Archive for the ‘Southern Swill: Dispatches’ Category

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

October 30, 2009

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. ◙



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. ◙


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.”


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. ◙


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. ◙



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. ◙



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. ◙



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…) ◙



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. ◙



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.” ◙


Southern Swill: Dispatches from the Forgotten British Sector (Issue 6)

October 30, 2009

Everybody Brings Someone to Dinner

 BA(aaa) Camp, Iraq      Everyone brought at least one someone to dinner Friday night, creating havoc in the DFAC. Contractors from Alamo Road had to sit next to BCH staff; PSD men had to share a table with PRT members; Brit Mil had to sit on the floor.

 “It was rowdy when I walked in,” new BCH RE Willy Beal said. “It was real rowdy. I was lucky to get a seat with the women.” Willy grinned. “I always try to sit with the women,” he added, his grin growing brighter.

 Cooks served steaks, lobster and bratwurst off the outdoor grill. For the first time in weeks, the steak was tender and edible.

 The Friday night crowd has been growing weekly. MAJ Zeb Brighton started the trend before Christmas, inviting Brit Mil, kissing the asses of soldiers he wanted to shmooze in order to obtain useful items and services for the BAO residents.

 “He’s a big shmoozer,” LTC Corviday observed. “Zeb’s on it.

 Some of the crankier permanent residents of the BA(aaaa) camp expressed irritation for the crowd and for having to sit on the floor under a table to eat their meal, but LTC ‘Slasher’ McDonald was upbeat.

 “It was great,” ‘Slasher’ exclaimed excitedly. “It’s always fun to entertain.”

 “Entertain this,” someone muttered behind his back.◙


 New BCH RE Voted Second Sexiest Eyes in Camp

 A base in the south, Iraq  The (relatively) new Bestest Children’s Hospital RE, LT Willy Beal, has been voted Second Sexiest Eyes On Base, right after Camp Manager Spike Abbott.

 “They’re really nice eyes,” BAO Admin Asst Anna Lee said with a dreamy look on her face. “They’re not the drop dead sexy eyes of Spike – they’re a different kind of sexy.”

 “Yes,” BS Resident Office PM/RE/PE/CR/COR Seren  Seren agreed, smiling absently. “They’re cuddly sexy eyes. They’re trustworthy.”

 Asked if that meant Spike’s eyes didn’t inspire trust, Seren and Lee looked at each other and laughed, though they wouldn’t explain why. ◙


 Colonel Jeep Further Fucks Up Alamo Road Contract

 A base in the south, Iraq Big Boss Colonel  Jeep, GRS CMD, apparently profoundly ignorant of contractual roles, responsibilities, and limitations, recently pretended to Alamo Road contractor’s Project Manager Joe Dregg that he, the Jeep, is ACO of Alamo Road.

 During a visit to the road on 31 January, the Jeep ran roughshod over the contract, telling Dregg that an atrocious stretch of road and adjacent shoulder work was “good enough.” Being a colonel, Dregg pretended to be completely taken in by the deception of authority on the project.  

 “Excuse me,” Dregg spluttered excitedly, pulling his camera out of a pocket.  “This is good enough? Would you repeat that?”

 “This is good enough,” the Jeep repeated.

 “Let me snap a picture of you and this stretch of road,” Dregg suggested, backing up to get a good shot, visibly shaking in his excitement.

 “Ho, boy,” MSG Bestwell (Alamo Road ConRep) whispered incredulously, rolling his eyes behind the Jeep’s back. “Wait ‘til Tom and Seren  hear ‘bout this one!”

 Craig Straight, security for Dregg, grimaced in sympathy before both men burst out laughing. ◙ 


George of the Jungle, Logistics, Loses His Mind

 HQ, Iraq       George George George of the Jungle, Logistics, has extended his tour for another year, prompting friends to admit that they believe he’s lost his mind.

 George went through a particularly miserable time late last year, when everyone accused him of everything and he had to work too closely with a dispiriting number of ignorant fools. There were some who wondered whether he would last the first six months. No one at all thought he would extend.

 “I have a lot of work to do here,” George told reporters. “I just hate to leave things half finished and in the hands of incompetent ignoramuses. The Mahdi militia property receipts, in particular, are still unfinished. The Bahdi hasn’t even been addressed. That job would be ignored if I left the country. No one else has the balls to carry this job to the end. Someone has to take the bull by the horns, and it looks like that someone will be me.”

 Asked whether he knew that some of his friends thought that he’d lost his mind, George glared at the reporter. “It’s on the hand receipt,” he snapped. “Everything is copacetic.”  ◙


Alamo Road Too Shiny To Resist

 Southern Iraq  The Alamo Road project has finally become too shiny for any officer to resist. Colonels and generals of all shapes and sizes are emailing and calling each other, BAO AE Tommy ‘Two-tone’, and BS Resident Office (everything) Seren  Seren to ask inane questions and order foolish actions, hungry for a piece of the star that holds everyone’s gaze.

 Alamo Road has always been considered a high profile project, but since the new year it has gained an even more significant status. Some think that its shininess is due to CFLCC pushing for an early completion date so they can use the road for their spring convoy movements. Others believe it’s a function of astrological alignments creating an irresistible magnetism to the road.

 “It’s true the stars are lined up in a way that highlights military projects,” an anonymous source stated. “But that’s only a potential. The manifestation may have to do with hitting a tipping point. Interest was gaining at the end of 2006, and I think that as one colonel told another colonel told a general who told another general, the exponential equation finally exploded. The out-picturing of the astrological alignment wouldn’t have been quite so severe had there not been this growing momentum over many months prior to the alignment. Likewise, it could well be that the tipping point never would have arrived without the push from the stars.”

 Asked what exactly any colonel or general thought they would gain by involving themselves in Alamo Road, locally known as a seriously fucked up project, BS Resident Office PM/RE/PE/ConRep/COR Seren Seren shrugged. “Maybe some medal? That’s always attractive. Anything shiny is just irresistible to them,” she stated. “No one is thinking it through to what could be an ugly end, where everyone is called to a Congressional hearing concerning the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars.”  Seren laughed, then ducked sharply, avoiding BA Area Engineer Boss Tom’s hands, which were scrabbling to encircle her neck.

 “Behave yourself,” Boss Tom whispered urgently.

 “Ironically,” Seren added, moving farther away from Boss Tom, “no one seems to mind that the quality of the road is quite poor. They just want something finished that looks like a road.”

 Boss Tom winced and crouched, obviously poised for another attempt to silence Seren.

 Asked if his actions implied that Boss Tom didn’t agree with Seren’s assessment, Tom quickly straightened up, stared at this reporter blankly for a moment, then grinned. “What was the question?” he asked innocently.

 “Ho, boy,” MSG Bestwell (Aspen Road Con Rep) muttered, trying not to laugh out loud. “Everyone on this project lies,” he said shaking his head. “They all do sure lie.”

 Asked for his assessment of the involvement of every colonel and general in theatre, MSG Bestwell rolled his eyes. “They like ravens,” he said smiling. “They see somethin’ shiny, they gone grab for it. They can have at it,” he concluded, “me and Seren , we give it to ‘em, they wan’ it.”

 Bestwell, Seren and finally even Boss Tom admitted they’d be happy to hand the project off to any colonel or general with the balls to actually try to administer the contract as written.

 “As written!” Seren said, giggling.

 MSG Bestwell laughed.

 Boss Tomn sighed heavily then tried not to smile.

 “These colonels and generals,” Seren concluded, “are now more than half the problem of Alamo Road. If they’d stay out of it, we’d have better luck finishing this project.”

 “That’s true,” Boss Tom reluctantly admitted. “It used to be the bitumen that was a big problem. Bittimmum!” he corrected himself, grinning briefly. “Bitumen is not a big problem now,” he said. “Or anyway, who cares about that problem. Now there’s bigger problems.”

 “And they all wear spiffy uniforms,” Seren concluded.

 “Behave,” Tom admonished, trying not to smile. ◙


 MAJ Brighton Recounts Childhood Memories

 BA(aaaaa) Camp, Iraq  MAJ Zeb Brighton recounted stories from his idyllic childhood growing up with kerosene lanterns and minimal adult supervision one  time too many, causing four BA(aaa) Camp residents to tip over and fall to the floor in the DFAC.

 “I just couldn’t stay awake a moment longer,” LTC Corviday (Maysan RE) admitted. “The dude needs to shut up about his childhood.” Corviday rubbed his head and winced. “I hit the floor kind of hard,” he explained. “Next time I’ll be ready and try to tip over forward, letting my food cushion the fall.” ◙


 BA(aaaa) Camp Residents Don’t Much Care About Rockets Anymore

 A base in the south, Iraq       Most BA(aaaa) Camp residents don’t much care about incoming rockets anymore. Many leap up out of their seats at the sound of incoming, but only in order to beat the siren to their hooches.

 “No one wants to sit on the cold floor of the DFAC or the MWR,” one resident told reporters. “If we’re watching a movie in the MWR, and there’s enough couch pillows to go around, that’s ok. Otherwise it’s worth running ….”

 Asked whether he cared if residents make a run for a comfortable seat while rockets are exploding, Ops Manager MAJ Zeb Brighton, who used to report all force protection offenders to LTC ‘Slasher’ McDonald, replied, “Who? Who’s doing that?”

 He grinned and sauntered off in the direction of the MWR. ◙


 Crazy LTC ‘The Edge’ Corviday Busts RE Conference

 A base in the south, Iraq LTC Corbin ‘The Edge’ Corviday busted up the RE conference last week in Tallil by confronting COL Jeep about dire staffing shortages. After the conference ended he reportedly hunted down the Jeep for a private conference, during which he surprised himself, boldly exacerbating his own stress level by mentioning LTC McDonald’s ignorance, BS Resident Office (everything) and soon to be PM Seren Seren’s impending reassignment, and the current PHC mayhem.

 Corviday phoned Seren after the private engagement to briefly describe his daring dive into the Jeep’s headlights.

 “I told him everything,” ‘The Edge’ Corviday said, still breathing heavily as if having just run a dangerous gauntlet and surprised to find himself among the ambulatory. “It’s out there now. To start with, you’re staying in BAO until Alamo Road is finished.”

 The full impact of the Corviday’s strategic engagement has yet to be determined. ◙


 New BCH RE Big Enough For the Job

 BAO, Iraq      The new Bestest Children’s Hospital RE, LT Willy Beal, is tall and pretty big in a fit sort of way, fitting right in with the best of the BCH staff.

 “I was relieved when I saw him,” CMD ‘Skippy’ Skip admitted before he flew home. “I was afraid he’d be too skinny or too short, but look at him – he’s perfect for the job.”

 “The Navy is objecting to his staying in this position,” LTC ‘Slasher’ McDonald told reporters. “They don’t think a Lieutenant should be in this prestigious position. They want to replace him with a Lieutenant Colonel. But we’re very happy with LT Willy. He’s a big, tall man and that’s what we need.”

