Southern Swill: Dispatches from the Forgotten British Sector (Issue 7)

Dan, Dan the Palace Man Appointed AE & Renamed

A base in the south, Iraq     In his typically bold yet terminally foolish fashion, LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick has appointed ‘Dan Dan the Palace Man’ Driery as Area Engineer of BAO. The position was unexpectedly vacated when Tom ‘Tommy Two-Tone’ made a surprise move to HQ to accept the position of Chief of Engineering & Construction.

Having made a total hash of the Palace Office, Dan Dan the Palace Man is now extending his startlingly inept sphere of influence. He is well on his way to creating a compete cluster of the whole of BAO, beginning with his office, which resembles a recently ransacked hajji shop.

Asked what he thought of the decision to put Dan in the position that he so recently vacated, Tom said, “Well, I wasn’t here.” He stared at the reporter for a moment, then added, “He wouldn’t have been my first choice.” Tom suddenly grinned and laughed. “Actually,” he said cheerfully, “he wouldn’t have been my any choice! I would never have put him in that position.” Sobering once again, he leaned forward. “Have you seen his office?” he asked sotto voce, then rolled his eyes.

Seren, (BAO free agent/Alamo Rd something) whose office is just outside Dan Dan the Palace Man’s office, described a disturbing amount of bizarre contractual advice overheard being dished out to ‘Just Too Jivin’ Jake’, Amy ‘The Allergy’, and ‘Jumpy Jedediah’.

“Aside from the fact that he spends literally hours discussing minutae and micro-managing the wrong things,” Seren said giggling, “he told Amy to de-scope the [censored] from the [censored] project!”

“He took Slasher’s fits of insanity over the 3-week lookahead seriously, too” she added. “Dan had his little goslings spending hours on that stupid thing. They’d all gather in his office, and he’d explain it over five times between stories of incoming and queries about everyone’s health.”

Dan Dan the Palace Man is really best at inquiring after people’s health, and positively shines when he can offer them some advice for treatment.

“Dan cares about us,” Jumpy Jedediah said, very seriously. “He is a good boss.”

“Well … if that’s all it takes …” Crazy LTC Corviday (Maysan RE) was heard to mutter as he wandered up the hallway in his PT clothes, lost in thought.

Dan, Dan the Palace Man has recently been referred to as Dan, Dan the Inept Man. Bets say the new name will stick. ◙

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BAO Gets It Good

A base in the south, Iraq     The Airport base experienced an unusual number of incoming rockets during the month of April. New bunkers recently installed in the BA(aaa) Camp were widely utilized, at least for the first week or so, until many residents became accustomed to the longer and more frequent barrages. When it was found that although the rockets came in greater numbers, the aim was as poor as ever, some residents reverted to their old habits of continuing to work at their desks while the rockets crumped and thumped at a comfortable distance from camp.

The jumpier residents and newly arrived North Dakotans sounded like secondary waves of incoming as they hit the floors almost before the sirens sounded. On the plus side, they were fortuitously provided with an overworked if useful conversational subject, forging new friendships in camp.

Previously uncommon, a good number of 240mm rockets were fired at BIA during the weeks of heavy incoming. Many residents took advantage of the unique opportunity to photograph a large, interesting hole made by one alongside the airport runway road.

The BritMil recently bombed the living crap out of one area of B City, and ran nightly operations into some of the areas known to be particularly thick with militia. They also reportedly destroy a factory that produced IEDs. After those patrols and a change in the rules of engagement for BritMil (they shoot back!), the rocket attacks have eased off.

“Well,” LTC Slasher said when asked what he thought about that, “I was really hoping to get a little shrapnel – just a little! – so I could get my Purple Heart. But I guess I’ll just have to keep boondoggling unnecessary missions into the city. Sooner or later I’m sure the PSD teams will be hit going into the city, and I can get my medal.”

“Get this, colonel,” PSD team leader JD was heard to mutter, flipping Slasher the bird. ◙

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Corviday, Odbard,  and Robnoxious Redeploy

A base in the south, Iraq     Crazy LTC Corbin Corviday, SGT Wavey Davey Odbard, MAJ Zebaroo Brighton, and MSG Robnoxious left the BA(aaaa) Camp on or about 5 May to redeploy to the States.

