booking for the exit, and ALL that had heard me stood and cheered.

     One man, while asking what kind of beer I would like to have on him, asked “For all the shit you been through, you look damn good…  How old are you buddy?”  I responded that I had turned 38 three days prior and he doubled over laughing, and asked if I had made that whole story up on the spot.  When I explained that I absolutely had, right there on the spot, on several glasses of Crown earlier in the day and a few beers in the baseball stadium.
I didn’t pay for another beer for the rest of the evening.


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