 When asked if he might not have ulterior motives in trying to keep LT Willy in the position instead of getting a Lieutenant Colonel to fill the position, Slasher’s eyes went blank. “I would rather not see another lieutenant colonel in this office,” he stated. “Not that I’m insecure or anything – don’t get me wrong …”

 “We’re not,” LTC ‘the Edge’ Corviday muttered, trying not to giggle.

 “… I just think,” Slasher continued, “LT Willy  is doing an excellent job and we’d like him to stay here.”

 LT Willy , who has a strong attachment to this project due to a son who is a survivor of leukemia, at first seemed disturbed by the talk of being replaced. After a week or two of looking pensive, though, he relaxed. “They’re not moving me,” he told BS Resident Office PM/RE/PE/CR/COR Seren  Seren. “They’re not moving you either. If they tell us to leave, we just won’t go. If they try to move you, I’ll hire you.”

 Seren lit a smoke and Willy  took a dip. They both appeared satisfied with the simple solution. ◙


 Cat in Camp

 A base in the south, Iraq   The white cat with random dark spots, generally referred to as ‘Cat’ has become friendly with a number of BA(aaaa) Camp residents. The cat spends about one hour each evening in the laps of either Johnny ‘You Wan’ I Whack ‘im’ Dattilo (BCH Con Rep) or Seren  Seren (BS Resident Office everything) on the smoking patio outside the MWR.

 During meals Cat lounges in the general vicinity of the DFAC door, where she collects stray scraps of food that people accidentally drop on their way out the door. At night Cat sleeps in the cabana behind the BAO wing of the office building, on an abandoned executive office chair.

 Pets are prohibited under General Order Number 1. Luckily, Cat is not a pet. She’s a stray. She’s a feral cat that no one really cares about. ◙


BCH Craves More Space

 A base in the south, Iraq  Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) staff have completely filled up their 5000 sq ft office. They recently  kicked Contracting Officer Joan Bigg out of their wing, and are attempting to commandeer additional space by squeezing MSG Bobnoxious and LTC Corviday (Maysan Resident Office staff) out of the 4 sq ft of office space they occupy in the BCH wing.

 “I realize that the last couple of people we’ve added have been undersized,” LT Willy  told reporters, “but at the same time the volume of our minds and spirits has expanded. Bottom line: we need more space.”

 Randy ‘The Freak’ Fritz, BCH PM, agreed. “We’re doing very important work here, so we’re very important people. Being so important, we should have all the space we want,” he stated. “Being that I’m particularly important as a GS-14,” he added, “I should have LTC Corviday’s private office.”

 “We’re trying to fire Randy, actually,”LT Willy  whispered to reporters in an aside. “He’s a problem. He’s a kook.”

 Meanwhile, the BAO staff remains crowded into 50 sq ft of office space in the opposite wing of the building.

 “We’re really pretty tired of being shrunk,” one of the staff told reporters. “We’d like to be allowed to return to our normal sizes, but it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon.”

 BS Resident Office PM/RE/PE/CR/COR Seren  Seren, unlike other BAO staff, didn’t seem to care about the inordinately large difference in square footage allotted to the BCH offices. “If they try to move me to HQ,” she explained, “maybe I’ll get a job on the BCH staff instead. When I’m allowed to return to my normal size, I’m pretty tall. Although I’m not fat, I think I could be. I’m willing to work on that.”  ◙


 Randy ‘The Freak’ Fritz Too Big For His Britches

 BCH, Iraq  Randy ‘The Freak’ Fritz, BCH PM, thinks he’s more important than he is and has been causing problems among BCH staff by getting in other peoples’ business.

 Randy has been called into LT Willy ’s office twice, where he was told to stand down, stay in his lane, and try to be a normal human being. Randy reportedlybroke down in tears the second time, when LT Willy  threatened to send him home.

 “I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Willy told reporters, “but he’s actually too big for BCH. He’s not too tall or too fat, but he takes up too much energy space.”

 “And he has these weird pictures of the top of his head that he left on the public server,” Anna Lee, BAO Admin Asst whispered to one reporter. She rolled her eyes and tried not to laugh. “Oh. My. God.”

 “They’re odd,” Seren  Seren BS Resident Office (everything) confirmed. “Let’s fire him now.”

 Asked if her opinion had anything to do with the fact that if Randy is fired, she might be hired for his position, Seren smiled. “Of course not,” she said sweetly, crossing her fingers behind her back.

 Although everyone doubts that LT Willy will be allowed to fire Andy, everyone seems to be enjoying the possibility of it.


 Navy Seal Joins PSD Team, Triggering Testosterone Overload in Camp

 A base in the south, Iraq      Ex-Navy Seal Seth Somebody-or-other recently joined the staff of one of the PSD teams, triggering all the men in camp, PSD and BAO alike, to spend all their free time in the gym.

 Seth, who looks oddly like Joey on the television series ‘Friends’, sports a perfect body builder’s physique, spending hours each day running with a heavy pack on his back and lifting weights. His presence has apparently made the other men in camp feel like sloppy specimens of manhood.

 “I’m exhausted,” [censored] admitted. “Seth is running me ragged.”

 “I want the beer belly gone,” another man explained when asked why he was suddenly spending two hours a day running and lifting weights.

 “We’re on a rotating schedule,” another explained. “Weights, run, run, weights. I’ve lost about ten pounds already – in one week.”

 Anna Lee, Operations Admin Asst, was distracted when asked her opinion of the change. “Huh?” she said. “Say again? Excuse me, would you just lean the other way when you’re talking to me? You’re blocking my view.” She smiled sweetly.

The overall volume of the Bestest Children’s Hospital staff is expected to be affected by the body-building craze, although the cumulative weight is expected to remain stable.



Southern Swill: Dispatches from the Forgotten British Sector (Issue 5: Thanksgiving)

October 30, 2009


Resident Engineers Engage in Strategic 3-Week Lookahead for Strategic Engagement Plan

 A base in the south, Iraq  Resident Engineers LTC Corbin Corviday (Maysan), Dan Dan the Palace Man Driery (Palace), Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki (BAO), Wildman Rob Chillish (Oil), and Seren Seren (BS, default RE) spent the past two weeks attempting to strategically engage in the 3-week lookahead requirement of the Strategic Engagement Plan.

 “It is basically a cluster,” Seren stated yesterday, after spending the better part of two weeks fucking around with RMS trying to get it to do something it’s not designed to do in order to allow HQ to pull reports that RMS isn’t set up to produce. 

 “The Engagement Strategy an exercise that’s meant to make HQ feel engaged,” Corviday explained. “We’d love to have them engage,” he added. “The problem, however, is that they don’t have any business being engaged at this level.”

 “We don’t love having them engaged,” Seren snapped. Tom ‘Tommy Two-Tone’, Area Engineer, laughed nervously, but she ignored him. 

 “She’s a little upset,” Boss Tom explained in an aside. “She spent about 2 weeks trying to do what I told her to do in RMS, then today we were told we don’t have to do it in RMS – we can just make a spreadsheet in Excel showing project milestones for each project over the next three weeks.”

 Asked if that was easier, Seren snapped, “Fuck yes!” while everyone took one step back.

 A strategic meeting was called for the RE’s late on Tuesday to assign and discuss other ludicrously time consuming and ultimately useless work that is now required of them, although they remain dangerously short on personnel due to staff kidnappings by the Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) side of the office. Punch drunk already on overwork, poor attitudes were readily apparent by the disruptions caused by a new game called ‘Bullshit’ that Corviday and Seren tested out during the meeting. While Boss Tom added significant workloads to every Resident Office, Seren and Corviday refused to engage him. They fought over a grease pencil and giggled, trying to prompt the others to use specific overused words and phrases so they could check them off on what appeared to be cards set up like a Bingo game of words and phrases.

 Although Boss Tom appeared totally serious in his intent to engage the RE’s in the herculean task of finding and organizing and finishing paperwork for the past 3 years worth of closeouts, and entering the resultant information in RMS, and laughably training both themselves and contractors in the Q ‘shee’ S program in RMS, in the end none of the RE’s took Boss Tom seriously.

 “He has to tell us to engage in these things,” Corviday told reporters after the meeting. “He’s the boss. However, as Seren just proved, if we procrastinate long enough we won’t have to do these things.”

 Dan Dan the Palace Man smiled. “These things come and go,” he said. “Now they’re coming. In a month they’ll be going.”

 “Don’t sweat it,” Corviday told Seren. “Catch up on the two week backlog that you’ve accumulated trying to do what they said you had to do before they said that what they said you had to do couldn’t be done. Take your time. Then take a couple of weeks off for the holidays … this will all blow over.”

 Boss Tom sighed.

 “We’re engaging strategically,” Corviday told him in a comforting tone, patting his shoulder.


LTC Corviday Covets Mayoral Slot

 Southern Iraq    LTC Corbin Corviday has announced his candidacy for mayor of the BA(aaaaaaaaaaaaa) Camp, formerly known as the BAT Camp.

 Corviday made his announcement following a particularly brutal night involving the incessant noise of jets, helos, snatches, buses, and tanks.

 “We have got to implement a noise ordinance,” Corviday stated at a press conference held recently. “And I’m the right man to spearhead that effort, and to ensure its enforcement it once it’s passed.”

 Asked if any other issues were high on his agenda, LTC Corviday admitted that he and Anna Lee (BAO Admin Asst) and Seren Seren (BS RO everything) were working hard on a new assignment roster for BAO. If elected, putting this roster into effect will be a very high priority.

 “We’ll present this to COL Jeep as soon as it’s ready,” Corviday stated. “I’m sure he’ll be receptive.”

 Asked where COL Jeep might fit into this new plan, Corviday said bluntly, “Nowhere. He’ll be keeping Slasher company.” ◙


Dan Dan the Palace Man and Jedediah Somebody-or-Other Move In

 Southern Iraq     ‘Dan Dan the Palace Man’ Driery (BPO RE) and Jedediah Somebody-or-Other (Con Rep or something) were recalled from the Palace to BIA about a week ago. The move was ostensibly initiated for security reasons, but every RE in the BAO office (except Dan Dan the Palace Man) knows the real reason Dan was ordered to pack his rugs, hop an armored vehicle, and set up shop here at BAO.

 “I’ll tell you why he’s here,” LTC Corbin Corviday told reporters. “That dude needs a babysitter. He spends all his time bullshitting with the Embassy people there at the Palace. He don’t do any work. The guy is so far in the weeds,” Corviday said, “he might as well just drink some Roundup and be done with it.”

 “This is the only way they have any control over what he does,” Wildman Rob Chillish tried to say quietly. “I thought I was behind, but boy, that guy’s got problems. Hey!” Wildman suddenly all but shouted, “You want to hear a story about Dan DAn the Palace Man?”

 “No!” five voices shouted over the office cubicle walls, effectively cutting Chillish off long enough for this reporter to escape to Boss Tom’s office.