Although Seren Seren (sort of free agent, Alamo Road something) attempted to lock Crowsie in his office in order to keep him here, Corviday managed to escape by squeezing through one of the many poorly patched holes left by shrapnel from the early March rocket that peppered his office.

Seren also offered Davey Odbard a lifetime supply of Cuban cigars to stay, but Odbard pointed out that Spike Abbott (Camp Manager) and Eddie Rivera (Assistant Camp Manager) would only steal them all, so what would be the point.

Many people were relieved to see MAJ Brighton leave, after his final two weeks spent posturing and popping power plays on people in an over-zealous attempt to impress the new North Dakotans (see North Dakotans Ride into Town); although some were sincerely sorry to lose his off-duty sense of goofy humor, apparently no one tried to entice Brighton to stick around.

Four engineers from the BCH side of the building were seen shoving MSG Robnoxious out the door. An unnamed PSD team showed up to throw his personal belongings out after him. Apparently his (very) occasional wisdom and kindnesses were not quite enough to outweigh the general feeling that Robnoxious was a high maintenance, barely tolerable pain in the ass in the office. Sally Gabriel (BCH Progam Manager) was particularly relieved by Robnoxious’ exit: after his departure she was observed sitting at her desk with a beatific smile on her face, doing absolutely nothing.

After two rounds of award ceremonies and a drawn out goodbye in the parking lot, attended by the best friends of the departed, the four men were reportedly relieved to be on their way.

“Look,” Crowsie said to the others when they reached the RAF terminal,” my whole uniform was sopping wet from Seren crying all over it, but it’s so hot in this stinking, godforsaken country, it’s already dry!”

“Yeah,” Wavey Davey said, “but you’ve got teary salt stains all over you.”

Although most people have adapted well to the absence of some of the most disruptive personalities in the office, since they left Seren has been morose and bored, particularly targeting LTC Slasher with moody snarkiness in the absence of Crowsie carrying some of that burden. LT Willy Beal (BCH Resident Engineer) has confined his unhappiness to heartfelt sighs in the early mornings, when he particularly misses Brighton, his weight lifting buddy.

Slasher was reportedly pleased to see so many of his strongest staff leave. “It was time for them to go home,” he said sotto voce in a patronizing tone. “I’m relieved not to have to try to pretend to know what Odbard was talking about when I asked him about the Oil Office business that I’m supposed to be in charge of . . . And I’m happy to be out from under Zeb’s control because he really knew so much more than I do and could manipulate me,” he said. “That being said,” he added ponderously, “more than anything I’m glad to see Colonel Corviday leave because I’m too insecure to deal with another colonel in the same camp. I’m much happier and more comfortable here now, because the Resident Engineer types that I’m left with – besides Seren and Beal – and Seren really isn’t a Resident Engineer even if she did Resident Engineer work for seven months besides also acting as ConRep and Project Engineer – did you know she doesn’t have an engineering degree? – Anyway, besides, well, just Beal then, and he’s leaving soon, the new staff engineers are pretty much as weirdly ‘off’ and incompetent as I am. I think we’ll all get along very well.”

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Jumpy Jedediah Leaves Too

A base in the south, Iraq      ‘Jumpy’ Jedediah Rios redeployed a few days after the four officers departed, having spent about two years in Iraq. Jumpy Jedediah isn’t missed as much as the officers, as he wasn’t particularly useful in the office. In any case, his squeakily panicked squeals of “Get down! Get down!” every time a rocket landed within 5km of camp was wearing on everyone’s nerves. ◙

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LTC ‘Slasher’ Voted Emptiest Eyes

A base in the south, Iraq      LTC Slasher Baldrick was recently voted Emptiest Eyes on Camp, after it was discovered that he’s got X’s for eyes.

“If you look closely,” LTC Corbin Corviday (Maysan RE) explained, “you can see that, just like in the cartoons when someone gets hit hard on the head or dies, Slasher doesn’t have real eyes – they’re just X’s!”

