Small Dude, a fictional short story, Part 2
About half way through the trip, Virgil stopped the truck in a wooded area, allowing the dogs to go pee, as he did himself alongside the road. The sun was now fairly high in the sky and the clouds were gone, a beautiful day indeed ! Virgil verified the trailer hitch one more time, as well as the boat straps. He was not to be guilty of being unprepared nor negligent, not any more !
As with many a disaster, Virgil being wounded in Irak didn't happen for one single reason. His unit was on a daily routine patrol, in a normally fairly safe neighborhood of Baghdad, when the column of Humvees he was commanding was fired upon. Through the radio, he ordered every personnel out of the vehicles, in order to steer clear of possible unfriendly grenade launch, as well as to be in better position to respond to the attack. Then, he preceeded to establish contact with his central command, give an exact location and request helicopter intervention. All this being done, as he was about to grab his rifle, he set his leg out of the vehicle, and to his surprise, that leg wouldn't carry the weight of his body, so he fell heavily to the ground, somewhat rolling half way under the vehicle. He lost his grip and the rifle remained inside the truck ! What he had not yet realized is that the second his leg came out of the Humvee, he got shot through the right thigh by an unfriendly sniper, something he only became aware of when the blood started gushing out of the bullet hole. The amount of blood made him think that an artery may have been damaged, and from the top of his lungs, he called for medic assistance.
Virgil looked around the area where his vehicle had stopped, just in the middle of the street. About thirty feet away, he spotted the body of a heavy set American black soldier. wedged face down between the bumpers of two parked cars. He thought immediately of Vinnie Jones, from Valdosta, Georgia, as the man himself would constantly remind everybody :
- "Hey Jones, is that you ?"
-"Hey, Lieutenant, you OK ?
- "Got shot in the leg, are you all right ?"
- "This nigger got two slugs hisself, one in the ankle and one in the right hand ! Hurts like a bitch". Yep, that was Jones allright !
- "Hang in there, man, medics will be here in no time. I radioed for help. Don't move, OK, that's an order". A useless one too, as Jones trapped between the two cars, was unable to free himself.
- "Yes, Sir !"
The two men could hear sporadic shots been fired from both sides. But the effect of surprise was gone, and Virgil thought most of the damage that could possibly be done had already been done.
It seemed forever before Virgil spotted a frail silhouette crawling towards him and he later remembered thinking "Gee, that's one small dude!" That small dude got close enough to him to tend to his wound, at least contain most of the bleeding before the evacuation choppers got there. Kneeling in front of him, the small dude turned out to be a female medic. Her first words to him, alongside a big warm smile , were :
- "Hi, my name is Carmen Conrero and I will be your angel today". Virgil couldn't help but smile back at her, amused by her heavy Spanish accent and her sense of humor under the circumstances, just as a sharp pain in his leg started kicking in :
- "So, Lieutenant, where are you from ?"
- "Vero Beach, Florida, and you ?" She was working while talking and her moves were precise, she knew what she was doing. But so young, Virgil thought, and so pretty. What was she doing here ?
- "No shit ! Where else, I'm from Miami, my dad was a Cuban refugee:, she said
- "So, we're almost neighbors then. Maybe when this mess is over, we can have a beer together". She gave him a quick side look :
- "You don't mean that, but that's nice of you to offer. Virgil shrugged under the pain.
-"I do, I really do" he protested feebly.
- "All right, you're on soldier, but don't disappoint me, I got a weak heart " she said laughing. Virgil had a brief flashback of Vicky, his now ex-wife.
- "So do I, as a matter of fact ! And I don't know what you're doing to my poor leg, but it hurts like hell".
- "Men are such pussies ! And all that time I thought we were having fun you and me, especially you!" She was talking casually, half a smile on her face but her eyes were riveted to her hands, nothing could brake her concentration. Such a level of competence could only impress Virgil. He knew he was in good hands.
- " Yeah, right ! Where are the freaking choppers ?" he said angrily, as the pain level hit another peak.
- "On their way, the pilots were probably having lunch when they got the call. They're gonna hate your guts for interrupting their meal, you know ". She was now laughing openly, happy with her joke.
- "You got an answer for everything, don't you ? You're a real smart ass, Carmen Conrero, but you probably prevented me from bleeding to death today, so I like you. And whenever we get out of this freaking hell, I'll drive to Miami, I'll find you and we'll have dinner somewhere right on the water on Biscayne bay, a great bottle of French wine, and we'll go dancing afterwards. I'm not great at it but I can do a halfway decent salsa, rumba, cha-cha, meringue. What do you say ? Oh, and waltz too!'
- "Wow, Mister Romeo, I'm impressed, you just got yourself a date. You're pretty fast for a guy with a hole in his leg. I've known you what, about ten minutes and you've already got a date from me, wow !" And, in the most unpredicable way, she leaned down forward Virgil, and gave him a kiss on his forehead.
- "Here we go, Lieutenant, I'm done here, see you in Miami, I'm looking forward to it". And she gave him the warmest tender smile ever...
To be continued...
Copyright 2012 by Austihealy, his heirs and assigns