 “Dan Dan the Palace Man’s got an organizational problem,” BAO Area Engineer Boss Tom stated. “He’s organizationally deficient. Well,” he quickly amended, “He is an organizational problem, and he’s causing deficiencies.” Tom stared at the wall. “He’s disorganized,” he finally concluded.

 Boss Tom paused for a long moment, staring at his blank computer screen. “Actually,” he finally said, “he’s so far in the weeds, he might as well just drink some Roundup and be done with it.”

 “But!” he added suddenly with a curiously triumphant tone, perking up and looking straight at a few RE’s that had gathered in his doorway, waiting to unload some unsolvable problems onto Boss Tom’s shoulders, “If Dan Dan the Palace Man drank some Roundup, then who would do the work that Dan hasn’t been doing for months?”

 “Who?” one RE asked nervously as they all edged away from the doorway.

 LTC Corbin Corviday (Maysan Resident Office RE) and Seren Seren (BS Resident Office RE/Project Engineer/Construction Rep/COR), at one delusional and misguided point in time last week, decided to catch up quickly on their own work and help Dan out, but they were unable to catch up on their own workload due to technical difficulties encountered while engaging in the strategic engagement of Colonel Jeep’s vision of the Strategic Engagement Plan.

 “We had intended to go to Dan Dan the Palace Man and just tell him: Give us all your invoices,” Seren explained. “But I got all tangled up with engaging in the completion of the engagement plan’s strategic 3-week lookahead and had technical difficulties in engaging RMS in the engagement strategy that calls for the 3-week lookahead to be engaged by inputting input into the Features Schedule in RMS.”

 Corviday had similar excuses.

 “It worked out ok,” Boss Tom told Seren two nights ago. “Jedediah processed over 60 invoices, so at least those are nearly caught up.”

 According to Boss Tom, all of the Palace Office contract payments were so long overdue, all the contractors of all the Palace Office projects had ceased work and walked off their jobs six months ago.

 “Huh,” Seren said with a thoughtful look on her face. “Then Dan and Jedediah must not have much to catch up on, really. No daily QA reports coming in, no daily QC reports coming in, no submittals, no mods, no cure letters, no levy exemption forms, …” Seren’s face took on  dreamy countenance.

 “Don’t get any funny ideas,” Boss Tom told her sternly, snapping her out of her reverie.

 Seren cleared her throat and tried to look innocent and alert. “Look,” she said. “This is easy. Dan Dan the Palace Man can just cut thirty or forty time mods and move forward.”

 “Hopefully that will keep him busy enough to shut the fuck up about the security situation at the Palace,” Corviday muttered. “The dude is obsessed with the Spot Report, man. I tell you, a funeral is more fun than that dude. Don’t sit by him in the DFAC, I’m telling you what.”

 “He’s really got plenty to do,” Boss Tom stated, ignoring Corviday. “The thirty or forty time mods are necessary, true, but he’s also got the backlog of QA reports, QC reports, submittals, and design reviews from the six months prior to the past six months that the contractors haven’t been working.” Boss Tom rubbed his forehead. “He’s not very organized. He’s got an organizational deficiency.”

 Seren rolled her eyes.

 “I saw that,” Boss Tom told her.

 Seren put her sunglasses on.

 Dan Dan the Palace Man had little to say for himself. When asked how he felt about his situation, he said, “You mean being here at BAOt? Well, it’s fine,” he said. “There are some good folks here. Did you hear the Palace got hit twice today – they’re using RPGs now, besides the rockets. A rocket hit the …”

 The other RE’s walked away, shaking their heads.

 Dan Dan the Palace Man is going on leave in December and January, and has applied to extend his tour in Iraq for another year. Dan has worked in Iraq since the initial invasion. The Palace Office is expected to remain a total cluster until he redeploys – in other words, forever. Although noises have been made about subsuming the Palace projects into BAO, eliminating a Palace Office altogether, the Palace Resident Office is expected to exist in some form pretty much forever, a perpetual organizational deficiency. Dan Dan the Palace Man is expected to remain RE, doing nothing more substantial than straightening his rugs and chatting with folks about various violent episodes in the city. ◙


Mayson Resident Engineer Left Off Guest List for Maysan Meeting

 A base in the south, Iraq     LTC Corbin Corviday, Maysan Resident Engineer, was totally dissed by LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick last week when he was boldly ignored during strategic planning and engagement of the Maysan PRDC.

 PRDC members were invited to a meeting at the Airport during a visit by Big Boss COL Jeep. LTC Corviday was not informed of the upcoming meeting, consulted about the upcoming meeting, or invited to the meeting until the last minute, when they were all climbing into vehicles to drive to the meeting.

 “Where’s Corviday?” COL Jeep asked Slasher.

 With his typical deer-in-the-headlights-but-ready-to-be-gung-ho look, Slasher stared wide-eyed at the Colonel as if he’d misplaced his brain, then turned to MAJ Zebaroo Brighton and said, as if as surprised as the Colonel, “Where’s Corviday?”

 MAJ Brighton quickly ran off to fetch Corviday from his office. As Corviday climbed into the vehicle, he slapped COL Jeep on the back and thanked him for the invite. Jeep is said to have looked puzzled. Slasher’s reaction was not noted.

 Area Engineer Tom Boss Tom was also curiously left off the guest list, although he didn’t give a shit.

 “If you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all,” he said cheerfully. “It’s just a meeting!” ◙


Alamo Road Remains An Ass Burn

 A base in the south, Iraq      BAO Resident Engineer Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki continues to ignore RE duties in order to act as Project manager for Alamo Road. When asked for an update on the road’s progress, Wo-wo said wryly, “Listen. I’ll be honest with you. There continues to be problems with the bittimmum [sic]convoys, the bittimmum delivery schedules, the bittimmum off-loading, the bittimmum –“

 The rest of his answer was drowned out by LTC Corviday (MRO) and Seren Seren (BS RO) scrambling and squabbling loudly over who had the grease pencil first. ◙


Big Bad Rob Chillish Bothers the ABOT

 The Gulf, Iraq      Wildman Rob Chillish has spent the past two weeks bothering the hell out of Iraqis at the ABOT, an oil project located on a platform isolated in the middle of the Gulf.

 SGT Wavey Davey Odbard (Oil Office Con Rep) said he’d received a couple of emails from Wildman Rob describing his tenure on the ABOT.

 “He says they’re all having a great time,” Odbard said with a grin on his face. “I think Rob is having a great time. I think the rest of them are praying five times a day to Allah to get this big motherfucker off the platform before they resort to calling in the Mahdi militia.”

 Everyone in the BAO office professed to great affection for Wildman Rob, but admitted that it was a relief not to have to dive around catching things shaken off desks and shelves every time Rob walked through the office with his monstrously heavy tread, and a relief not to have to be on the alert to cut Rob off quickly when he starts with his stories.

 “We generally have to assign someone to Rob duty,” Odbard admitted. “If you don’t cut him off right at ‘Let me tell you a story about  –‘ then it’s hopeless.”

 “Right,” Seren Seren (BS everything) added. “If you don’t catch him early, his story will just pound across the whole office at high volume. He’s hard of hearing, and very loud. Never mind his tread – his voice alone will knock things off the desktops. If he’s talking and walking at the same time, the situation can get pretty dangerous.”

 BAO generally calls in the maintenance workers after episodes of Wildman Rob walking and talking at the same time. They’re generally able to pound nails back in, and tighten screws so that the office building doesn’t come crashing down, crushing the staff at an inconvenient time.

 Wildman Rob is reportedly on his way back from the ABOT now, possibly stuck in Camp Freddy for Thanksgiving. Someone expressed worry that it could have been him taken in the convoy kidnapping last week, but BAO staff found that thought hilarious.

 “If they’d kidnapped him,” someone said while the rest of the staff were falling all over laughing, “those kidnapped men would all be back by now – the kidnappers would have begged him to leave! They would have tossed him back out of the truck with a sack of money in return for a promise they’d never see him again!”

 Wildman Rob is expected back in camp any day now. Camp manager Spike Abbott has been busy reinforcing the office floors, and assured BAO staff that they should be ready by the time Chillish returns. ◙


George George Missing From HQ

 BA(aaaaaaaaaaaaa) Camp, Iraq     George of the Jungle, Logistics, moved himself to BAO for one week on the authority of no one.

 “I couldn’t stand the stupidity of HQ for even one more hour,” George admitted. “When I saw a PSD team loading up, I just put on my gear, grabbed a pair of clean underwear, and walked out to the trucks. I told them I was on their move – didn’t they get my name? Of course they didn’t get my name!” George laughed a bit hysterically. “Hell, that happens all the time up there! I told them they were supposed to be taking me to BAO and I said it with authority, so they took me to BAO!”

 Apparently three days passed before any of the HQ brass realized George was gone, and in the end it was brought to their attention only because Big Boss COL Jeep showed up at BAO.

“George –“ he said, stopping dead in his tracks as he rounded a corner and nearly ran right into George. “What are you doing here?”

“Working, sir,” George snapped before striding purposefully off between conexes. COL Jeep nodded, stared quizzically after George for a moment, shook his head, then turned away and went on about his own business.

 There’s no telling how long George might have lounged at the BA(aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa) Camp, but he gave himself away by answering email traffic. After telling Edith (pseudo-Logistics) more than once that she was incompetent and stupid, George followed up with an undisclosed number of email orders and instructions in a futile attempt to teach her the proper way to manage Logistics.

 This blunt honesty effectively cut short George’s BAO stay, as it caused Edith to up and quit, which caught the attention of the brass.

 George was ordered back to HQ via a phone call early one morning from LTC Dullzano. Dullzano accused George of harassing Edith, acting and speaking in ways that bordered on insubordination. When he informed George that Edith had quit entirely because of him, George said, “So?”

 When he realized where George was, Dullzano ordered George back to HQ on the first available mission.

 Although George’s name was put on a movement that same day, he told the PSD crew that they were mistaken – his name was not supposed to be on that mission. Being that George said it with complete authority and conviction, the PSD team believed him and left without him.

 George did leave BAO the following day, at his leisure, choosing the team he felt like traveling with and departing at a reasonable hour of the morning. He was shown off with the typical BAO fanfare, Spike Abbott (Camp Manager) and Seren Seren (BS Resident Office everything) throwing rocks at him, Anna teasing him about his oversized uniform, and Rhudra sobbing and begging him to stay.

 Although it might be difficult to tell by the farewell, George is sorely missed. He is expected to return to BAO sometime within the next thirty days, after he’s caused sufficient mayhem at HQ that his absence will again go unnoticed for a reasonable amount of time.◙


 Battle Rattle Required

 A base in the south, Iraq     Battle rattle was required apparel last week for three full days after 4 Americans and 1 Austrian PSD crew members were kidnapped from a convoy near Safwan. As British and American forces conducted operations across Basrah searching for the missing men, a shower of random mortars were tossed at the base.

 BAO residents were required to wear their armor every time they went outdoors. Patience and tolerance for this uncomfortable state of affairs was noticeably lacking.