It’s generally believed that this fact may explain any number of things that have gone on at the BA(aaa) Camp over the past few months. ◙

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BCH Reaches Milestone 50% Completion

A base in the south, Iraq      The widely acclaimed Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) project reached a cumulative construction completion milestone of 50% this week. Although this milestone was expected to cause a molecular chain reaction felt all the way to the White House, it seems to have been overshadowed by the continuing Alamo Road fiasco (see Alamo Road Keeps Winding South). Colonels and generals who, until a month ago were falling all over themselves to visit the BCH and get their names associated with the shiny star attention of it all, have all but disappeared.

“It’s true that the overall profile of the project has diminished slightly,” BCH RE LT Willy Beal told reporters. “But we all know it’s just a lull. They’ll be back once some other less important, flash-in-the-pan projects are out of the way.”

Some are attributing the quiet retreat of the hospital’s visibility to the fact that the BCH staff is considerably smaller than it was when  CMD Skip was in charge. Although Beal is a tall and muscular man, and Ben is quite tall, and Rupert is quite fat, the overall cumulative total weight and height of the BCH staff has shrunken so drastically, it is no longer necessary for the BAO side employees to shrink themselves before entering the BCH wing. Beal has lost more than 10 lbs since his arrival in December; Ben is a ghost of his former self, having lost an estimated 93 lbs; and Johnny Datillo is on leave. Randy Fritz was moved to Tallil where it was hoped someone might find a use for him;  Fritz, who was pretty tall but not very fat,  had been counted on to add his share to the energy space occupied by BCH, as he really felt he was tremendously important and was into everything without knowing much of anything, inflating the general energy field immensely.

Sal Gabriel is so thin, she’s thrown the whole cumulative BCH total mass figures down the toilet.

“I think we’ll recover some of our mass and importance,” LT Beal said with confidence. “I’m not worried. We’re getting some new people in next week, and they could well be pretty tall and really fat. And no one has seen my replacement, due in late May. He might be really tall and pretty fat for all we know.”

Asked if he was on top of the screening process for prospective BCH employees the way former RE CMD Skip seemed to have been, Beal shook his head. “No,” he stated with real regret. “No, I really haven’t been able to keep up with that piece. I regret that, and hope that the overall prominence of this project won’t suffer indefinitely from the fact that the staff projects much too small a footprint now.”

Tom ‘Tommy Two-Tone’, GRS Chief of Engineering and Construction, had a hand in the hiring of the new staff members due in camp next week. Tom is well aware of the necessity for pretty fat and really tall people to beef up the BCH staff, due to his having been BAO Area Engineer until his recent promotion. It’s hoped that Tom will have kept the total mass of the BCH staff in mind and screened potential staff candidates appropriately. The true importance of this project really should be reflected in the cumulative total physical mass and energy space taken up by the staff. ◙

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Additional ADD Staff Arrives

A base in the south, Iraq  There are now two staff members of BA(aaa) camp who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Joining Anna Lee (Closeout Assistant), MAJ ‘Quick’ Smith arrived recently to take the place of MAJ Zeb Brighton as Operations something-or-other. Smith is ADD.

Smith is proving to be another amusing if challenging addition to communication in the office. Although he doesn’t seem to start stories in the middle the way Anna Lee does, he does jump from one subject to another quite precipitously, requiring quick reflexes and occasional mental gymnastics to keep up.

Smith has the added entertainment value of hyperactivity. His incessant ‘sewing machine’ leg movements while sitting in meetings have reportedly caused LTC Slasher some consternation, always a welcome result of any staff member’s action. Keep up the good work, Quick, thanks for helping us keep liv[en]ing [up] the dream. ◙

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BAO Matches BCH in Special Ed Staff

A base in the south, Iraq  The majority of new staff members recently added to BAO have tipped the Special Ed status scales to even-up. For months the BCH side held the clear advantage over BAO, with such odd personalities as Sal ‘Thumper’ Gabriel, Johnny ‘You Wan’ I Whack ‘im’ Datillo, Randy ‘the Freak’ Fritz, Ben ‘the Brain’, and Silent Rupert on staff. But BCH has been unable to sustain their status since the arrival of Amy ‘The Allergy’ and Ron ‘The Chump’ Chandler now working alongside ‘Just Too Jivin’ Jake, and Dan, Dan the Inept Man. It’s true that BAO lost an excellent addition to their roster with the redeployment of Jumpy Jedediah (Cat die, Jedediah?), but it’s generally agreed that due to how fat Amy ‘The Allergy’ is, and how truly grotesque, loud, and obnoxious she is in her lack of social sense and personal space, she really counts as two or three special ed points all by herself. In addition to that consideration, the BCH staff lost Randy ‘the Freak’ Fritz to Tallil, and BCH RE Willy Beal is so cool and competent, he makes his staff look almost normal. (Love the shades, babe…) ◙

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North Dakotans Ride Into Town

A base in the south, Iraq  A whole bunch of North Dakotans showed up in camp a couple of weeks ago. They all sound alike, so it took some residents a full week to tell them apart.