 Although some BAO residents continued to go on PT walks wearing the approximately 187 pounds of metal, many more weren’t able to tolerate the weight during PT. In fact, many residents simply laid down on the floor one time too many, and couldn’t get back up. Tempers grew short and alternatives were considered.

 “My shoulder is killing me,” Anna Lee (BAO Admin Asst) complained. “I’m going to take the plates out of this fucking thing.”

 Seren Seren (BS RO, pseudo RE) offered Lee paper to stuff in the armor pockets, having a backload of approximately 8 reams of contract-related paperwork that needs shredding. Lee accepted and the women spent a furtive half hour crumpling up paper then making sure they got just the right amount of it stuffed into the vest for it to look like steel plates.  “If you get hit,” Seren told Lee, “I’ll think this was a stupid idea.”

“If I get hit,” Lee replied reasonably, “this stupid contract paperwork will finally have gotten shredded!”

 After the armor requirement was lifted, it was fortuitously discovered that BAO staff had shrunk an average of three inches due to the weight of the battle rattle.

 “This is really an interesting development,” Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) lead CMD Skip said. “If it turns out that these people actually shrunk, we may save wear and tear on the copy machine.”

 Seren, however, posited that the mass was simply rearranged, so that BAO staff were – though shorter – considerably wider. “It was a single dimension compression,” she stated. “It might have been better to stretch taller and be thinner, considering the available office space.”

 MAJ Zebaroo Brighton has initiated a strategic plan to assess the question of mass displacement and how it might affect office space.◙


Ill-Fated Mail Run

 A base in the south, Iraq    Jody Bisniss (BO Admin Asst) was unable to pick up mail at Camp Freddy last week due to security shenanigans and other foolishness.

 The (Censored) team was unable to get off the base for the Saturday run, as the main Brit Base gate was closed all morning to make the security situation seem more dire and exciting. When (Censored), Project Manager for (Censored), was asked why they didn’t use the B gate, he replied, “What gate, the one by the contractor camp?” Reporters explained that the B gate is off at the end of the runway. “What? Where?” (Censored) said, obviously confused and alarmingly ignorant, then he hurried through a nearby doorway, avoiding further questions.

 The weekly mail run was promptly rescheduled for Sunday, much to the chagrin of most of the (Censored) team, who have said that they’re sick to death of the weekly mail run, which is a route that gets more dangerous and boring every week, and that they’re sick to death of Camp Freddy, which is nothing more than a god-forsaken beige dump with a miniature PX and real ice cream.

 On Sunday the team made it off the base and all the way to Camp Freddy without incident or onset of insanity, even though their two passengers were Joan Bisness (Admin Asst) and MSG Robnoxious (MRO). This mission, however, was also ill-fated. It was reported that Robnoxious, upon arrival at Camp Freddy, immediately disappeared into the bowels of the camp. Joan and the (censored) team arrived at the Post Office moments after Robnoxious disappeared, only to find the Post Office closed for the day. As MSG Robnoxious was nowhere to be found, the group couldn’t just get the hell out of Camp Freddy.

 The (censored) team spent about 15 minutes shopping, then whiled away the next two hours slumped at the picnic tables staring at the empty basketball court while Joan talked incessantly.

“Is it over?” PSD Matt asked as he stumbled out of the truck when the team had finally returned. He sagged against a Hesco barrier and buried his face in his hands.

 When told later that he was expected to help with the mail when he went on the Freddy run, and that if he’d done that he wouldn’t have held everyone up for two hours, Robnoxious replied, “Fuck that! I had things to do. Get off my case.” He then strode briskly off through a nearby doorway, avoiding further questions.

Seren Seren, BS Resident Office (everything) stops at Camp Freddy at least once a week on site visit missions. Although it would make sense to get her certified to pick up mail, she’s not allowed to pick up the mail, on orders of LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick. Because LTC Slasher suffers from a worsening case of Officerensis foolishii, nobody even asks.

 A third mail run attempt was made on Monday. From all accounts, and much to the disgusted relief of everyone, it was successful. ◙


Too Many Tallilians

 South end of Iraq   Too many Tallilians traveled to BAO in the past two weeks, irritating office staff and bringing productive work to a virtual standstill.

 Project Managers Mary Peters and Jennifer Larks kicked off the run of visitors, showing up with less than six days notice, expecting to meet with DG’s as well as visit project sites. They timed their invasion just days after the Resident Engineers Engagement Strategy Conference, guaranteeing that any time they would demand or could eek out of RE’s in the office would be guaranteed to cause the RE’s to fall even further behind with their workload.

 Although RE’s were relatively polite about the PM’s presence while they were present, even going so far as to supply Peters with an unholy amount of chocolate, LTC Corviday summed up the RE’s collective annoyance while waving goodbye to the women, when he was heard to mutter, “Tallians … I feel like I just got rid of the in-laws, and they stayed too frickin’ long.”

 Either just before or just after – or probably both – Big Boss COL Jeep showed up to waste Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) staff time with repeated tours of the Hospital, and the rest of the staff’s time with kissing his ass. Concerned with the fidelity of the BCH piece, the Jeep can’t seem to get enough strategic engagement with it to satisfy his strategic management oversight. After being appallingly rude to everyone at least once, the Jeep finally left the camp (probably twice).

 Again, LTC Corviday summed up the office staff’s sentiments as they waved goodbye. “Frickin’ Tallilans,” he muttered.

 No sooner had COL Jeep left (probably the second time), than Inhui somebody-or-other showed up in the office. Allegedly here to help CMD Skip set up the Bestest Children’s Hospital for Q Shee S, Inhui almost immediately began talking too much to people who don’t care about Q Shee S. Although many of the men in the office initially took turns listening in order to ogle and drool over Inhui’s oriental beauty, they quickly discovered that her obsession with Q Shee S marred her physical attractiveness, rather like severe mental illness can make even the most attractive person revolting.

Area Engineer Tom Boss Tom was the only one to stick it out with Inhui, presumably because he, too, is a fanatical adherent to the belief in the miracles of Q Shee S, in addition to his being a sucker for a good bod.

Inhui stayed a whole week, finally leaving last Saturday.

During one of COL Jeep’s inconvenient visits, George of the Jungle, Logistics, showed up unannounced. His was the only visitor welcomed by everyone on base. George almost immediately disappeared into the medic trailer, emerging only to eat, smoke cigarettes with Seren Seren (BS RO everything) and occasionally shout obscenities at the Brits in the control tower.

No Tallilians are currently on base, and Camp Manager Spike Abbott is reportedly making good use of the lull, implementing new force protection measures designed to be effective against Tallilites without interfering with daily operations of the camp. ◙


 Bestest Children’s Hospital Dominates Everything

 A base in the south, Iraq      The Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) project, awarded last month for about $90B (USD), has come to effectively dominate everything. BCH staffers have commandeered the conference room, the plotters, and the PSD teams.

 “Well,” CMD ‘Skippy’ Skip said rather smugly, “it’s only right. Laura [Bush] is very interested in this project, and we can’t let her down, can we? We are the most important project in Iraq at the moment.” Skippy smiled winningly. “It’s only right that we dominate everything.”

 The BCH staff continues to be augmented daily while the other BAO offices remain overworked and understaffed, handling an average of 103 projects per person. The new individuals on the BCH staff are, however, curiously undersized for the job they’re undertaking.

 “They ran out of really tall and pretty fat people,” Skippy told reporters with an apologetic tone. “We waited too long, I guess, and now we can’t be picky – we’ve got 5 submittals a day rolling in, and we’ve just got to use the bodies we were sent. We expected a little more time to be able to be really picky, but time ran out. This may only be one project, but we’re very busy.”

 “We thought what we’d do,” Skip explained, “is consider all the new people as one person. We’ll smush them together, making one really tall and pretty fat person. That way we’ll all feel a little more comfortable.”

 “To be honest,” Skippy admitted in an aside, “we’re not expecting the new people to stay relatively thin. We’re going to use the extra mass left over from shrinkage of the BAO staff to beef them up. That in addition to the excellent food at our DFAC, we should be able to split them off into separate people again within a couple of weeks.”

 The BAO staff, recently crowded by the addition of the Palacetinians (Palace Office personnel) Dan Dan the Palace Man and Jumpy Jedediah, were ordered by LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick to shrink themselves further to make room for everyone at the Saturday afternoon meetings.

 “I know that the BAO folks don’t really want to be shrunk and stay shrunk all the time,” Slasher said, “but, that being said, they don’t understand the operational side of things. It takes too much time to shrink them just for meetings – it’s much more efficient to just shrink them once and leave them that way all the time.”

 “That being said,” he added redundantly if predictably, “it will also become more and more necessary for them to be smaller all the time. We don’t want visiting VIP’s to mistake any of them for BCH staff. We don’t want them being treated as well as the BCH staff is treated, because they’re just not as important in any way.” Slasher then turned to CMD Skippy, and bowed in deference to him.

 “Thank you,” Skip said dismissively, waving a hand at Slasher to send him on his way. “That’s essentially correct,” he said. “It’s imperative that everyone remember just how important we are.” He then excused himself, explaining that he needed to return a call from Laura, as he’d already put that off for a couple of days. ◙


 Zeb Helps Anna

 Southern Iraq  After worrying for months about getting an extension approved to stay in Iraq, with less than a month to go before her redeployment date, Anna Lee (BAO Admin Asst) finally just asked if she could extend her tour.

 LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick at first appeared hesitant when approached with the idea, and Area Engineer Boss ‘Tommy Two-Tone’ wouldn’t look Lee in the eye when she spoke to him about the idea. MAJ Zebaroo Brighton took care of those luke-warm responses by hypnotizing both men, changing their minds in just moments.

 The ease with which Brighton accomplished this surprising turnaround in both Slasher and Tommy Two-tone suggests that he’s hypnotized them before, programming them for quick response in the event that time is of the essence. Previous uses of this potential diamond mine of a skill were not revealed.

 “I’m not at liberty to reveal that information,” MAJ Zeb stated firmly.

 The top brass are now fully supportive of and reportedly pleased with Lee’s extension of service in Iraq. ◙


Camp Manager Rock Throwing Menace

 A camp in the South, Iraq      Camp Manager Spike Abbott has become a rock throwing menace to select residents.

 “It used to be you just had to watch it when you were within sight of Ryan,” Seren Seren (BS RO everything) told reporters, “but now he’s got all the distances and angles down. Now he throws rocks over the t-walls, timing them to hit you.”

 Asked why she thought Spike would be throwing rocks at residents, Seren said she had no idea, really. “He’s been under a lot of pressure lately, having to shepherd Baghdaddies around. That’s put him behind on his paperwork, and then he stays up all night trying to catch up,” Seren explained. “Maybe he’s just cranky from lack of sleep. That’s probably why.”

 Asked if Ryan’s throwing rocks at her could be because she throws rocks at him, Seren expressed surprise. “I am always and only a defensive rock thrower,” Seren said sweetly. “I would never initiate such pointlessly aggressive behavior.” ◙

Southern Swill: Dispatches from the Forgotten British Sector (Issue 4)

October 30, 2009

Colonel Corviday Sick as a Dog

A base in the south, Iraq     LTC Corbin Corviday spent a couple of nights in the Brit Mil hospital last week, checking in with a fever of 105 F. He became seriously ill after spending five days running around Maysan with a bunch of Brit soldiers in the rain eating one MRE a day and carrying nothing more than a slingshot and binoculars.

 Friends spent hours wondering aloud about the source of his impressive fever and LTC Corviday’s dangerous delirium. Theories as to the cause of his illness included food poisoning, stress, or the result of widespread mysterious biological contamination of air and soil throughout the province of Maysan.

 “None of those things had anything to do with it,” Corviday told reporters. “It wasn’t the food – MRE’s are baked by little elves in a hollow tree that’s been inspected closely by the FDA, the FFA, and the USDA. They’re packed with healthy calories, and are industrially sealed against contamination. And it wasn’t the stress,” he went on after sighing deeply. “I regularly take on LTC Slasher in meetings, which is far more stressful than putting up with a few Brit troops and their silly accents for a few days. Running around in an unarmored vehicle with nothing more to protect myself than a slingshot – I can’t say that’s particularly stressful either: I deal with MSG Bobnoxious (MAO Con Rep) on a daily basis without any armor.”

 “As for the biological contamination theory,” the Colonel added, “the whole of Iraq is a toxic waste dump and it hasn’t made me sick yet.” He pointed to the sky, thick with smog from the gas line fires, and at a pile of garbage next to the road right on base. “In any case,” Corviday added, “if biological contamination were the cause, the Brit Mil hospital would have finished me off.”

 LTC Corviday told reporters that the hospital was the most disgusting place he’s been in Iraq. Keeping in mind that Corviday administers the contract for the Iraqi Army Barracks project near Al Amarrah, the statement is a strong one.

In the Brit Mil hospital, Corviday was assigned to a ward of patients with gastronomic illesses – “the pukers and shitters” – and the bathrooms were predictably foul.

 “I just about passed out when I walked in there,” he admitted. “And the whole place, bathrooms and even the ward itself, didn’t see a mop the whole two and a half days I was in there.”

 Backing up a few steps, reporters asked if the doctors thought Corviday’s illness was contagious.

 “I hope so,” the Colonel answered, sighing deeply. “I hope I can just rub up against some people and make them sick as dogs. That would give me a real sense of power and accomplishment, to have that kind of influence on people. Besides,” he admitted, “if that were the case, maybe they would send me home.”

 Asked how much longer his tour of duty is in Iraq, LTC Corviday sighed deeply again, thought for a long moment, and said rather wistfully, “Not long, I guess. Ten months and a wake up.”

 Corviday sighed deeply yet again. Twice. “I was almost there,” he said dejectedly. “I was awfully sick.”

 He brightened a bit. “There are mice over there in the hospital,” he said thoughtfully. “We watched them run around in the staff break room. Where there are mice, there may be hanta virus ….”

 Friends are keeping a close eye on Corviday now, nervous that he might check himself back into the hospital in an effort to become sick enough to be sent home, jeopardizing the mental health of Anna Lee (BAO Admin Asst) and Seren Seren (BS Resident Office Resident Engineer/Project Engineer/Construction Rep/COR) and, subsequently, everyone who comes in contact with them. ◙


 Anonymous Person Completely Pissed Off Over Southern Swill

 BAT Camp, Iraq     An anonymous person was seriously pissed off by an article published in an unidentified past issue of the Southern Sweill.

 “[censored],” the anonymous person stated. “[censored]. [censored].”

 The article [censored]. If [censored]. [Censored]. It [censored]. [Censored]. 

 “Well,” Anna Lee, BAO Admin Assistant said grimly. “That was a mistake.”

 Seren Seren, BS Resident (every position) was equally pissed off when she found out that [censored]. “[Censored],” she snapped. “[censored].”

 No one spoke to anyone for a day or two, although Seren was said to have talked herself out of most of her own snit and dropped off a note of apology at the [censored]. [Censored] approached Seren and Lee the next day, admitting that [censored]. [Censored] apparently got over it about the same time Seren did, as [censored] smiled and nodded across the DFAC at about the same time Seren held up her hand in a peace sign.

 “Shit,” Lee said, letting out a sigh. “I’m glad that’s over.” ◙


Resident Engineers Prepare to Engage in Engagement Strategy

 A base in the south, Iraq     Resident Engineers are preparing to engage in an engagement regarding Colonel Jeep’s Engagement Strategy. An engineer’s conference has been scheduled in McAdamsville for the coming week.

 “Contrary to unanimous desires,” Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’, BAO Area Engineer, told his staff of RE’s, “this is not an optional engagement.”

 Boss Tom, LTCCorviday (MRO), Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki (BRO), CDR Skip (BCH), Wildman Rob Chillish (OAO), and Seren Seren (sometimes acting BSRO)  attended a preparatory engagement on Friday, to discuss engaging themselves in the Engagement Strategy. LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick led the engagement, until it became clear that he was making stuff up, at which point LTC Corviday respectfully engaged him in a polite pissing match.

 LTC Corviday won the pissing engagement, successfully pushing a serious workload, rightfully and appropriately, back onto Slasher’s desk. Slasher had tried to bluff the RE’s into taking on responsibility for the engagement of the strategy portion of the Engagement Strategy, which is clearly the responsibility of someone engaged at a higher level – namely, the Slasher.

 When asked exactly what this Engagement Strategy was all about, BAO Area Engineer Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’ replied, “It’s really just a plan used to plan the implementation of a plan.”

 “It’s an overplan,” Seren explained.

 “Yes!” Tommy Two-tone cried triumphantly. “It’s overplanning.”

 Shortly after the Friday engagement, Seren told Boss Tom that she was opting out of the conference, having decided not to engage. Seren, not a real Resident Engineer, had signed on to attend the engagement only as an observer.

 Her announcement, made at the dinner table shared by Dan Driery (PRO) and LTC Corviday (MRO), triggered a series of engagements with Boss Tom: Dan immediately offered to let Seren take his place at the conference, while he stayed at the BAT Camp to engage in catching up on RMS delinquencies. Tom said no. LTC Corviday then offered to stay behind in Seren’s place so that he could engage in completing all the work that’s piled up since he spent five days in Maysan, then four more days sicker than a dog. Tom said no.

 Tommy Two-tone is expected to engage in some stress management exercises prior to engaging his RE’s in the engagement in McAdamsville this week. “I’m the boss of an eclectic group,” he said pensively. “They’re right on the edge and I don’t really have much control over them.” Asked if he was worried that they might engage in a way that makes him look bad, he edged around the question, saying only that “they engage in engagements on their own terms. I think they may have their own engagement strategy.”

 Asked whether he minded that Seren had pulled herself out of engaging in the engagement, Tommy Two-tone perked up. “No!” he said smiling. “This makes me feel a little bit more optimistic about the outcome of this engagement!”

 When it was pointed out that he still had Driery, Corviday and Chillish on the engagement roster, his smile faded. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, it could still be an unexpectedly entertaining engagement.” ◙


  (In)Convenience of Centralized Printer Proves Pointless

 BAT Camp, Iraq    The single printer used by the BAO office, centrally located by LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick for equal (in)convenience to all employees, has been on the fritz off and on for two days, delaying productive work efforts.

 It was hoped that IT Specialist Mad Andy could solve the problem, but he could not be found in his office. Although some searchers thought they heard a small distant voice calling from beneath 416 boxes filled with computer cords, 6 hours of digging has not produced definitive conclusions as to whether it’s really Andy calling out for help, or UFO signals caught and transmitted by the cumulative mass of electrical material in the office.

 The frustration of BAO employees left hanging without a printer was quickly evident. “First the delay caused by having to walk practically from here to Baghdad to pick up one sheet of paper off the printer,” Wildman Rob Chillish complained to reporters, “and now this. It’s always something, you know? Baldrick, COL Jeep, Ramadan, mortars, suicide bombers  – something is always messing things up. You know,” he said, “that reminds me of a story – “

 “NO!” Four panicky voices shouted over cubicle walls.

 “Listen,” Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki, BRO Alamo Road Project Engineer, said. “Listen, there’s always some work we can do, even without a printer. There’s plenty of work here that doesn’t require a printer. For instance, I know I can go out to Alamo Road. Personally, I know that I can use this time to go out to Alamo Road and check on the bitimmum [sic] situation.”

 A rescue squad was dispatched to IT Andy’s office trailer late Friday.

 “We’ll find Andy,” LTC Slasher Baldrick assured BAO employees. “In the meantime, this might be a good time to engage in a meeting to discuss engaging in the Engagement Strategy.”

 Three resident engineers and Tommy Two-tone were all seen disappearing quietly out the back door before Slasher had finished speaking. ◙


George Ordered to HQ Post Haste

 BAT Camp, Iraq    George of the Jungle, Logistics, returned to Shirleyville rather abuptly upon receiving orders that he was desperately needed as a punching bag for HQ.

 “They finally got bored with beating on each other,” George explained. “They just need new meat.”

 “And I can take it,” he told his friends at the BAT Camp. “I can’t wait!” he said with real relish. “Bring it on! I’ll eat them alive! Edithville, here I come!”

 Asked how he felt about losing George to Edithville, LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick privately told reporters that he would not miss George at all. “The man is too competent,” Kenny admitted. “He knows his stuff, and it makes me look even more foolish than I am. I’m just not comfortable with that.”

 “That being said,” Slasher added, “George was enjoying himself too much here at the BAT Camp. He was getting just a little bit too comfortable, and was just a little bit too close to the people that I feel the most uncomfortable with here in this camp – namely Corviday, Seren, Lee, and Camp Manager Spike. They all get together, and they laugh,” Slasher explained. “It makes me very nervous because I always think that they’re laughing about me. I don’t mind punishing George for that. The rest of them?” he said smiling broadly, “I think I can win them over. I think they secretly like me a lot. I’m a good person,” Slasher said. “I care about people, and the residents here appreciate that.”

 “Hooah,” someone muttered behind his back. “Friggin’ hooah!”

 George left the BAT camp before his work in Basrah was finished. The Mahdi militia weapons inventory was less than half complete, Seren Seren’s (BS Resident Office – all positions) Nana Pacific laptop computers still linger in an inconvenient logistics netherworld, and Anna Lee (BAO Admin Asst) estimates that she needs approximately 189 additional hours with George in order to even begin to understand what the hell he needs her to do with the BAO property that they’ve already spent 396.2 hours inventorying.

 George was given a heartwarming send off the night before he left, wherein each Ghurka guard bowed down low before George and then slashed his knees lightly with their knives in a show of respect. Donning his oversized US military uniform the following day, no one even noticed the bloodstains until he pointed them out.

 Dan Dan the Charming Man, based in a Edithville suburb, is said to have taken George in when he arrived, and the two men now share an office. “He gave me a loaf of fresh-baked bread,” Dan told reporters. “It’s not a free ride.”