The NoDaks arrived during the heavy barrages of incoming (see BIA Gets It Good), giving them something to talk about. Long-time residents, tactfully stifling yawns, were seen trying to drift the individuals slowly down the hall toward Dan, Dan the Inept Man’s AE office, where they abandoned them, knowing Dan would be pleased to have company in his endless, tedious regurgitation of the current rocket situation, the past rocket situation, and the projected future rocket situation.

It didn’t take long for some of the new NoDaks to catch on to and become irritated by LTC Slasher’s interfering micro-management, so it’s suspected that those Dakotans will enthusiastically join the nightly prayer group that attempts to strategically direct incoming rockets, and/or attempts to encourage West Point to hire Slasher for the dean’s position regardless of his lack of discernment and real usefulness. Both options are being worked by the prayer group, and either is considered acceptable – whichever comes first. ◙

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Alamo Road Keeps Winding South

A base in the south, Iraq  The dreaded Alamo Road project keeps winding further and further south into the no man’s land of foolishness and ignominy. The project simply will not complete and close out. Although paving of the road was completed on 18 April of this year, work on the road continues. The contractor is currently reported to be replacing areas of pavement that are deficient.

“Technically the whole road should probably be torn out and done over,” Seren Seren, Alamo Road Project Engineer or something, told reporters. “But that’s just according to the contract. Who cares about the contract?”

“No one?” the reporter ventured.

“Apparently,” Seren agreed, shrugging.

The US military, fed up with waiting for a completion date on the road, have scheduled to begin full use of the road on 15 May, effectively and legally negating portions of the contract. In order for the contractor to meet this completion date, a number of lieutenant colonels and colonels have decided that only the most dire of paving deficiencies will count.

“It’s easier to change the rules than it is to get the contractor to complete anything properly on this project,” Tom ‘Tommy Two Tone’, GRS CE commented. He grinned cheerfully. “So the generals and colonels just, well, changed the rules!”

“I have a five year old nephew like that,” Seren muttered.

“Behave!” Eidson whispered to her. “Be good.”

“Good as in well mannered liar, or good as in doing things right?” Seren whispered back.

“Good as in well mannered liar will work,” Eidson told her, trying not to laugh.

The contractor expects to finish the paving deficiencies by the 15th, but has not even begun striping the road. That activity is expected to take up to 45 full working days to complete.

At first the military announced that all contractor activity would be prohibited after the 15th of May, but after review or discussion or perhaps having been hypnotized by the endlessly protracted, persistently caterpillian progress of the road to date, they changed their minds. The military have agreed to allow the contractor to continue striping activities beyond the 15th, in 3-4 hour daily increments between convoys.

Since the contractor has as yet been unable or unwilling to actually hire a subcontractor to complete the striping work, and considering the restriction of being able to work on the activity no more than four hours a day, the new ECD on the Alamo Road contract is 19 Sept 2016.

Meanwhile, due to the military importance of the road, or the attention paid to it by one general somewhere passing the heat down, or perhaps due to the current transiting positions of Mars and Mercury relative to the location of the road, every general, colonel, commander, major and associated pilot fish seem to want a piece of information regarding the road.

“It’s shiny,” Seren explained. “They’re like little kids or ravens or pack rats, I guess. If something shines, they want a piece of it. I guess they think it’ll make them shine.” Seren laughed.

Asked if she thought this project had become more important than the Bestest Children’s Hospital lately, Seren shook her head. “I couldn’t really say,” she told reporters pensively. “Most of these officers, I only have contact with them by email or phone. I just don’t know if they’re pretty tall or really fat. There’s a lot of them, but I really don’t know what sort of cumulative mass they might add up to, so I just really couldn’t say.” ◙

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