 Sources say George spent his first evening in Edithville sitting cross-legged in the middle of the street, a  British flag wrapped around his shoulders, broken plastic eating utensils in his hands, swaying slightly and muttering to himself.

 Asked if he knew anymore about George’s state of mind that first night, Dan Dan the Charming Man shrugged. “The only words I caught had to do with bar codes …” he said, preoccupied with biting off a large mouthful of fresh bread. “I’d offer you some of this,” he added politely, obviously savoring the treat, ”but I spit all over it just a minute ago.” He smiled, winked, and turned away, heading off in the general direction that George was last seen. ◙


 [Censored] Reveals Tush

 BAT Camp, Iraq  [censored], [censored] crew member, flashed his ass at Anna Lee, Admin Assistant, and Seren Seren, BS Resident Office (every position) two weeks ago, randomly and completely without provocation.

 “We were just sitting around outside, about ready to walk over to dinner,” Seren said. “[censored] showed up, we exchanged a few laughs …. “

 “Suddenly,” Anna Lee explained, “[censored] just turned around and pulled down [censored] pants, flashing [censored] lily white ass at us!”

 Asked if that wasn’t embarrassing to the ladies, Anna let out with a peal of laughter. “Oh yeah,” she agreed, “it was excruciating!”

 “Ladies?” Seren said with an innocently straight face. “Joan and Jody weren’t here yet, remember?”

 When it was suggested the women could file a sexual harassment complaint against [censored], they both rolled their eyes and walked away. ◙


 New Employees Arrive: Socks Not Fat

 A base in the south, Iraq Three new employees arrived at the Basrah Area Office this past week. Although the Bestest Children’s Hospital was slated to claim Jimmy Socks, it turns out Jimmy isn’t tall enough or fat enough to fit in well with BCH staff.

 “We did think about taking him anyway,” Skip, BCH boss, said in a private conversation. “But we really felt like it wasn’t the right thing to do at this time. It’s still early in the project, so we really don’t have to take just any old person comes along. Frankly,” he said decisively, “we can afford to wait for someone who’s unusually tall or pretty fat.”

 Joan something-or-other, another new arrival, is very fat, as it turns out. As a contracting agent, she was going to have an office on the BRO wing of the office. “But she’s just too fat,” Anna Lee, Admin Assistant said in a low voice, glancing around her to be sure no one could overhear the conversation. “We took one look at her and knew she wouldn’t fit over here.”

 “We would never be able to shrink her enough,” Seren Seren, BS Resident Office (everything) pointed out. “It’s a logistical problem, nothing personal. Look, we just can’t fit her into the shrink machine.”

 “I told Boss Tom as soon as I saw her,” Anna Lee said, referring to Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone, BAO Area Engineer. “I told him ‘she sits on the BCH side.’ He didn’t argue with me.”

 “He saw that look in her eye,” LTC Corbin Corviday, MRO Resident Engineer, told one reporter in an aside. “Tom’s no fool. He knew there wasn’t anywhere to go with that one. Not with Anna.”

 Joan what’s-her-name was given a nice desk in the BCH wing of the building.

 “We can accommodate her,” Skip stated pleasantly. “Although she won’t technically be on our staff, she fits right in. She’s fat enough that it feels like she fits right in.”

 Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki, BRO Project Engineer, was pleased that the BCH passed up Jimmy Socks. “I can use Jimmy on my staff,” Wo-wo admitted. “I tell you what,” he said. “I tell you what – I used to be a resident engineer. When I arrived here, that’s what I thought I would be – Resident Engineer. But this Alamo Road project has completely swallowed me up. I spend all my time dealing with bitimmum [sic] on the Alamo Road project, acting as Project Engineer. I’ll be honest with you,” Wo-wo continued. “Listen. I’m pleased to have Jimmy added to my staff, because now we can share the workload of the Alamo Road project. Now there can be two of us completely consumed by the bitimmum [sic] issue. I don’t feel quite so alone. I won’t feel quite so alone with Jimmy helping me out.”

 Asked how he felt about the addition of Socks to the BRO staff, BRO Construction Rep ‘Just too Jivin’ Jake was characteristically upbeat, and irritatingly sincere. “Um, I think it’s great?” Jake chirped with the typical Pacific Northwest intonation that turns every sentence into a question. “I think we needed more help in BRO? Um,” he said smiling his smarmy smile, “I think Mike will be very glad to get the help? I know I’m doing my best, and learning really fast? But this way Mark will not be quite so busy, and … um, I may get a little more help from him? Since this job is still new to me, and I’ve still got a lot to learn? I’m looking forward to working alongside Jimmy,” he finally, blessedly concluded.

 The third arrival, Jody somebody-or-other is too skinny to work from the BCH side of the office. She’ll be replacing Joy Maxon at the front desk, however, so BRO agreed to let her set up an office on their side of the house as a temporary measure.

 “We might like her,” Anna Lee admitted. “But we’re not comfortable committing ourselves yet.”

 “We don’t want to be really nice and outgoing right away,” Seren Seren agreed. “Because then if she turns out to be really obnoxious, it would be harder to avoid her at meals later on.”

 Anna Lee nodded. “That’s right,” she affirmed. “We’ll be nice to her, but we may not want to have to do that all the time.”

 Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’, BAO Area Engineer, seemed indifferent to the additions to his staff. “Well,” he said in a rare  moment of candor, “they can’t be much weirder or more difficult than what we’ve got.” He eyed COL Corviday, Seren, SGT Wavey Davey, and Lee. He shifted slightly and eyed Wo-wo and ‘Just too Jivin’ Jake. “We kind of walk the edge here,” he observed neutrally. “We can probably accommodate just about anyone as long as they don’t have to interact with each other.” ◙


 BAT Camp Food Details Fudged

 BAT Camp, Iraq  Although most residents agree that, overall, food at the BAT Camp couldn’t be better, petty complaints seem to have rocked the kitchen’s confidence. Small voices of dissatisfaction started the night they served everything curried – fish, chicken, and mutton.

 “I hate curry,” more than one American resident was heard to mutter sourly as they loaded plates high with side dishes like garlic roasted new potatoes, green salad with fresh bleu cheese, caviar, water biscuits, fresh strawberries, and blueberry cheesecake drowning in whole milk custard.

 Since that evening, complaints have multiplied. Residents are demanding small packets of honey at every meal, cold skim milk for their cereal in the morning, green leaf lettuce instead of head lettuce, cappuccino in the afternoons, duck a l’orange twice a week, and tiramisu for dessert at the evening repast in addition to the two cakes, ice cream, and various cookies currently offered.

 These complaints have shaken the kitchen, causing consternation and a nervous tension that has resulted in such poor decisions as a lunch that included curried chicken and tough steaks.

 “Everyone needs to calm down,” Camp Manager Spike Abbott counseled. “Just relax.” Abbott said the curried everything meal wase an aberration. “It won’t happen again,” he assured residents.

 “Listen,” Mark Wo-wo’ Wospecki, BRO Aspen Road Project Manager, added, holding one hand out with palm facing reporters as if to hold them back. “Listen. Everyone needs to realize that the cooks are doing their best. They’re doing the best they can under trying circumstances. This is a war zone. We have to remember there’s a war going on here. I for one think they’re doing an exceptional job. They’re doing an excellent job and we have to remember that.”

 “Yeah,” Just Too Jivin’ Jake, BRO ConRep chirped, voice rising on the last word of every sentence as if it were a question. “Um, they’re good people? I think they’re doing a really good job? Um, I think we’re very lucky?”

 “Is that a question?” Anna Lee, BAO Admin Assistant asked, leaning over to ask LTC Corbin Corviday, Maysan AO Resident Engineer.

 “Don’t get too close to me,” Corviday said, “I might be contagious.” He then sighed very deeply, stared off into the middle distance and added, “I miss the sack lunches at the hospital. They served the same sack lunches at lunch and dinner,” he explained. “They weren’t bad.”

 “We haven’t had shrimp for a week,” Seren Seren, BS Resident Office Resident Engineer/Project Engineer/Construction Rep/COR, whispered to Spike. Spike gave her a dirty look and turned to Corviday for sympathy. Corviday sighed again, deeply, staring off into the far distance without answering anyone.

Spike Abbott, fed up with the whining, later got on the radio to George of the Jungle, Logistics, who was recently hijacked by Edithville. George is known to have some mysterious authority over key BAT Camp residents.

Shortly afterward, Anna and Seren received an email from George.

“Quit sniveling,” George ordered. “Get to work.”

“He just doesn’t know,” Anna Lee responded somewhat petulantly. “He doesn’t remember what it’s like. He’s up there in Edithville eating cardboard with plastic utensils now … he just doesn’t remember what it’s like to expect to live with some decent standards.”

“The details matter,” LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick commented when interviewed about the issue. “You can take care of the big things, and operations will run smoothly, but, that being said, if you don’t pay attention to the most minute details, everything can get away from you. It’s important that people know that we take these complaints seriously,” he assured residents. “I will personally be supervising the kitchen from now on, and rest assured, we will come up with a strategic plan to address these issues.”

That being said, MAJ Zeb Brighton was caught harassing the kitchen crew again last night, demanding that cold skim milk be available for evening meals as well as breakfast.

“We’re taking all these complaints seriously,” Spike told reporters with a straight face, although rolling his eyes at the same time made his statement somewhat suspect.

“And Slasher will harass my staff over my dead body,” he added with a smile that never reached his sexy eyes.

Apparently holding a bit of a grudge, and irritable from being woken in the middle of the night by residents who’ve locked themselves out of their rooms, Spke was later was seen throwing rocks at Seren as she rounded the corner of a building on her way to the DFAC.

“He’s mean,” Seren told reporters. “You’d never guess by looking at those eyes, but he can be a very mean person.” ◙


Disease Worsens

 A base in the south, Iraq     LTC Kenny ‘Slasher’ Baldrick’s recently diagnosed case of Officerensis foolishii has apparently worsened in the weeks since it was last reported. (See Issue 2: Cot Cutter Colonel, Bat Camp BAO Offices Centralize on One Side of Building, ‘Slasher’ Baldrick Bans Eye Candy, ‘Slasher’ Wants Camp to be Aesthetically Pleasing, Sgt Major Hubbard Catches the Bug; and Issue 3: Palace Visiting Scholar Ordered to Remove Boxes from Office). In the latest instance exemplifying the horrible effects of this disease, Slasher ordered Ray-Ray ‘Rayban’ Rivera, Oil Office Con Rep, to run back to his hooch during a mortar attack.

Ray was in his office last week at about 5:15 am when incoming rounds hit within the base perimeter, shaking the office trailers. Seren Seren, BS Resident Office Resident Engineer/Project Engineer/Construction Rep/COR was also in the office at the time. Both BAO employees donned their battle rattle and hunkered down on the floor for awhile. After ten or fifteen minutes, although no ‘all clear’ was sounded, they sat back up at their desks and got to work. Seren kept her vest and helmet on, while Rivera took his helmet off.

 The two were discovered there by LTC Baldrick approximately half an hour later. Although Slasher wisely ignored Seren, Rayban was called in to the Lt. Colonel’s office and told that if the base receives incoming and Ray is in the office, he must run back to his hooch immediately.

 “Sir?” Rayban blurted out in stunned surprise upon receiving the order. “Run outside? While the mortars are coming in?”

 “Yes,” Slasher told him. “You’re safer in your hooch.”

Speechless, Rivera merely nodded vaguely and wandered out of Slasher’s office in a stupified daze. He was corralled by Seren, who led him out to the back patio for some fresh air, where Rivera quickly recovered his wits. When he told Seren what Slasher had ordered them to do in the future, Seren fell off the chair laughing, hitting her head on the nearby Hesco barrier. Luckily, she was wearing her helmet at the time.

 In an eerie repeat performance three days later, Slasher ordered IT Mad Andy to return to his office in the middle of another mortar attack.

 “I was in the main office,” Mad Andy explained in an aggrieved voice, “trying to fix a printer… well, that’s another story …” (see p. 2 [In]Convenience of Centralized Printer Proves Pointless).  Mad Andy frowned before recovering his concentration and getting on with the details. “Anyway, mortars exploded, and I started to get down on the floor… My PPE gear was in my office, but I wasn’t going to run outside to get it. That would be stupid!” he explained reasonably. “But I had just gotten onto the floor, and the colonel came walking down the aisle. He asked me where my gear was  … “

 Apparently ignorant of the seriousness of Baldrick’s case of Officerensis foolishii, Mad Andy ‘fessed right up and told Slasher that his gear was in his office trailer.

 “Well go get it!” Slasher ordered energetically, clearly excited by the thrill of what passes for him as combat.

 “What – NOW?” Mad Andy cried in surprise.

 “Yes! Yes!” Slasher replied impatiently. “Hurry up! We don’t want you to get hurt or killed!”

 After a moment of stunned speechlessness, Mad Andy turned to Anna Lee and Seren Seren and said weakly, “So – let me get this right. Run on outside while the mortars are falling?”

 Seren and Lee were apparently laughing too hard to answer.

 “It’s a disease,” Lee told reporters later. “You can’t hardly get mad at him sometimes, because he just can’t help himself, really.” Every time the two women looked at each other, they broke down laughing again.

 When reporters asked if anyone had confronted the Lt Colonel about getting treatment for this disease before he got someone killed, MAJ Zeb Brighton, Slasher’s right hand man, scowled. “We’ve got this covered,” he said firmly. “There isn’t any need to report this to anyone. We can handle it,” he assured the press.

 “Handle this,” Joy Maxon, Admin Assistant, muttered darkly, flipping Zeb the bird behind his back. ◙


Southern Swill: Dispatches from the Forgotten British Sector (Issue 3)

October 30, 2009


Logistics Labors Expand in Scope

 A base in the south, Iraq    George of the Jungle, Logistics, has been especially busy these past few days. On Saturday George contacted the Mahdi militia, demanding a full accounting of property present in the province of Basrah. Hearing the tone of George’s voice and fearing for their lives, the militia immediately began rounding up mortar rounds, laying them out in tidy rows for inspection.

 “It’s not enough anymore to complete only an inventory of the BAT camp property,” George told reporters at a recent press conference. “I have had enough of waking up with bruises on my elbows and knees from being shaken out of my bed in the middle of the night by the yo-yo’s haphazardly firing mortar rounds at the base.”

 “Enough is enough,” he said, expression set with that mad dog look so many at the BAT camp have become familiar with. “I want to know who’s got the mortars, how many they’ve got, and where they’re stored. It’s that simple.”

 Asked if the weapons had some sort of serial number or other individual identification, George glared at this reporter. “They will,” he said ominously.

 George has requested that everyone leave him the hell alone for the next week, as he’ll be very, very busy straightening out this plethora of property.

 “Some serious issues have already arisen on this assignment,” he told reporters. “We’ve got mortars here that belong to Maysan, mortars that belong in Diwaniyah, in Hilla, and a good many that belong downtown. I don’t know how they got here; I don’t know why they thought they could get away with this.”

 “It’s no wonder we’ve had more incoming again lately – these cowboys are using everyone else’s weapons. They don’t care if they waste rounds blasting the crap out of a gopher hole 700 meters from anything – it’s not on their dime.”

 Asked how long this inventory might take, George explained that the initial inventory would probably be complete within a week or so. “But there will be follow up checks,” he explained. “When we get mortared, you can bet that the next day I’ll be out there… and by the end of that day, I will know how many rounds they lobbed at us, and I will know exactly where they came from.”

 Asked if he’d be passing that information along to the Brit Mil, George became uncharacteristically cagey. “All I will say,” he said, “is that Seren Seren (BS Resident office Con Rep/Project Engineer/Resident Engineer/COR) may not have to worry about the problems at her electrical substation much longer.”

 When Seren was asked if she knew what he meant by that, she shrugged and rearranged her face into an innocent expression. “It’s a French contractor,” she said inanely, “maybe George is finding mortars that belong to Paris. The Brits might enjoy moving on that.”

 Asked if the Mahdi militia weren’t a bit intimidating to work with, George’s short laugh had an evil edge. “Intimidating?” he barked. “I’ll show them intimidating.” He held up a bar code reader for everyone to see, and shook it in the nearest reporter’s face. “I will,” he said slowly with ominous authority, lowering his voice and staring straight into the reporter’s eyes, “account for every mortar that group has in this province. I have made myself clear to the Mahdi leadership,” he stated. “I expect full cooperation – and I will get it.”

 When George has finished with the mortars, he’ll start in on the RPGs and AK-47s.

 “It’s a big job,” he said, “but it will get done. HQ thinks they can order me back to their offices in one week. I’ve got news for them – I’m not going anywhere. I’ll get this straightened out if I have to stay here at the BAT camp until February,” George concluded.


Residents Required to Perform Pushups

 A base in the south, Iraq    BAT Camp Manager Spike Abott implemented a new policy last week after Seren Seren, camp resident, locked herself out of her room twice in 15 minutes.

 “From now on,” Spike announced after the second time, “residents will be required to perform the same number of pushups as their room number.”

 When asked her room number, Seren said bleakly, “Eighty-nine.”

 “Hit the deck,” Abbott told her, “or I’ll tell Slasher about your cats.”

 “He’s a cold man,” Seren said later, still sitting outside her locked hooch. “You wouldn’t think it from looking at those eyes, but I’m telling you, he’s heartless.”

 “And they’re not MY cats,” she added forcefully. “They’re feral.”

 Seren is reportedly attempting to move to Room 1.


Fly Genocide: Admin Goes Mad

 A base in the south, Iraq Fourteen flies died yesterday in a frenzied attack perpetrated by BAO Administrative assistant Joy Maxon.

 Maxon claimed the flies were unbearably irritating, buzzing around her desk, landing on her face and arms and crawling around, completely oblivious to her discomfort.

 “I couldn’t stand it anymore,” Maxon admitted.

 BAO Area Engineer Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’ was sympathetic. “The other morning I had the same problem,” he said. “I was busy, and they were very distracting. I had a deadline – I needed to think of an excuse to get out of the eight o’clock meeting. I didn’t have time to be fooling around with these flies.”

 Maxon certainly didn’t fool around. With a single fly swatter, she killed 14 flies within 45 seconds, probably a new record in the office.

 When asked why so many flies were found in her office, she glanced sheepishly at a plate of cookies on her desk before glaring at the front door. “I don’t know,” she replied, recovering her charming smile. “They congregate at the front door and come in with whoever steps through that door.”

 Asked if she didn’t feel a bit sorry for the small living creatures whose lives she so carelessly, heartlessly, coldly and precipitously extinguished, Maxon’s eyes got wide and she smiled incredulously.

 “They’re flies!” she said.

Major Returns Married

 A base in the south, Iraq    MAJ Zeb Brighton returned from R & R in Hawaii, where he tied the knot with Ella in a ceremony on the beach. He was picked up at the border on Friday morning after the mail run to Camp Freddy.

 “I hope he had some outstanding sex,” Admin Asst Anna Lee said grimly on the way to the border. “Maybe he’ll have relaxed a little bit.”

 “Right,” Admin Asst Joy Maxon replied sarcastically. “Like that’s enough to do it.”

 At the border pick up, Brighton looked characteristically pleased with himself, and expectant that everyone else would be equally pleased to see him. Although he received a falsely warm hello from the women, no one could have been said to be overly excited by his return.

 “Back to two lunatics in the front office,” Joy was heard to mutter, surely referring to Zeb and LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick.

 Asked if he enjoyed his vacation and wedding, Zeb replied, “Affirmative,” before immediately launching into a long string of questions regarding Operations at the new BAT camp.


Security Sucks

 A base in the south, Iraq    In an fascinating example of inane fear of the unknown but possible, PSD Security expert Paul, in cahoots with LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick, has implemented draconian security measures at the BAT camp in regards to allowing Iraqis into the camp. Rules and protocols were announced in a mandatory meeting late last week, to the surprise of BAT Camp  residents, who must now pass on the unpleasant outline to their Iraqi Engineers.

 “Security here right now,” Paul said, “sucks.”

 Iraqi engineers will now be frisked at the gate by the Ghurka guards, one by one; they are not allowed to bring any cell phones or computers into camp; they are not allowed to eat in the DFAC with the rest of the camp; they must be escorted at all times; and they must give the secret code when asked or they will be tossed 40 ft in the air and shot at as they come down.


Shots Fired on Camp Freddy Mail Run Return

 A base in the south, Iraq     Two shots were fired by PSD crew leader Rhys Black while hanging out the passenger door of the principal vehicle on the way back from the Freddy/Kuwait border run Friday.

 Two vehicles driven by Iraqi nationals pulled between the principle vehicle and the gun truck, running side by side, blocking the two PSD vehicles from each other. Rhys Black grabbed a  gun, opened the door of the speeding vehicle, and fired two shots in an effort to warn the suspicious vehicles from whatever possible mischief they may have been up to. Or to kill the occupants – whichever.

 Three of the principles, Admin Assistants Joy Maxon and Anna Lee, and BS Area Office Construction Rep/Project Engineer/Resident Engineer/COR Seren Seren, all but missed the incident, wrapped up as they were in the urgently necessary manipulation of MAJ Brighton’s picture of ‘Slasher’ Baldrick’s most unpleasant managerial fuck ups, all perpetrated during the Major’s absence.

 During and after the shots were fired, Maxon and Lee sat in the back seat looking straight ahead with expressions of deep concentration, apparently though improbably oblivious to the shots fired.

 “Sorry,” Black said politely when he’d pulled himself back into the vehicle and put away the weapon. “That developed rather quickly.”

 Seren shrugged. “No problem,” she and Brighton assured him.

 “And about wearing these uniforms in the field… “ Seren resumed, turning to Brighton ….

[Ed. note: Relax – they were flares …]


Seren Irritates the Hell Out of  Boss Tom

A base in the south, Iraq    Seren Seren, BS Resident Office Construction Rep/Project Engineer/Resident Engineer/COR has boss Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’, BAO Area Engineer, irritated and snapping. Seren has been treating LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick as she would any other boss she doesn’t respect much, which turns out to be rather coldly. Tommy Two-tone, ever the Minnesotan, appears to be uncomfortable with the blatant honesty.

“We have to be on our best behavior tomorrow,” he suggested recently when Big Boss COL Jeep was scheduled for a visit. Tom looked at Seren with a dubious expression. “Do you have a best behavior?” he asked her.

Seren was recently ordered to LTC ‘Slasher’s’ office, where he asked if he’d offended her in some way.

 “I said no,” she recounted for reporters. “I just told him that his management style was that of an anal retentive twit. He asked me what he could do to change, and I told him he could start by wiping the perpetual stupid grin off his face and let us set up our own office to be functionally efficient.”

“Well,” she added, “I wasn’t going to tell him he’s a walking cluster fuck, was I? Give me some credit here.”

Two days later COL Jeep casually stopped by her office, making pointed small talk about getting along with the military. “We’re sort of a different breed,” he said, laughing.

 Seren assured him she had never had any problems getting along with the military. Seren has worked under military leadership before on three continents. She has also lived with two Airborne Special Forces career officers, and dated one Marine Lieutenant and one “enlisted asshole.”

“Not at the same time,” she added quickly.

 Boss Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’ called Seren into his office two days after COL Jeep’s not-so-casual encounter with Seren. Ever tactful and uncomfortable with controversy, Boss Tom stated that Seren’s request to extend had come up in a meeting recently. After some hemming and hawing around, he finally asked where things stood between her and Slasher.

“Everything’s copacetic,” she replied. “I emailed COL Jeep and politely inquired about his comments to me the other day. He emailed me back politely agreeing that they weren’t at all casual comments, but that my confronting them tells him that I’ll  be straight up in dealing with problems. He says that all is well, and LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick reported being pleased with my performance as BS Resident Office. I said hello to LTC Slasher this morning, waiting to stick out my tongue at him until his back was turned.”

 Boss Tom rubbed his forehead and looked pained.

Boss Tom is expected to avoid Seren like the plague for a few days, then chop on her a little bit in classic passive-aggressive behavior until the whole situation blows over.



COL Corviday Returns Safely From Cowboy Country

 Maysan Province, Iraq  LTC Corbin Corviday spent five days in Maysan province last week, running around with the BritMil in unarmored vehicles, carrying a slingshot and binoculars.

 Corviday returned to the BAT camp morose and homesick.

 “What’s wrong with him?” Admin Asst Anna Lee asked after spending an entire meal with the colonel, during which he did not break out in song even once. “I feel like I don’t even know him anymore.”

 “Are you mad at me?” Seren Seren, BS Resident Office Construction Rep/Project Engineer/Resident Engineer/COR asked him.

 LTC Corviday sighed deeply, started to speak, then got up to get some dessert without answering either question. He returned with a normal portion, further worrying his friends. Corviday is known for portioning out approximately one tablespoon of dessert for himself, then eating it with great relish, using a 3mm wide white plastic spoon.

 By Saturday night Corviday seemed to be regaining lost ground, however. He and Seren were overheard “pth”-ing at each other on the back patio, laughing uproariously at some inane absurdity.

 The following evening, well on his way to a full recovery, he sang “I’m so sexy to myself” in the DFAC.


Bituminous Material Still An Issue on Alamo Road

 A base in the south, Iraq     Despite the widely hailed Bitumen Summit held weeks ago, and numerous meetings with the contractor since then, Mark ‘Wo-wo’ Wospecki remains obsessed and frustrated by the caterpillian progress of the Alamo Road project.

 Wo-wo, ostensibly Resident Office Engineer but really just Alamo Road Project Engineer, recently reported that the contractor has finished only 10cm in the past week, extending the total length of the road to approximately 962.3 meters.

 “They’re almost out of bitimum [sic] again,” Wo-wo told a group of pre-shrunk BAO employees squashed into the office conference room on Sunday afternoon, “but listen. Listen to this. Bitimmum [sic] is due in tomorrow. Maybe it will be delivered. We’ll just have to wait and see if the bitimmum [sic] is delivered.”

 “There’s good news, too,” Wo-wo told the shrunken crowd, “Listen. The good news is that there were two airplanes parked out there on Saturday. Let me tell you,” he said, holding one hand out, palm facing the crowd as if to hold them back. “Listen, you can’t really drive on this road. But it’s long enough to land a plane. Also,” he pointed out, “Also, it’s only 8cm thick. The asphalt is only about 8cm thick, so it’s not a sturdy road. But it works well for airplanes, apparently. It works as a runway.”

Asked whether an 8cm thick asphalt road was likely to last very long, particularly in the extreme heat of Southern Iraq, Area Engineer Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’, sounding strangely cheerful or amused, said, “No! As a matter of fact, it won’t.”

 Queried as to why the road contract continues to be pushed forward by BAO if it’s unlikely to be functional for long, both men seemed at a loss for a good excuse.

 “Listen,” Wo-wo said. “This project is being pushed from above. Someone above us wants this project to be completed. We have to do as we’re told. We really have to just do as we’re told on this Alamo Road project.”

 “Yeah,” Boss Tom agreed, smiling. “Someone wants it completed … “ He shrugged. “We have the bitimmum [sic], so we might as well build the road!”

 No one could confirm whether the bituminous material was delivered on Sunday as scheduled.



Bestest Children’s Hospital Awaiting New Employee

 A base in the south, Iraq   The Bestest Children’s Hospital (BCH) team is expecting a new employee on the 23 or 24 of October.

 “We’re looking forward to meeting Mr. Socks,” BCH head honcho Commander Skip said in an interview. “We’re hoping he’s either unusually tall, or pretty fat. That way he’ll fit in with the rest of the crew.”

 CDR Skip gazed around the office at his staff for a moment.

 “As I’ve pointed out before,” Skip said, “we’re big people because we’re doing a big and important project. We have plenty of space here in our wing of this office, and we want someone who can help us fill it.”

 The BCH wing of the office occupies 5000 square feet of space to Area Office’s 50 square feet (see Southern Swill, issues 1 & 2).

 “We have to shrink ourselves a little bit to fit in the conference room on Saturdays when everyone meets with LTC Slasher,” Skip admitted. “But we don’t shrink ourselves as much as the people in the other wing do. And the way we look at it, we shouldn’t have to.”

 “When Socks arrives we may have to shrink ourselves just a little bit more, I guess,” Skip said pensively. “We’ll see.”

 He was silent for a moment, thinking. Suddenly Skip brightened up a bit and added, “Well, that would be worth it. If Socks is unusually tall or pretty fat, big enough to fill up some office space on a daily basis and fit into our tall and fat team, shrinking ourselves a little bit more on Saturdays wouldn’t really matter in the larger scheme of things. That would be well worth it,” he concluded cheerfully.



Wildman Rob Chillis Saves Taxpayers Money

 A base in the south, Iraq Oil Area Office, Iraq    Oil Office Resident Engineer ‘Wildman’ Bob Chillish told three long stories in the weekly Saturday afternoon meeting of all BAO employees, putting most residents into a waking coma, and SGM Bobnoxious into a deep if restless sleep.

 One of Wildman Rob’s stories had to do with some expensive equipment, inoperable and just sitting out in the middle of the desert, that came from the World Trade Center. Wildman Rob found this fascinating and evocative of something.

 Another story had some sort of erroneous lesson, wherein Wildman Rob concluded that GRS employees are all here in Iraq to save the taxpayers money.

 SGM Bobnoxious blessedly missed that tidbit, sparing all souls what would surely have developed into an agonizing and protracted monologue on what BAO employees are really doing here in Iraq.



Palace Visiting Scholar Ordered to Remove Boxes from Office

 A base in the south, Iraq    In an inexplicably nonsensical moment of misdirected micro-management, LTC ‘Slasher’ Baldrick ordered visiting scholar and Palace Resident Engineer Dan Driery to get rid of 16 boxes piled in his borrowed office space on Sunday.

 “They’re not my boxes,” Dan told Slasher calmly, studying him perplexedly. “I don’t work here, remember?”

 When Slasher asked him whose they were, Dan shrugged and looked across the aisle at Administrative Assistant Anna for help. When Anna shrugged, they both looked down the aisle at Resident Engineer Tom ‘Tommy Two-tone’.

 “They’re Seren’s,” Boss Tom replied, referring to Seren Seren, BS Resident Office Construction Rep/Project Engineer/Resident Engineer/COR.

 “Get them out of here,” Slasher told Driery again, “by the end of the day.”

 Seren was out of the office. When she returned, she was queried about the boxes by both Dan and Anna.

 “Ten of them belong to BS Resident Office,” she admitted. She cocked her head to look at them again. “Are they not aesthetically pleasing here?”

 Boss Tom gave her a dirty look and told her to find a conex to stash them in, but when she returned a little later to do that, Driery’s office was in use for a conference call.

 When Seren returned 2 hours after that, Driery had already moved the boxes to a conex next door to IT Mad Andy’s trailer. Ignoring more dirty looks and a brush-off from Boss Tom, Seren thanked Dan and disappeared in the direction of the conex with labels for the boxes.

 An hour later she was found sitting at the open door of the conex, watching the PSD crew members trooping in and out of their office nearby. “I think I’ll move my office out here,” she told reporters. “It will be harder to piss off the bosses being way out here, and the views are aesthetically pleasing.”



SIGR Team Sets up Shop

 A base in the south, Iraq     Two SIGR investigators showed up last week asking for temporary office space. They’ve been installed at desks right by the back door, where constant foot traffic is most likely to disturb their concentration.

 When asked what the hell they’re doing here in this office, one of the men explained that they’re looking into various projects, determining the quality of the jobs accomplished and trying to make the engineers of those projects look totally corrupt and criminal.

 “It’s a rewarding job,” said Les, the one sitting closest to the door.

 The presence of SIGR came as a complete surprise to Slasher; he found out who they were after he left for a meeting without Les, who was 46 seconds late getting out to the parking lot to meet up with the Lt Colonel.

 ‘Tommy Two-tone’ has been under unusual stress lately, irritated by BS Resident Office (every position) Seren Seren’s inconvenient and sarcastic frustration, and the LTC’s inconvenient and bizarre micro-management decisions. In addition, he’s been receiving heavy pressure to get the Palace Office paperwork in order, while Palace Office Resident Engineer Dan Driery could care less. With the SIGR here, Boss Tom has the added pressure of worry that the investigators will find out about [censored].

 “That’s all he needs right now,” Maysan Resident Engineer LTC Corviday commented sympathetically, “these yo-yo’s from SIGR.”

 “They’re very nice men, the SIGR guys,” Administrative Assistant Anna Lee told reporters.

 “I don’t know what Boss Tom is worried about,” Seren Seren said innocently. “But I’ll loan him my conex office if it gets to be too much.”